Professional Support, Member Benefits, and High Standards Set Washington Apart in Practice of Law

In order to sustain the services that our members expect and maintain prudent reserves, license fees – the Bar’s main source of revenue – must increase, starting in 2018. Your license fee supports regulatory and professional programs and services and operations of the Bar. This license not only allows you to practice law in Washington, it also gives you access to important services and useful benefits. After listening to our members and working with our volunteers over the last several years, we have built an even stronger and more robust legal community in Washington.  

Here are some of the programs we have added or enhanced to better serve our members and the citizens of our state:

  • Professional Ethics Line: About 3,000 of our members receive free advice on ethical dilemmas each year.
  • Casemaker: This legal research tool is available to all members free of any additional charge. Last year, more than 10,000 of our members saved money using it.
  • CLEs: You can meet your CLE credit requirements at little or no extra cost by taking advantage of the free, monthly Legal Lunchbox CLEs. Last year, more than 15,000 of you attended a Legal Lunchbox seminar.
  • Sections: WSBA staff members support 28 sections, providing with educational, networking and leadership opportunities. More than 10,000 of you participate in our sections.
  • New Lawyer Education: The Bar offers free and low-cost CLEs to our members in their first five years of practice. Last year, more than 800 new and young lawyers attended free or low-cost seminars, received mentoring, and participated in leadership opportunities.
  • Public service programs: More than 2,500 of you have participated in public service programs, helping over 600 people through Moderate Means and the Call to Duty Day of Service programs.
  • Practice management support: Our Law Office Management Assistance Program (LOMAP) provides ongoing professional support and resources for members at every career level, whether they're just starting out, transitioning their practice, or winding their practice down.
  • Lawyer assistance: Our Lawyers Assistance Program (LAP) promotes the health and well-being of members by offering a variety of support and resources.

Over the next few months, we want to hear more from you about the services you value as a professional practicing in Washington. We will be sharing information on opportunities for you to share your thoughts and engage with the Board of Governors and the WSBA executive management team. Please watch this page for details. 

For more information on the WSBA’s fiscal year 2017 budget process, see the WSBA Treasurer’s Reports

Please send questions and comments to questions@wsba.org.



Let's Talk License Fees

This online chat with WSBA President Robin Haynes and Executive Director Paula Littlewood took place on Dec. 14, 2016.


  Let's Talk License Fees (12/14/2016) 
11:28
Welcome to today's online chat with WSBA President Robin Haynes and Executive Director Paula Littlewood. Please feel free to post your questions. We'll begin answering them shortly.
Wednesday December 14, 2016 11:28 
11:59
Welcome, Everyone! We look forward to hearing from you. I am the current WSBA President, and I'm happy to hear from you. The goal of today's chat is to hear from members about the recent license fee petition(s) that is circulating, and other topics of interest. Our goal is to listen primarily today. Thanks for taking time to log in today.
Wednesday December 14, 2016 11:59 
12:01
[Comment From NickNick: ] 
Why does 1/3 of the General Budget go to Discipline ($5.6M / $16.89M)? Is that consistent with what historically has been spent on lawyer discipline? Is that an appropriate amount? Why are good lawyers paying to discipline bad ones?
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:01 Nick
12:03
[Comment From Anne-Marie MarraAnne-Marie Marra: ] 
I'm interested in learning if you've explored moving towards an income-based fee model, rather than the current assumption that once an attorney has been licensed for more than a few years that their income is stable and the license fees seem easily affordable. Or perhaps a separate pricing structure for those whose firm pays their fees and for small or solo-practitioners who cover their own license fees out of pocket.
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:03 Anne-Marie Marra
 
Thanks so much for the question regarding differentiated license fees. We do that currently for new lawyers and also provide payment plans for paying one's license fees. The Board has discussed differentiated license fees several times over the years and will continue to. The reduced revenue will of course have implications for programming, so we look forward to hearing from you and others as to which programs are most vital for your professional support.
  paulal
12:04
The numbers have been consistent since the 1990s, and the ABA even provided feedback on our system at that time, when the Court and ABA found the system to be underfunded and understaffed. The Supreme Court has tasked the bar to handle discipline as a mandatory function. Part of the WSBA's mission is to serve the public, and discipline is part of that. We have recently streamlined the discipline process to go online, which saves time and money. As professionals, we members are all tasked to support the profession.
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:04 
12:05
[Comment From AyannaAyanna: ] 
I would like to express concern about the increasing costs as a state employed attorney. Contrary to popular belief, my agency does not cover bar dues for its attorneys. Many other agencies do not as well. Since we are not part of a private bar, we don't get to decide how much take home pay we get. While it is only once per year, the increase in dues means an increase of expense for our household while the income never changes. Not only that, but some of us still have to go out and get our own CLEs. If CLEs can be offered at a discount for public sector attorneys, why can't bar dues? The NW lawyer caters mainly to the private bar anyway. With such little coverage for those of us in the public sector, seems to me that forcing us to pay the same amount INCLUDING IOLTA costs is grossly unfair. Please consider a lesser amount for public sector, regardless of what the fee will be moving forward. Thank you
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:05 Ayanna
 
