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 broad 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. See contact information listed below. 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
Advisory Opinion 202201 regarding whether a lawyer may “reply all” when responding to an email in which the initiating lawyer has cc’d their own client.
Advisory Opinion 202202 regarding new RPC 1.4 amendments requiring malpractice insurance disclosures.
Advisory Opinion 202101 regarding disclosure of civil commitment proceedings while representing criminal defendant.
Advisory Opinion 202102 concerning lawyers acting as third party neutrals in domestic relations matters that involve possible risk of domestic abuse.
More advisory opinions can be found on the Ethics Advisory Opinions Database
Recent Amendments to Rules of Professional Conduct
For RPC 1.4(c) insurance malpractice disclosure requirement, and other amendments effective on Sept. 1, 2021, see Ethics.
On April 7, 2021, the Washington Supreme Court adopted an amendment to Cmt. 2 of RPC 1.11, effective May 4, 2021. A reference to the Court's decision in State v. Nickels (2020) was added to the comment.
On Jan. 8, 2021, the Washington Supreme Court adopted amendments to RPC 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, 7.5 and 5.5 regarding lawyer advertising, effective Jan. 26, 2021. See Washington Supreme Court Order 25700-A-1333
See the Court's website for information on suggested amendments to the RPC published for comment.
All regular meetings are held 10 a.m.–3 p.m. at the WSBA offices, 1325 Fourth Ave., Suite 600, Seattle, unless otherwise noted. (See note below for 2021-2022 meetings.)
Oct. 21 and Dec. 2
Note: Meetings may be held virtually, or in-person and virtual. Check the event calendar for specific details. In 2020 and 2021, in-person meetings were suspended per Proclamation 20.28 et. seq. by WA state Governor Inslee due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Since then, the WSBA has established COVID-19 protocols for open offices.
Past minutes available by public records request
To submit a request for a written advisory opinion from the committee, please contact the staff liaison or the committee chair. For meeting information, please contact the staff liaison.
Committee Chair: Pam Anderson, firstname.lastname@example.org
Staff Liaison: Jeanne Marie Clavere, email@example.com
Support Professional Responsibility Counsel: Sandra Schilling, firstname.lastname@example.org