SCBA News

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  • 06/11/2021 11:38 AM | Luigi Colombo (Administrator)

    Skagit Legal Aid is seeking attorneys for its Housing Justice Project. See the attached announcements for a full-time and a part-time position.

    SLA RTC Full Time Staff Attorney Job Description.pdf

    SLA HJP Part Time Temporary Staff Attorney Job Description.pdf

  • 05/10/2021 11:14 PM | Luigi Colombo (Administrator)

    We are posting the following message from Judge Laura Riquelme regarding the proposed updates to Skagit County Superior Court Local Court Rules.

    Please see the Court’s proposed updates to the Local Court Rules.  If adopted, these rules would take effect on September 1, 2021.  

    We are currently operating under emergency orders and rules, however that will not always be the case. Many of the Court’s proposed rule changes incorporate new procedures and technology that we have adopted over the last fourteen months.  We are currently operating under emergency orders that supersede our standard local rules where they conflict, but we will not always be in a state of emergency. These changes will allow us to retain some of these new procedures, particularly related to remote appearances, beyond the pandemic.  We are also adding two new parts.  One creates local juvenile court rules related to dependency cases.  The other part briefly covers language access and ADA accommodations.

    The comment period to these proposed rules is through June 10, 2021.  Comments received will be posted on the Court’s website.  All comments should be forwarded to Lisa West at LisaW@co.skagit.wa.us  

    In addition to the proposals in these rules, the Court will be eliminating the forms appendices to the Local Court Rules.  Any forms referred to in the Local Court Rules will be posted on the Court’s website before September 1st.  References to appendix items in the current rules will be changed to refer readers to that website.

    Please see the below timelines:

    • May 17th: deadline for rule proposals from other people or groups. We will post any submitted proposals on our website and disseminate according to GR 7.
    • June 10th: deadline for comments on the Court’s proposed rules
    • June 17th: deadline for comments on any rules proposed by the public
    • September 1st: final rules take effect

     Proposed Local Court Rules 2021-2022.pdf

    LCR Forms 2021-2022.pdf

     

    Judge Laura Riquelme

    Skagit County Superior Court, Dept. 2

    205 W. Kincaid St.

    Room 202

    Mount Vernon, WA 98273

    (360) 416-1200


  • 05/10/2021 10:57 PM | Luigi Colombo (Administrator)

    Skagit County Bar Association Celebrates Law Day by
    Honoring Outstanding Community Contributors

    Law Day, observed annually on May 1 for the last half-century, marks the nation’s commitment to the rule of law. Law Day also provides an opportunity to recognize the role of courts in democracy and the importance of jury service to maintaining the integrity of the courts.

    Law Day programs are held across the country to help people better understand how law protects liberty and how the legal system strives to achieve justice. This year’s theme honors “Advancing the Rule of Law Now.”

    In Skagit County, Law Day was celebrated by holding a virtual Law Day Legal Clinic, where 22 volunteer attorneys and 12 non-attorney volunteers provided legal services to over 75 clients. In addition, the Skagit County Bar Association, Skagit Legal Aid, and the Liberty Bell Award Committee invited individuals involved in law and justice and members of our community to attend a Law Day Virtual Cocktail Hour and Liberty Bell Award Ceremony. The event took place on Tuesday, May 4..

    The event was a great success and included a variety of highlights. The Skagit County Bar Association President, Andy Schuh commenced the event by introducing special guests. Following this introduction, Skagit County Superior Court Judge Riquelme announced the Law Day Proclamation.

    Swinomish Tribal Court Chief, Judge Pouley and his daughter, Jessica, discussed the Land Acknowledgement, which is a formal statement that recognizes and respects Indigenous Peoples as traditional stewards of this land and the enduring relationship that exists between Indigenous Peoples and their traditional territories.

    Lucy Shainin, a junior from Anacortes High School, presented a compelling poetry reading for the attendees. Shainin was recently recognized as the Washington state champion in the national poetry reciting competition, she was the top candidate of 6,000 students from 28 participating schools across the state of Washington.

