Voluntary Resignation and Readmission

Voluntary Resignation from WSBA Membership

Voluntary resignation may apply in any situation in which a member does not want to continue practicing law in Washington for any reason (including retirement from practice) and for that reason does not want to continue membership in the WSBA. There is, however, no requirement to voluntarily resign when one is not practicing law.

Members may request to voluntarily resign their membership by completing and filing the Voluntary Resignation of Membership Form

If there is a disciplinary investigation or proceeding then pending against the member, or if the member has knowledge that the filing of a grievance of substance against such member is imminent, voluntary resignation is permitted only under the provisions of the Rules for Enforcement of Lawyer Conduct.

Applications to voluntarily resign are generally confirmed within one week of receipt of the application, provided the member is eligible and everything is in order. See WSBA Bylaws Art. III.

During annual licensing renewal, as part of the licensing process, members may voluntarily resign online at www.myWSBA.org. Online voluntary resignations will be effective immediately upon submission.

Once voluntarily resigned, a member may not practice law and must reapply for membership. Members seeking readmission after voluntary resignation must comply with the WSBA Bylaws. 


Readmission After Voluntary Resignation 

Any former member who has voluntarily resigned and who seeks readmission to membership must do so in one of two ways:

  1. If it has been less than 4 years since voluntary resignation, by filing an application for readmission in the form prescribed by the Board of Governors, including a statement detailing the reasons the member voluntarily resigned and the reasons the member is seeking readmission; or,
  2. By seeking Admission by Motion pursuant to APR 3(c) (if the former member is licensed in another jurisdiction that would qualify for reciprocal admission under that rule). You will also need to submit a separate investigation fee directly to the National Council of Bar Examiners (NCBE).

A former member seeking readmission after voluntary resignation must comply with the WSBA Bylaws. In addition, all applications for readmission after voluntary resignation shall be subject to character and fitness review pursuant to the provisions of APR 20–24. The former member shall be responsible for the costs of any investigation, bar examination, or proceeding before the Character and Fitness Board and Board of Governors. The Character and Fitness Board, and (on review) the Board of Governors, have broad authority to withhold a transfer to active or to impose conditions on readmission to Active membership, which may include retaking and passing the Washington State Bar examination in cases where the applicant fails to meet the burden of proof required by APR 20-24.

If an application for readmission is granted and it has been less than four consecutive years since the voluntary resignation, the former member must earn 45 approved MCLE credits in the three years preceding the application, in accordance with the MCLE requirements for one reporting period for an Active member, and complete an additional 15 hours of live courses sponsored by the WSBA specifically approved for this purpose. The credits that might otherwise be available for the reinstatement/admission course will not be counted toward the 45 credits required in the three years preceding the application.

If it has been more than four consecutive years since the voluntary resignation, the former member must take and pass the Washington Bar Examination.

Upon completing the CLEs and the reinstatement course or passing the Washington Bar examination, the former member must pay the license fees and assessments and complete and submit all required licensing forms for the year in which the member will be reinstated.

A voluntarily resigned former member seeking readmission through admission by motion pursuant to APR 3(c) must comply with all requirements for filing such application and for admission upon approval of such application. Years since voluntarily resigning do not apply to those seeking readmission through admission by motion.

Readmission After Disbarment

All applications for reinstatement after disbarment shall be subject to character and fitness review pursuant to the provisions of APR 25. Applicants seeking readmission after disbarment must file a petition for readmission and otherwise comply with the requirements of the Admission to Practice Rules relating to readmission after disbarment. If the petition is granted and readmission is recommended, the petitioner must take and pass the Washington Bar examination and comply with all other admission and licensing requirements for the year in which the petitioner is reinstated.

Readmission After Resignation in Lieu of Disbarment or Discipline

No former member shall be allowed to be readmitted to membership after entering into a resignation in lieu of discipline or disbarment pursuant to the ELC. Persons who were allowed to resign with discipline pending under former provisions of the WSBA bylaws prior to October 1, 2002, may be readmitted on such terms and conditions as the Board determines, provided that if the person resigned with discipline pending and a prior petition for reinstatement or readmission has been denied, no petition may be filed or accepted for a period of two years after an adverse decision on the prior petition for reinstatement or readmission.

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.