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"This CLE from the Low Bono Section is a MUST for understanding the secrets of success for serving an under-served public. A great value!"

Peter Roberts, Practice Law Advisor, and former Practice Management Advisor in the WSBA Law Office Management Assistance Program.

"You can't go wrong with this CLE - it's a win-win. A win for lawyers to figure out how to run a successful practice. And a win for clients who desperately need access to affordable legal help."

Diana Singleton, Access to Justice Manager, Washington State Bar Association

"This training is instrumental to those wanting to be a part of the solution to this important societal issue. It covers important aspects of a successful low bono practice and will prepare those attending to deal with both low bono clients and the court. I encourage anyone interested in this fast developing legal specialty to attend this training!"

Clay Wilson, Moderate Means Program Attorney; Adjunct Professor of Law, Seattle University School of Law

The Money Barrier: 1st Annual Low Bono Conference

1.25 Ethics and 4.75 Other CLE Credits | WSBA Activity ID#1035284

Many people are priced out of the justice system. This conference offers attorneys strategies and tools for over-coming "The Money Barrier", so you can run a successful law firm, that meets the needs of these potential clients and helps eliminate the justice gap at the same time.


Recorded:  02/24/2017
Credits:  1.25 Ethics and 4.75 Other CLE | WSBA Activity ID#1035284
Length: 5 hours, 38 minutes

Featured Speakers:
Hon. Leonid Ponomarchuk, Jenny Anderson, Jeff Liang, Dan York, Mary Sakaguchi, Joshua Turnham, Dan Lear, Jessica Martin, Carrol Alvarez, Veronica Smith-Casem

Presented by WSBA Low Bono Section and Seattle University School of Law CLE

8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

Many people are "priced out" of the justice system, with incomes too high to qualify for legal aid, but too low to afford an attorney. Can the legal profession do anything about this justice gap? Absolutely!

This full-day conference provides insight and instructions on how to run a flourishing law practice that includes an intentional commitment to serving clients with limited financial resources. We discuss what low bono is (spoiler alert: it's more than just cutting operating costs and discounting your rates or fees) and hear specifically how some lawyers are incorporating low bono principles into their work. We also address real-life challenges that arise when clients face financial barriers to full participation in the justice system and share some specific solutions to addressing those challenges.

Lawyers from all practice areas and all firm sizes will benefit, as well as limited license legal technicians, law students, and non-lawyers with an interest in access to justice.

Questions to be explored will include:

  • Why do lawyers choose to do low bono? What business principles do low bono lawyers use besides offering reduced rates/fees and minimizing operating costs?
  • Can you really make a living as a low bono lawyer?
  • What does the bench look for when hearing a request for attorney fees? How might you make an argument for receiving your full fees/rates when your client received a reduced fee/rate?
  • Can you limit your practice to a limited number of low bono clients, and how would you go about that? What information might you add to your client engagement letter for low bono clients? How do low bono lawyers market themselves? How do low bono lawyers set their fees/rates?
  • What technology exists now (or can be imagined and realistically implemented) that would increase access to justice for people of moderate means? What might that mean for your practice?
  • What specific challenges might you face when representing clients whose full participation in the legal system is limited by their financial resources? How might you address those challenges, both functionally and emotionally?

Low bono is the principle of increasing access to law-related services for people of moderate means. The WSBA Low Bono Section is a community of lawyers, law students, and other professionals who are committed to learning about, providing, and promoting low bono services. Learn more about the Low Bono Section at our website.





8:00-8:30 am


8:30-8:45 am

Welcome / Housekeeping  

Presenter: Veronica Smith-Casem, Smith-Casem Law, PLLC  

8:45-9:45 am

Intro to Low Bono  

Presenter: Jenny Anderson, Anderson, York, and Stratton, PC  

Hear how a group lawyers of concerned about the people being "priced out" of the legal system progressed from talking about the problem to doing something about it. Learn what single underlying principle unifies low bono lawyers despite differences in firm size, practice area, and even business practices. Find out the answer to the top question many who consider offering low bono services ask: Can I really afford it?