    Gail Smith announced the formation of the new non-profit, Skagit Legal Aid, formally providing services as the Volunteer Lawyer Program.

    Skagit Legal Aid awarded this year’s Community Partner of the Year Award to the dedicated team at the CCS Farmworker Center, Marta Martinez Olivera and Guillermina Bazante.         

    The Skagit County Bar Association and Skagit Legal Aid also awarded the Skagit County Pro Bono Service Award (formerly known as the Volunteer of the Year Award) to Leona Bratz. Bratz is Of Counsel to LeGros Buchanan & Paul, joining the firm in November 2015. She volunteers as a pro bono attorney with the Housing Justice Project in Skagit County and Snohomish County, and she is also on the Board of Directors of the Anacortes Family Center, a homeless shelter. Most recently she was a dedicated volunteer at SLA’s Law Day Clinic.                                                   


     Leona Bratz                            

    The Skagit County Bar Association presented the 2021 Liberty Bell Award to Flora Perez-Lucatero. The Liberty Bell Award has been awarded every year since 1968, recognizing an individual who has rendered outstanding service to his or her community. Perez Lucatero is Flora Perez-Lucatero’s name will be added to the plaque on display in the Skagit County Superior Courthouse, recognizing the previous Liberty Bell Award Recipients.

     

    Flora Perez-Lucatero

    The keynote speaker was Chief Justice of the Washington Supreme Court, Debra L. Stephens, who inspired all the attendees to continue to provide service to our community. “Good things happen because we do good things,” said, Justice Stephens.

    "I think the event was one of the best in recent memory, despite the need to host it via Zoom due to the ongoing pandemic.  All of the award winners truly embody the spirit of Law Day and it was inspirational to hear their stories and Justice Stephens' story and to think about how real life overlaps with the privileges we enjoy in this country, as provided to us by our legal system," said Andy Schuh, Skagit County Bar Association President.

    If you have any questions about the Law Day event, celebration and the award recipients, contact Heather D. Webb at hwebb@glpattorneys.com

  • 05/10/2021 10:57 PM | Luigi Colombo (Administrator)

    Skagit County Bar Association Launches Skagit Legal Aid

    A new non-profit providing free legal services has been established by the Skagit County Bar Association’s Volunteer Lawyer Program.

    The new non-profit is called Skagit Legal Aid and offers free legal assistance to eligible low-income Skagit County residents. The program is staffed by an Attorney/Program Manager and a Legal Assistant.  Annually, Skagit County attorneys donate about 1,500 volunteer hours to nearly 500 people for more than $260,000 worth of legal services.  Attorneys provide services in areas including eviction defense and other landlord-tenant disputes, family law issues, wills and powers of attorney, post-conviction support, and limited immigration assistance with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) applications and renewals. Skagit Legal Aid hosts alternating biweekly legal clinics at the CCS Farmworker Center and East County Resource Center in Concrete in addition to regular virtual workshops. Staff also speak Spanish and can assist Spanish speaking clients. Translation services are available for other languages. 

    To date in 2021, the program has provided services to at least 134 clients.

    Although Skagit Legal Aid officially opens its doors on June 1, 2021, its services have been provided to Skagit County for 35 years under the name of Skagit Volunteer Lawyer Program.  Since 1986, the Skagit County Bar Association has partnered with Community Action to operate the free legal services program. 

    For over thirty-five years, the Skagit County Bar Association and Community Action worked together to provide program support. Community Action provided the programs integration with its anti-poverty mission and the bar association provided legal expertise and guidance of the program and maintained the program’s connection to the local legal community.

    “We are very excited about this next step and the future of Skagit Legal Aid. We are looking forward to working with our many community partners in the effort to improve access to the courts and access to justice in Skagit County in a racially equitable manner,” said, Gail Smith, founder of the Volunteer Law Program.

