Message from Incoming President: Lori O’Tool
Wednesday, November 15, 2017
by: Lori O'Tool

Section: Fall 2017

Author Biography

Lori O’Tool joined the law firm of Preg O’Donnell & Gillett in 1999 and has been a partner since 2006. Lori’s practice is general insurance defense with an emphasis in construction, auto/trucking, premises, and accounting professional liability. Lori is the current President of WDTL, and has been a member of its Board of Trustees since 2010. She has also served on the non-profit boards of the Schooner Martha Foundation and Seattle Women’s Sailing Association, and is a Past President of the Board of Trustees for The Center for Wooden Boats.
As WDTL’s incoming President, I am grateful for having served on its board, its Executive Committee, and to now lead our over 700 civil defense trial lawyer members.  Working with my fellow board members and our very capable Executive Director Maggie Sweeney, this year I enthusiastically look forward to bettering our organization through relevant programming, improved communication, and opportunities for service while remaining fiscally responsible.  WDTL’s goals for the upcoming year are, in large part, a product of our Strategic Planning Committee led by Rachel Reynolds and the committee’s sessions this past May with DRI facilitator John Trimble. 
By all counts, the upcoming 2018 session promises to be a very active one.

Building upon what we already do well, WDTL through our Committees, Practice Groups, and Core Sponsors will continue to provide valuable, topical, and pragmatic programming that have immediate bearing on our defense practices.  Included in your membership are the complimentary lunchtime/brownbag CLEs, and the newly offered after work CLEs from our Auto & Trucking chair Levi Bendele.  WDTL collaborates with other organizations to provide relevant seminars, such as breakfast and lunch CLEs with Washington Women’s Lawyers.  Four judicial receptions have or will occur throughout the State this year, so WDTL members and judges at all court levels may meet and interact outside of the courtroom.  WDTL will also continue to have a voice with our State Legislature through our lobbyist Mel Sorenson and our members testifying in Olympia on legislation impacting civil defense issues.  By all counts, the upcoming 2018 session promises to be a very active one.

WDTL’s new website delivers the means to expand connections to our membership by invigorating WDTL's Practice Groups, which are the substantive law groups providing opportunities for education, networking, and leadership within each members' unique practice areas.  Each Practice Group will be able to utilize the website through their own focused publications, programming, communications, and practice development.  Developing and restructuring our Practice Groups and Committees will enhance our capabilities to share information and give more occasions for our younger members’ participation in WDTL.

Community service by our members is encouraged inside and outside the organization.  WDTL’s active Community Service Committee chaired by Heather Proudfoot offers numerous opportunities from donating backpacks, socks and coats to walking/running in support of courthouse service dogs to serving meals at those in need.  Or, like the Access to Justice Panel members suggested at our Annual Convention, provide service in an area you are passionate about, like tutoring children at a community center, offering legal assistance to low-income families, or serving on a nonprofit board.  Some of my proudest moments have been as a board member for The Center for Wooden Boats, where my service helped to furnish economical access to our beautiful waters while preserving maritime heritage.

In closing, a thank you to our members for your continued support and participation in WDTL.  Without your energetic and thoughtful volunteering, we would not be able to continue doing what we do well and positively growing our programs, communications, and public service.