Updated: May 15, 2024

House Counsel and Multi-Jurisdictional Practice

Lawyers licensed in another U.S. jurisdiction or foreign jurisdiction who want to practice as house counsel must become licensed in Washington. They may seek licensing in Washington by motion under Washington Supreme Court Admission and Practice Rule (APR) 3(c) or as House Counsel under APR 8(f)).

House counsel applicants may continue to practice on a temporary basis under Washington Supreme Court Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC) 5.5 pending the application for admission.

If you are not eligible for Admission by Motion, you may apply for limited admission as house counsel under APR 8(f).

House Counsel Application Process

Jan. 25, 2021: To apply for a House Counsel license, please use the online admissions portal.

To apply for House Counsel, complete and submit the application through the WSBA Online Admissions Portal. In addition to filling the application online, applicants must upload to the online application the following completed documents prior to submitting the application. These forms must be dated within six months prior to the date the application is submitted:

  • One signed and notarized Authorization and Release form (do not alter form)
  • Two signed Good Moral Character Certificates
  • Certificate(s) of Admission to Practice and Standing in all jurisdictions where you are admitted or have ever been admitted, dated within six months prior to the date of the application is submitted with the WSBA
  • Affidavit of Employer signed by an officer, director or general counsel of employer at the Washington office dated within six months prior to the date the application is submitted with the WSBA

Application Fees

  • House counsel application fee of: $620 + NCBE Investigation Fee (NCBE will contact you)
  • All eligible house counsel applicants are required to pay an investigation fee to the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE). After review of your application by the WSBA office, the NCBE will contact you and provide you with NCBE payment, authorization, and release forms that will need to be executed.

If you have general questions about the House Counsel License, please contact the Admissions Department at admissions@wsba.org.

Multi-jurisdictional Practice of Law

Please read the Ethical Practices of the Virtual or Hybrid Law Office. This opinion has been issued by the WSBA Committee on Professional Ethics and is advisory only.

RPC 5.5 also describes several situations in which it may be permissible to practice law in Washington on a temporary basis. Generally, situations are limited to out-of-court practice. Under most situations, an out-of-state lawyer wanting to appear in court is required to file a motion for admission Pro Hac Vice pursuant to APR 8(b). Please contact statuschanges@wsba.org for questions about Pro Hac Vice.

Out-of-state lawyers with questions about temporarily practicing in Washington under RPC 5.5 should contact the WSBA Ethics Line at 206-727-8284. To inquire, please leave a voicemail with your name, a phone number for a confidential return call, and a brief message. Calls are generally returned within one or two business days. Please read the complete rule and comments before making contact. 

Lawyers who reside in Washington but are practicing law in another state should contact admissions@wsba.org for questions regarding seeking admission to practice law in Washington.  

Please Note :

All applicants are subject to a character and fitness review prior to being admitted to practice law in Washington. Factors considered by Admissions staff and Regulatory Counsel when determining whether an applicant should be referred to the Character and Fitness Board are set forth in Admission and Practice Rule APR 20–24.3.

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.