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 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 may request an advisory opinion from the CPE by submitting a request to the staff liaison or the chair. If the request is taken up 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 potential amendments to the RPC. 

Advisory Opinions

In July 2017, the CPE issued an advisory opinion addressing the disclosure of confidential client information in the context of a motion to withdraw in Washington Superior Court. Read Advisory Opinion 201701

The CPE is a reviewing Advisory Opinion 2223 about the ethical ability of lawyer-mediators to prepare legal documents for unrepresented parties.  A special public meeting was held on May 9, 2017, by the reviewing subcommittee to hear comments from stakeholders. Watch the webcast. The recording begins at minute 4:41. Attendees were also asked to comment on a list of issues. The comment period ended May 31, 2017. 

In October 2016, the CPE issued Advisory Opinion 201601 regarding the ethical considerations of a Virtual Law Office. Increasing costs of doing business, including the costs associated with physical office space, have motivated lawyers to rethink how they deliver legal services. Read more

Past advisory opinions can be found on the Ethics Advisory Opinions database.

Amendments to the Rules of Professional Conduct

On June 2, 2016, the Washington Supreme Court adopted amendments to the Rules of Professional Conduct, effective Sept. 1, 2016. The amendments were in response to the ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20 revisions to the Model Rules of Professional Conduct. See Supreme Court order.

Committee Meetings

All meetings are held at the WSBA offices at 1325 Fourth Ave., Suite 600, Seattle. Meetings are held from 10 a.m.–3 p.m. unless otherwise noted.

  • Oct. 20, 2017  Agenda
  • Dec. 15, 2017   
  • Feb. 9, 2018
  • April 20, 2018 
  • June 23, 2018 
  • Aug. 24, 2018  

Meeting Minutes

 For past minutes, see archives.

 

Contact Us

Contact the staff liaison or the committee chair to submit an ethics inquiry or for further information.

For public comments regarding the committee's ongoing work, please submit them to WSBACPE@wsba.org.

 

About Advisory Opinions

Volunteer Toolbox

The tools and resources you need to serve your community and your profession.