ATJ Board

Access to Justice Board


The Access to Justice (ATJ) Board was established by the Washington State Supreme Court in 1994 at the request of the Washington State Bar Association Board of Governors in response to a growing need to coordinate the access to justice efforts in Washington State to provide continuity and focus.

Its mission is to promote and facilitate equal access to justice in Washington State for low and moderate income people through high quality legal services. In carrying out its goals and objectives, the ATJ Board is guided by the enabling Order of the Washington State Supreme Court, the Hallmarks of an Effective Statewide Legal Services Delivery System, and the ATJ Board’s Statement of Principles and Goals .

In addition to providing leadership on issues facing the delivery of civil legal services, the ATJ Board oversees the implementation of its Revised Plan for the Delivery of Civil Legal Services to Low Income People in Washington State (State Plan), oversees the work of its 14 committees, ensures that the annual Access to Justice Conference Recommendations are implemented, and coordinates closely with the work of the Washington State Bar Association’s Pro Bono and Legal Aid Committee on its implementation of the Volunteer Attorney Legal Services Action Plan (VALS) Plan and the Council on Public Legal Education . See also Washington State Plan Backgroundinformation.

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The ATJ Board resulted from years of effort by members of Washington’s legal community. Reports in the mid-1980’s by two Washington State Bar Association (WSBA) pro bono task forces and the WSBA’s Legal Aid Committee documented the massive growing needs. The WSBA’s 1989-1990 Long-Range Planning Committee, chaired by William H. Gates, in turn identified access to justice as the number-one issue facing the WSBA and sounded the alarm that the system as we know it would break down unless the legal needs of all people are addressed. Successive WSBA presidents Joe Delay and Steve DeForest carried that message to the WSBA Board of Governors, that established WSBA’s 1992-93 Access to Justice Task Force, chaired by then WSBA Governor Tom Chambers. It spent a year developing proposed solutions to the lack continuity, coordination and organization in the delivery of existing services and ultimately recommended the creation of the ATJ Board, and autonomous body operating under the auspices of the WSBA in accordance with authority granted by the Supreme Court. The Washington State Supreme Court established the ATJ Board in 1994 by Court Order for a two-year evaluation period. The Court reauthorized the ATJ Board in November 1996 for an additional five years. On November 3, 2000 the Supreme Court reauthorized the Access to Justice Board, making it permanent.

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The ATJ Board has nine members nominated by the WSBA Board of Governors and appointed by the Supreme Court. Five positions represent specific groups involved with civil legal services. The remaining four members are individuals with a demonstrated commitment to, and familiarity with, access to justice issues. Current members are:

Scott Smith, Chair

Hon. Rebecca Baker
(At-large member)

Christine Allen Crowell
(At-large member)

Julian (Pete) Dewell
(Representing the Washington State Bar Association Board of Governors)

Pamela Feinstein
(Representing pro bono programs)

Richard Kuhling
(At-large member)

Michele Jones 
(Representing State and/or Federally funded Legal Services Programs)

Hon. Gregory Tripp
(Representing the Board for Judicial Administration)

Dwight Williams
(Representing the Legal Foundation of Washington)

The ATJ Board reports to the Washington State Supreme Court and the WSBA Board of Governors every six months. The ATJ Board meets approximately seven times per year. Board meetings are open and Minutes from the ATJ Board meetings for the past 12 months are available on this site. Please contact staff if you would like to see archived meeting minutes.

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Access to Justice Board Committees and Chairs

More detailed information can be found in the ATJ Board’s reports to the Washington State Supreme Court and the Washington State Bar Association Board of Governors.

Access to Justice Conference Planning
Colleen Kinerk, Chair

Access to Justice Technology Bill of Rights
Donald Horowitz, Chair

Michele Jones, Chair

Hon. James Murphy, Chair

Equal Justice Coalition 
M. Wayne Blair, Chair

Greater Access and Assistance Project (GAAP)
Mark Kim, Chair
(joint committee with Washington Young Lawyers Division)

Impediments to Access to Justice
Hon. Anne Ellington and Howard Graham, Co-Chairs

Jurisprudence of Access to Justice
Patrick McIntyre, Chair

Ruth Walsh McIntyre and Hugh Spitzer, Co-Chairs 
(joint committee with Council on Public Legal Education)

Resource Development
Greg Dallaire, Chair

Steve Burnett, Chair

Interim Committees:

Courthouse Facilitator
Michele Jones, Chair

Family Law Committee
Hon. Paul Bastine, Chair

Law-Related Services
Hon. T.W. Small and Scott Smith, Co-Chairs

Unbundled Legal Services
Barrie Althoff, Chair

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