Updated: Oct. 22, 2020

COVID-19 Information and Resources

Announcements, resources, and event changes that may affect Washington State Bar Association members, the legal community, and the public.

WSBA President Declaration of Emergency Operations. While Washington state is operating under emergency directives, WSBA will likewise implement certain emergency operations to safely continue services to support members and the public. Read the President's declaration.

How COVID-19 is Affecting Bar Operations

The Washington State Bar Association is complying with Gov. Inslee’s “Stay Home-Stay Healthy” Order by shutting its Seattle office to the public. WSBA employees are working remotely and are committed to continuing high service levels. We are available via phone, email, and online resources. If you need assistance, please refer to our service directory and/or use questions@wsba.org for general inquires. Many of our phone lines will go to voicemail, including our main service-line number; leave a message, and we will return your call within at least two business days. You may receive a faster response using email.

Members and applicants should submit any payments and documents online for timely processing as mail will be delayed. For service of process or delivery of subpoenas, etc, please send an email to Julies@wsba.org or Lisaa@wsba.org to discuss appropriate arrangements. Please note: We are currently working with the Washington Supreme Court to determine which regulatory functions may be “essential” and require some on-site work. Keep checking this webpage for updates.

Important WSBA and court updates:

  • Summer Bar Exams. UPDATE (June 12): Applicants for the July or September 2020 bar exam in Washington who have a J.D. from an ABA accredited law school will be permitted to choose to be admitted by diploma privilege instead of taking and passing the Uniform Bar Exam. Applicants exercising diploma privilege must comply with all licensing requirements prior to a recommendation for admission to the Washington Supreme Court. More information about diploma privilege is on the admissions webpage. Diploma Privilege Frequently Asked Questions. The 2020 Uniform Bar Exam will still be administered in Washington on July 28 and 29 and Sept., 9 and 10 for applicants who met the deadlines to take the July bar exam in Washington state (no new applications are being accepted for either exam date). If you have applied to take the July exam, you do not need to submit a new application for the September exam. The exams will be administered on both dates in the Seattle-Tacoma-Everett area and the Spokane area, at specific testing sites that will be identified later, and all administrations will comply with then-existing public health guidelines. Please see the May 13 letter from the Washington Supreme Court for more information. We will be working hard to provide a safe and appropriate testing setting for every applicant.
  • MCLE Compliance. The MCLE Board recognizes the significant effects and practice restrictions WSBA Licensed Legal Professionals are experiencing due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Below are resources and options available to all licensed legal professionals, including those professionals in the 2018-2020 reporting period.
    • The state Supreme Court ordered a one-year extension of MCLE reporting for licensed legal professionals in the 2018-2020 reporting period. More information on this order.
    • If you can’t afford to attend webinars or purchase CLE products, ask the MCLE team for a list of accredited sponsors who offer free and low-cost CLEs. Contact the MCLE team at mcle@wsba.org.
    • You can earn free CLE credits by providing pro bono services through a qualified legal services provider (APR 11(e)(7)), or by participating in a structured mentoring program (APR 11(e)(8)).
  • Proclamation regarding protection orders and personal service. In response to an increase in domestic violence reports, Gov. Inslee has temporarily waived and suspended specified statutes that limit the authority of courts to issue initial protection orders without full and/or in-person hearings; and to allow for use of alternative means of service, including electronic means of service. Read the proclamation here.
  • Proclamation regarding workers’ rights. During the state of emergency, Gov. Inslee has prohibited all employers from failing to provide accommodation to high-risk workers that protects them risk of exposure to COVID-19 while on the job. Read the proclamation here.
  • Suspension of Rules of Appellate Procedure (RAP). The Washington Supreme Court has temporarily suspended RAP 18.8(b) and (c). Read the Court Order.
  • Court emergency operations and closures.The Washington Supreme Court has published a COVID-19 response page, which is a compilation of its emergency orders and court modifications. The Court has suspended most civil and criminal cases throughout Washington state until at least April 24 and has compiled a clearinghouse for statewide court emergency modifications (please check back regularly).
  • Need to make a delivery? WSBA’s Seattle office is operating under limited public access. If you need to make a delivery, please call 800-945-9722 to be connected to the appropriate employee.
  • Disciplinary and disability proceedings. The Washington Supreme Court and the Chief Hearing Officer and Disciplinary Board Chair have entered orders regarding modified procedures during the pendency of the COVID-19 public health emergency for matters in the licensed legal professional discipline and disability system. Read the Court Order and Administrative Order (revised and extended).
  • Coronavirus Response Task Force. WSBA has convened a new Coronavirus Response Task Force to vigorously support, advise, and help triage the WSBA’s response to support members and the public during this emergency. Task force members represent the public, rural, solo/small-firm, new member, and technology backgrounds.
  • Office of Disciplinary Counsel operations. While WSBA’s physical office is closed, the Office of Disciplinary Counsel is continuing its work through online communications. Please communicate with us by sending messages and required information to the email address of the assigned disciplinary counsel on the matter. If there is not an assigned disciplinary counsel or you do not have disciplinary counsel’s email address, send email to caa@wsba.org. If you are filing a grievance, please use our E-Grievance Form. Responses to mailed grievances will be delayed. We will update this information as soon as WSBA onsite processes resume.
  • Remote administration of oaths or affirmations. As supported by WSBA in conjunction with the Washington Court Reporters Association, the Washington Supreme Court has suspended any local or state court rule that requires administering any oath or affirmation in-person where such oaths or affirmations can be administered remotely by available technologies … and is not otherwise prohibited.” Read the Order.
  • Virtual notarial acts: As requested by WSBA leaders, Gov. Inslee has immediately allowed for the use of electronic/remote notarization, with specific conditions authorized in Senate Bill 5641 (originally slated to go into effect Oct. 1, 2020). Proclamation extended to May 31.
  • Waiver of Admissions Oath. Until Washington is no longer in a state of emergency, the Washington Supreme Court has waived the APR 5 requirement of an open-court oath in the admissions process for attorneys, limited practice officers, and limited license legal technicians; any judge of any court is authorized to administer the oath by telephone, video, or online technology.
  • Practice support. Our free legal research platforms — Casemaker and Fastcase — offer services that also may be beneficial if you are affected by closures of local law libraries. Please also see our Resources for Legal Practitioners box (above) for more information.

Guidance for Legal Professionals

We have also gathered resources and advice for legal professionals to prepare for a pandemic. Please see Are You Prepared for a Pandemic in the Legal Community for more information.

Use with Caution : The Washington State Bar Association provides this information, related materials, links, and resources for informative purposes only. WSBA does not warrant the information provided with regard to accuracy or any other purpose. No endorsement is intended, nor does the information contained herein constitute legal advice or legal opinions. You are responsible for ensuring your own legal and ethical compliance. Any use of the materials herein is not a defense against discipline, a malpractice claim, or other legal proceeding. Information on this page does not modify the rules, statutes, and regulations set by the federal government, state legislature, Washington Supreme Court, or the Bylaws and policies of the WSBA, or confer any additional rights.

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