December 7, 2016

This article was originally published in the December 2016/January 2017 issue of NWLawyer magazine, the official publication of the Washington State Bar Association, available at http://nwlawyer.wsba.org/nwlawyer/dec_2016_jan_2017/?pg=50&pm=2&u1=friend.

Employers and workers in Washington and throughout the country saw a number of sweeping changes in 2016 that will have continuing impact for years to come. As we enter 2017, we can expect at least five important developments and trends, as states, courts, employers, and workers grapple with the changes in the law, increased enforcement by governmental agencies, and potentially game-changing legi...

September 12, 2016

Deciding whether to start your own business (instead of working for someone else) may be one of the most daunting decisions you will ever make. In our work with entrepreneurs and new business owners, the biggest difference we see between successful and struggling businesses is not the founders’ skills or even the strength of their business idea. The biggest difference is in execution and proper planning at the start of the venture - that is, whether the business has the legal, financial and business structures in place to support not only its growth and development, but also whatever inevitable bumps and hurdles come its way.

For entrepreneurs who are g...

August 16, 2016

A little more than two years after passing its landmark $15 minimum-wage law, Seattle might soon be following in San Francisco’s footsteps with its proposed “Secure Scheduling” law. Last week, Mayor Ed Murray’s office released a summary of the bill, which, if passed by the Seattle City Council, will give hourly workers at large retail and restaurant establishments more advance notice of their schedules and pay them extra for being required to work on call. Murray says that the law will provide “workers with access to a reliable schedule that meets their life and financial needs, while balancing the daily realities facing large employers.” In its curren...

August 12, 2016

Am I Legally Required to Pay Severance to a Departing Employee?

One question that we get from employers and business owners all the time is “Am I legally required to pay severance?” The general answer is no, but the conversation doesn’t end there. In certain circumstances, an employer may be required to pay severance, such as when the employment agreement or employee handbook provides for the payment of severance to employees upon termination; if the employer indicated during the hiring interview that the company pays severance as an inducement for the employee to join its ranks; or if the employer’s past actions have created a pattern or practice of pa...

April 11, 2016

This article was originally published in the April/May 2016 Issue of NWLawyer magazine, the official publication of the Washington State Bar Association, available at http://nwlawyer.wsba.org/nwlawyer/april-may_2016/?pg=21&pm=2&u1=friend.

When I set out to write an article about women and the law, I wanted to focus on the encouraging, uplifting aspects of law practice for women, rather than the challenges. Most of us have heard stories about women lawyers who were mistaken for a paralegal or the court reporter, asked to perform administrative tasks to support their male counterparts, or had to endure sexist or inappropriate remarks in all manner of...

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