Late last summer, the Gold Bar Reporter was first to break a story about the Washington State Bar Association’s dropping the word ” association.”
Our source, an insider close to Supreme Court Justice Barbara Madsen stated ” the WSBA is trying to come up with a plan to push liability off on Washington State taxpayers, because it’s clear that the Bar is going to lose Scannell v WSBA et al. and Block v WSBA et al. over felonious racketeering and anti-trust violations. ”
We just learned that Washington State Bar Association has officially voted to drop the word association, in an effort to push liability of 50 Million plus onto Washington State taxpayers, instead of pushing liability to its’ members the above two cases.
In Block’s cases, public records from Snohomish County and the United States Post Office documented that John Pennington ( man who killed 43 people in the Oso mudslides, only suspect in the rape of 5 year old girl from Cowlitz County Washington, and is now working for Pierce College), set up a post office box in Duvall Washington to pass financial bribes to attorney Lin O’Dell and her convicted killer boyfriend Mark Plivilech, while at the same time, John Pennington is the man, according to the lead detective on a Cowlitz County case from 1992, the man who is responsible for the rape of a 5 year old girl. Instead of suing Block, John Pennington enlisted his friend Linda Eide, Washington State Bar’s lead counsel, and Washington State Bar Board member Geoffrey Gibbs, to go after Block, a journalist who held a WSBA Bar license, for reporting on John Pennington criminal conduct.
In John Scannell ‘s case, Washington State Bar counsel members Scott Bugsby and Linda Eide tried to gain access into John Scannell’s attorney client files in an effort to go after a Board member’s political foe and Scannell’s client Paul King.
A source said ” The Bar knows that once you two win, you’re coming after them personall to collect damages, starting with members of the WSBA Office of Disciplinary Counsel.”
Washington State Bar’s letter to its members
IMPORTANT – if you want the WSBA to continue as your professional association, you should attend one or more of three upcoming meetings at the Seattle WSBA offices, discussed more completely below:
- Public meeting of the WSBA Bylaws Workgroup on August 8
- Special Meeting of the BOG on Aug 23
- Regular Meeting of the BOG on Sept 29/30.
I attended the WSBA BOG meeting Friday in Walla Walla, having recently realized (through my work on theSections Policy Workgroup) that the BOG is now starting to implement a comprehensive series of sweeping changes to (i) the WSBA Bylaws, (ii) Court Rule 12.1 and to (iii) the Bar Act.
These changes are being implemented incrementally for tactical reasons, but are designed and intended ultimately to:
- Substantially reduce the ability of Members to influence WSBA governance – in violation of the Bar Act,
- Eliminate the WSBA’s role as its “Members” professional association,
- Wholly and unambiguously convert the WSBA into a public entity/government agency with the singular and exclusive mission of serving the public, and
- Enhance and expand the scope of the Washington State Supreme Court’s influence and control over all aspects of the WSBA (including setting Member dues), not just matters relating to licensing, regulation, attorney discipline and other such areas.
These changes are part of a longer term and little known Strategic Plan that is the product of these and other key WSBA leaders:
- Executive Director Paula Littlewood,
- Immediate Past President Anthony Gipe,
- President William Hyslop,
- WSBA General Counsel Jean McElroy
The full scope of the changes and the underlying justifications for them are detailed in:
- The GovernanceTask Force Report and Recommendations dated June 24, 2014
- The BOG’s Governance Report dated September 17, 2015
- The Bylaws Workgroup
For your convenience, here’s a link to the Public Materials for the Walla Walla meeting (all 656 pages):
I then identified four of the proposed Bylaw Amendments most concerning to me:
- First, I strongly objected to changing the name of the WSBA after 128 years to drop the word “Association,” emphasizing that this change is explicitly intended clarifythat the WSBA is not actually a professional association of attorneys. I said I thought most WSBA Members would find this highly objectionable and would be quite surprised to learn that they weren’t really part of a professional association for lawyers.
- Second, I objected to putting the Washington Supreme Court in charge of determining members’ dues and said I thought others would too.
- Third, I described the creation of three more appointed Board seats as undemocratic and bad from a governance perspective because appointed seats are subject to abuse by vesting too much power in the hands of too few. [Note: these changes to the BOG composition would also directly violate RCW 2.48.030of the Bar Act regarding the “Board of Governors.” The BOG is arguably illegally constituted currently based on that RCW.]
- Fourth, I objected to giving limited license practitioners a greatly out-sized percentage of the Board seats relative to their de minimis numbers – i.e., 2 Board seats from a total of fewer than 20 limited license practitioners. [In my view, these folks should have to run within their Districts just like other Bar Members. At best they should be entitled to only a single designated seat.]
A reporter who was present at the Washington State Bar’s meeting said ” I added that I had read through the Governance Task Force Report twice in recent days and that I wasn’t too enamored with it, and that I had found much of its key analysis conclusionary and unpersuasive.”
He further stated “My comments stirred up quite a few folks, including current and former BOG members, several of whom said essentially that these issues had already been debated and discussed for a long time and that it was time to move forward with all of the recommendations in the Governance Report, including the first group of Bylaw Amendments under consideration. These Governance Report recommendations have strong momentum. One gentleman even said he didn’t necessarily agree with the decisions made but that a lot of time and effort had going into them and it was time to start passing them because folks had done a lot of work and he wanted to see the results. So much for not being pushed into bad decisions by undue focus on sunk costs. ”
Mr. Gipe is currently running for King County Superior Court Position #52 – a position that could be the first step on a path to the Washington State Supreme Court, where he could ultimately exercise the control over the WSBA that he currently seeks to vest in that body. I personally feel it is very important to prevent this and thus to keep Mr. Gipe out of the judiciary. That is why I have gone to great lengths to support his opponent in the race. If you share my concerns…. Proposed Policies Eliminating or Restricting Religious (Cultural) Practices During the morning discussion of the WSBA’s proposed restrictions on religious practices, members of the Indian Law Section EC and many others from varied backgrounds advocated strongly that the Indian Law Section should be allowed to continue whatever religious and cultural practices they thought were appropriate, both for reasons of ensuring those who practice
Washington State Bar Association internal memo
A new lawsuit