Friday, April 20, 2018

Comey memos

Memos written by former FBI Director James Comey during his tenure under the Trump administration were released yesterday.

The full Comey memos can be found at

Associated Press / Susan Walsh

Thursday, April 19, 2018

A Swan Song 

You wait, and you wait --all you ever want is for the work to pay off. Until it does. And then you get here. Where the sun comes out and it’s the middle of April. For 3Ls, graduation is literally days away.

The countdown has begun.

Some of us have been counting down since we started. Waiting for the moment when the announcements would be real and the logistics were all in place. For some, the reality of it all, the finality of three years being over, feels like jumping off a cliff. And so right now, we cling to what we have left.

There is a safety in this place. This building. In the familiar faces, the pace, the consistency. This is where we spend our time. Where, for better or worse, we learned and studied, we carved out a piece of the law for ourselves somewhere along the way here in these hallways. We made friends, got some golden stories, ate too much vending machine food. We have made mistakes and danced in our victories. Here.

Soon it is going to be time to officially turn the page. To toast to a job well done and move on from here. To drive away from the parking lot for the last time.

The last week of classes.
The last paper.
The last final.

Until then, in all the excitement, we will linger. Amidst utter exhaustion and complete chaos, we will take longer study breaks and walk to Starbucks. We will find time for happy hours and close down the library -- because why not. We stay a little longer because a little longer is all we have.

And maybe our gratitude will make an impression. Maybe it will make time slow down and everyone else feel the happiness we feel.

Or maybe their countdown will begin.

23 days.

And counting...

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Attorney-client privilege

Attorney-client privilege has been brought to attention online due to the recent FBI raid on President Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen’s office. What is attorney-client privilege? What is covered and what is not? The American Bar Association explains in Rule 1.6: Confidentiality of Information.

The ABA explains that Rule 1.6 “governs the disclosure by a lawyer of information relating to the representation of a client during the lawyer's representation of the client.” What does that mean? In layman’s terms, it means that information disclosed by clients to their representative attorneys is protected. 

However, when is attorney-client privilege disregarded? The ABA goes on to explain that there is a limited exception to the “rule of confidentiality that permits the lawyer to reveal information to the extent necessary to enable affected persons or appropriate authorities to prevent the client from committing a crime or fraud… such a serious abuse of the client-lawyer relationship by the client forfeits the protection of this Rule.” Known as the "crime-fraud exception", discussions between a lawyer and client about a future crime and fraud are not privileged; however, conversations about past crimes are. 

Ryan Lucas of NPR spoke with Harry Sandick, a former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York who pointed out additional exceptions. He explains, "if a lawyer is communicating with a third party, for example, those conversations are not privileged. Or if a lawyer is giving business advice, that is not protected either."

For a more in-depth examination and explanation of attorney-client privilege, please visit the ABA’s Client-lawyer relationship: Rule 1.6 Confidentiality of Information and Comment on Rule 1.6.


Lucas, R. (2018, April 10). Does FBI raid on Trump lawyer Cohen mean attorney-client privilege is 'dead'? Retrieved from

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. was born Michael King Jr. in 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia to Pastor Michael King Sr. and Alberta Williams King. His father stepped in as pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in 1931 and adopted the name Martin Luther King Sr. which young Michael would adopt himself in honor of Protestant religious leader Martin Luther. Martin Luther King Jr. would later attend Morehouse College and seminary at the Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania. He soon married Coretta Scott in 1953 and had four children, Yolanda, Martin Luther King III, Dexter Scott, and Bernice. Dr. King became pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church of Montgomery, Alabama and completed his Ph.D in 1955 at the age of 25.

