Announcements, resources, and event changes that may affect Washington State Bar Association members, the legal community, and the public.
WSBA President Declaration of Emergency Operations. While Washington state is operating under emergency directives, WSBA will likewise implement certain emergency operations to safely continue services to support members and the public. Read the President's declaration.
The Washington State Bar Association is complying with Gov. Inslee’s “Stay Home-Stay Healthy” Order by shutting its Seattle office to the public through at least May 4. WSBA employees are working remotely and are committed to continuing high service levels. We are available via phone, email, and online resources. If you need assistance, please refer to our service directory and/or use firstname.lastname@example.org for general inquires. Many of our phone lines will go to voicemail, including our main service-line number; leave a message, and we will return your call within at least two business days. You may receive a faster response using email.
Members and applicants should submit any payments and documents online for timely processing as mail will be delayed. For service of process or delivery of subpoenas, etc, please send an email to Julies@wsba.org or Lisaa@wsba.org to discuss appropriate arrangements. Please note: We are currently working with the Washington Supreme Court to determine which regulatory functions may be “essential” and require some on-site work. Keep checking this webpage for updates.
Important WSBA and court updates:
Summer Bar Exams. UPDATE (May 13): The 2020 Uniform Bar exam will be administered in Washington on July 28 and 29 and Sept, 9 and 10 for applicants who met the deadlines to take the July bar exam in Washington state (no new applications are being accepted for either exam date). If you have applied to take the July exam, you do not need to submit a new application for the September exam. The exams will be administered on both dates in the Seattle-Tacoma-Everett area and the Spokane area, at specific testing sites that will be identified later, and all administrations will comply with then-existing public health guidelines. Please see the May 13 letter from the Washington Supreme Court for more information. We will be working hard to provide a safe and appropriate testing setting for every applicant.
MCLE Compliance. The MCLE Board recognizes the significant effects and practice restrictions WSBA Licensed Legal Professionals are experiencing due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Below are resources and options available to all licensed legal professionals, including those professionals in the 2018-2020 reporting period:
Remember, you do not have to attend live or real-time seminars to earn MCLE credits. You may earn all your CLE credits by viewing or listening to recorded events such as webinars, MP3s, or DVDs.
You can earn free and low-cost CLE credits through WSBA CLE and partners that are offering free and low cost CLEs related to the COVID-19 pandemic; see the green box above. WSBA CLE also offers free CLEs monthly through our popular Legal Lunchbox webcast series.
If you can’t afford to attend webinars or purchase CLE products, ask the MCLE team for a list of accredited sponsors who offer free and low-cost CLEs.
If you are due to report MCLE credits at the end of 2020 and are facing a hardship related to COVID-19 or other reasons, you may petition the MCLE Board for an extension or modification of the MCLE requirements. For instructions on how to fill out and submit an undue hardship form please contact the MCLE team at email@example.com
Proclamation regarding protection orders and personal service. In response to an increase in domestic violence reports, Gov. Inslee has temporarily waived and suspended specified statutes that limit the authority of courts to issue initial protection orders without full and/or in-person hearings; and to allow for use of alternative means of service, including electronic means of service. Read the proclamation here.
Proclamation regarding workers’ rights. During the state of emergency, Gov. Inslee has prohibited all employers from failing to provide accommodation to high-risk workers that protects them risk of exposure to COVID-19 while on the job. Read the proclamation here.
Suspension of Rules of Appellate Procedure (RAP). The Washington Supreme Court has temporarily suspended RAP 18.8(b) and (c). Read the Court Order.
Need to make a delivery? WSBA’s Seattle office is operating under limited public access. If you need to make a delivery, please call 800-945-9722 to be connected to the appropriate employee.
Disciplinary and disability proceedings. The Washington Supreme Court and the Chief Hearing Officer and Disciplinary Board Chair have entered orders regarding modified procedures during the pendency of the COVID-19 public health emergency for matters in the licensed legal professional discipline and disability system. Read the Court Order and Administrative Order (revised and extended).
Coronavirus Response Task Force. WSBA has convened a new Coronavirus Response Task Force to vigorously support, advise, and help triage the WSBA’s response to support members and the public during this emergency. Task force members represent the public, rural, solo/small-firm, new member, and technology backgrounds.
Office of Disciplinary Counsel operations. While WSBA’s physical office is closed, the Office of Disciplinary Counsel is continuing its work through online communications. Please communicate with us by sending messages and required information to the email address of the assigned disciplinary counsel on the matter. If there is not an assigned disciplinary counsel or you do not have disciplinary counsel’s email address, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are filing a grievance, please use our E-Grievance Form. Responses to mailed grievances will be delayed. We will update this information as soon as WSBA onsite processes resume.
License suspension deadline moved to June 30. The Washington Supreme Court has extended the deadline for WSBA to send its recommendations for licensing suspensions from May 5 to June 30. This applies to all members who are currently late complying with licensing payments and MCLE requirements (members on the presuspension list will be notified directly). The WSBA Board of Governors requested the deadline extension.
Remote administration of oaths or affirmations. As supported by WSBA in conjunction with the Washington Court Reporters Association, the Washington Supreme Court has suspended any local or state court rule that requires administering any oath or affirmation in-person where such oaths or affirmations can be administered remotely by available technologies … and is not otherwise prohibited.” Read the Order.
Gov. Inslee orders shutdown of dine-in restaurants and bars, and cap gatherings at 50 to stop spread of COVID-19 in Washington state.
March 4: Chief Justice Debra Stephens issued a Supreme Court Order to authorize presiding judges in trial courts to take appropriate measures to protect the safety of court personnel, litigants and the public. Judicial branch leadership at all levels of our courts continue to monitor this situation closely and are committed to open access to our courts and service to the public at this time.
Use with Caution : The Washington State Bar Association provides this information, related materials, links, and resources for informative purposes only. WSBA does not warrant the information provided with regard to accuracy or any other purpose. No endorsement is intended, nor does the information contained herein constitute legal advice or legal opinions. You are responsible for ensuring your own legal and ethical compliance. Any use of the materials herein is not a defense against discipline, a malpractice claim, or other legal proceeding. Information on this page does not modify the rules, statutes, and regulations set by the federal government, state legislature, Washington Supreme Court, or the Bylaws and policies of the WSBA, or confer any additional rights.
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