Judicial Membership and Return to Active Membership

Change to Judicial Membership

Active members may request Judicial membership by submitting an Application for Change of Membership to Judicial to the WSBA to the attention of Membership Changes. You qualify for Judicial membership if you are one of the types of judicial officers listed in the WSBA Bylaws Art. III sec. A.3.

  1. A current judge, commissioner, or magistrate judge of the courts of record in the State of Washington, or the courts of the United States, including Bankruptcy courts;
  2. A current judge, commissioner, or magistrate in the district or municipal courts in the State of Washington, provided that such position requires the person to be a lawyer;
  3. A current senior status or recall judge in the Courts of the United States;
  4. An administrative law judge, which shall be defined as either:

    (a) Current federal judges created under Article I of the United States Constitution, excluding Bankruptcy court judges, or created by the Code of Federal Regulations, who by virtue of their position are prohibited by the United States Code and/or the Code of Federal Regulations from practicing law; or,

    (b) Full-time Washington State administrative law judges in positions created by either the Revised Code of Washington or the Washington Administrative Code; or,

  5. A current Tribal Court judge in the State of Washington.

Judicial members who wish to preserve eligibility to transfer to another membership class upon leaving service as a judicial officer are required to provide annual registry information and pay a $50 annual license fee.

Judicial members who are administrative law judges must report MCLE credits in the same manner as Active members.

Beginning with the 2012 licensing year, Judicial members who do not pay the annual license fee or annually report registry information and later need or want to change to another membership class will be required to pay the active license fee for each year not in compliance from 2012 forward before changing to another membership class.

Judicial members who are no longer eligible for judicial membership and who take no action to change to another membership class will be transferred to Inactive membership. They will then need to comply with inactive membership requirements and failure to do so will result in suspension of their membership.

 

Return to Active Membership from Judicial Membership

In order for a Judicial member to return to Active membership, you must be current on any CJE requirements, annual licensing fees, and all conditions set forth in the WSBA Bylaws and the Admission to Practice Rules (APR).

Submit a  Request for Application to Active Membership form with the required non-refundable $100 investigation fee so that we may determine your eligibility and requirements to return to Active membership. A form is also available from the WSBA by sending an email to membershipchanges@wsba.org or by contacting Membership Changes at 206-239-2131.

Following receipt and processing of the required fee and request form, we will provide you with the necessary forms and individual requirements to return to Active membership. Because the requirements for each particular membership change are based on the facts of the individual member's situation and require investigation of that member's records, the WSBA cannot assess or discuss individual requirements prior to receiving the Request for Application to Active Membership form and the investigation fee.

All membership changes to Active require a review of the information for possible character and fitness issues, and it is possible that a character and fitness investigation and/or hearing could be required if warranted by the available information. 

Processing times for membership changes to Active vary greatly depending on each individual situation and time of year. Membership changes are not effective until confirmed in writing by the WSBA.

General Requirements to return to Active Membership from Judicial Membership

Membership changes are granted in accordance with the provisions of the WSBA Bylaws. Members should review Article III of the WSBA Bylaws as changes in the Bylaws can affect membership change requirements. The WSBA Bylaws may be found on the WSBA website. Some key provisions to consider are:

  • Judicial members, except ALJs, are not required to earn or report MCLE credits while Judicial. Members may attend CLE courses while Judicial, and will be required to report MCLE credits to return to Active membership. ALJ Judicial members must report MCLE credits in the same manner as Active members. 
  • Members who have been Judicial for less than six consecutive years will be required to have earned 45 MCLE credits within six years prior to the return to Active date. Continuing Judicial Education credits may be used to meet this requirement.
  • Members who have been Judicial for greater than six consecutive years must earn 45 MCLE credits within three years prior to the return to Active date. Continuing Judicial Education credits may be used to meet this requirement. In addition, members must complete the 8 hour “live” credit course sponsored by the WSBA and specifically approved for this purpose. No other credits, or courses, may be substituted for the WSBA sponsored reinstatement course. The reinstatement course’s validity for use to satisfy membership change requirements will expire one year from the date of the completion of the course. The reinstatement course credits will apply to the member’s next reporting period. ALJs Note:  ALJs will be required to earn 45 MCLE credits within three years prior to the return to Active date and, in addition, complete the 15 hour live reinstatement course sponsored by the WSBA and specifically approved for this purpose. 
  • For purposes of determining whether a member has been Judicial for more than six consecutive years, the time continues to run until the change to Active membership is completed, regardless of when the application is submitted to the WSBA.
  • Judicial members who do not pay the annual license fee or report registry information while Judicial members will be required to pay the active license fee for each year not in compliance.
  • If a Judicial member has been Judicial for less than one year, and the member is in an MCLE reporting group that was required to report during the time the member was Judicial, the member must establish compliance with the MCLE reporting requirements for that reporting period before changing to Active. 

Failure to Maintain Eligibility

Any Judicial member who did not pay the annual judicial license fee or provide annual registry information (beginning with the 2012 licensing year) must pay the Active license fee for each year not in compliance.

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.