Sharpen your litigation skills with pro bono unemployment hearings


1:00 pm - 4:00 pm


Columbia Legal Services
101 Yesler Way, 3rd Floor, Seattle, WA, 98104
Map Unavailable

Sponsors: Columbia Legal Services and the Unemployment Law Project

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

Details: Light lunch provided, 2 credit hours of general CLE, one credit hour of ethics CLE pending WSBA approval

Join the Unemployment Law Project and Columbia Legal Services for a lively, interactive, and FREE continuing legal education 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 pro bono and 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 issues 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 who are struggling with bills for food and rent while they search for new work. Even though unemployment benefits are a modest fraction of a person’s salary, a successful appeal at the administrative hearing level leads to an average benefit total of about $4,000 per claimant.

12:50 – 1:00 pm Sign-in, introductions
1:00 – 2:00 pm Unemployment law basics, by John Tirpak, Executive Director of the Unemployment Law Project; light lunch provided.
2:00 – 3:00 pm Representing claimants in unemployment benefits hearings, by John Tirpak
3:00 – 4:00 pm Ethical issues in legal aid advocacy, by Janet Chung, Advocacy Director, Columbia Legal Services

John Tirpak – A long-time legal aid attorney and former adjunct professor at Seattle University, John has been Executive Director of the Unemployment Law Project since 2014.
Janet Chung – A women’s rights, employment, and civil rights attorney, Janet is a former staff attorney at Legal Voice and now Advocacy Director at Columbia Legal Services.

Space is limited! To register, contact Anne Paxton,