Between now and Feb. 1, 2022, the WSBA will process more than 41,500 license renewals, and licensed legal professionals in both the extended 2018–2021 and 2019-2021 reporting periods will be due to report CLE credits and certify MCLE compliance.
On any given day, the Washington State Bar Association’s Service Center answers calls on demand, in most cases providing answers to questions after a few minutes on the phone. But wait times increase as as the deadline approaches and members rush to complete the requirements to renew their license. That’s especially true this year because the Bar will be reviewing more MCLE reported credits than usual. Last year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Washington Supreme Court ordered a one-year extension of MCLE reporting for licensed legal professionals in 2018–2020 reporting period.
This post offers a few essential tips to improve your license renewal experience and to help you avoid any last-minute issues. (For special tips about Limited Practice Officer and Limited License Legal Technician license renewal, skip to the end of this blog post.)
Three Sites, One Login
There are three sites related to license renewal: myWSBA.org, licensing.wsba.org, and mcle.wsba.org. Your license number and password is the same for all three sites. You can access licensing and MCLE through myWSBA.
Stay Up to Date
It’s critical to keep your contact information up to date so you won’t miss out on important announcements or reminders regarding your license renewal. This goes double for your email address, which is associated with your online account and will receive any messages about your license renewal or account. Important emails, such as information for a forgotten password, will be sent to the primary email address on file with WSBA.
Requirements in Red
All steps that must be completed to successfully renew your license are marked with a red “Required” flag. Look for the flags to easily identify any remaining mandatory items that need your attention before your license renewal can be marked as complete.
To complete a requirement, click on the “Edit” button and update as needed.
Complete All Disclosures
All active members must complete the trust account information—this is true even if you don’t have a trust account. Likewise, all active lawyers must complete the professional liability insurance disclosure and all active LLLTs and LPOs must provide financial responsibility information. If you see a “Required” flag, be sure to click edit and complete your disclosure. Please don’t forget these steps if you have an active license!
If you are due to certify MCLE compliance, here are a few things to remember to help certification go smoothly:
- Check your online MCLE roster regularly to make sure all activities are reported.
- Add any recorded CLE activities that you viewed or listened to by using the “Add an Activity” button. This will require a search.
- If you attended a live CLE activity but it’s missing from your roster, check with the CLE sponsor.
- Make sure to certify your compliance by following the four-step instructions on your online roster page. After submitting your certification, please allow some time for WSBA to verify CLE activity and check back later to confirm that your CLE activity is accurate.
Renew Your Section Membership
If you’re a member of one of the WSBA’s 29 sections and would like to continue your membership, note that memberships do not auto renew. An easy way to prevent your membership from lapsing is to renew with a section—or join a new section—in line with your license renewal.
Get a Head Start
Renewing early will make sure you have ample time to address any unforeseen issues. Renewing early also allows you to get answers to your questions with less wait time or delay as inquiries from other WSBA members increase substantially as we approach the deadline. Just because you have until Feb. 1, 2022, to complete your renewal doesn’t mean you have to wait until the deadline to get the process out of the way.
Spread Out Payment Installments
You can spread out your license fee in up to five monthly payments with the balance required to be paid in full by Feb. 1. To take advantage of a longer payment schedule next year, the first installment must be submitted in October in order to spread the full license payment over five months. For a more detailed breakdown of this option and other methods to help if you’re experiencing financial challenges, check the WSBA Payment Plan and Exemptions page.
Special Notes for LPOs and LLLTs
Limited Practice Officers (LPOs) and Limited License Legal Technicians (LLLTs) should note the following unique steps to certify MCLE credits.
LPO MCLE Certification
- Log in to your MCLE account using your license number and password (using the same credentials as myWSBA; the license number includes the letters LPO; e.g., 12345LPO).
- Review your roster of courses from “My Dashboard” to ensure all activities have been reported accurately.
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org if any courses need to be added, removed, or modified.
- Once your roster reflects that you have fulfilled the credit requirements, check the box to agree to the certification statement, enter your current location in the text field, and click “Certify.”
- Check your certification status on the “Reporting Period Summary.” The certification status will update to “Pending Review” when successfully submitted. An MCLE analyst will review your submission. If additional information is required, you will receive an email notification and the certification status will change to “Incomplete.”
LLLT MCLE Certification
MCLE certification forms were sent with your licensing packet in the mail. You can submit either by email or traditional mail. To view, add, or remove activities from your roster, please contact the MCLE department by emailing email@example.com.
If you’re reporting this year, you must earn your MCLE credits by Dec. 31, 2021. Certification forms must be postmarked, emailed, or delivered to the WSBA by Feb. 1, 2022.
Once your roster accurately reflects your MCLE credits, submit your completed certification form to firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail:
- MCLE Department, Washington State Bar Association
1325 Fourth Ave., Suite 600
Seattle, WA 98101-2539