The Washington Supreme Court recently adopted amendments to the APR (soon to be the Admission and Practice Rules). The amendments will be effective Jan. 1, 2014.
Five things that you should know about these amendments relate to how they affect the admission to practice law in Washington — those are discussed below. But first, we want to tell current WSBA members two things that will be very important to you:
- Amendments to APR 13(c) require that all members provide the WSBA with a public email address. Email has become a primary method of communicating in our society, including within the court system, and this requirement will assist with overall communication.
- Amendments to APR 17 clearly identify the reasons why WSBA lawyers may be administratively suspended from practice. Not all of these are new, but this is a good reminder to keep your address and contact information up to date with the WSBA and to make sure you complete your annual license renewal in full.
Now, for the Friday Five
As the world becomes smaller through increased globalization and talk of reforming legal education becomes more prominent, Washington is addressing these issues head on through the APR amendments. Some highlights:
- The amendments will permit admission by exam for foreign lawyers or those with a foreign legal education who obtain an LL.M. degree from an ABA approved law school (APR 3(b)). The LL.M. must include specific subjects as listed in the rule.
- People who were educated in the U.S., but (like most foreign educated or licensed lawyers) not at an ABA approved law school, also may qualify for admission by exam after obtaining an LL.M. from an ABA approved law school (APR 3(b)).
- The amendments rescind the burdensome reciprocity rule (APR 18) that currently mirrors different admission requirements, without a Washington exam, for 38 U.S. jurisdictions. Instead, there will be admission by motion for all lawyers in any U.S. jurisdiction who have three years of active practice out of the last five years, regardless of how they were originally admitted (APR 3(c)). Prior to admission, these lawyers, like all applicants for admission, must take and pass the Washington Law Component.
- To know who is practicing law in Washington and in keeping consistent with ABA recommendations, the amendments require in-house counsel to be licensed as house counsel under APR 8(f) or to be admitted by motion under APR 3(c). Additionally, foreign house counsel no longer must be admitted by exam in their original jurisdiction to qualify.
- The amendments help fund those who have been harmed by a lawyer by requiring a Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection assessment to be paid by lawyers applying for pro hac vice admission under APR 8(b).
There are many more amendments. You can find them all and additional information on the WSBA website, including the report by the APR Task Force.