Updated: Feb. 22, 2021

Committee on Professional Ethics

The Committee on Professional Ethics (CPE) issues advisory opinions to address recurring or emerging ethics issues facing WSBA members. The advisory opinions cover a broader context and provide in-depth guidance on the Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC) as applied to a wide variety of practice areas. Advisory opinions issued by the committee are published online.

Bar members seeking an advisory opinion from the CPE should direct their request to the staff liaison or the chair. See contact information listed below. If the request is accepted by the committee, a lengthy review process generally follows before a final opinion or other recommendation is issued. Those seeking a more immediate response should contact the Bar's Ethics Line.

The committee also plays a key role in reviewing and suggesting amendments to the RPC.

Join the CPE – Application Open March 15

The CPE is seeking members for various openings beginning Oct. 1, 2021. Click here to view the position description. Feel free to contact any current member for more information. Click to here to learn about other WSBA volunteer opportunities. Our meetings are all virtual – there’s never been an easier time to engage! 

Recent Advisory Opinions

2020:  Advisory Opinion 202001 regarding multi-client representation where lawyer represents the personal representative in a wrongful death claim and provides legal representation to the statutory beneficiaries. Advisory Opinion 202002 on a lawyer ghostwriting for pro se civil litigation clients.

2019: Advisory Opinion 201901 concerns lawyer-mediator preparing pleadings for unrepresented parties in dissolution case. Advisory Opinion 2223 is withdrawn  Advisory Opinion 201902 concerning a special assistant attorney general (SAAG) representing a government department in a claim against a third party; Advisory Opinion 201903 regarding an inactive lawyer having a trust account to receive client settlement checks after retiring from practice. 

More advisory opinions can be found on the Ethics Advisory Opinions database

Recent Amendments to Rules of Professional Conduct

On Jan. 8, 2021, the Washington Supreme Court adopted amendments to RPC 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, 7.5 and 5.5 regarding lawyer advertising, effective upon publication which was Jan. 26, 2021. See Washington Supreme Court Order 25700-A-1333

On Nov. 20, 2020, the Court adopted amendments to RPC 1.15A(h)(9) and to LLLTRPC 1.15A(h)(9) regarding LLLTs as authorized signatory on the trust account, effective Feb. 1, 2021. See Washington Supreme Court Order 25700-A-1308

 

See the Court's website for information on suggested amendments to the RPC published for comment.

Committee Meetings

All regular meetings are held 10 a.m.–3 p.m. at the WSBA offices, 1325 Fourth Ave., Suite 600, Seattle, unless otherwise noted.

2020 — Oct. 2*, Dec. 11*

2021 — Feb. 5*, April 9, June 4, Aug. 27 (meetings in 2021 may be held virtually)

* Virtual meeting only. In-person meetings suspended per Proclamation 20.28 from WA state Governor Inslee regarding the COVID-19 health emergency.

Minutes

Dec. 11, 2020

Oct. 2, 2020 

Aug. 14, 2020

June 16, 2020

April 17, 2020

March 31, 2020 

March 10, 2020 

Feb. 24, 2020 

 
Past minutes available by public records request

Contact Us

To submit a request for a written advisory opinion from the committee or for further information, please contact the staff liaison or the committee chair.

Questions or comments regarding the committee's on-going work may be directed to WSBACPE@wsba.org.