TACOMA-PIERCE COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION BY-LAWS
This Association shall be known as the "Tacoma-Pierce County Bar Association."
The mission of the Tacoma-Pierce County Bar Association is to serve the members of the Pierce County community by promoting professionalism, community service and collegiality among lawyers; improving access to justice; increasing the awareness of the role that the law plays in people’s lives; offering programs, benefits and services to its members; and by enhancing and supporting the judicial system.
1. Active Member. Any member of the Washington State Bar Association residing or practicing law in the State of Washington may become a member of this Association by paying the annual dues of the Association. Members of the bar newly admitted to practice shall be extended the privileges of the Association, including the right to vote, without payment of dues for the calendar year in which they are admitted.
2. Associate Member. Any person who has been admitted to practice law in any other state of the United States, with the exception of the State of Washington, may become an Associate Member of this Association by paying the annual dues of the Association, but shall not be entitled to vote nor to hold office in the Association; they shall be entitled to attend any and all meetings of the Association and to participate in any of its functions.
3. Honorary Member. Judges of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals of the State of Washington, Judges of the Federal District Court for the Western District of Washington, Judges of the Superior Court of the State of Washington for Pierce County, Judges of the Pierce County District Court, Judges of the Tacoma Municipal Court, and Magistrates and Commissioners of any of those courts who are attorneys, but are not entitled to practice law by virtue of their office, shall be honorary members of this Association without payment of dues unless they choose to pay dues and thereby become active members; honorary members shall have the privileges of the Association, but shall not hold office or vote.
MEETINGS OF THE MEMBERSHIP
1. Meetings. The membership shall have regular meetings at such times and places as may from time-to-time be designated by the Board of Trustees.
2. Annual Meeting. An annual meeting of the membership shall be held on the second Thursday in January of each year at which the officers and committee chairs shall report upon their activities for the preceding year; notice of the meeting shall be mailed or e-mailed to each member at least ten days prior thereto.
3. Quorum. Twenty-five members shall constitute a quorum to transact business at any meeting of the membership.
4. Voting. No matter shall be voted upon at any meeting of the membership if objection to such vote be made by five members in attendance unless each member has been notified by mail at least ten days prior thereto that such a vote will be taken.
The Annual dues of the Association shall be fixed by the Board of Trustees. Statements for dues shall be mailed in November and are due on or before January 31 of each year. Dues shall be delinquent if not paid prior to April 1st of each year. Members whose dues are delinquent shall be automatically dropped from membership, but may be reinstated upon payment of dues for the current year.
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
1. Composition. The business of the Association shall be transacted by the Board of Trustees composed of the President, Vice-President, Secretary-Treasurer, immediate Past President, six elected Trustees, President of the Young Lawyers Section, and a person designated by the Board of the Family Law Section, known as a liaison. The board shall also be comprised of non-voting members. The non-voting members shall include, but not limited to, a member from the Washington Women Lawyers (WWL), a member from the Superior Court known as a Judicial Liaison, a member from District Court and Tacoma Municipal Court, also known as Judicial Liaisons, a member from the Criminal Law Section, a member from the Pierce Co. Minority Bar Association and the Governor representing the 6th Congressional District to the WSBA; shall sit as a member of the Board of Trustees.
All members of the Board of Trustees shall be members of the Association as provided under Article III 1, of these by-laws.
2. Terms of Office. Three Trustees shall be elected each year to serve for two-year terms, provided, however, that at the first election following the adoption of these By-Laws, six Trustees shall be elected, the three receiving the highest number of votes to serve for terms of two years and the remaining three for terms of one year. Consecutive terms as a Trustee shall not be permitted.
3. Vacancies. Vacancies among the Trustees shall be filled by appointment by the Board of Trustees for the unexpired term.
4. Meetings. The Board of Trustees shall meet not less than six times each year at such time and place as it, or the President may from time-to-time designate.