The WSBA is cognizant of the different needs for our public sector employees. The WSBA has worked to provide Legal Lunchbox CLEs, which are monthly and free. If you attend all of them online, you'd get all of your credits for a year. We also offer CLE credits for things like mentoring and pro bono service. We also have free public service CLEs. We are always looking for new NW Lawyer content.
  rovbinh
12:09
[Comment From DanielleDanielle: ] 
Is there a reason for the drastic $64 jump in between 2017 and 2018? This is a large jump for New Lawyers and newer lawyers to stomach. Couldn't it be phased in gradually (perhaps 15-20 per year)? New lawyers, solos, and small firms can't keep up with the large annual jumps.
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:09 Danielle
 
Yes, the increase is larger in that second year. We kept the fee at $325 for three years, then $385 for two years. We anticipate that after that larger jump between 2017 and 2018 the fees will stay at a more consistent level again. As mentioned above, please be aware we have a payment plan to assist members in paying their fee each year.
  paulal
12:10
[Comment From EvanEvan: ] 
Seems pretty straightforward. The members have repeatedly spoken, already once striking down a fee increase. Now history repeats. WSBA does not listen to what the members want. The members do not want to pay increased fees. Will that necessarily mean cost reduction, service reduction or elimination, and other changes? Absolutely. But refusing to acknowledge that the membership does not want increased fees is exactly why there is now (for the second time in recent years) a petition circulating.
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:10 Evan
 
Thank you for your comments and for participating today.
  rovbinh
12:12
[Comment From DanielleDanielle: ] 
Given the high cost of commercial rent in downtown Seattle, would the Bar consider moving its headquarters to a suitable location outside the downtown core? I understand that the biggest cluster of the membership is in Seattle, but wouldn't it be more cost effective and a better use of member dues to have cheaper office space? This is also a discouraging factor to attending CLE's in person (and thereby foregoing in person interaction with fellow attorneys), because parking downtown is so expensive.
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:12 Danielle
 
The Board considered accessibility as well as cost when it renewed the WSBA lease in Seattle. Over 60% of our volunteers work in the Seattle metro area. Seattle is also easier to get to for those who work in other parts of the State (airport, train station, etc.). We looked north, south and east of downtown Seattle and found that the rental rates were not so different than the below market rate we negotiated to stay at our present location – currently $29/SF. We also reduced space by 7,700 square feet, including shutting down the WSBA Conference Center. In all, WSBA will save more than $3 million over the life of our lease compared to our next best alternative ($34/SF).
  paulal
12:13
[Comment From A fedA fed: ] 
My longtime concern is that public sector attorneys - generally lower paid - get much less value from the services that the Bar provides and pays for from our Bar dues. In particular, paying into the Lawyers' Fund for Client Protection - while it is a good purpose - subsidizes misconduct that there is zero chance they will ever contribute to, since government agency clients will never file claims. Perhaps the solution is to at least exempt public attorneys from the fund, or more broadly move to a licensing/discipline and separate trade association model like New York's.
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:13 A fed
 
The Lawyers Fund for Client Protection is intended not to cover malpractice by lawyers, but as some recompense from the profession as a whole to individuals injured by dishonest lawyers. It is seen as a cost of being a part of the profession.
  noelb
12:14
[Comment From ReneeRenee: ] 
I'm interested in finding out what exactly the Bar Association is required by law to do. We reference our mission statement of serving the public, but what exactly does that mean? Is there a breakdown somewhere of the actual cost of required WSBA functions compared to other, non-mandatory expenses?
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:14 Renee
 
