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SCBA Newsletter - February 2021

02/19/2021 2:17 PM | Anonymous

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)


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!


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.

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

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