Resources for the ethical practice of law
As members of the legal profession, it can be difficult to figure out your professional responsibilities under the ethics rules. Understanding this need, the Bar provides a confidential ethics line to its members who have questions about their prospective ethical conduct. A member may speak directly with the Bar's professional responsibility counsel and receive informal guidance.
Common ethical issues are conflict of interest, client confidentiality, withdrawal, client communications, fee arrangements, trust accounts, and advertising.
The rules governing a member's ethical conduct are the Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC) as adopted by the Washington Supreme Court. For current rules, see Unofficial Amended Rules of Professional Conduct (as of Sept. 1, 2016). The official RPC is published by the court's website.
Advisory opinions are another source of ethical guidance. They illustrate the application of the RPC in practical terms. Many of the advisory opinions are a result of questions from members or cover ethical issues of broad concern to the membership. The Committee on Professional Ethics (CPE) issues the advisory opinions.
On Oct. 28, 2016, the CPE issued an Advisory Opinion 201601 on the ethical considerations of a Virtual Law Office. Increasing costs of doing business, including the costs associated with physical office space, have motivated lawyers to rethink how they deliver legal services. Read more
More advisory opinions can be found on the Ethics Advisory Opinions database. Another valuable source on ethics issues are the collected Ethics Articles below.
On June 2, 2016, the Supreme Court adopted amendments to the Washington Rules of Professional Conduct, effective Sept. 1, 2016, in response to the ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20 revisions to the Model Rules. See Order No. 25700-A-1146.
On March 23, 2015, the Supreme Court adopted the Limited License Legal Technician (LLLT) amendments to the lawyer Rules of Professional Conduct, effective April 14, 2015. See Order No. 25700-A-1096.
Link to the official RPCs, published by the Washington Supreme Court.
Protecting your practice and clients
Practice management assistance
Learn more about the lawyer discipline system in Washington.
© 2017 Washington State Bar Association, all rights reserved.