Sharpen Your Litigation Skills with Pro Bono Unemployment Hearings


9:00 am - 12:30 pm


Columbia Legal Services
6 S 2nd St, Yakima, WA, 98901

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Join the Unemployment Law Project and Columbia Legal Services for a lively, interactive, and FREE introduction to the basics of unemployment law, how to advocate for a client in unemployment benefits hearings over the phone, and ethics issues related to legal aid advocacy.

This 3-credit free CLE is the perfect lead-in to advocating for clients whose unemployment benefits have been denied. Gain understanding of laws governing unemployment benefits: hone your skills in direct and cross-examination, making objections, and writing closing statements; and learn about common ethical uses that can arise.

About 20,000 unemployment benefit appeals are heard per year in Washington state, and many appellants are low-income workers in need of pro bono help. A short commitment of time, on a flexible schedule, makes a world of difference to clients struggling to pay for food and rent while they seek new work. Even though unemployment benefits are a modest fraction of a person’s salary, successful appeals at the administrative hearing level lead to an average benefit total of more than $6,000 per claimant.

8:30 am – 9:00 am Sign-in, introductions
9:00 am – 10:00 am Overview of unemployment law, by John Tirpak, Executive Director of the Unemployment Law Project
10:15 am – 11:15 am Representing claimants in unemployment benefits hearings, by John Tirpak
11:30 am – 12:30 pm Ethical issues in legal aid advocacy, by Lori Isley, Directing Attorney of Columbia Legal Services’ Working Families Project

John Tirpak — A long-time legal aid attorney and former adjunct professor at Seattle University, John is Executive Director of the Unemployment Law Project, which has offices in Seattle and Spokane.

Lori Isley – Directing Attorney of Columbia Legal Services’ Working Families Project in Yakima, Lori has been working on employment and civil rights in Washington since 1992.

Space is limited! Register by contacting Anne Paxton at, 206-441-9178 ext. 114

Who should attend: Employment law and civil rights attorneys, new attorneys, all attorneys seeking pro bono experience involving litigation. Students are welcome.

Sponsored by the Unemployment Law Project & Columbia Legal Services

Refreshments provided, 2 credit hours of general legal CLE, one credit hour of ethics CLE (WSBA approval pending)