Professional Responsibility

As members of a profession and officers of the court, lawyers are obligated to act in a professional manner, obey the law, avoid conflicts of interest, and to put the interests of clients ahead of their own interests. 

The Ethics Line

When you need assistance in navigating the tricky waters of legal ethics, call the Ethics Line (206-727-8284 or 800-945-WSBA, ext. 8284) and consult with the Professional Responsibility Counsel.  We can help you analyze the ethical issues involved to enable you to make a decision consistent with the requirements of the Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC).

The Ethics Line provides confidential, informal guidance as to your own prospective ethical conduct.

Common ethical issues are: conflicts of interest, client communication, handling client money, fee arrangements, confidential information, and how to withdraw from a matter in an ethical manner. See our FAQs for answers to frequently asked questions on the Ethics Line.

When to Call?

The Ethics Line is open during normal business hours. Be prepared to leave a confidential voice message concerning the subject area of your question/issue, and the RPCs that you believe apply. Calls are returned in the order received and within two business days. Please note: calls regarding another lawyer’s conduct should be directed to the Office of Disciplinary Counsel at (206) 727-8207. 

Rules of Professional Conduct

Unofficial Amended Rules of Professional Conduct  (as of January 1, 2014)

As a service to members, WSBA publishes an unofficial booklet of the Rules of Professional Conduct. Please contact the Service Center for information on purchasing the booklet. 

Ethics Resources

legal book on shelf

IOLTA Information

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File Retention

Managing client files

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Ethics Articles

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Technology Resources

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Advisory Opinions

Search for an advisory opinion

Rules of Professional Conduct

Link to the official RPCs, published by the Washington Supreme Court.

Succession Planning

Protecting your practice and clients

Checklists for Closing a Practice

Law Office Management Assistance Program

Assistance with practice management and starting your practice

Discipline

Learn more about the lawyer discipline system in Washington.

Resources for the Public