GR 12, the APRs, and other court rules are what the Bar is required to do. It's about 58% regulatory functions, as required by the Court (discipline, admissions, etc.). The balance is professional association functions and the costs of doing them. The WSBA's mission is to serve the public and its members. Part of serving the public is discipline and ensuring competent and qualified legal professionals. It's also providing public services like moderate means and our pro bono - public service work.
  rovbinh
12:16
[Comment From ReaRea: ] 
I agree with A fed. We need to strip the WSBA down to just licensing and discipline - everything else needs to be a voluntary group. We should not be supporting optional programs, support etc.
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:16 Rea
12:17
[Comment From GlenGlen: ] 
If you were a client, I would advise you not waste time fighting the referendum, its going to happen year after year after year. Just get used to dealing with doing less, honestly I have never clicked on 1/10 of the stuff on your website. Reduce and save!
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:17 Glen
12:18
[Comment From A fedA fed: ] 
"The Lawyers Fund for Client Protection is intended not to cover malpractice by lawyers, but as some recompense from the profession as a whole to individuals injured by dishonest lawyers. It is seen as a cost of being a part of the profession."
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:18 A fed
12:19
[Comment From RobertaRoberta: ] 
What are the services I am getting from WSBA other than discipline?
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:19 Roberta
 
Your license fee gives you the right to practice law. Among the member services are Legal Lunchbox free CLEs, Casemaker (free legal research), practice area sections, the Ethics Hotline and others. The Legal Lunchbox CLEs alone--if you attend them all--would get you all of your required CLEs for a year, for free.
  rovbinh
12:19
[Comment From LisaLisa: ] 
Just wondering if anyone has access to and can share the petition(s) to reduce bar dues. I keep hearing about them - but haven't actually been able to review the reasons behind the petition(s).
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:19 Lisa
12:20
[Comment From EvanEvan: ] 
Re: cost of being part of the profession. I'm not required to pay for auto insurance if I don't drive. Why must lawyers who do not practice contribute to the LFCP if they do not contribute to the risk associated with practice (i.e. injured clients). Non-practicing lawyers have no clients, just as non-automobile owning persons do not have cars nor the attendant auto insurance.
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:20 Evan
 
Good point. Non-practicing lawyers always have the option to transfer to inactive status and they are not required to pay the LFCP fee.
  paulal
12:20
[Comment From QwertyQwerty: ] 
I agree with "Comments from Lisa" I have not rec'd anything from the petition people.
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:20 Qwerty
12:20
[Comment From bpbp: ] 
In talking with lawyers in different practice settings and locations,it is my understanding that lawyers do not want, need, or benefit from all the current services the WSBA offers. It is not that lawyers do not understand the services offered. We understand them and do not want them. We want lower fees and less services.
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:20 bp
12:21
[Comment From A fedA fed: ] 
"The Lawyers Fund for Client Protection is . . . seen as a cost of being a part of the profession." I understand, but I give at the office.
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:21 A fed
12:21
[Comment From Has there been discussions about moving away from an integrated bar instead of requiring members to belong to the Association? Those who want the extra services can voluntarily pay for them.Has there been discussions about moving away from an integrated bar instead of requiring members to belong to the Association? Those who want the extra services can voluntarily pay for them.: ] 
MD does that. You have to pay the client protection fund but are not required to join the Maryland State Bar Association.
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:21 Has there been discussions about moving away from an integrated bar instead of requiring members to belong to the Association? Those who want the extra services can voluntarily pay for them.
12:21
[Comment From EvanEvan: ] 
Roberta: you are getting services that you may or may not want, but are forced to pay for because WSBA does not listen to the majority of its members concerning increased fees.
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:21 Evan
12:22
[Comment From Id like to suggest the Bar consider a slightly more helpful hardship policy. When hardship strikes, it can easily last more than one year for most people. Allowing just one hardship forgiveness of dues in a lifetime should be expanded to perhaps 3 - 5 tId like to suggest the Bar consider a slightly more helpful hardship policy. When hardship strikes, it can easily last more than one year for most people. Allowing just one hardship forgiveness of dues in a lifetime should be expanded to perhaps 3 - 5 t: ] 
I'd like to suggest the Bar consider a slightly more helpful hardship policy. When hardship strikes, it can easily last more than one year for most people. Allowing just one hardship forgiveness of dues in a lifetime should be expanded to perhaps 3 - 5 times, with affidavits required attesting to the lawyer's income for the year. Income from work and from assets (e.g., rental income, dividends, annuity payments) should be counted but not use of savings. And second, a sliding scale for low income lawyers -- perhaps 1/2 dues for incomes under $35k, 3/4 dues for $35k - $45k, and full dues for higher.
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:22 Id like to suggest the Bar consider a slightly more helpful hardship policy. When hardship strikes, it can easily last more than one year for most people. Allowing just one hardship forgiveness of dues in a lifetime should be expanded to perhaps 3 - 5 t
 
