Updated: March 16, 2020


Alfred J Schweppe
Alfred J. Schweppe, WSBA's first executive secretary

The Washington Bar Association was formed in January 1888, during the final year of the Washington Territory. In those days, all lawyers who had cases set for argument before the Washington Supreme Court were required to be present at the beginning of the Court term in January. Sometimes lawyers were required to wait for days or weeks for their cases to be called on the calendar. In this setting, a group of lawyers met in the Supreme Court chambers in Olympia and decided to form the Washington Bar Association. The name was changed to the Washington State Bar Association in 1890.

The association originally consisted of 35 lawyers, and membership cost $5 per year. At that time, it was a purely voluntary organization and did not include all lawyers admitted to practice.

By 1930, as more lawyers were admitted to practice, it was proposed that the association have a more formal structure. In 1933, the Legislature enacted the State Bar Act (RCW 2.48), establishing the Washington State Bar Association as an agency of the state. It made membership mandatory for those licensed to practice law in Washington. Seattle lawyer Alfred J. Schweppe, a former dean of the University of Washington School of Law who was instrumental in drafting the State Bar Act, served as the WSBA’s first executive secretary.

WSBA Today

The Washington State Bar Association is part of the judicial branch, exercising a governmental function authorized by the Washington Supreme Court to license the state’s nearly 40,000 legal professionals, including lawyers, limited practice officers, and limited license legal technicians. The Bar both regulates legal professionals under the authority of the Court and serves its members as a professional association — all without public funding. As a regulatory agency, the WSBA administers the bar admission process, including the bar exam; maintains record-keeping and licensing; and administers the lawyer discipline system. As a professional association, the Bar provides continuing legal education in addition to numerous other educational and member-service activities.

The Washington Supreme Court has adopted General Rule (GR) 12.1, which sets out the general purposes of the WSBA and specifies its authorized activities. The General Rule is incorporated into Article I of the WSBA Bylaws. The internal affairs of the WSBA, including its membership, governance, and operations, are established by the Bylaws.

The WSBA is a mandatory bar (sometimes referred to as an “integrated” or “unified” bar), meaning that legal professionals licensed to practice in Washington are required to be members and pay an annual license fee. Admissions, regulation, and disciplinary functions are combined with professional association functions into one organization.

The Board of Governors directs the Bar. Board members, or governors, are chosen through a combination of election by members and appointment by the board. The WSBA president, elected by the Board of Governors, serves as the spokesperson for the Bar along with the executive director.

The Board of Governors selects the executive director, who runs the daily operations of the organization and manages a staff of approximately 145 Bar employees. The Bar's staff carry out the WSBA’s regulatory and disciplinary functions and provide support to various volunteers groups that work on Bar matters.

