On Board > A Summary of the July 2021 Board of Governors Meeting

July 16-17, 2021

The WSBA Board of Governors determines the Bar’s general policies and approves its annual budget.

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1. Proposed Amendment to General Rule 40 (Informal Domestic Relations Trials). The Board discussed a significant proposed amendment, now published for public comment, that seeks a statewide general system for domestic relations cases. The Board decided: to ask the court for an extension of the July 30 comment deadline (the comment expiration date has been extended to Sept. 28, 2021) in order to notify members widely; to discuss at its September meeting whether to submit an official comment from the WSBA; and to allow a comment to the court from the WSBA Family Law Section expressing concerns.

2. And the envelope, please … The full slate of the 2021 WSBA APEX (Acknowledging Professional Excellence) Award winners has been announced! More details about this year’s virtual ceremony in the fall will be posted soon. Find the list of winners at www.wsba.org/news-events/apex-awards.

3. Licensed Legal Interns. The Board approved recommended changes to Rule 9 of the Admission and Practice Rules (APR) for submission to the Supreme Court for consideration. Most significantly, the recommended changes allow law school students who have completed one-third of their studies to be eligible for the Rule 9 legal intern license if they are enrolled in a law school clinic. (Currently, only law students in their third year are eligible.) The changes are supported by Washington’s law schools and the WSBA’s Regulatory Services Department.

4. Can you help serve moderate means Washingtonians? The Washington State Bar Foundation presented a report about one of the significant access-to-justice programs that it helps fund: The Moderate Means Program (MMP). Launched in 2011, the MMP serves moderate-means clients throughout Washington in the areas of family, housing, and consumer law; the program expanded in 2020 to include unemployment benefits cases, which became increasingly prevalent during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some MMP stats: 26,354 requests for services, 18,152 intake sessions, and 5,657 referrals to attorneys. Learn more at www.wsba.org/connectserve/volunteer-opportunities/mmp.


The Board also:

  • Heard an annual update from the WSBA Diversity Committee, including information about its outreach activities and goals to address issues such as representation on the WSBA Board of Governors and an MCLE rule change.
  • Heard an annual update from the Washington Young Lawyers Committee (WYLC) that covered its outreach activities and goals to address issues such as law school debt.
  • Approved proposed changes to rules and regulations governing the APR 6 Law Clerk Program to be submitted to the Supreme Court for consideration. The changes clarify and expand the program requirements, provide for increased accessibility to the program, and make the program more efficient to administer.
  • Approved several action steps associated with recommendations from the Board’s Personnel Committee in response to findings from a recent WSBA employee climate survey. Those recommendations include four Board commitments: to clarify its governance model; to engage in team development with staff; to engage in facilitated dialogue with staff about strategic and policy matters; and to engage in strategic planning.
  • Changed the WSBA Bylaws to provide for a timeline for an election for at-large positions.
  • Discussed ongoing activities to advance equity, diversity, and inclusion, including recent training with facilitator ChrisTiana ObeySumner and plans to meet with leaders of minority bar associations.
  • Approved proposed technical amendments to RPC 1.6 for submission to the Supreme Court for consideration, to fix incorrect numbering.
  • Heard an overview of open-meeting provisions of the WSBA Bylaws.

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The agenda, materials, and video recording from this Board of Governors meeting, as well as past meetings, are online here: www.wsba.org/about-wsba/who-we-are/board-of-governors.


The next regular meeting is Sept. 23-24 in Seattle. To subscribe to the Board Meeting Notification list, email barleaders@wsba.org.