Thank you for the suggestion. The Board will be taking all of the comments into consideration.
  noelb
12:23
[Comment From GlenGlen: ] 
tsrevathi0@gmail.com Here is the email of the Petitioner
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:23 Glen
12:24
[Comment From BethBeth: ] 
I think that part of the problem is a failure to understand the changing diverse nature of the bar membership. I'm talking in part about the growing number of incoming new lawyers with well over $100,000 in student debt. I graduated in 2005 with $114,000 in debt and work in a government agency where my bar dues are not covered and, if I can justify it, occasionally I can get my CLEs covered. As a whole, there are a growing number of lawyers in public services jobs (AAGs, public defenders, prosecutors, government employees) and small firms serving rural communities with a smaller client base versus the presumption that we are all Seattle lawyers with no school debt making 6 figure salaries. Most loan repayment programs don't help if you're not in private practice and earning virtually no income at all.
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:24 Beth
 
I served on the WYLD/WYLC before joining the Board, so I appreciate that. We offer reduced license fees for the first two years, low cost New Lawyer Ed CLEs (NLEs), the free Legal Lunchbox, CLE credits for being mentored, among other things. Our Young Lawyer's committee is also working on other ways for young lawyers to handle debt loads.
  rovbinh
12:24
[Comment From QwertyQwerty: ] 
The WSBA is fine, but seems to be tone-deaf. Maybe attorneys are just unhappy people. Being a lawyer is cool, and it is a challenging profession. I wish there was better relatinships between the WSBA, the Board and the members all over - especially "not seattle". I'd like more in-person CLEs at locations around the state.
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:24 Qwerty
 
Great! That is why we are creating more opportunities for WSBA and members to engage with each other. I'm also proud to be a lawyer! Please let us know what other ideas you have for enhancing WSBA and member engagement.
  paulal
12:25
[Comment From TrentTrent: ] 
You asked what services members are most interested in. My answer: the monthly magazine (its nice); and the unavoidable disciplinary obligations. That's it. Perhaps there should be a "WSBA+" option that entitles those interested to access additional resources.
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:25 Trent
12:25
[Comment From EvanEvan: ] 
Well said, agreed, bp. We understand what the services are and would prefer lower fees in exchange for more services. WSBA does not want to acknowledge this.
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:25 Evan
12:26
[Comment From MontyMonty: ] 
I agree with a fed's and Rea's comments. Nearly everything the Bar touts as improvements over the past few years as justifying the increase in dues are outside of the mandatory functions of the Bar. Many of us are charged mandatory dues that a significant portion goes to programs that may be socially acceptable but have little or no connection with those mandatory functions. The Keller deduction is a farce at 3 bucks and change when the real lobbying efforts of the Bar are in the non-mandated activities.
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:26 Monty
 
Even if some members don't use things like the ethics line, they benefit the profession as a whole and the public, which is part of the WSBA's mission of ensuring competent and qualified professionals.
  rovbinh
The Keller deduction is figured using existing legal requirements, It is determined as a percentage of the legislative budget. The process for calculating is posted on the WSBA website.
  noelb
12:27
[Comment From JohnJohn: ] 
As a mandatory bar, I think the comments from 'A fed' and 'Rea' are on point - justifying the increasing license fees by pointing at all of the programs the WSBA has to "better serve our members and the citizens of our state" seems off base. Licensing fees should be pared down to be the absolute minimum required to regulate, administrate, and discipline the bar. The practice sections, casemaker, ethics line, sections, Lunchbox CLEs...those costs should be portioned out to those who desire and participate or use those resources. Attorneys who don't use and don't want to use these services should not be required to, through mandatory WSBA licensing fees, subsidize and pay for services the WSBA forces upon us.
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:27 John
 
Even if some members don't use things like the ethics line, they benefit the profession as a whole and the public, which is part of the WSBA's mission of ensuring competent and qualified professionals.
  rovbinh
12:27
[Comment From A fedA fed: ] 
"lower fees . . . fewer services" Correct, and ties to the point about public sector attorneys. Many agencies do in-house CLE's, provide Westlaw, etc. So services like CLE's and Casemaker are not of value. I have used the Ethics Line once, and appreciated that resource; arguably that is compliance assistance connected to licensing and discipline. I think a further hard look, as others are suggesting, at what is required and what is not required that the Bar do could go a long way.
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:27 A fed
12:28
[Comment From Has there been discussions about moving away from an integrated bar instead of requiring members to belong to the Association? Those who want the extra services can voluntarily pay for them.Has there been discussions about moving away from an integrated bar instead of requiring members to belong to the Association? Those who want the extra services can voluntarily pay for them.: ] 
When will the WSBA make the petition available for us to review?
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:28 Has there been discussions about moving away from an integrated bar instead of requiring members to belong to the Association? Those who want the extra services can voluntarily pay for them.
 
