Updated: Aug. 2, 2018

Committee on Professional Ethics

The Committee on Professional Ethics (CPE) issues advisory opinions to address recurring or emerging ethics issues facing WSBA members. The advisory opinions cover a broader context and provide in-depth guidance on the Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC) as applied to a wide variety of practice areas. Advisory opinions issued by the committee are published online.

Bar members seeking an advisory opinion from the CPE should direct their request to the staff liaison or the chair. If the request is accepted by the committee, a lengthy review process generally follows before a final opinion or other recommendation is issued. Those seeking a more immediate response should contact the Bar's Ethics Line.

The committee also plays a key role in reviewing and suggesting amendments to the RPC.

Recent Advisory Opinions

In July 2018, the CPE issued an advisory opinion concerning quadripartite and tripartite relationships and client confidentiality. Read Advisory Opinion 201801.

In April 2018, the CPE issued an advisory opinion on lawyers moving from firm to firm.  Read Advisory Opinion 201801.

In July 2017, the CPE issued an advisory opinion addressing the disclosure of confidential client information in the context of a motion to withdraw in Washington Superior Court. Read Advisory Opinion 201701´╗┐.

The CPE is currently reviewing Advisory Opinion 2223 regarding the ethics of lawyer-mediators preparing legal documents for unrepresented parties.  A special public comment meeting was held on May 9, 2017, by the subcommittee reviewing the opinion. The comment period ended May 31, 2017.

In October ´╗┐2016, the CPE issued Advisory Opinion 201601 on the ethical considerations of a Virtual Law Office.

More advisory opinions can be found on the Ethics Advisory Opinions database.

´╗┐Proposed Amendments to the Rules of Professional Conduct

On November 2017, the Washington Supreme Court published for comment suggested amendments to 4.2. The comment period expired April 30, 2018.

Adopted Amendments to the Rules of Professional Conduct

On Dec. 6, 2017, the Washington Supreme Court adopted amendments to RPC 1.0A, 1.10, and 1.11, effective Sept. 1, 2018.

On June 7, 2018, the Court adopted the following amendments to the Rules of Professional Conduct, effective Sept. 1, 2018.

Committee Meetings

All meetings are held 10 a.m.–3 p.m. at the WSBA offices at 1325 Fourth Ave., Suite 600, Seattle, unless otherwise noted./p>

2017 — Oct. 20 and Dec. 15
2018 — Feb. 9, April 20, June 22, and Aug. 24


April 20, 2018
Feb. 9, 2018
Dec. 15, 2017
Oct. 20, 2017
Aug. 25, 2017

June 23, 2017
April 21, 2017
Feb. 10, 2017

Past minutes available by public records request.

Contact Us

Contact the staff liaison or the committee chair to submit an ethics inquiry or for further information.

For public comments regarding the committee's ongoing work, please submit them to WSBACPE@wsba.org.