Updated: Feb. 2, 2022

Decoding the Law logo


The Washington State Bar Association invites you to join the discussion. Decoding the Law is a public conversation series for members and the community to discuss timely and relevant legal topics. The Decoding the Law series is intended to share information and facilitate dialogue with the general public and legal community.

If you have a subject in mind for future discussions in the Decoding the Law series, please send your suggestions to questions@wsba.org.

The WSBA is committed to full access and participation by persons with disabilities. If you have questions about accessibility or require accommodation, please contact adamr@wsba.org.

Sexual Harassment: How is #MeToo transforming the workplace?

Event banner depicts a woman's hand gesturing Noon-1 p.m. Wednesday, March 21, 2018
WSBA Conference Center, 1325 Fourth Ave., Seattle, and via live webcast

In less than a year, the nation has seen a paradigm shift for how we view sexual harassment. The downfall of titans of politics and entertainment, one after another, has empowered a growing number of women, and sometimes men, to share their #MeToo stories and seek justice. What does it mean for the workplace? What are the victims’ rights? Should employers update their policies and procedures? And what changes might lawmakers consider to better protect workers?

The public and members of the Bar are invited to attend and participate in this panel discussion at the WSBA Conference Center. Decoding the Law is also available via live webcast and recorded for viewing after each event.


Ceci Lopez, Cecilia Lopez Law Firm, Bellingham
Marilyn Watkins, Economic Opportunity Institute, Seattle
Elizabeth Van Moppes, Beresford Booth, Edmonds
Jamal N. Whitehead, Schroeter Goldmark Bender, Seattle
Moderator: Carrie Blackwood of Barron Smith Daugert, PLLC, Bellingham

Watch the Recorded Webcast

Decoding the Law: Race Relations, Policing, and the Law

Decoding the Law Race Relations, Policing and the Law logo

What is the legal system’s response in this time of racial tension?

Dec. 4, 2017

WSBA Conference Center, 1325 Fourth Ave., Seattle


Norm Stamper – Former Chief of Police, Seattle Police Dept. (1994-2000)
Sue Rahr – Executive Director, Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission
Michele Storms – Deputy Director, ACLU Washington
Moderator: Bill Pickett – President-elect, WSBA

Watch the Recorded Webcast


Decoding the Law: Immigration – Policy and Personal Perspectives

Immigration: Personal Perspective

Illustration of immigrants and Statue of Liberty

Aug. 8, 2017
At the WSBA office, Seattle, and via live webcast

Legal practitioners and law enforcement will address immigration rights, enforcement of immigration laws, and how to be an ally.


  • Heidi Anderson – Lane Powell
  • Rich Stolz – One America
  • Enoka Herat – ACLU
  • Lt. Adrian Diaz – Seattle Police Department

Moderated by Greg McLawsen – Sound Immigration

Immigration: Policy Perspective

Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017
At the WSBA office, Seattle, and via live webcast

Panelists will look nationally and locally as they discuss the status of travel ban legislation, sanctuary cities, and the availability of H1B visas and the impact on businesses.


  • Tahmina Watson – Watson Immigration Law
  • Qingqing Mao – Lane Powell
  • Dustin O’Quinn – Lane Powell

Moderated by Greg McLawsen – Sound Immigration

Watch the Recorded Webcast


A legal primer on Transgender Rights and Legislation

Transgender symbolJune 7, 2017

This Decoding the Law conversation featured legal practitioners and community partners discussing proposed legislation in Washington and elsewhere seeking to change access rights to bathrooms and locker rooms. This event delved into important information and considerations, including:

  • An overview of the evolution of the law
  • Proposed legislation now
    under consideration
  • Potential and current community impacts
  • How changes in the law are handled in the education system

Sal Mungia, past president of WSBA, the Western States Bar Conference, the Tacoma-Pierce County Bar Association, and Legal Aid for Washington; partner, Gordon Thomas Honeywell
Colleen Melody, chief of the Civil Rights Unit, Washington State Attorney General’s Office
Gunnar Scott, director of programs, Pride Foundation
Kelli Schmidt, chair, WSBA Civil Rights Section; owner and principal, Advance Law Office, PLLC

Watch the Recorded Webcast


Decoding the Law: The Death Penalty

March 2, 2017

Courthouse columnsIn March, we kicked off the series with “The Death Penalty in Three Parts,” where leading academics and legal practitioners convene a discussion on an overview of the death penalty, its financial implications, and the question of disproportionate impacts. This three-part series will occur in March and takes place at the WSBA Conference Center. The series will be available via live webcast and recorded for viewing after each event.

View a PowerPoint presentation used in this part of the series.

Mark Larrañaga, defense attorney and partner at Walsh & Larrañaga Law
Mary Pat Treuthart, professor, Gonzaga University School of Law
Mark Larson, chief deputy, Criminal Division, King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office

Watch Recorded Webcasts From the Death Penalty Series