Washington’s fourteenth annual Access to Justice Conference and the annual Washington State Bar Association Bar Leaders Conference is May 29-31, 2009, at the Yakima Convention Center.

The Access to Justice Conference, Justice: Hope and Help in Hard Times, brings together the legal community to discuss equal justice issues. Conference participants include members and supporters of the Washington State Alliance for Equal Justice, a network of organizations providing legal aid to those with nowhere else to turn (volunteer lawyer programs, statewide legal services programs and specialty legal services programs). Also present are Supporters of the Alliance, including the Legal Foundation of Washington, the Office of Civil Legal Aid, Legal Aid for Washington Fund (LAW Fund), the private bar, the judiciary, court clerks, law school students and faculty, paralegals, community services, the alternative dispute resolution community, administrative law judges and others dedicated to providing equal access to the legal system for low- and moderate- income individuals. Throughout the Access to Justice Conference, you will notice an emphasis on the conference theme. Conference workshops will center on economic issues that are affecting access to the justice system for low-income clients and vulnerable populations. We will work together to find solutions to the challenges we face and to identify multi-disciplinary approaches to better serving our clients in these challenging economic times.

The Bar Leaders Conference, Leading in Changing Times, is designed for the leadership and future leadership of the bar, including the WSBA Board of Governors, leaders of county, minority and specialty bar associations, the WSBA Leadership Institute, as well as WSBA committee and section chairs and the Washington Young Lawyers Division. The Bar Leaders Conference provides a great opportunity to share ideas, challenges, and strategies to enhance the success of bar leaders during a time of significant change in the profession. All Washington lawyers are encouraged to attend this important conference.

Dr. Benjamin Danielson, Medical Director, Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic, will provide the keynote address at the Friday evening Welcoming Reception. Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic, located in the heart of Seattle’s Central District, provides medical, dental and mental health care under one roof to all families regardless of their ability to pay. Working hand in hand with the families who entrust their children to its care, the clinic joins with nonprofit organizations, civic groups, health care facilities, government agencies, businesses and other community partners to help families overcome health challenges and improve their lives. The Medical-Legal Partnership for Children (MLPC) is a new program at the clinic that brings together medical providers, social workers and lawyers to address the unmet legal needs of patients and families.

Friday evening’s Welcoming Reception will also feature “ATJ’s Got Talent,” a variety show guaranteed to lift your spirits. Join us to watch our gifted friends and colleagues in the legal community exhibit their talents in the style of “America’s Got Talent.”

The Access to Justice Conference and the WSBA Bar Leaders Conference have been held jointly for 14 years. This year the two conferences collaborated to center on economic issues that affect low-income individuals, how the current financial crisis impacts every level of society, and how the legal profession is going to lead in this environment. Registrants of each conference are encouraged to cross over between conferences. However, for internal budgeting purposes, we ask that you indicate the conference at which you anticipate spending most of your time. Together, the conferences provide a wide range of learning, networking and sharing experiences stimulating and useful to you in your role as an advocate for equal justice, and in your role as a bar leader. We are confident you will agree that your experience at this conference is time well spent.