When a lawyer does not have the mental or physical capacity to practice law, he or she may be transferred to Inactive-Disability Membership. Inactive-Disability membership is defined in the WSBA Bylaws in Article III Sec. A.2. An Inactive-Disability member may not practice law, is not required to pay any license fees, and is not required to meet MCLE requirements.
The determination of incapacity to practice law is set forth in Title 8 of the Rules for the Enforcement of Lawyer Conduct (ELC). A lawyer can be determined to be incapable of practicing law as follows:
If you know of an order involving a lawyer under item 3 above, please provide that information to WSBA Membership Changes (firstname.lastname@example.org).
In most cases the transfer to inactive-disability is automatic after entry of an appropriate order under items 2 and 3 above. The only voluntary transfer to inactive-disability is through a stipulation with the WSBA under item 1.
If you have concerns about the capacity of another lawyer to practice law, there are several options available as resources for you and the other lawyer.
If you are interested in voluntarily seeking inactive-disability membership, please complete a Request for Stipulation to Inactive-Disability Form. Medical records and supporting documentation are required. Submit the completed form and supporting documentation to Membership Changes, Washington State Bar Association, 1325 4th Ave Ste 600, Seattle, WA 98101 or by email to email@example.com.
The Association will review your Request for Stipulation to Inactive-Disability Membership form and supporting materials. Additional materials or information may be requested of you. Although not a disciplinary matter, the Office of Disciplinary Counsel prepares the stipulation. After you and disciplinary counsel sign the stipulation, it will be presented to the Disciplinary Board for review.
A lawyer transferred to Inactive-Disability must petition the Disciplinary Board for transfer to Active membership and has the burden of showing that the disability has been removed. See ELC 8.8. In addition, the lawyer must meet the same requirements of Inactive-Lawyer members returning to Active membership. Those requirements are set forth in the WSBA Bylaws and are available on the To Active From Inactive pages of the WSBA website.
FAQs for stipulating to Inactive-Disability membership.
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