SKW’s very own Karen Koehler continues to gain recognition far and wide for her unique brand of blogging. Super Lawyers’ national blog just posted an entry that includes an excerpt of its interview of Karen.
You don’t have to be a super blogger to be on the Super Lawyers listing, but apparently it doesn’t hurt. SL listees are well-represented on the American Bar Association Journal’s annual list of its Top 100 favorite legal blogs. The rankings include a number of attorneys from our Washington state SL listing alone.
Karen Koehler, a plaintiff’s personal injury lawyer with Stritmatter Kessler Whelan in Seattle, has been writing “The Velvet Hammer” (the nickname given to her by colleagues on the defense side) for about 1 ½ years.
“Deep in my heart, I am Pollyanna,” says Koehler, whose blog offers trial tips, anecdotes and inspiration. “The public perception of trial lawyers is horrid,” she says. “[My blog] is my fist raised high saying, ‘Hey, we are real people, too.’
“It doesn’t follow the mold of the typical boring, holier-than-thou lawyer blog. It is written for the audience: They will laugh at this. … They will be surprised by this. … This will help them. And it displays my vulnerability as a human being. … The overwhelmingly positive response from both lawyers and nonlawyers tickles me silly.”
If you’ve not already, check out Karen’s Velvet Hammer Blog. It’s addictive.
A little bit of history was made yesterday, as Steven C. Gonzalez was sworn in as the newest Washington State Supreme Court judge. He is the first Mexican American Supreme Court justice for our state. He is the second Latino justice on the court. Justice Charles Z. Smith was the first Latino, appointed by former Governor Booth Gardner back in 1988.
Justice Gonzalez has demonstrated a commitment to equal access to justice, He authored guidelines to improve access for people with disabilities. Additionally, he served as an assistant U.S. Attorney, working on the case against Ahmed Ressam, the accused terrorist who had allegedly plotted to blow the Space Needle.
His bio on the Washington Courts website indicates that he is fluent in Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, and Spanish. He has two sons and lives with them and his wife, Michelle, an Assistant Dean at the UW Law School.
The votes are in for the popular vote for the American Bar Association (ABA) Trial Practice Category of the 5th Annual Blawg 100. Karen’s now famous blog, “The Velvet Hammer,” garnered almost 100 more votes than the second most popular blog.
Now, see for yourself, if you haven’t already checked it out. Once you do, you might just understand why Karen’s Velvet Hammer blog is addictive. Readers email Karen daily, suffering from “withdrawal” when she allows too many days to go by without posting to her blog.
Only a few weeks ago, Obama’s nominee, 40 year old Gordon Liu (pictured to the right) unfortunately saw the doors shut out his chances as the next Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals judge. Liu, a liberal legal scholar, withdrew his nomination to an appeals court judgeship after Senate Republicans blocked a vote on his confirmationin late May.
Considered a strong potential as the first Asian American U.S. Supreme Court nominee, tenure as a Ninth Circuit judge would have helped cement his qualifications as such a candidate. However, Liu’s obvious liberal bent did not help curry favor among Republicans, who objected with vehemence against his record and his criticism of Republican Supreme Court nominees. Democrats failed to deliver 60 votes to end a Republican filibuster.
At present, 86 vacancies exist in the federal courts. Obama has nominated 47 people, of which Liu was one. As Mr. Liu explained to Obama in his letter, continuing with his nomination had no chance of filling the Ninth Circuit’s ‘desperate need for judges.’
Have you been wanting to volunteer more? Are you interested in having some fun getting your hands dirty? Would you be excited to be a part of one of the largest volunteer events in our city – and then go to a great party? Then join the SKW group & get-together for Seattle Works Day – Saturday, May 21!
12:00-3:30pm at parks, schools, community centers and other sites all over the city, RAIN OR SHINE. We are going to try to pick a project close to our Queen Anne neighborhood, but that’s not guaranteed.
For liability purposes, all volunteers must be 18 years or older.
Immediately following at Seattle Center (food, drinks and entertainment!)
Support Seattle Works
Our contribution supports their year-round work to provide community engagement programming. They’ve facilitated over 500 volunteer projects at 143 partner organizations in the past year! Our investment on Seattle Works Day helps them do it.
Registration is $30 per team member which benefits Seattle Works and gets you the project, party and event tee. We hope that you’re willing to give up a part of your Saturday, and be willing to get dirty for a few hours with the SKW team!
Check out the updated SKW Bike Law site, which focuses on our work specific to bicycle-related injuries.
For decades, SKW attorneys have represented injured bicyclists with great success. In fact, about 40 years ago, SKW obtained the largest personal injury jury award in Grays Harbor County’s history at that time. This history-making verdict was for Foster v. Bylund for $60,000 in Grays Harbor County Superior Court (1971). A 12-year-old bicyclist had seriously injured her leg.
Bicycle injuries are often much more serious than accidents where only cars are involved. SKW bicycle accident lawyers are sought after because of their long string of successes. Most recently the case involving a cyclist, Mickey Gendler, who was catastrophically injured on the Montlake Bridge, has garnered much attention from the media. The $8 million settlement was the highest payout since 2003 by the State of Washington.
Earlier this week, Paul Stritmatter received the “Legacy Award” from the Hoquiam Business Association. The award was in honor of Paul’s work in the community. Most recently, Paul initiated the “Paint the Corridor” project, which was initially focused on sprucing up the town for tourists, by painting 26 owner-occupied homes. However, the project quickly turned into a celebration of volunteerism and hometown pride.
Ray Kahler received the “Next Generation Award” as a young professional on the rise. He was recognized especially for his talents displayed at the 7th Street Theatre.
Kudos to both of you, Paul and Ray! We’re proud of you for doing so much outside the office, in addition to all that you do for your clients!
Today marks the 30th anniversary of John Lennon’s death. Along with the Kennedy assassinations and the assassination of Martin Luther King, John Lennon’s murder impacted me deeply. John helped shape my world view as he dared us all to “imagine all the people living life in peace” in a world where the unity of humanity transcends all divisions of race, nation, gender, caste and social class while celebrating the diversity of humanity. As John himself acknowledged, some would say that he was a dreamer. This may be, but it is a dream that I and a host of others shared with him.
Sadly, I don’t think we are any closer to reaching John’s ideal than we were 30 years ago. Wars still plague us, greed seems to have become a virtue rather than one of the seven deadly sins, and the focus of our society seems to be on “me” as opposed to “we”. We still mistakenly cling to the belief that the best way to influence people is through fear and force rather than through the power of love, compassion and understanding.
As I reflect on and imagine what it would take to have a world where there is “[n]o need for greed or hunger” and “[a] brotherhood of man”, I realize that John’s dream cannot happen without the rule of law. The rule of law provides a peaceful means for people and even nations to resolve their differences and disputes. Reliance on the rule of law promotes equality, justice and individual freedom. The rule of law helps us answer one of the fundamental questions at the heart of any society – who will decide what is yours and what is mine.
Today, as we reflect on the life of John Lennon, imagine what you can do to increase peace and understanding and how we as a society can promote the rule of law over tyranny and fanaticism.