5. Quorum. A majority of the Board of Trustees shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.
6. Attendance Rule. It is the duty of each member of the Board of Trustees to attend the monthly meetings, usually held on the third Tuesday of every month. In order to show respect for each member’s busy schedule and to maximize the effectiveness of the meetings, members who fail to regularly attend meetings will be removed from office. Elected members missing two successive Board of Trustee meetings, or three Board of Trustee meetings in one calendar year, without first contacting the President of the Bar Association or the Executive Director and advising them of their anticipated absence and the reason for such absence, shall be contacted by the President of the Bar Association.
If satisfactory reasons do not exist for the unexcused absences, the President shall present a proposal to the Board of Trustees to remove that member from office. If the Board of Trustees approves the proposal by vote, the President shall nominate another person to take that member’s place and submit the nomination to the Board of Trustees for approval. For other reasons of removal, please see provision #8 below.
7. Obligation of Disclosure. Any member of the TPCBA Board of Trustees or a TPCBA Committee who is facing criminal charges of any nature, or is aware that disciplinary action, suspension or disbarment by the Washington State Bar Association will be imposed, shall have an affirmative obligation to disclose such information to the TPCBA President, who shall take it to the Board of Trustees. After review, the Board of Trustees shall determine whether it is in the best interests of the TPCBA to relieve said member of his or her TPCBA responsibilities pending resolution of the issue.
8. Removal. Any trustee may be removed from office by a majority vote at any regular or special meeting of the membership. Notice of the proposed removal of the trustee may be given to such person at least ten (10) days prior to the date of the meeting at which such removal is to be voted upon. Such notice to the Trustee must state the cause of the proposed removal. Such trustee shall be provided an opportunity to be heard at said meeting prior to any vote to remove.
9. Remuneration and Expenses. Members of the Board of Trustees shall not receive a salary for their service. Out-of-pocket expenses may be reimbursed as the Board may determine.
1. Designations. The officers of the Association shall be a President, Vice-President and Secretary-Treasurer.
2. Terms of Office. All officers shall serve for terms of one year except the Secretary-Treasurer whose term shall be for two years. Consecutive terms in the same office shall not be permitted.
3. Vacancies. A vacancy in the office of Vice-President or Secretary-Treasurer shall be filled by appointment by the board of Trustees for the unexpired term. If a vacancy occurs in the office of President, the Vice-President shall become the President for the unexpired term, and the Board of Trustees shall fill the office of the Vice-President by appointment for the unexpired term.
4. President. The President shall be the chief executive of the Association. The President shall preside at all meetings of the membership and Board of Trustees, shall appoint such committees as may be necessary for the conduct of the business and affairs of the Association, and shall have powers as are usually exercised by a President.
5. Vice President. The Vice-President shall perform the duties of the President during absence or disability, shall serve as board liaison to the Volunteer Legal Services Committee, and shall also act as Chair of the Program Committee for meetings of the membership. The Vice-President shall serve as President for the term following service as Vice-President.
6. Secretary-Treasurer. The Secretary-Treasurer shall maintain a list of the members of the Association, and shall give notice of all the meetings of the membership and Board of Trustees as herein provided; shall keep the minutes of all meetings of the membership and Board of Trustees; shall collect, take charge of, and disburse all of the funds of the Association and make a financial report at the annual meeting of the membership, and shall in general perform all duties generally performed by a secretary or treasurer. The books and records of the Secretary-Treasurer shall be open to inspection by any member at reasonable times.
Executive Director. The Board may select an Executive Director who shall be responsible for the administration and conduct of the business and affairs of the Association pursuant to guidelines established by the Board. The Executive Director shall be compensated for his or her services in that capacity in such amount and manner as the Board of Trustees and Budget Committee shall determine.
NOMINATING COMMITTEE AND ELECTIONS
1. Notice of Open Nominations. Not later than November 10th of each year, the Secretary-Treasurer shall cause to be published or email to each member a notice of open nominations for officers and trustees. Said notice shall include a statement of intent in a form approved by the Board for each person seeking nomination to an open position. Any member seeking to be nominated shall return a completed statement of intent to the Tacoma-Pierce County Bar Association office by receipt at the office by the close of business or postmarked no later than December 31st.
