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.

Public Comment on Advisory Opinion 2223

The CPE subcommittee reviewing the opinion held a special meeting on May 9, 2017, to hear public comments. For those who missed it, watch the recorded webcast here. The recording begins at minute 4:41. In addition to the opinion, the subcommittee asked attendees to comment on a list of issues. The comment period closed on May 31, 2017. 

Advisory Opinion 2223 concerns:

(1) Whether a lawyer who is acting as a neutral mediator pursuant to RPC 2.4 may prepare a Property Settlement Agreement, Order of Child Support, or Parenting Plan for unrepresented parties; and

(2) Whether a lawyer may be retained as a neutral mediator solely for the purpose of preparing a Property Settlement, Order of Child Support, and/or Parenting Plan for unrepresented parties, after agreements between the parties on the substance were reached with the assistance of a non-lawyer mediator.

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.

In 2013, at the request of the Board of Governors (BOG), the CPE reviewed the Ethics 20/20 revisions. The BOG approved the committee's recommendations in September 2015, and the Court published the suggested rule amendments in November 2015 for a six-month comment period. 

Advisory Opinions

On Oct. 28, 2016, the CPE adopted 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.

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. 28, 2016 
  • Dec. 9, 2016   
  • Feb. 10, 2017
  • April 21, 2017 
  • June 23, 2017 
  • Aug. 25, 2017

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.

 

 

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