Non-Lawyer Volunteer Opportunities

Community Representatives Sought for Law-Related Boards and Council - DEADLINE March 21, 2014

The Washington State Bar Association seeks members of the public to serve on boards and one council for terms beginning October 1, 2014. Serving on a WSBA board or council is an excellent opportunity to get an insider’s view on how the practice of law is regulated in Washington State.

The WSBA appoints (or, in some cases, recommends to the state Supreme Court) Community Representatives to the following boards:  

The Character and Fitness Board deals with matters of character and fitness bearing on qualifications of applicants for admission to practice law in Washington. The Board conducts hearings on the admission of any applicant referred to it for hearing, considers petitions for reinstatement after disbarment, and makes recommendations to the Board of Governors and Supreme Court regarding admission and reinstatement. Hearings generally are held every month. Three of the 14-16 members of the Board are not lawyers. Appointment is for a three-year term.

The Council on Public Defense addresses concerns about the quality of indigent defense services in Washington State. Appointment is for a one-year term.

The Disciplinary Board reviews lawyer discipline decisions. It is made up of four review committees; each committee has two lawyer members and one non-lawyer member. One committee meets each month to review requests for public hearing, admonitions, interim suspensions and other matters. The board meets six times a year as a full board. Two positions are available; appointment is for a three-year term.

The Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection Board compensates clients who have suffered a direct financial loss caused by the dishonest conduct of a lawyer in connection with the practice of law. The Fund is funded by an annual assessment of members of the WSBA by order of the Washington State Supreme Court. Appointment is for a three-year term.

The Limited License Legal Technician Board authorizes non-attorneys who meet certain educational requirements to advise and assist clients on specific areas of law. Licensing of LLLTs will begin in early 2015. Appointment is for a three-year term.

The Limited Practice Board oversees administration of, and compliance with, the Limited Practice Rule (APR 12) authorizing certain lay persons to select, prepare, and complete legal documents pertaining to the closing of real-estate and personal property transactions. The Board is responsible for the certification and regulation of limited practice officers (LPOs). Term begins January 1, 2015. Appointment is for a four-year term.

Practice of Law Board investigates complaints about the unauthorized practice of law including nonlawyers advertising legal services, nonlawyers pretending to be lawyers, unsupervised paralegals offering legal services, and out-of-state lawyers representing Washington residents when not authorized.  Appointment is for a three-year term.

 

Applications are also being accepted for other boards which may have openings during the coming year. 

Most appointments are for positions beginning in the fall of 2014, but openings may occur during the following year. If you would like to be considered for any of these openings, please complete the application below and submit it as directed on the form.  The application deadline is March 21, 2014.  Previous applicants should re-apply as applications expire after one year.

For further information about each board, contact the staff liaison listed on the web page linked to above. If you have questions about the application process, email barleaders@wsba.org.  

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