    One of the clients who has been served by the program, sent a message to the volunteering attorney, stating,

    “Thank you so much! I do realize how much time and effort you're putting into this and I seriously can't convey to you just how much I appreciate your help. The last couple years have been an absolute nightmare not just for me but for my kids, my elderly parents, really my entire family. The stress has been so bad it's caused me to have some long term physical health issues. I finally feel like there is light at the end of the tunnel. So thank you, again, for bringing some peace of mind to me and a whole lot of other people that care about and depend on me.”

    Skagit Legal Aid will be funded by grants and donations from the public. It will continue to work with and support its many wonderful community partners. 

    For legal assistance, call CLEAR at 1-888-201-1014, Monday through Friday, from 9:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.  CLEAR is staffed by attorneys and paralegals who screen clients for eligibility and provides them with brief advice and services.  If further assistance is needed, CLEAR staff will refer the client to Skagit Legal Aid.  For more information, please visit the NW Justice Project website.  

    To learn more about the Skagit Volunteer Lawyer Program, or make a donation to the program, contact Andy Dugan at director@skagitvlp.org.

  • 03/31/2021 10:31 AM | Luigi Colombo (Administrator)

    Please see attached Skagit County Superior Court Emergency Order 21-3

    Emergency Administrative Order_21-3.pdf

  • 03/30/2021 2:33 PM | Luigi Colombo (Administrator)

    The Judicial Spring Conference will be held virtually this year from April 26 – 30.  During that week the following Skagit County court schedules will be impacted:

    • All morning calendars with the exception of the Civil Commitment/ITA hearings are cancelled.  If you have any cases currently scheduled on any morning calendar, please strike and re-note that hearing.
    • All afternoon calendars will proceed as scheduled.
    • No Bench Trials, Jury Trials, or Special Sets will be heard.
  • 02/19/2021 2:17 PM | Maren Anderson (Administrator)

    SCBA Newsletter February 2021.pdf

     In This Issue:

    1.      SCBA News, Events and Announcements

    2.      VLP Update

    3.      Local Bar Updates

    4.      From the Law Library

    5.      Blast from the Past

    6.      Thought You Should Know

    7.      Miscellaneous Announcements


     1.      SCBA News, Events and Announcements

     The Skagit County Bar Association wants to congratulate Judge Thomas Verge and Judge Elizabeth Yost Neidzwski on their new positions at Skagit County Superior Court, as well as Dave Needy and David Svaren on their recent retirements. Judge Verge takes the position after serving as District Court judge since 2016 and, previous to that, as a commissioner in Whatcom County Superior Court. Judge Neidzwski was most recently a senior deputy defender at the Skagit County Public Defender’s Office, supervising the juvenile, mental health and parents' representation units.

     

    Congratulations are also in order for Skagit County's newest District and Municipal Court Judge, Jenifer Howson, and the newest District and Municipal Court Commissioner, Paul Nielsen. Judge Howson was promoted from her commissioner position, which she has held since 2017, after practicing law in Skagit County for 20 years. Paul Nielsen previously served as senior deputy prosecutor for Skagit County.

     

    The Executive Committee also wishes to extend its appreciation for members of the existing committees and solicit additional participants. All of the committees, with the exception of the VLP Steering Committee, are actively recruiting new members. If you're interested in getting involved with any of the following committees, please contact the appropriate chair person.

     

    EVENTS: Amme Verbarendse and Heather Webb (co-chairs); Tim Lehr

    CLE: Rebecca Carroll (chair)

    ANNUAL CLE SUBCOMMITTEE: Dewey Weddle (chair)

    MEMBERSHIP / WEBSITE: Luigi Colombo (chair)

    NEWSLETTER SUBCOMMITTEE: Maren Anderson (chair) and Donna Gibson

    VLP STEERING COMMITTEE*: Gail Smith and Heather Webb (co-chairs); Judge Michelle Demmert, Commissioner Heather Shand, Wil Harlock, Sarah Johnson, Annalise Martucci, Andrew C. Schuh, Scott Thomas, Josefina Ramirez, Wendy Wall and Eva Wescott

     

    Events and Announcements:

