Clare Vellek

  Photo:  Clare at her surprise 30th work anniversary luncheon next to Gerhard.

Photo:  Clare at her surprise 30th work anniversary luncheon next to Gerhard.

This week we celebrated Clare's 30 years of service to the Washington State Association for Justice.  I met Clare when it was named WSTLA - the trial lawyer's association.  The entire time I've known her she's run the legal education department.

Of all the committees I've worked on over the years, WSTLA/WSAJ CLE was my favorite.

One of the side effects of being a critical analytical trial lawyer, is that we are willing to turn the lens on ourselves.  We are like professional athletes in that we are only as good as the last trial or arbitration or mediation or whatever.  We can have a superb result.  Feel the glow.  And abruptly lose the next case and consider ourselves to be crap.  So we are hungry to learn how to be better.  Clare has worked with all of us to put on some of the best programs in the country.  This included the first How to Hammer Allstate program (brainchild of Pat LePley).   I can still remember the Colossus program where we had with over 300 people attending.  We were one of the first to have a full day with Paul Luvera, Rick Friedman, and Paul Stritmatter. And then of course there were the conventions.

Gerhard figured out that Clare has put on over 500 seminars.  And she isn't done yet.

What always has impressed me about Clare - is that she never loses her temper.  Us lawyers are terrible at turning in our assignments on time.  She would fib to us about deadlines knowing we'd be late.  And even that wouldn't work.  People would forget when they were speaking.  Or where.  Or in probably the worst case - the keynote speaker at one of our conventions showed up and left after an hour and a half when she had been scheduled for four hours.  Through it all, Clare just smiles and gets it done.

Here's to you Clare - thank you for 30 wonderful years and many more to come.