Since Short v. Demopolis, 103 Wn.2d 52, 691 P.2d 163 (1984), the business aspects of law practice have been subject to the Washington Consumer Protection Act. RCW 19.86.020 prohibits “[u]nfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce[.]” RCW 19.86.090, in turn, creates a private right of action for CPA violations and includes both attorney fees and treble damages (to $25,000 beyond actual damages) remedies for a successful claimant. Historically, most CPA claims involving lawyers touched on fee-related issues (see, e.g., Cotton v. Kronenberg, 111 Wn. App. 258, 273-75, 44 P.3d 878 (2002)). Division I of the Court of Appeals, however, recently discussed lawyer web advertising in the CPA context in Rhodes v. Rains, 2016 WL 3080727 (Wn. App. May 31, 2016) (published on July 28, 2016).
Recently, the WSBA has received several reports of scams either “spoofing” (pretending to be, or be from attorneys) or targeting attorneys. Some scams use an attorney’s or firm’s identity to extort money from victims, while others are sending ransomware directly to the attorneys. Read more
Attorney Mark Fucile takes a closer look at the state Supreme Court’s stance on legal practice under the Consumer Protection Act. Read more
The Washington Supreme Court on Aug. 17, 2015, issued its ruling in Nissen v. Pierce County, which ruled that the personal cellphone of a public employee, if used to conduct public business, is now subject to disclosure under the state’s Public Records Act. Read more