House Counsel and MJP
Washington's RPC 5.5 permits the practice of law in Washington by lawyers who are licensed in another United States jurisdiction under certain circumstances as set forth in the rule.
Lawyers licensed in another U.S. jurisdiction who want to practice as house counsel are required to seek admission to the Bar, either by general admission via Admission by Motion (APR 3(c)) or limited admission as house counsel under APR 8(f). Please review the House Counsel Memo for additional information. Foreign house counsel will no longer be required to be admitted by exam in their original jurisdiction.
Applications for Admission By Motion are accepted through our online admissions site. Applications for limited admission as house counsel are paper forms, submitted via postal mail to the WSBA. House counsel may continue to practice on a temporary basis under RPC 5.5 pending the application for admission.
Questions about practice as House Counsel in Washington should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-727-8209.
Should I seek to be admitted by motion or should I apply for limited admission as house counsel?
If you are employed as house counsel in Washington State, you can choose between applying for the limited license or for full admission by way of Admission by Motion.
The WSBA encourages attorneys licensed in another U.S. state or territory and who have active legal experience* for three of the past five years to apply for Admission by Motion. Attorneys who are admitted by motion are fully licensed members of the WSBA and are authorized to fully practice law and appear in Washington state courts. Attorneys admitted under APR 8(f) as house counsel are strictly limited to providing advice to their employer-client and cannot appear in court, but still must abide by the same MCLE requirements and license fees as fully licensed members. Additionally, if an attorney licensed as house counsel under APR 8(f) applies for full admission by motion, they will have to pay all of the same application fees again.
What's the difference between applying for admission by motion or for limited admission as House Counsel?
Can I provide pro bono services if I am licensed as House Counsel?
Yes, but only through a Qualified Legal Services Provider. Review APR 8(f)(8) for restrictions and guidelines regarding your scope of practice when providing pro bono services.
If you are not eligible for Admission by Motion, you can apply for limited admission as house counsel under APR 8(f). Submit the paper application to the WSBA, and include the following items:
In addition, you will need to submit an investigation fee to the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE).
RPC 5.5 also describes several situations in which it may be permissible to practice law in Washington on a temporary basis. Generally, the situations are limited to practice out of court. Under most situations, an out-of-state lawyer wanting to appear in court is going to be required to file a motion for admission pro hac vice.
Out-of-state lawyers with questions about practicing in Washington under RPC 5.5 should contact Sandra Schilling in the Office of General Counsel at email@example.com or 206-239-2118. Please read the complete rule and comments before making contact.
Any discrepancy or conflict between the information provided here and the rules and regulations set by the Washington State Supreme Court, or the bylaws and policies of the Washington State Bar Association, is unintentional and will be resolved in favor of strict compliance with the rules, regulations, bylaws and policies.
Download the House Counsel Application.
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