WSBA World Peace through Law Section Newsletter - January 2014
WSBA World Peace through Law Section
Year-End Review & Next Year Plans
Reviewing 2013: The Section experimented with new ways to promote peace through law; five such events are detailed below. Perhaps the most interesting and useful was working together with the Arizona State Bar Association World Peace Through Law Section on a pair of programs on Litigating the Right to Peace (below). Such joint efforts may create a helpful model for the future!
For 2014: The first order of business is electing a new set of officers. Please look to your email box for a ballot!
The Section's Executive Committee resolved at our December meeting to continue the innovation, but with more organization. The Board plans to host something like one CLE or similar event every other month, starting in the spring. Members who would like to try their hand at running an event should contact the Board. Chairing a single event lets you promote a topic or a speaker that you find interesting, without the commitment of serving on the Board. If you try it, you might you like this sort of work!
In the alternate months, the Executive Committee plans to meet to develop programming and so forth. The newsletter will be published shortly after those meetings; this sets up pipeline of information to make the section more productive. If you have something to present to the Board or put in the newsletter, send it in!
Thank you for the opportunity to serve as Section Chair. Our Chair-Elect, Nandini Rao, is already showing the enthusiasm and organization that will, with your help, make 2014 even better than 2013.
Participants committed to handling one case through WARN, which will provide a prescreened case, mentoring, and technical assistance as needed. It was an opportunity to make a difference with an important problem, and the limited seating filled up very quickly, as a testament to the interest of our Section and the community in doing our part. This model of a program may be usefully repeated, perhaps once a year around Pro Bono Month (October).
August 30: Border Patrol Roadblocks
Longtime Section member Paul Richmond of Port Townsend, who has represented multiple clients stopped at Border Patrol roadblocks inside Washington state. talked about"Border Patrol Roadblocks in Washington State" at a lunchtime mini-CLE, on Friday, August 30, 2013 in the Alki Room in the Century Square Plaza, 1501 4th Avenue, Seattle.
Setting up roadblocks to conduct suspicionless searches up to 100 miles from international borders (which includes the Pacific coast) raises numerous legal, constitutional, and practical issues. Attorney Richmond provided:
Descriptions of several cases involving Border Patrol stops in Olympic Peninsula towns and elsewhere;
Analysis of the law used to justify the stops, including constitutional issues;
Current state of practice, including positions of federal prosecutors, the Border Patrol, and local law enforcement;
Practice tips for attorneys with clients arrested at these roadblock for minor offenses.
This event provided 1 live general CLE credit and was attended by several dozen Section members. The success of this event suggests that Section members who have practical experience in human rights and peace law can be of great service in sharing what they know at a Section-sponsored event.
June 22: Litigating the Right to Peace
Attorney Roberto Zamora gave a witty and sobering description on "Litigating the Right to Peace" on the evening of June 22, 2013 at Seattle University School of Law.
One hundred lawyers, law students, and peace advocates heard how he had, even before he completed his law degree, sued Costa Rica for violating its obligation to be peaceful, and won.
This event was a notable example of working together, with this Section leading a coalition of the willing including Seattle University School of Law, the National Lawyers' Guild, El Centro De La Raza, the Arizona State Bar World Peace Through Law Section, Talking Stick TV, and others. The expenses of Attorney Zamora's travel to the USA were split between our Section and our Arizona sibling, who hosted him a couple of days before us. This is a useful model for working together!
In addition, attendance at this event was larger than at any of our events for years, probably because of the intergroup cooperation, and also because it occurred outside regular business hours, making it practical for working lawyers.
April 26: Sunshine Over The Energy Wars: Home Solar In Washington State
Actual installation in WA
The Section's second free non-CLE webcast featured Kevin Moen of Solterra Systems discussing the practical side of home solar (net energy production, how easy/hard to install) and the legal side(taxes, permits, restrictive covenants, what's going on in Olympia this year) in"Sunshine Over the Energy Wars: Practical and Legal Aspects of Home Solar in Washington State," April 26 at noon.
Resource and energy shortages are common factors in international conflicts. We and our clients can better decide which practical steps we can take to reduce this risk, but only if we're familiar with their legal aspects. As with the March 29 program, reaction from attendees was positive, but attendance was small, perhaps because no CLE credit was forthcoming.
March 29: Pro Bono Opportunities with Immigrants & Refugees: Yes You Can!
Webcast facilities were provided to the Section on condition that no one apply for credit for this event; however those who viewed the program learned how to earn up to six credits every year (up to 18 credits per reporting period!) by working a pro bono case with a Qualified Legal Services Provider (QLSP). Feedback from those who attended, either in person or over the web, was positive, although attendance was sparse.
This is a publication of a section of the Washington State Bar Association. All opinions and comments represent the views of the authors and are not necessarily endorsed by WSBA, its officers or agents.