    • Virtual Music Festival in support of the Skagit VLP – March 25, 2021
    • Monthly CLE (All CLE to occur via Zoom under further notice.)
      • March 1, 2021 from 5:00 - 6:00 pm - Conducting Hearings and Trials in Skagit County Superior Court: Remote, Hybrid, and In-Person (Judge Riquelme)
      • April 5, 2021 - Bankruptcy (Mark Nusz)
      • May 3, 2021 - Joint CLE with Accountants
      • June 7, 2021 - Legal Research (Maren Anderson)
    • Now Accepting Nominations for the Liberty Bell Award - The Liberty Bell Award recognizes individuals who have provided outstanding service to the community from the fields of education, social services, healthcare, business, sciences, communications, labor, government, religious professions, and youth organizations. Nominees must be current residents of Skagit County; lawyers and judges are not eligible.  Nominations must be submitted by April 15, 2021 to the Skagit County Bar Association Liberty Bell Award Committee c/o Laura McCarthy (email: laura@andrewcschuhlaw.com; phone: 360-503-1043)

    2.      VLP Update By Andy Dugan

    Civil legal assistance is on the precipice of an exciting new decade. Across the state and right here in Skagit County, volunteer attorneys are better positioned to have a greater impact breaking down barriers than at any point in history. Be a part of history and volunteer! If you are interested in learning more about any of the below clinics or other ways to volunteer, please sign up here or contact the VLP Manager Andy Dugan directly at andyd@communityactionskagit.org or (360) 230-8044.

    Volunteer Spotlight

    As a result of the kind sponsorship of the bar association, all attorneys who volunteer at a clinic or assist a pro bono client will be entered to win a monthly drawing for a $25 gift card to a local small business! This month, the VLP would like to recognize attorney Sarah Johnson who recently helped settle her first HJP case in addition to joining the VLP Steering Committee last year. Thank you Sarah!

    Housing Justice Project

    Most eviction actions are barred through March 31st, and additional eviction prevention funds are on the not-so-distant horizon. The state legislature is also hard at work on numerous bills to reform the unlawful detainer process to not only meet the needs resulting from the pandemic but also to create a sustainable legal process to keep tenants in rental properties and money in landlords’ pockets in the future. On January 20th, the VLP Manager testified in support of SB 5160 that, among other things, creates a right to counsel for tenants in unlawful detainers. Other proposals include just cause protections, repayment plans, limits to rent increases, and rental assistance programs funded by increased recording fees. Notwithstanding all of these developments, unlawful detainers are still being filed in Skagit County and tenants still need your assistance! In the coming weeks, our local expert David Henken will be providing a refresher trainer for volunteer attorneys about all of the changes to the unlawful detainer process over the past several years. Stay tuned for an invitation!

    Concrete Clinics

    Remote legal clinics are being held the 2nd and 4th Fridays of every month with appointment slots beginning at 9:00 am and ending at 3:00 pm. Prescreened clients visit the East County Resource Center to virtually meet with offsite volunteer attorneys. All types of legal experiences are wanted and needed!

    REVAMPED - DACA Clinics

    In years past, the VLP hosted successful clinics to help people file applications under the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The VLP is excited to relaunch these widely praised clinics in a virtual format. Immigration and non-immigration attorneys are needed! An informational meeting will be held at a later date.

    NEW - Farmworker Clinics

    The VLP is thrilled to announce the launch of a new legal clinic dedicated to serving farmworkers and their families! Beginning this winter, pro bono clients will be able to safely visit the CCS Farmworker Center to use VLP provided technology to meet with offsite volunteer attorneys concerning a variety of civil legal issues. Clinics will begin on certain Wednesdays with appointment slots beginning at noon and ending at 8:00pm. The VLP will provide free telephonic interpreting services if language barriers exist. The VLP particularly encourages any Spanish speaking attorneys to express their interest!

    All attorneys who are interested in learning more about any current or future volunteer opportunities should contact the VLP Manager Andy Dugan at andyd@communityactionskagit.org or (360) 399-3326.