2. Nominating Committee. Not later than November 10th of each year, the President shall appoint a Nominating Committee of five members, two of whom shall be the Secretary-Treasurer and Vice President. The duty of the Nominating Committee shall be to nominate a list of members to stand for election for the coming year. The nominating committee shall nominate members for the offices of Vice President (1), Trustee (3) and Secretary-Treasurer (1) (every other year). Such committee shall nominate not less than two members for each office or position to be filled. The Nominating Committee shall report its nominations at the Annual Meeting of the members in January. Notwithstanding any other provision of these By-Laws, additional nominations may thereafter be made for any open position by a petition signed by ten voting members. Nominating petitions shall be delivered to the Tacoma-Pierce County Bar Association office not later than 12:30 pm of the day following the annual meeting.
3. Ballots. The Secretary-Treasurer shall immediately thereafter direct preparation of ballots, with the names of all nominees thereon, and shall e-mail same to each voting member.
The three candidates for Trustee receiving the highest number of votes shall be elected.
Pursuant to VIII 2. hereof, the Vice-President shall be the President for the year following service as Vice-President. The candidates for Vice-President and Secretary-Treasurer with the highest number of votes shall be elected to those offices. In the event of a tie, a second ballot with the names of the two candidates receiving the highest number of votes for such office shall be immediately emailed to each voting member.
4. Ballot Tabulation. All ballots properly submitted shall be tabulated by the Board of Trustees. Any ballot not returned to the office of the Association by 5:00 pm on the 8th day following the emailing of such ballots shall not be counted.
5. Ineligibility to hold office. If an officer nominee or officer-elect becomes ineligible to hold office, the nomination or election of such person shall be of no force and effect, and the Secretary-Treasurer shall give the voting membership immediate written notice of such ineligibility. Names of the remaining eligible nominee or nominees for such office, and any additional nominees for whom nominating petitions are filed with the President or Secretary-Treasurer within eight (8) days of the emailing of notice of said ineligibility, shall appear on the ballot for the regular or special election to fill such office. If a special election is necessary, the Secretary-Treasurer shall immediately, upon expiration of the time for filing the nominating petitions, direct preparation of ballots, with the names of all nominees thereon, and shall email same to each voting member. Any ballot not returned to the office of the Association by 5:00 pm on the 8th day following the emailing of such ballots shall not be counted.
If, before ballots are counted, any candidate for Trustee becomes ineligible to hold office, the nominees receiving the highest number of votes, exclusive of the ineligible nominee, shall be elected. If any trustee-elect becomes ineligible to hold office, the defeated nominee for such position having received the highest number of votes shall be deemed elected in his or her place.
6. Terms of office. Terms of officers and trustees shall commence on the day of the Lincoln Day Banquet.
YOUNG LAWYERS SECTION
1. A section of the Tacoma-Pierce County Bar Association to consist of all members of the Association in good standing not over thirty-six (36) years of age or over the age of thirty-six (36) and admitted to practice for less than five years is hereby created.
2. The purpose of the section shall be to stimulate the interest of young lawyers in the objects of the Tacoma-Pierce County Bar Association, to carry on activities which will be of assistance to young lawyers in the practice of law, and to make recommendations to the Trustees of the Association. The section is also required to coordinate a half-day CLE once a year for the main bar.
3. The section shall be governed by such By-Laws as are adopted by a majority vote of those section members present at any section meeting in which the proposed By-Laws are submitted.
4. The section President shall automatically sit as a voting member of the Association Board of Trustees during his or her term as President.
5. The Board of Trustees of the Association shall allocate a specific sum of money each year for the activities of the section based upon the number of section members, a proposed budget which may be submitted annually by the section, and upon such other factors as may be considered by the Board. The section shall make annual reports to the Association's Board of Trustees regarding the expenditure of all such allocated sums.
FAMILY LAW SECTION
The Family Law Section promotes better understanding of family law issues within Pierce County. The Section holds meetings and sponsors a monthly one-credit CLE and is also required to coordinate a half-day CLE once a year for the main bar. Members joining the section are required to pay an additional membership fee per year.
The section shall be governed by such By-Laws as are adopted by a majority vote of those section members present at any section meeting in which the proposed By-Laws are submitted.
