Client Protection Board
To promote public confidence in the administration of justice and the integrity of the legal profession, the Client Protection Board was established for the purpose of 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. The Fund is funded by an annual assessment of members of the WSBA by order of the Washington Supreme Court.
Request for Comment
Under amendments to the Washington Supreme Court’s Admission and Practice Rules effective Sept. 1, 2017, APR 15 now permits the Client Protection Fund (formerly known as the Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection) to make awards to clients harmed by Limited License Legal Technicians (LLLT) and Limited Practice Officers (LPO). The Board of Governors is considering whether to ask the Washington Supreme Court to enter an order assessing all active LLLTs and LPOs some amount annually to contribute to the Client Protection Fund. Active lawyers currently pay a $30 assessment to the fund, and LLLT and LPO assessments could be the same or a lower amount.
Chair: Efrem Krisher
WSBA Liaison: Nicole Gustine
Board of Governors Liaison: Angela Marnel Hayes
CPF 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, architects or hairdressers — licensed legal professionals do not have their professional activities regulated by the Legislature and the Department of Licensing. The Supreme Court has the exclusive power to regulate the legal profession, and the bar association serves as an arm of the Supreme Court in carrying out those functions. But with that privilege 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 1994 at the request of the Washington State Bar Association by the adoption of Rule 15 of the Admission to Practice Rules. Prior to the adoption of that rule, the WSBA had voluntarily maintained a clients' security or 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 and callings.
The stated purpose of the Client Protection Board is as follows:
"The Fund may be used for the purpose of relieving or mitigating a pecuniary loss sustained by any client by reason of the dishonesty of, or failure to account for money or property entrusted to, any lawyer, Limited Licensed Legal Technician (LLLT), or Limited Practice Officer (LPO) of the WSBA in connection with the lawyer's, LLLT's, or LPO's practice of law, or while acting as a fiduciary in a matter related to the lawyer's, LLLT's, or LPO's practice of law. The Fund may also be used to relieve or mitigate like loss sustained by persons by reason of similar acts of an individual who was at one time admitted to the practice of law in Washington as a lawyer, LLLT, or LPO but who was at the time of the act complained of, under a court ordered suspension" ( Washington State Court Admission to Practice Rule 15).