If and when we receive the requisite number of valid signatures on a petition we will notify the membership of what the referendum vote will be on and what date the election will be.
  paulal
12:30
[Comment From BethBeth: ] 
I do appreciate that the bar has made some strides to make CLEs easier for not Seattle folks - webinars, removing the "live" attendance mandate, etc. However, many "benefits" still seem focused on Seattle. When I was still considered part of the "young lawyers" section/group, all the emails were for networking and other activities in Seattle at 5 pm on a work day. Even if you're on the west side of the state, that's asking the impossible.
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:30 Beth
 
I live in Spokane, so as young lawyer, I felt left out of Seattle. The young lawyer committee works on providing events from all over the state. I don't know where you live, but there are regional reps on the committee serving the whole state. Our practice area sections also provide events all over the state. Contact me for more information.
  rovbinh
12:31
[Comment From GlenGlen: ] 
WSBA LICENSE FEE ROLLBACK PETITION PROPOSITION: "The increases in annual license fees voted by the Board of Governors for the years 2018 to 2020 are hereby rejected. The fee amount for a given year shall not be increased by a greater percentage than the consumer price index(CPI) shall have increased during the calendar year ending 12 months previous to the effective date of the increase. The consumer price index shall be as defined as the Seatte Area CPI for all Urban Consumers (CPI-U), issued by the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics. " The undersigned members of the WSBA hereby petition that the above proposition be submitted for vote in a membership referendum. Name Signature Bar # _________________________ _________________________ _____________ _________________________ _________________________ _____________ _________________________ _________________________ _____________ _________________________ _________________________ _____________ _________________________ _________________________ _____________ Return to: WSBA Petition, BOX 534 4320 196th SW #B Lynnwood, WA 98036-6754 FAX: 206-717-7073 Or, email scanned PDF to wsbapetition@gmail.com Notes: 1. Background information on recent WSBA activities is posted at legalez.com. 2. Want off distribution list? Send email with phrase “Delete From List” to wsbapetition@gmail.com 3. Questions, comments may be sent to wsbapetition@gmail.com
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:31 Glen
12:32
[Comment From bpbp: ] 
Has the WSBA ever conducted a comprehensive survey of its members about what services the members want and what proportion of members actually use the services currently offered?
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:32 bp
 
Yes indeed. We track the usage for all of our programs and use that information in the budgeting process as the Board decides which programs to continue, enhance, or eliminate. We are looking forward today to hearing which services you value or not. On the Listening Tour each year we hear great feedback about Casemaker, the Ethics Line, webcasting of CLEs and the Legal Lunch Box Series. Please let us know what you value!
  paulal
12:33
[Comment From GlenGlen: ] 
Casemaker is useful.
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:33 Glen
12:34
[Comment From TrentTrent: ] 
As a government employee, the cost is something of a concern. But the bigger concern is the appearance the WSBA simply does not care about what its membership wants. The last petition dropped the fees to $325, and now six years or so years later they are up something like 30%, with further rather large increases coming soon. I think if you laid out the annual dues from 2011 to 2018, the issue would be staring you in the face. It's obvious you've rejected what the membership told you a few years ago, and are boldly throwing it aside.
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:34 Trent
 
The license fees were dropped to $325 from $450 in 2012. The last time the license fees were at $325 was 2002 (16 years ago). So, the 2018 rate will actually be $1 less than the 2012 rate pre-referendum.
  rovbinh
12:34
[Comment From GlenGlen: ] 
Lunch box cles are useful. Casemaker is useful. I could live without either, but I do get tangible benefit from both those programs, thanks!
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:34 Glen
 
Thanks, Glen!
  rovbinh
12:36
[Comment From ReaRea: ] 
I am concerned over the high price rent that for the majority of non-Seattle lawyers find outrageous. I am also concerned over the money spent on really anything but licensing and discipline. I believe all other expenditures should be by a group that is optional - this is a mandatory bar and we should have a choice whether we want money spent on anything other than licensing and discipline.
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:36 Rea
 
