Media Contact

Jennifer Olegario
Communications Manager

Work Group Evaluating Whether to Seat Public Representatives on WSBA Governing Board │ July 11, 2018

Updated: March 17, 2021

Media contact: Sara Niegowski, WSBA Chief Communications and Outreach Officer, 206-733-5930;

SEATTLE — The Washington State Bar Association (WSBA) Board of Governors has convened a work group to evaluate whether members of the public should hold seats on the board. The work group will have its first meeting at 10 a.m., July 12, and is scheduled to make a recommendation at the board’s Sept. 27 meeting. The work group’s meetings are open to the public.

  • The first meeting will be held at the WSBA offices, 1325 Fourth Ave., Suite 600, Seattle
  • To participate by phone, call 1-866-577-9294 and enter the passcode 52824
  • Meeting dates, agendas, and materials will be posted.

In furtherance of its obligation to protect and serve the public, the WSBA both regulates lawyers and other legal professionals and acts as a professional association to its members. The WSBA does not receive public funding.

The Board of Governors determines WSBA bylaws and annual budget. Governors have historically been lawyers (15 lawyer-governors are currently seated). In 2016, following a four-year governance review, the board amended its bylaws to add three new seats: two public members and one member representing other legal license types (Limited License Legal Technicians and Limited Practice Officers). The Washington Supreme Court issued an order approving the amendment in January 2018.

Several governors proposed a bylaw amendment in April to remove the public seats and allow the other license types to run for election in current governor districts. The work group—which includes members of the public—was formed to evaluate the proposed amendment and make a recommendation back to the board.

“This is an open process, and it’s important to include people who may be losing representation on the board, especially if they are not aware of the opportunity,” said WSBA President Bill Pickett.

Because the Washington Supreme Court has already issued an order approving the new seats, any change in board composition would require a new Supreme Court order.

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About the Washington State Bar Association

The WSBA operates under the delegated authority of the Washington Supreme Court and exercises a governmental function authorized by the Court to license and regulate the state’s nearly 40,000 legal professionals, including lawyers, limited practice officers, and limited license legal technicians. The WSBA both regulates legal professionals under the authority of the Court and serves its members as a professional association — all without public funding. The WSBA administers the Bar admission process, including the bar exam; provides record-keeping and licensing functions; administers the lawyer discipline system; and provides continuing legal education for legal professionals, in addition to numerous other educational and member-service activities. The Bar’s mission is to serve the public and its members, to ensure the integrity of the legal profession, and to champion justice.