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 broader context and provide members with in-depth guidance on the Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC) as applied to a wide variety of practice areas. The CPE also plays a key role in the review and suggestion of potential amendments to the RPCs.

The WSBA Board of Governors authorized the creation of the CPE in May 2013 to succeed the former Rules of Professional Conduct Committee.

New Legal Technician Amendments to the RPC

The Washington Supreme Court adopted the Limited License Legal Technician amendments to the lawyer Rules of Professional Conduct, effective April 14, 2015. The Supreme Court order also directed the Bar to gather comments from members on the Legal Technician amendments. The comment period closed on Nov. 30, 2015, and a summary of the comments have been forwarded to the Court.

View the unofficial version of the amended RPCs (in pdf) published by the WSBA on the Ethics page.

New Comment 18 to RPC 1.2

On Nov. 5, 2014, the Washington Supreme Court meeting en banc adopted new Comment [18] to RPC 1.2, effective Dec. 9, 2014. Under the subheading "Special Circumstances Presented by Washington Initiative 502," the comment addresses the ethical conduct of lawyers who wish to counsel and assist clients involved in marijuana-related business enterprises under a state law passed by voters in 2012 which legalized marijuana.

Prior to adoption of the comment, the Court published the suggested amendment for a 60-day public comment period, which ended Sept. 6, 2014. 

In January 2014, the Committee issued a report and recommendation to the Board of Governors on Initiative 502.

New Advisory Opinions

Washington's New Marijuana Law, I-502, and the Cannabis Patient Protection Act

On June 5, 2015, the Committee issued new Advisory Opinion 201501, addressing lawyer conduct with respect to legalized marijuana under Washington state law.

Process Server Communication with an Opposing Party

On June 26, 2015, the Committee issued Advisory Opinion 201502 regarding a process server's contact with a represented, opposing party.

Lead Generation Services; Social Media Websites

Two new advisory opinions were issued in late December 2014 by the Committee.

Advisory Opinion 201401 addresses advertising, online lead generation services, and contact with potential client leads.

Advisory Opinion 201402 concerns participation on social media websites and responsibility to ensure content on claimed profiles is accurate and conforms with the Rules of Professional Conduct.

Search for additional ethics opinions on the Ethics Advisory Opinions database.

Committee Meetings

All meetings are held at the WSBA offices at 1325 Fourth Ave., Suite 600, Seattle, WA 98101. Meetings are held 10 a.m.–3 p.m.

  • Oct. 16, 2015 - cancelled
  • Dec. 18, 2015 - cancelled
  • Feb. 26, 2016
  • April 22, 2016
  • June 24, 2016
  • Aug. 26, 2016


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