Updated: Dec. 11, 2017

What is Emeritus Pro Bono Status?

Emeritus pro bono status is for licensed legal professionals who are otherwise retired from the practice of law but wish to provide volunteer legal services through a qualified legal services provider (QLSP). No other practice of law is permitted while on emeritus pro bono status and you are not eligible to vote in Bar matters. See Rule 3(g) of the Washington Supreme Court’s Admission and Practice Rule.

To qualify for emeritus pro bono status, you must:

  • Be admitted to the practice of law in Washington and have current good standing; and
  • Have active legal experience as defined in APR 1(e) for at least five of the ten years immediately preceding the filing of the application.

If you have a disciplinary sanction imposed on you within 15 years immediately preceding the filing of the application for Emeritus Pro Bono status, the Board of Governors has the discretion to accept or reject your application.

  • You can request a change to emeritus pro bono status by completing the Application for Change of License Status to Emeritus Pro Bono.
  • You will need to complete the required training hours as provided on a training certification form that you will receive from the WSBA after your application is reviewed.  You will return that form to the WSBA when the training is complete.
  • While on Emeritus Pro Bono status:
    • You are not allowed to practice law outside of providing free legal services through the QLSP.
    • You must pay a $200 annual license fee.
    • You are not required to report MCLE credits, but you will be required to have completed a certain number of MCLE credits to return to Active status. 
  • Returning to Active status after six years will require that you attend a reinstatement course currently offered only twice a year.
  • Complete details about Emeritus Pro Bono status and the full requirements to return to Active status can be found here: Emeritus FAQ

    Any discrepancy or conflict between the information provided here and the rules and regulations set by the Washington 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.