Thanks for your comment. I think we've already responded to this earlier in the chat.
  WSBA Moderator
12:36
[Comment From A fedA fed: ] 
An analogy: we have one restaurant in town, at which we're required to eat, and it's a fancy Vegas all-you-can-eat seafood buffet. That's fine... if you are one of the Seahawks.
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:36 A fed
12:37
[Comment From azertyazerty: ] 
Has the bar done an audit to see if the programs it provides are yielding a corresponding benefit to justify them? Do people use Casemaker, do they come to the free CLE's? This is anecdotal but it always seems like the free CLE's are on some oddball topic, and while free don't provide value, and the ones that are fundamental seem to be $40-75. Look at the free CLE lunch topics and ask if they are relevant to the bar in general. One final note, what effort is the bar making to reach out to rural or even out of state practitioners who don't live and work in Seattle? doesn't seem to offer much.
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:37 azerty
 
All of our committees, boards, and the Board of Governors require composition from throughout the state. I think the main reason we get such positive feedback on the webcasting of CLEs and that the new rules require no live CLE credits is because it supports our rural and out of state members. Sections also work to travel around the state to provide CLEs and other networking opportunities. What other ideas do you suggest? Thanks!
  paulal
12:37
[Comment From EvanEvan: ] 
Yes, license fees are lower than they have been historically. That's what the membership voted for, because that is what the membership wants. When will WSBA honor the wishes of its members? Or do we have to have referendums every 5 years? Because we are now on the second one since 2012. Getting a bit exhausting repeating ourselves.
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:37 Evan
 
Which services would you like to see cut or reduced?
  rovbinh
12:40
[Comment From JohnJohn: ] 
Based on WSBA self reported numbers: A bar of ~35,000 Ethics Line = 3,000 / 35,000 = 8.57% Casemaker = 10,000 / 35,000 = 28.57% CLEs = 15,000 / 35,000 = 42.86% Sections = 10,000 / 35,000 = 28.57% NLE = 800 / 35,000 = 2.28% Public Service Programs = 2,500 / 35,000 = 7.14%
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:40 John
12:40
[Comment From QwertyQwerty: ] 
CPI has been pretty flat over the past few years. That may change. Be careful what you wish for - as the saying goes.
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:40 Qwerty
12:40
[Comment From "Payment Plan""Payment Plan": ] 
You reference that members can pay their fees by "payment plan" if they choose, but this only spreads the cost out to three payments over three months in the same quarter, and adds a processing fee. How does this help affordability of license fees? If the payment plan was a quarterly payment, that might be better than paying one amount over three consecutive months.
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:40 "Payment Plan"
 
Great point. If we reduce license fees, please let us know which services we should curtail?
  paulal
12:40
[Comment From JohnJohn: ] 
Based on WSBA self-reported numbers:
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:40 John
12:41
[Comment From LisaLisa: ] 
RE: Comment from azerty - I second your comment regarding benefits to out of state practitioners. However, I do find it funny that I use the same amount of WSBA resources living out of state as I did while living in Seattle (for ten years).
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:41 Lisa
12:44
[Comment From D.D.: ] 
While the dues will be $1 lower than they were in 2012, that reeks of tokenism. Very few people actually feel like they've climbed out of the recession. The frustration is increasing dues back to their previously high levels. They were hard to swallow in 2012, and they'll still be hard to swallow in 2018.
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:44 D.
12:45
[Comment From ReneeRenee: ] 
I'm not sure focusing on what fees were before the referendum is wise. The referendum showed us all that we thought the fees were too high for what we were getting. WSBA wisely made a bunch of cuts in areas most of us were fine cutting. And yet, even with reduced square footage and cuts in staff, we're back up to the same dues amount from just a few years back? I think once again the WSBA is choosing to fund projects that it is not required to fund. While moderate means and other pro bono projects are laudable, they aren't REQUIRED. Many of us perform pro bono outside of the WSBA programs yet we're paying for those through dues as well.
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:45 Renee
 