The Family Law trustee position is filled by the immediate past-president of the Family Law section.
CRIMINAL LAW SECTION
The Criminal Law Section includes attorneys with an interest in criminal law matters. The section sponsors one-credit CLEs and strives to keep its members informed of changes that affect criminal law practice in Pierce County. The section is required to organize a half-day CLE each year for the main bar.
COMMITTEES AND SECTIONS
The Board of Trustees is authorized to create such other committees and sections according to the below stated rules, as the Board deems appropriate.
The Board of Trustees may designate one or more standing committees. The President shall appoint the members of all committees duly created by the Board of Trustees.
Dissolution of Committees. Shall a committee become inactive by not conducting meetings or pursuing its purpose, the Board of Trustees may dissolve a committee by a majority vote of the Board of Trustees.
Section Membership. Members having common interests, may, from time to time, request that sections of the Association be formed to pursue those interests.
1. Written Request. Upon written request of 10 members, the Board of Trustees shall consider the establishment of a new section. At least 3 months prior to the meeting, at which action upon the proposal is contemplated, the proponents thereof shall have filed with the Board of Trustees a statement setting forth, in substantial compliance, the following requirements:
a) A statement of the need for the proposed section;
b) The contemplated jurisdiction of the section, which shall be within the purposes of the Tacoma-Pierce County Bar Association and not in substantial conflict with the jurisdiction of any existing section or committee, the continuance of which is contemplated after the section is established;
c) Proposed by-laws of this section,
d) The names of the proposed members who have signed statements that they intend to apply for membership in this section,
e) A proposed budget, if any, for the section.
2. Approval of Sections. The establishment of sections shall become effective when approved by a majority of the Board of Trustees. If formed, sections shall elect officers and hold regularly scheduled meetings. Each section shall abide by the policies and procedures of section management as required by the Board of Trustees of the Association. Each section’s bylaws shall not in any way conflict with the Bylaws of the Association, as amended, or the provisions of Section 501(c) (6) of the Internal Revenue Code or its regulations as they now exist or may hereafter be amended. Section bylaws or amendments thereof shall become effective when approved by the Board of Trustees of the TPCBA.
3. Dissolution of Section. Shall a section become inactive by not conducting meetings or pursuing its purpose, the Board of Trustees may dissolve the section by a majority vote of the Board of Trustees.
A. Judicial Elections and Appointments
1. A committee with at least 15 Tacoma-Pierce County Bar Association members shall be known as the Judicial Qualifications Committee. The President should appoint at least one member who is with the Prosecutor’s office criminal law division. The President should appoint at least one member from the Department of Assigned Counsel to serve on the committee. The Vice-President shall be a member of the Committee. In addition to the 15 Association members, the President should attempt to have at least three non-lawyer members serve on the Committee. No Committee member shall be active in any judicial campaign while serving on the Judicial Qualifications Committee.
2. The Judicial Qualifications Committee shall:
(a) Develop or adopt procedures and standards which may include, but is not limited to questionnaires, bar polls, interviews, and reference or background checks for effectively evaluating the overall fitness for judicial office of those persons whose names might from time to time be submitted to the Committee as candidates, by election or appointment, for judicial office in Pierce County, Washington;
(b) Evaluate the fitness of candidates for judicial office in Pierce County;
(c) Make the Committee's evaluations and/or recommendations of candidates for election to judicial office in Pierce County, Washington, available to the membership of the Association, and to the public media, in a timely manner.
(d) Make the Committee's evaluations and/or recommendations of candidates for appointment to judicial office in Pierce County, Washington, available in a timely manner to the relevant appointing authority.
(e) Perform such other relevant functions and services, as might be from time to time designated by the Board of Trustees, for the general good of the Association.
3. The Judicial Candidate Questionnaire to be provided to the candidates shall be in a form approved by the Board of Trustees. The committee shall publicly announce that no candidate is obliged to complete the questionnaire. If the candidate elects not to do so, the Bar Association shall make no public comment regarding that specific candidate, other than that the candidate chose not to participate in the Judicial Candidate Questionnaire. However, once a candidate returns the questionnaire, the candidate cannot later request that the Association not rate the candidate.
