Learn About the Discipline System

In Washington, the Supreme Court has exclusive responsibility for the lawyer discipline and disability system. Under the Rules for Enforcement of Lawyer Conduct, the Supreme Court delegates some of its authority to the Washington State Bar Association through the Disciplinary Board, hearing officers, and the Office of Disciplinary Counsel. Ethics rules adopted by the Supreme Court are the Rules of Professional Conduct. For information on discipline for limited practice officers and limited license legal technicians, see the 2016 Discipline System Annual Report.

Structure of the Washington Lawyer Discipline System

State Supreme Court: Has exclusive authority over the entire system, conducts appellate review, and orders all suspensions and disbarments, interim suspensions, and reciprocal discipline

Disciplinary Board: Reviews disciplinary recommendations and dismissals and reviews hearing records and stipulations

Hearing Officers: Conduct public disciplinary hearings and other proceedings

Office of Disciplinary Counsel: Receives, reviews, and may investigate grievances; recommends disciplinary action or dismissal; presents cases at hearings

Resource Links

Rules for Enforcement of Lawyer Conduct (ELC) – Procedures for the lawyer discipline system

Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC) – Standards of ethical conduct for lawyers

Advisory Opinions – Opinions issued by the Committee on Professional Ethics

Discipline Notices – Search for disciplinary actions against lawyers

Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection – For clients who suffer financial loss by lawyer dishonesty

IOLTA & Client Trust Accounts – For rules about maintaining a trust account and random examinations

Limited Practice Officers (LPO)

Limited License Legal Technicians (LLLT)

Annual Reports

Information and statistics about the lawyer discipline system

2016 Discipline System Annual Report

2015 Discipline System Annual Report

2015 NW Lawyer Annual Report Snapshot

2014 Discipline System Annual Report

2014 NW Lawyer Annual Report Snapshot 

Concerns About a Lawyer

Information about filing a grievance

Resources for Lawyers

Order a Disciplinary History Certificate; respond to a grievance