Posts tagged great people
Clare Vellek

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.

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Here Comes The Dean.

She is a stranger who sends me a handwritten letter after having read something about me.  I email her back and invite her to lunch.  She emails back and accepts.  Two months later...

"Hi!"  She says with her warm smile, walking into my room.  "I love this office.  You have great art."

I take her over to chat with Paul Whelan.  Tour her through the maze that is our office.  Down to the old racket ball court now turned into a courtroom.  Out into the cool sunshine.  Down and across the street to the Boat Street Café.  Where we spend a delightful hour over our tasty baguette sandwiches.

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Giving Honor to His Honor

We are packed in his former office building.  Reminiscing.  Rubbing elbows.  Smiling and sometimes shedding tears.  Marveling over the career of this brilliant man.

Born over a gas station in rural Washington.  Becoming one of the best plaintiff trial lawyers the state has ever seen.  President of the trial lawyers.  President of the state bar.  And finally Supreme Court Justice.  We are here to honor Tom Chambers.

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The nicest thing an opponent has ever said to me

We have been in trial for a month.  Many times he's told me to back off.  We have been Going. At. It.

He is one of the best defense lawyers I've tried a case against.  Nick started as an associate with his law firm when I was in the 8th grade.   But he's not old fashioned.   He used powerpoint in opening and closing.  All of his trial exhibits were projected just like ours - electronically via a 70" LCD screen.

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The last class

The teams are putting on the final trial.  It is our last class of the year.  The seventh year Bill Bailey and I have taught trial advocacy together at the UW.  (He's a professor on staff now in the law school)

Rush around all day doing our regular lawyer stuff.  Inch along thru rush hour traffic to get to the school by 5:30.  Stomachs often rumbling.  Sometimes choke down a power bar.

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Dave the Bailiff and Julie the Clerk

We meet Dave the Bailiff first.  Through emails.  We are cooling our heels.  Waiting to see if our trial will start on time.  Instead of ignoring us, Dave gives us up to date emails.  Plus he has a sense of humor.

We are in trial for three weeks.  During this time we get to know Dave the Bailiff and his smile even better.  But there's someone next to him up on the bench.  Julie the Clerk.  She seems quiet but it is all an act.  She has a droll sense of humor.  We like both of them.

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The Knitter

Thelma (our receptionist) gives me a manilla envelope.  She says - after much sleuthing I figured this out.  I don't understand.  My name is not on the envelope.   Black marker simply says "Jo-Hanna Read."

Jo-Hanna is the only person I've ever known whose name is Jo-Hanna.  I'm careful to spell it correctly because it is a very special name.  Jo-Hanna is a dear friend of mine.  A trial lawyer who champions the rights of those who are abused - usually sexually.

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