The Moderate Means is designed to assist new and transitioning lawyers build their practices, which is part of our mission. It is also partially funded by the Washington State Bar Foundation, which is a stand alone non-profit.
  rovbinh
12:45
[Comment From "Payment Plan""Payment Plan": ] 
Again, you are missing the point. You assume that reducing fees for lower income attorneys will reduce your overall budget and require a reduction of services. You ignore that you would presumably be raising fees for higher income attorneys which would or should make up the difference. I am aware that representation for underprivileged communities tends to be cut first, but also that many "high-end" attorneys never have to think about their license fees. For someone taking home $40k a year, the established fee is 1% of their annual income. For a $120k a year attorney, it
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:45 "Payment Plan"
12:45
[Comment From "Payment Plan""Payment Plan": ] 
's less than 0.3333%.
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:45 "Payment Plan"
12:46
[Comment From EvanEvan: ] 
Which services should be reduced or eliminated? I think several members have spoken to this already today, but to reiterate: all of the non-mandatory functions. Some specific items mentioned include: Legal Lunchbox free CLEs, Casemaker (free legal research), practice area sections, the Ethics Hotline and others.
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:46 Evan
12:47
[Comment From LisaLisa: ] 
I enjoy the monthly magazine. Robin's column has been a must read for me for the last few months. (Good stuff there!) I enjoy the lunchbox CLEs, although I don't participate every month. Although I like the idea of joining a section, the additional $25 to do so makes it less appealing.
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:47 Lisa
 
Thank you!
  rovbinh
12:48
[Comment From WJBWJB: ] 
Could we see a pie chart showing where the money goes and the percentage of each major expenditure?
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:48 WJB
 
For more detailed financial information, click here: http://www.wsba.org/About-W...
  TerraNevitt
12:48
[Comment From BethBeth: ] 
I agree with D. The last time we had a referendum, the WSBA repeatedly told us about how much they would have to cut back which I'm sure those of us in public sector didn't feel much sympathy for since we were still in a recession and worried about having a job period. While things are a little better, many public sector workers are still doing more with less at work and at home.
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:48 Beth
12:49
[Comment From A fedA fed: ] 
Another issue: some proportion of what is provided by WSBA is also provided by active local or affinity bars that are non-mandatory. We could well end up with a stronger profession overall if WSBA split into licensing/discipline and a statewide affinity/trade association, and members selected to join it or perhaps instead chose to spend money to join local and affinity bars.
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:49 A fed
12:50
[Comment From GlenGlen: ] 
Just went to your website, and looked for programs a member could do without. Here is my list of what to consider cutting: NW Lawyer, NW Sidebar, Career Center, LPO, WSBA Section, and the entire bottom list, (save essential functions such as discipline and membership).
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:50 Glen
 
Great -- thanks. Please note that LPO is Limited Practice Officers, a limited license codified in Admission and Practice Rule 12 so it is a mandated function.
  paulal
12:50
[Comment From JohnJohn: ] 
All non necessary fees should be cut. Forcing 100% of the WSBA members to pay for services that are only used by 2.28%--->42.86% of members obviously leaves the majority of members unsettled. Make all non-mandatory functions of the bar opt-in sections and fund it from within so those who don't want to use the services aren't forced to pay for them. Lawyers who use the CLEs, Sections, Casemaker etc. can pay for those services separately from the WSBA licensing fee.
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:50 John
12:52
[Comment From A fedA fed: ] 
Unless printing the magazine makes money from ads, I would move the magazine online. Politically, the Ethics Line would be hard to kill and as I mentioned below, is justifiable as compliance assistance w/r/t the discipline function.
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:52 A fed
 
Thanks for your input. NWLawyer ad sales cover all direct costs of the magazine and two thirds of indirect costs. And, NWLawyer is published online.
  WSBA Moderator
12:52
[Comment From azertyazerty: ] 
Lisa- you are probably right, I am complaining about being out of state but wouldn't use the resources if I lived next to the bar. John- those numbers are highly suspect - If I asked 10 practitioners I know if they have used casemaker I would be shocked if more than 3 knew what it was and more shocked if more than one used it. From my dealings with the WSBA and another state bar association I have seen a ton of waste inside the young lawyers group which benefits about 20-60 of the same attorneys who come to every event and eat and drink well on the WSBA dime at the many many socials they hold or pay for the YLD to go to ABA events full freight. My earlier comments were a product of the waste I have witnessed in YLD when the money would be better spent supporting young lawyers forced to hang a shingle without the benefit of working with other attorneys.
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:52 azerty
 