4. A Judicial Evaluation Poll in a form approved by the Board of Trustees may be mailed to the membership. Each member will be requested to evaluate each candidate. The committee shall take precautions to ensure that each member receives one evaluation form, and that the form be returned in an envelope signed on the outside by the voting member. The identity of the members responding to the poll shall be confidential.
5. Following the announced deadline for submission of such Judicial Evaluation forms, the committee shall prepare a summary of the votes. The committee shall furnish the Association with such summary and the Association will publicly announce the results.
6. The committee shall contact the Washington State Bar Association to ensure that a candidate is not disbarred or suspended. No evaluation shall be made as to any person disbarred or suspended.
7. As to any vacancy to be covered by appointment, the committee shall provide the appointing authority with a copy of this section of the By-Laws, and a copy of the Committee’s rules and procedures.
8. Subject to approval by the Board of Trustees, the committee may make its own procedural rules to carry out its responsibilities.
B. Court Commissioner Appointments
Whenever any vacancy occurs in the office of commissioner of a superior or district court of Pierce County or City of Tacoma municipal court, the Association may submit to the authority charged with responsibility for filling such vacancy a list of three or more members of the Bar, with the recommendation that one of the persons listed should be appointed.
Such list shall be compiled and submitted in the following manner:
1. When any incumbent announces his or her resignation, or when a vacancy otherwise occurs, the Board of Trustees shall give notice in writing of the vacancy or impending vacancy to each member of the Association.
2. The President of the Association or designee shall promptly determine the names of the candidates for the commissioner vacancy. Should there be three or fewer candidates, no further action shall be required of this Association.
3. If there are more than three candidates, the President of this Association, in consultation with Board of Trustees, shall promptly appoint an ad hoc committee to screen all applicants for the vacancy. The ad hoc committee shall consist of at least nine members of this Association, shall be composed primarily of lawyers who practice regularly in the court where the vacancy exists or will exist, and shall be chaired by the chairperson of the Association's Judicial Qualifications Committee.
4. The ad hoc committee may invite and consider written comments of members of the bar concerning any applicant for the vacancy, and shall compile a list of three or more
persons to be recommended as well qualified. This list shall be transmitted to the appointing authority.
5. The ad hoc committee shall observe the following general guidelines:
(a) The committee's records, minutes, deliberations and vote shall be kept strictly confidential; provided, that the names of those applying for the vacancy and the names of those whom the committee ultimately recommends shall not be confidential.
(b) Anyone who is an applicant for the vacancy being considered by the committee shall be ineligible to serve on the committee.
(c) The committee shall operate as promptly and expeditiously as possible. With this objective in mind, the committee may, but need not, request written applications or resumes from the applicants and may, but need not, conduct personal interviews of the applicants.
(d) The committee vote shall be cast in person at a committee meeting.
(Judicial Selection Section XII revised November 2000)
Except as otherwise provided herein, the meetings of the Association shall be governed by Roberts Rules of Order Revised.
These By-Laws, or any part thereof, may be amended or repealed, or new By-Laws may be adopted, at any regular meeting of the membership by vote of two-thirds of a quorum, provided, however, that a notice stating the character of the proposed change and the time and place of same voted upon shall be mailed to each voting member at least ten (10) days prior to such meeting.
These By-Laws shall become effective immediately upon their adoption except that the number and terms of the existing officers and trustees shall remain unchanged for the remainder of their unexpired terms.
Review of these By-Laws shall occur every two years, approved and signed at the annual TPCBA board retreat held in March
Approved with Changes 1/15/08
Amended 9/12/13 (mission statement)
Amended 12/17/13 (elections)
On May 15, 2012 following the completion of the judicial evaluation survey done in-house for PC Superior Court judges and commissioners, the TPCBA Board of Trustees signed the following resolution:
RESOLVED that the Association shall conduct a survey of the membership during even numbered judicial election years to evaluate the elected members of the judiciary of Pierce County, including courts of limited jurisdiction.