May 8, 2024

Pacifica’s Paul Lawrence Quoted in Law360 Article on WA Supreme Court Docket

Pacifica senior litigation partner Paul Lawrence is quoted in a recent Law360 article that addresses a decrease in the number of cases the Washington Supreme Court has taken up over the last decade.

The article, “Why the Wash. Supreme Court’s Docket Has Been Shrinking,” quotes Chief Justice Steven C. Gonzales, Justice Debra L. Stephens, and a group of appellate attorneys discussing the reasons behind the decline in the number of opinions the court has issued. According to the article, the court issued just 59 opinions in 2023, compared to 129 a decade ago.

Paul told Law360 that the Supreme Court may be hearing fewer cases in-part because Gov. Jay Inslee has appointed a number of judges with similar judicial philosophies to the appellate courts. “So you are getting fewer cases with dissents coming out of the court of appeals,” Paul said. He added that Inslee’s appointees may be more aligned with the Supreme Court justices than in years past.

Paul also discussed his experience with the Washington Supreme Court in recent years, and his understanding of their decision-making:

Lawrence said many of his cases do go to the Supreme Court because he does a lot of work on the constitutionality of statutes, which remains a prime area where the state high court is willing to jump in because the court understands it’s a fundamental duty. Lawrence said appellate attorneys always have to be mindful of the criteria in the rules of appellate procedure about what types of cases are appropriate to seek review, and highlight conflicts at the lower appellate courts or conflicts with a prior Supreme Court ruling.

“I do feel like there’s more of a need to try to elevate the broader public interest in a case than just simply identifying a conflict that should be resolved,” Lawrence said.

Click here to read the full article via Law360 (subscription required).