Client Protection Board
The Client Protection Board was established in order to promote public confidence in the administration of justice and the integrity of the legal profession by relieving or mitigating a pecuniary loss sustained by any client. The loss may be due to the dishonesty of, or failure to account for money or property entrusted to, any member of the WSBA in connection with the member's practice of law or while acting as a fiduciary in a matter related to the member's practice of law. Gifts from the Client Protection Board are funded by an annual assessment of members of the WSBA by order of the Washington Supreme Court.
Protecting the Public
Meet the WSBA staff member behind the Client Protection Fund and learn more about the Fund's dedication to protecting the public in the January 2019 issue of NWLawyer.
Chair: Carrie Umland
WSBA Liaison: Nicole Gustine
Board of Governors Liaison: Carla Higginson
Client Protection Fund Annual Report
History of the Client Protection Board
It is a familiar adage that licensed legal professionals are privileged to be a self-regulating profession. Unlike members of other trades and professions — such as doctors, accountants, or architects — licensed legal professionals do not have their professional activities regulated by the Legislature and Department of Licensing. The Supreme Court has the exclusive power to regulate the legal profession, and the bar association operates under delegated authority of the Supreme Court in administering those functions. Along with the privilege of self-regulation goes the responsibility of protecting the public.
The Client Protection Board, formerly known as "Lawyers' Fund for Client Protection Board," was established by the Washington Supreme Court in 1995 at the request of the Washington State Bar Association by the adoption of Rule 15 of the Admission and Practice Rules (APR). Prior to the adoption of that rule, the WSBA had voluntarily maintained a "Lawyer's Indemnity Fund" since 1960.
Every state in the United States, as well as many other countries including Canada, Australia and New Zealand, maintain such funds. Although common to the legal profession, similar protection funds are unknown in most other professions.
The Client Protection Fund was created “in order to promote public confidence in the administration of justice and the integrity of the legal profession.” The Fund, “may be used for the purpose of relieving or mitigating a pecuniary loss sustained by any person by reason of the dishonesty of, or failure to account for money or property entrusted to, any lawyer, LLLT, or LPO of the Bar as a result of or directly related to the lawyer's, LLLT's, or LPO's practice of law, or while acting as a fiduciary in a matter directly related to the lawyer, LLLT's, or LPO's practice of law.” (Washington State Court Rules, Admission and Practice Rule 15)