Professional Responsibility Program
The Professional Responsibility Program is dedicated to helping WSBA members fulfill their ethical obligations under the Rules of Professional Conduct. The program is staffed by the two WSBA Professional Responsibility Counsel who answer inquiries from members received on the Ethics Line, speak at CLE presentations and make recommendations on amendments to the Rules of Professional Conduct. The Ethics Line does not handle lawyer discipline, attorney-client disputes, or provide guidance on rules other than the Rules of Professional Conduct.
Ethics FAQs (answers to frequently asked ethical questions)
Rules of Professional Conduct
- Lawyer RPC
- LPO RPC (listed under APRs as LP_RPC)
- LLLT RPC (listed under APRs)
To request a written advisory opinion, contact the Committee on Professional Ethics
Recent Advisory Opinions
Advisory Opinion 202202 regarding new RPC 1.4 amendments requiring malpractice insurance disclosures.
Advisory Opinion 202201 regarding whether a lawyer may “reply all” when responding to an email in which the initiating lawyer has cc’d their own client.
Advisory Opinion 202102 regarding lawyers who act as third party neutrals in domestic relations matters that involve possible risk of domestic abuse.
Advisory Opinion 202101 regarding disclosure of civil commitment proceedings while representing criminal defendant.
More advisory opinions can be found on the Advisory Opinions database. Another source of ethics information are the ethics articles featured in the Washington state Bar News publication and in NWSidebar, WSBA's blog.
Recent Amendments to the Lawyer Rules of Professional Conduct
Effective Sept. 1, 2021:
- Amendments to Comments to RPC 1.13 and 1.16. See Washington Supreme Court Order 25700-A-1346
- New RPC 1.4(c) - Communication-malpractice insurance disclosure. See Washington Supreme Court Order 25700-A-1351
- RPC 6.5 - Nonprofit and Court-Annexed Limited Legal Service Programs-prospective notice. See Washington Supreme Court Order 25700-A-1352
On April 7, 2021, the Washington Supreme Court adopted an amendment to Cmt 2 to RPC 1.11, effective May 4, 2021. A reference to the Court's decision in State v. Nickels (2020) was added to the comment.
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 Jan. 26, 2021. See Washington Supreme Court Order 25700-A-1333