The structure of the WYLD changed to a committee in 2012. The new and young lawyers programming changed significantly, which includes work on debt loads, job resources, and building practices. They do not receive full funding ABA attendance anymore, and they are never reimbursed for alcohol.
  rovbinh
12:52
[Comment From A fedA fed: ] 
$5.6 mil on discipline / 35000 members = $160. That is fairly comparable to the per year cost for NY.
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:52 A fed
12:53
[Comment From RobertaRoberta: ] 
We are a self regulating profession and I think we have a duty to all of our members and the public to support each other by education, services and I am happy to be part of that. Other professions pay more. I think $37 per month is really reasonable.
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:53 Roberta
12:53
[Comment From EvanEvan: ] 
Concur with Glen. Membership and discipline are essential. All else is subject to funding - meaning do NOT increase licensing fees to pay for discretionary functions.
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:53 Evan
12:54
[Comment From GlenGlen: ] 
tsrevathi0@gmail.com
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:54 Glen
12:54
[Comment From QwertyQwerty: ] 
I concur w/ Roberta's comments re: self-reg. profession.
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:54 Qwerty
12:56
[Comment From QwertyQwerty: ] 
And, NWLawyer is good and improved from the "Bar News" days. (Just wish we'd have the disc. notices printed again)
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:56 Qwerty
12:56
[Comment From GlenGlen: ] 
I do wish to thank you for a considered approach, whatever you decide.
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:56 Glen
12:58
[Comment From DanDan: ] 
Casemaker is excellent and should not be eliminated.
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:58 Dan
12:59
[Comment From FredFred: ] 
I agree with many of the comments below, and find the references to the new/established pricing to be a bit disingenuous for those of us who graduated from 2006-2011, or who changed careers during that period. For years most of us were told to volunteer or accept non-legal day jobs because the job situation would turn around "any moment now" while the only positions posted were for legal support staff or required 3-5 years of experience. Our professional development stalled for five or more years, but now that the industry and economy is recovering, we're expected to pay the same amounts as those who may not have had to pay for their own bar exam or bar study. There is a lot of frustration in this chat that the WSBA is not paying attention to the actual financial situation of many attorneys, because they are not "new" or don't want to use the "once in their lifetime" hardship exemption.
Wednesday December 14, 2016 12:59 Fred
 
I appreciate your situation, and we know the job market has been challenging. We offer networking, LAP, mentoring (and CLE credit for it), and law office management services to help lawyers set up their own practices, among other things. What other services would you like to see offered? There's also a job seeker group.
  rovbinh
1:00
[Comment From ReneeRenee: ] 
I do use Casemaker and often attend Legal Lunchbox. I have a untraditional legal position with no benefits. I pay my own dues and all CLEs. And I donate a lot of my time outside of the programs offered by WSBA.
Wednesday December 14, 2016 1:00 Renee
1:01
[Comment From QwertyQwerty: ] 
Maybe the answer is to split, I participate more with my county bar for the education, socializing etc. Those are the folks that I can refer to, the judges I appear before and so on. My dist. gov. should come to our county functions and get to know us.
Wednesday December 14, 2016 1:01 Qwerty
 
Thanks for the suggestion. We will pass your comments on to the Board of Governors. Also, please feel free to reach out to your district governor at any time.
  noelb
1:02
[Comment From A fedA fed: ] 
A tax point: for employees who do not have business expenses (ie. public sector attorneys, but also non profit and others) and who itemize (ie. everyone who owns a house), the more that can be structured to be funded through donations to the foundation, a 501c3 org, vs through mandatory fees, the better. Charitable donations are deductible from the first dollar, vs. unreimbursed employee business expenses as bar dues are only deductible as Misc Itemized subject to the 2% AGI floor. In short, take from the IRS to fund free CLE's.
Wednesday December 14, 2016 1:02 A fed
1:02
[Comment From EvanEvan: ] 
"What other services would you like to see offered?" None. We want lower fees, not more services.
Wednesday December 14, 2016 1:02 Evan
1:02
[Comment From Has there been discussions about moving away from an integrated bar instead of requiring members to belong to the Association? Those who want the extra services can voluntarily pay for them.Has there been discussions about moving away from an integrated bar instead of requiring members to belong to the Association? Those who want the extra services can voluntarily pay for them.: ] 
Agree with Querty. It should be split.
Wednesday December 14, 2016 1:02 Has there been discussions about moving away from an integrated bar instead of requiring members to belong to the Association? Those who want the extra services can voluntarily pay for them.
1:04
We appreciate all of your comments and feedback, and we take them seriously. We're sorry if we weren't able to get to your question today. We will be having additional member calls this week on this topic, and, as always, you can reach out to me or to your Governor on any issue. Thanks for spending your lunch hour with us.
Wednesday December 14, 2016 1:04 
1:05
The transcript of this online chat will be posted on the wsba.org website next week.
Wednesday December 14, 2016 1:05