Rule 9 Licensed Legal Interns

Admission and Practice Rule (APR) 9 grants a limited license to law students, APR 6 law clerks, and recent law school graduates to practice law under the supervision of a lawyer who has at least 3 years of active legal experience. APR 9 Licensed Legal Interns gain valuable supervised practice and courtroom experience through law school legal clinics, public and nonprofit programs, and private firms.

On this page:

How To Apply
Receiving Your License
Frequently Asked Questions
Changes to APR 9

Interested in applying? Please read the following before filling out the application.

Important: Effective Jan. 1, 2014, there are several changes to APR 9. Supervisors and future interns should review these changes in the revised rule published on the Washington Courts website. Jump to key changes summarized below.


To be eligible to apply for a Rule 9 Legal Intern License, you must:

  • Possess good moral character and fitness to practice law (APRs 20-24); AND
  • Be enrolled and in good academic standing at an American Bar Association approved law school with two-thirds of three-year program completed or five-eighths of a four-year program completed; OR
  • Be enrolled in the Law Clerk Program and have completed five-eighths of a four-year

You may apply up to nine months after graduation from an ABA-approved law school or after completion of the APR 6 law clerk program.

How to Apply

To apply for a Rule 9 Legal Intern License, please review the information below.

  • Read the application instructions and all questions carefully. You most likely will need to attach additional explanations and addenda. Failure to provide a complete application will result in delays.
  • Complete the APR 9 Licensed Legal Intern Application and include the $50 application fee. Do not include the instructions sheet with your application. Do not print the application double-sided. Do not leave any fields blank.
  • The only applicants exempt from the $50 fee are students enrolled in full-time clinics through their law school that provides free legal services for low-income clients. Externships and other legal aid organizations do not qualify. Applicants who are exempt from the fee will have to pay later if they change their supervision to a non-clinical setting.
  • Do not fax or email the application; original signatures are required for all parts of the application.
  • You may submit an application up to four weeks in advance of the date you will become qualified to be licensed and your supervision begins. Do not submit your application earlier than this date. If you do, your application may be rejected and you may be asked to reapply once your supervision start date is within four weeks. 
  • If you are already licensed, you do not need to re-apply. Please use the Change of Supervision form.

Receiving Your License

The review process for APR 9 Licensed Legal Intern Applications proceeds as follows. From start to finish, this can take two to four weeks. 

NOTE: Failure to provide complete answers with requisite supplementary documentation will result in delays beyond this timeline. Frequent causes for delays include: undisclosed traffic infractions; missing information or relevant documents relating to your answers; sending only photocopies and not the original pages of the application; or other undisclosed criminal or civil matters. 

  1. WSBA receives application and payment. Payment is processed (approximately three to five days).
  2. Application receives initial review by WSBA staff. Applicant is contacted regarding missing items or discrepancies.
  3. If appropriate under factors outlined in APRs 20-24 regarding good moral character and fitness to practice law, applications will be referred to Regulatory Services Counsel for review. More information may be requested from applicant. 
  4. If the application is complete and no further review is required, the application will be forwarded to the Washington Supreme Court for review and approval.
  5. The Supreme Court will return an order granting admission for the applicant to practice as authorized by APR 9. WSBA staff will create an ID card and mail it to the applicant at the address on file for the supervising lawyer. You cannot act as a Rule 9 Licensed Legal Intern until you receive your ID card and your supervision officially begins.

Please be aware that complex character and fitness matters may require additional time for review by counsel, possibly beyond the two-to-four-week timeline outlined above. If you disclose any information on your application that may raise an issue regarding your character and fitness to practice law, submit your application as early as possible, but not earlier than five weeks before your supervision is set to begin. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I do as a Rule 9 Licensed Legal Intern?

Review the Scope of Practice for Licensed Legal Interns in APR 9(e) and (f). Generally, if something is not specifically permitted in APR 9, you should assume that it is not allowed. Questions about scope of practice can also be referred to the court with jurisdiction over the matter.

Note: Effective Jan. 1, 2014, there are changes to the scope of practice for Licensed Legal Interns. Review these changes at the Washington Courts website.

How long does my Rule 9 Legal Intern License last?

The license is valid for 30 months or 18 months after graduation from law school or the APR 6 Law Clerk Program, whichever occurs first. There are no extensions. Passing or failing the bar exam does not affect your Legal Intern license. Only expiration of your limited license, being admitted to the bar officially by order of the Supreme Court or other reasons described in APR 9(h) will terminate your limited license.

If you were licensed prior to changes that took effect Jan. 1, 2014, your license expiration remains at 24 months from the date you were licensed or 12 months after graduation. Review these changes.

How do I change my supervisor, extend my supervision, or add a supervisor?

You may add one additional supervisor (up to two total) or change supervisors while your license is still valid. Please use the Change of Supervision form. If you end your internship or supervision earlier than stated in your application, the lawyer should submit a termination of supervision form. You may not use your license if you do not have a valid supervisor on file with the WSBA or if your supervision end-date has passed.

Changes to APR 9

APR 9 has been revised, effective Jan. 1, 2014. Key changes include the following:

  • APR 9(c)(2): Eligible supervising lawyers must not be disbarred or subject to disciplinary suspension within the previous 10 years, must not have disciplinary proceedings pending or imminent, and must not have any disciplinary sanctions within the previous 3 years.
  • APR 9(d)(9): Licensed Legal Interns may have up to two supervising attorneys in different offices at one time. Both current and new supervising attorneys must be notified by the intern of the application, and both attorneys must approve the addition and certify that such concurrent supervision will not create a conflict of interest for the intern.
  • APR 9(e): Scope of Practice, Prohibitions and Limitations have been revised and clarified.
  • APR 9(f)(1): Supervising lawyers must provide training to their interns regarding the Rules of Professional Conduct and how they relate to the limited practice of the intern.
  • APR 9(f)(6)(b): Supervising lawyers employed by a recognized institution of legal aid, public defense, or similar programs furnishing legal assistance to indigents, or by the legal departments of a state, county, or municipality, may now supervise up to 4 interns.
  • APR 9(f)(6)(c): The eligibility of supervisors in law school clinical courses to supervise up to 10 interns has been clarified.
  • APR 9(f)(7): Supervising lawyers must meet with any Licensed Legal Intern he/she is supervising, in person or by telephone, a minimum of one time per week, to review cases being handled and to provide feedback on performance, to provide additional guidance and instruction, and to answer questions or issues raised by the intern.
  • APR 9(f)(8): Supervising lawyers must inform WSBA staff promptly if circumstances arise that cause the supervising lawyer to have concerns about the good moral character or fitness to practice of a Licensed Legal Intern under their supervision.
  • APR 9(h): The term of the APR 9 limited license has been lengthened to 30 consecutive months or 18 months since the graduation of the Licensed Legal Intern from law school or completion of the APR 6 Law Clerk Program, whichever occurs sooner.

NOTE: Interns licensed prior to Jan. 1, 2014, will still only be licensed for 24 months or 12 months after graduation from law school or the Law Clerk Program, whichever is sooner.

Any discrepancy or conflict between the information provided here and the rules and regulations set by the Washington State Supreme Court, or the bylaws and policies of the Washington State Bar Association, is unintentional and will be resolved in favor of strict compliance with the rules, regulations, bylaws and policies.

APR 9 Licensed Legal Intern Application

Download the application and instructions.