    3.      Local Bar Updates

    Have an update such as a new hire, office move, work anniversary or retirement? Let Maren (marena@co.skagit.wa.us) know for inclusion in the newsletter!

    Retirement: Mike Winslow has retired, effective October 31, 2020. He obtained his JD from Southwestern University School of Law and was admitted to the bar in Washington State in 1983. Mike primarily practiced in the areas of business, construction, estate planning and real property from his office in Mount Vernon.

    Retirement: Tom Moser has recently retired. He obtained his JD from Gonzaga, and was admitted to the bar in Washington State in 1977. He also earned a MPA from George Washington University and served in the U.S. Army, Infantry, from 1967 to 1969. Tom primarily practiced in the areas of real property, land use and personal injury from his office in Mount Vernon.

    Stiles Law firm marks 70 years in Sedro-Woolley as Tim Lehr becomes partner in Stiles & Lehr Inc., P.S. On February 26, 1951, William A. Stiles Jr., was admitted into the Washington State Bar Association and he opened up a law office in his hometown Sedro-Woolley. He was later joined in the law practice by his son Brian L. Stiles in 1981, and his son Brock D. Stiles in 1986. William passed away in 2017 at the age of 93, and Brian is currently serving as a Skagit County Superior Court Judge. As Stiles Law enters its 70th year in Sedro-Woolley, Brock is pleased to announce that Timothy C. Lehr has become a partner in the law firm which will now become Stiles & Lehr Inc., P.S. The law firm will continue to provide legal services for personal injury, workers compensation, estate planning, probate, real estate, and landlord issues. Brock, Tim, and the entire staff at Stiles & Lehr Inc., P.S. are looking forward to continue the legacy started 70 years ago by William Stiles in providing outstanding legal services for many more years to come.

    4.      From The Law Library

    The law library is still soliciting feedback regarding our services, collection and other resources. That survey can be found at https://forms.gle/nSQgZ2AcJmZtQLHV9.

    5.      Blast From The Past – SCBA Valentines Event

    (Scanned image of SCBA Newsletter dated January 18, 1994 describing a Bar Valentine party)

    6.      Thought You Should Know - Diverse Perspectives On Improving Justice In Big And Small Ways

    Most unlawful detainer actions remain barred due to the state and federal moratoriums. However, attorneys practicing in this area should be aware of recent and potential future changes at both the county and state level in this area of law. The Skagit County Superior Court Local Rules related to unlawful detainer actions were amended on September 1, 2020; see specifically SCLCR 8. Additionally, SB 5160 has the potential for making substantial changes to the RLTA including, "addressing landlord-tenant relations by providing certain tenant protections during and after public health emergencies, providing for legal representation in eviction cases, and authorizing landlord access to state rental assistance programs."

    7.      Miscellaneous Announcements

    Interested in Washington Women Lawyers? Join the Skagit Chapter for the 2021 Planning Meeting March 8, 2021 at 12:00 PM via Zoom.  We will be discussing the future of Skagit WWL and electing new officers.  Membership is not necessary to attend!  Please email Eileen at ebutler@kidzlaw.net, or see our Facebook Page for the Zoom meeting link.

  • 02/17/2021 10:37 PM | Luigi Colombo (Administrator)

    Attached is a copy of Skagit County Superior Court Emergency Administrative Order 21-2 effective 02/17/2021

    Emergency Administrative Order 21-2.pdf

  • 12/11/2020 5:24 PM | Luigi Colombo (Administrator)

    Dear members,

    We are glad to launch another benefit of your membership, the Skagit County Bar Association Newsletter.  Attached is the Inaugural Issue, December 2020.  Our thanks to the talented Maren Anderson for this newsletter.


  • 11/24/2020 2:20 PM | Luigi Colombo (Administrator)

    Please see attached Sedro Woolley Municipal Court Administrative Order 20-6.

    SW Municipal Court Admin Order 20-6.pdf

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Skagit County Bar Association
PO Box 57, Mount Vernon WA 98273

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