Soon after Rosa Parks was arrested and released in 1955, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other local civil rights leaders planned a citywide bus boycott with King leading due to his professional standing and solid family connections. In his first speech, King declared, "We have no alternative but to protest. For many years we have shown an amazing patience. We have sometimes given our white brothers the feeling that we liked the way we were being treated. But we come here tonight to be saved from that patience that makes us patient with anything less than freedom and justice." After 382 days of boycotting the Montgomery, Alabama transit system, the city of Montgomery lifted the law mandating segregated public transportation. This was the first of many civil rights victories led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Over the next 13 years, Dr. King would inspire, rally, and incite change across the nation. He would visit the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi in the late 1950s, be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for his non-violent resistance to racial prejudice, and, in 1965, after rallying over 20,000 protesters to march Pettus bridge in Selma, Alabama, he would deliver an address titled “How Long? Not Long!” Soon after, President Johnson would sign the Voting Rights Act of 1965 which aimed to overcome legal barriers at state and local levels that prevented African Americans from exercising their right to vote.

On April 4, 1968, a day after visiting a labor strike by Memphis sanitation workers and delivering his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot as he stood on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel. After being rushed to hospital, he would be formally declared dead an hour later. James Earl Ray, a convict and drifter was apprehended following a two-month international manhunt after fleeing to Canada and then England. He was later extradited back to the United States and convicted of assassinating King. He was sentenced to 99 years in prison after pleading guilty.

Following Dr. King’s assassination, President Johnson would sign the Fair Housing Act of 1968 which prohibited discrimination concerning the sale and financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin, and sex. It is considered the final great legislative achievement of the civil rights era and an homage to the work and life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

For additional information on the Voting Rights Act of 1965, visit

For additional information on the Fair Housing Act of 1968, visit


Martin Luther King Jr. Biography. Retrieved from

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Gerrymandering, the Supreme Court weighs in

Is gerrymandering illegal? Should it be? Can maps drawn to benefit one party over another violate one’s own constitutional right to equal protection? The SCOTUS heard arguments about Wisconsin’s political gerrymandering in October 2017 and has yet to issue a ruling. Earlier today, the justices heard additional arguments from Benisek v. Lamone, No. 17-333, which argues that the redistricting of a Maryland congressional district in 2011 violated the rights of plaintiffs under the First Amendment.

To read the Gill v. Whitford oral arguments made in front of the SCOTUS on October 3, 2017, visit

To read the Benisek v. Lamone oral arguments made in front of the SCOTUS on March 28, 2018, visit


Liptak, A. (2017, December 8). Justices to Hear Second Partisan Gerrymandering Case. The New York Times. Retrieved from

Tuesday, March 27, 2018


SSB-5996 has been signed by Governor Inslee - effective date is 6/7/2018 and it is listed under Chapter 117, 2018 Laws.

Non-disclosure agreements, legislation takes aim

The issue of non-disclosure agreements came into focus again in the media and across the nation last week due to the coverage surrounding the dissolution of an untold number of NDAs following reports that The Weinstein Co. has filed for bankruptcy.

NPR reports that The Weinstein Co. released all confidentiality provisions “to the extent it has prevented individuals who suffered or witnessed any form of sexual misconduct by Harvey Weinstein from telling their stories.” It is not uncommon for employees of a company to sign a NDA as it protects assets and company secrets. Black’s Law Dictionary (2014) states that those signing are contractually bound to not disclose any information shared by or discovered regarding procedures, trade secrets, or other internal or proprietary matters (1215).

Across the country, legislators are producing bills aimed at protecting future victims bound by NDAs that keep them from telling their stories; and in Washington State, local politicians are taking actions into their own hands. In December 2017, Senator Karen Keiser from the 33rd legislative district introduced a bill that makes it illegal for employers to restrict what a victim of workplace sexual misconduct can say publicly. This legislation states that an employer cannot “as a condition of employment, require an employee to sign a nondisclosure agreement, waiver, or other document that prevents the employee from disclosing sexual harassment or sexual assault.” SSB 5996 passed the House and Senate and as of March 5th is now awaiting a signature from Governor Inslee.

For additional information on NDAs, please visit these sites:

Black’s Law Dictionary (10th ed.). (2014). St. Paul, MN: Thomson Reuters, 1215

Regarding Washington State’s battle against NDAs, information can be found at and the bill can be located at

The Weinstein Co. Files for Bankruptcy, Cancels Non-Disclosure Agreements. (2018, March 19). Retrieved from