9:45-10:00 am


10:00-11:00 am

Attorney Fees, Part 1: View from the Bench  

Presenter: Hon. Leonid Ponomarchuk, King County Superior Court Commissioner

Every lawyer (and perhaps even more so - the low bono lawyer) wants to be awarded attorney fees whenever permitted. Gain insight from a King County Superior Court commissioner about the circumstances under which attorney fees are awarded so you can put together your best arguments at your next hearing on fees.

11:00-11:15 am

Attorney Fees, Part 2: View from a Low Bono Practitioner  

Presenter: Jenny Anderson, Anderson, York, and Stratton, PC  

Many low bono practitioners offer reduced rates to their middle income clients. If you can get a hearing to request attorney fees, how might you argue for your full rate when you gave your client a discount? This short presentation addresses one possibility and goes over a model brief that you may find successful.

11:15am-11:30 am


11:30 am- 1:00 pm

Panel: How to Do Low Bono  

Moderator: Jeff Liang, Ling and Liang, PLLC  

Panelists: Dan York,  Anderson, York, and Stratton, PC
Mary Sakaguchi, Sakaguchi and Reese, PLLC
Josh Turnham, Law Office of Joshua L. Turnham, PLLC

Here's where we get into the nitty-gritty. Since there isn't just one way to do low bono, we've put together a panel of practitioners who represent a variety of experience levels, practice areas, and firm sizes, and who use a variety of low bono business principles in their work. In this interactive session, you'll get to hear from and ask questions of those who are successfully doing low bono.

1:00-2:15 pm

Lunch Breakout: Beyond Networking

You are more than your practice area! The Low Bono Section promotes meaningful community-building through authentic conversation. Skip the awkward, superficial chit chat ("So what do you do...?") and find a seat at a table that's got a sign for other parts of your life that matter to you! Before you have a seat, be sure to grab lunch (included).

2:15-3:15 pm

Increasing Access to Justice through Technology: A Survey  

Presenter: Dan Lear, Avvo

We all know that increasing office efficiency through technology will lower your business costs and allow you to pass the savings on to your moderate income clients. This session is not about that. Instead, we'll hear about specific technological innovations that lawyers are using to reach underserved populations, including middle income individuals and families. This session will get your creative wheels turning, and leave you inspired to innovate in your own practice.

3:15-3:20 pm


3:20- 4:35 pm

Recognizing and Avoiding Moral Distress  

Presenters: Jessica Martin, Sound Family Law and Carrol Alvarez, Biomedical Ethics Consultant, retired

Limited financial resources effectively limit full participation in the legal system, taking an emotional toll on clients and attorneys alike. In this session, we'll learn how a concept from the medical field, moral distress, can inform and instruct those working in low bono law.

4:35- 4:55 pm

Wrap-up / Evaluations / Door Prizes  

Presenter: Veronica Smith-Casem, Smith-Casem Law, PLLC  

We value your feedback and use it to make improvements every year. We know it's the end of the day, but we appreciate your time in completing an evaluation. For sticking with us till the very end, this is also when we'll do door prize drawings (must be present to win).

5:00-7:00 pm

Post CLE Social at The Garage on Broadway

Address: 1120 Broadway Ave, Seattle WA, between Madison Ave. and Union St.

The fun continues at The Garage (1120 Broadway, Seattle, WA 98122)! Join us for more conversation and appetizers, courtesy of Seattle University School of Law Center for Professional Development.

Schedule, sessions and speakers are subject to change.


Hon. Leonid Ponomarchuk, King County Superior Court

Jenny Anderson, Anderson, York, and Stratton, PC

Carrol Alvarez, Biomedical Ethics Consultant (retired)

Dan Lear, Avvo

Jeff Liang, Ling and Liang, PLLC

Jessica S. Martin, Sound Family Law

Mary Sakaguchi, Sakaguchi and Reese, PLLC

Josh Turnham, Law Office of Joshua L. Turnham, PLLC

Dan York, Anderson, York, and Stratton, PC


Attorneys seeking CLE credit

General Registration - $149

SU School of Law Alumni & WSBA Low Bono Members - $119

Low Bono section members, please contact the current Section Chairperson for a special code for securing the $119 rate for the recording.


General Non-attorney Registration - $89