Past WSBA Presidents

2018–2019 Bill Pickett

2017–2018 Brad Furlong

2016–2017 Robin Haynes

2015–2016 William D. Hyslop

2014–2015 Anthony David Gipe

2013–2014 Patrick A. Palace

2012–2013 Michele G. Radosevich

2011–2012 Stephen R. Crossland

2010–2011 Steven G. Toole

2009–2010 Salvador A. Mungia

2008–2009 Mark A. Johnson

2007–2008 Stanley A. Bastian

2006–2007 Ellen Conedera Dial

2005–2006 S. Brooke Taylor

2004–2005 Ronald R. Ward

2003–2004 David W. Savage

2002–2003 J. Richard Manning

2001–2002 Dale L. Carlisle

2000–2001 Jan Eric Peterson

1999–2000 Richard C. Eymann

1998–1999 M. Wayne Blair

1997–1998 Mary E. Fairhurst

1996–1997 Tom Chambers

1995–1996 Edward F. Shea

1994–1995 Ronald M. Gould

1993–1994 Paul L. Stritmatter

1992–1993 Stephen E. Deforest

1991–1992 Joseph P. Delay

1990–1991 Lowell K. Halverson

1989–1990 James A. Vander Stoep

1988–1989 Elizabeth J. Bracelin

1987–1988 Jack R. Dean

1986–1987 William H. Gates

1985–1986 Patrick C. Comfort

1984–1985 F. Lee Campbell

1983–1984 Robert R. Redman

1982–1983 Paul W. Steere

1981–1982 David A. Welts

1980–1981 Bradley T. Jones

1979–1980 Michael J. Hemovich

1978–1979 David D. Hoff

1977–1978 Edward J. Novack

1976–1977 Richard H. Riddell

1975–1976 Robert S. Day

1974–1975 Kenneth P. Short

1973–1974 Cleary Cone

1972–1973 Charles I. Stone

1971–1972 E. Frederick Velikanje

1970–1971 Robert Beresford

1969–1970 John Huneke

1968–1969 Payne Karr

1967–1968 Thomas P. Gose

1966–1967 John N. Rupp

1965–1966 George McCush

1964–1965 Grant Armstrong

1963–1964 John Gavin

1962–1963 Alfred McBee

1961–1962 Paul P. Ashley

1960–1961 Justin C. Maloney

1959–1960 Hilton B. Gardner

1958–1959 Thomas L. O'Leary

1957–1958 Fred C. Palmer

1956–1957 George W. Martin

1955–1956 Harold W. Coffin

1954–1955 A.J. Schweppe

1953–1954 F.A. Kern

1952–1953 Philip D. MacBride

1951–1952 Del Cary Smith

1950–1951 R.V. Welts

1949–1950 V.O. Nicholson

1948–1949 Tracy E. Griffin

1947–1948 Richard S. Munter

1946–1947 A.J. O'Connor

1945–1946 Fred D. Metzger

1944–1945 Frank E. Holman

1943–1944 Mark M. Moulton

1942–1943 Scott Z. Henderson

1941–1942 James P. Dillard

1940–1941 J. Speed Smith

1939–1940 Thomas E. Grady

1939           A.A. Hull

1938–1939 Robert E. Evans

1937–1938 J.E. Stewart

1936–1937 William G. McLaren

1935–1936 Laurence R. Hamblen

1934–1935 Elmer M. Hayden

1933–1934 O.B. Thorgrimson

1932–1933 Charles H. Paul

1931–1932 F.L. Stotler

1930–1931 Glenn J. Fairbrook

1929–1930 Edward W. Allen

1928–1929 B.H. Kizer

1927–1928 Maurice A. Langhorne

1926–1927 Geo H. Rummens

1925–1926 J.A. Coleman

1924–1925 Ralph B. Williamson

1923–1924 Stephen James Chadwick

1922–1923 Preston M. Troy

1921–1922 Joseph McCarthy

1921           C.R. Hovey

1920–1921 Otto Burton Rupp

1919–1920 Frank Truman Post

1918–1919 Charles O. Bates

1917–1918 N.C. Richards

1916–1917 Wimon Tucker

1915–1916 Mack F. Gose

1914–1915 Frank Reeves

1913–1914 Ira Englehart

1912–1913 B.S. Grosscup

1911–1912 William Thomas Dovell

1910–1911 Clinton W. Howard

1909–1910 C.C. Gose

1908–1909 J.B. Bridges

1907–1908 A.G. Avery

1906–1907 Elwood Clark Hughes

1905–1906 Francis H. Brownell

1904–1905 Edward Whitson

1903–1904 William A. Peters

1902–1903 R.G. Hudson

1901–1902 Hon. Austin Mires

1900–1901 Samuel Stern

1899–1900 George Donworth

1898–1899 Theodore L. Stiles

1897–1898 George Turner

1896–1897 Harold Preston

1895–1896 Charles S. Fogg

1894–1895 George Foster

1893–1894 Hon. John Arthur

1892–1893 Hon. Elwood Evans

1891–1892 Hon. Elwood Evans

1890–1891 Hon. Elwood Evans

1889–1890 Hon. Elwood Evans

1888–1889 B.F. Dennison, First President

1888           Elwood Evans, Chairman of
                    Organizational Meeting