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Court Changes Afoot

KCBA Bar Bulletin
January 16, 2013


January 2013 King County Bar Bulletin

As we leave 2012 behind, King County lawyers should take note of the new judges elected across the state in the November general election.

Seattle-area attorney Sheryl Gordon McCloud is the newest member of the Washington Supreme Court. She will take office January 14. In Division I, judges Marlin Appelwick, Mary Kay Becker and Ron Cox retained their seats. In addition, Judge Anne Ellington retired in October and Gov. Chris Gregoire appointed former King County Commissioner James Verellen to succeed her. Judge Verellen was sworn in October 23 and already has issued decisions as a panel member.

Division II saw the election of Judge Thomas Bjorgen. The composition of Division III has remained the same. On our King County Superior Court bench, six new judges have been seated. There is much law to be made and applied, so let's get going!

Here are some additional updates regarding Washington's appellate courts.

RAP Amendments. This year, the Supreme Court will review suggested amendments to the Rules of Appellate Procedure (RAP). Anyone can submit a suggested rule change to the Court. The proposals should comply with GR 9, and in particular GR 9(e).

The WSBA Court Rules & Procedures Committee is chaired by Hillary Evans and is in the process of studying and recommending rule changes. The chair of the RAP subcommittee is Ann Summers (

All subcommittee and main committee meetings are public. The RAP subcommittee meets on the second Thursday of the month at 2 p.m. in the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office. More information and the main committee schedule can be found at

The committee's recommended changes will be submitted to the Board of Governors in July. All amendments approved by the Board of Governors will be submitted to the Supreme Court by October 15.

Division I Updates. In addition to benefitting from Judge Verellen's appointment, Division I has requested funding for a second commissioner position. Having lost funding of multiple commissioner positions due to budget cuts in recent years, the court is down to one commissioner.

Division I anticipates the recruitment and selection process for the second commissioner position to begin early this year in conjunction with legislative consideration of the funding request.

Electronic Filing in Appellate Courts. The Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court are working toward electronic filing. This is a project long in the making that eventually seeks to establish electronic filing in all Washington appellate courts through a uniform system.

Many conceptual and technical issues must be addressed, in addition to revising the Rules of Appellate Procedure to implement the system. A request for proposals was issued by the Administrative Office of the Courts on November 26, with project implementation scheduled for April.

KCBA Appellate Section. Your KCBA Appellate Section regularly meets on the second Monday of the month at the KCBA offices. Members are invited to bring their lunch, chat with colleagues and enjoy a presentation by a guest speaker of relevance to our membership.

Recent guests have included Chief Judge Robert Leach and Court Administrator/Clerk Richard Johnson of Division I; Supreme Court law clerk Laura Anglin; commissioners Aurora Bearse and Eric Schmidt of Division II; and retired Supreme Court Justice Gerry Alexander. Upcoming events include a reception with Division I, and presentations by Justice McCloud, Judge Richard Tallman of the Ninth Circuit, and WSBA Senior Disciplinary Counsel Joanne Abelson and Tom Fitzpatrick of Talmadge/Fitzpatrick regarding ethics.

If you are interested in joining the section, please do so at or contact Chris­tine Dreps at or 206-267-7003.

Averil Budge Rothrock focuses her practice on appellate review in the Seattle office of the Pacific Northwest regional firm Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt. She serves as chair of the King County Bar Association's Appellate Law Section. She can be reached at