Dec./Jan. 2023 > Need to Know

News & Information of Interest to WSBA Members

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WSBA NEWS

Serve as a WSBA Representative

Seeking individuals interested in serving on the Bench-Bar Press, Board for Judicial Administration Public Trust & Confidence Committee, Legal Foundation of Washington Board of Trustees, and Northwest Justice Project Board of Directors, and more throughout the year. www.wsba.org/volunteer. 

2023 License Renewal and Sections Information

License renewal is now paperless (online only). Online licensing will open in November and must be completed by Feb. 1, 2023.License renewal includes paying the annual license fee and any mandatory assessments, certifying MCLE compliance, completing the trust account declaration, and disclosing professional liability insurance or financial responsibility. Pay online via credit card or electronic funds transfer, or print an invoice to mail in with a check.

Certify MCLE compliance. If you are in the 2020-2022 reporting period, then you are due to report CLE credits and certify MCLE compliance. The deadline for completing credits is Dec. 31, 2022. The certification must be completed online by Feb. 1, 2023. Visit www.wsba.org/MCLE to learn more.

License fee payment plan option available. If you are experiencing financial challenges, you may contact us about our payment plan option available to all licensed legal professionals. Payments may be made in up to five installments with the balance required to be paid in full by Feb. 1, 2023. A license fee hardship exemption is available for active licensed legal professionals who qualify. Visit http://www.wsba.org/licensing to learn more.

Voluntary demographic information. Please update your information at licensing.wsba.org when online licensing opens in November. This information assists the WSBA in understanding the demographic makeup of our licensed legal professionals. Note: Some response options have changed.

Join or renew your Section membership. The Section membership year is Jan. 1–Dec. 31. Visit http://www.wsba.org/legal-community/sections/sections to learn more.

Pro bono status. If you are considering going inactive, pro bono status (formerly known as emeritus pro bono status) is a great alternative that lets you provide pro bono services through a Qualified Legal Service Provider (QLSP). The license fee will be waived for pro bono status members who completed at least 30 hours of pro bono service with a QLSP in the prior year. Visit www.wsba.org/for-legal-professionals/license-renewal/status-changes/emeritus-pro-bono-membership-and-return-to-active-membership.

Judicial status. Please note that you are required to inform the Bar within 10 days of your retirement or your ineligibility for Judicial status (and you must apply to change to another status or to resign). Visit http://www.wsba.org/licensing to learn more.

Important Dates

  • Dec. 31, 2022: Licensed legal professionals in the 2020-2022 reporting period must complete required MCLE credits.
  • Feb. 1, 2023: Deadline for requesting a license fee hardship exemption.
  • Feb. 1, 2023: License renewal, payment(s) and MCLE certification, if applicable, must be completed online.

Bar Structure (ETHOS) Update

In October, the WSBA Board of Governors presented its recommendations with respect to the structure of the WSBA to the Washington Supreme Court, specifically that the WSBA should retain its integrated bar structure. The Supreme Court has notified the WSBA that it listened carefully to the presentation by the Board of Governors, carefully considered the matter, and declined to take any action. The result is that the WSBA will continue to maintain the integrated bar structure. 

Comment by Jan. 31: Proposed New Superior Court Special Proceeding Rule

The Washington Supreme Court has published for comment—with a deadline of Jan. 31, 2023—a proposed new special proceeding rule that would “aid in the administration of justice by providing guidance to the superior courts in performing their duty to appoint counsel to unrepresented tenants facing eviction.” The proposed rule would “guide access to securing judicial relief for indigent tenants” and “ensure that appointed counsel in unlawful detainer cases benefits all tenants who qualify.” For more information and to submit comments to the court, visit www.courts.wa.gov/court_rules/?fa=court_rules.proposedRuleDisplay&ruleId=6004. The WSBA encourages members to actively monitor and provide feedback when the Washington Supreme Court is considering any amendments to its rules. Keep track of opportunities to comment at www.wsba.org/for-legal-
professionals/rules-feedback, or visit the court’s website at www.courts.wa.gov/court_rules/?fa=court_rules.proposed
.

2023 Powerful Communities Grant Application

The WSBA invites you to apply for the Powerful Communities Grant. This grant program aims to advance the WSBA’s commitment to serve the public and members of the Bar and support the implementation of the State Plan for the Coordinated Delivery of Legal Aid to Low-Income People. In 2023, selected applicants will receive a $5000 grant funded by the Washington State Bar Foundation. Any organization or program that will help meet our vision for success and priorities is eligible to apply. Nonprofit legal organizations, pro bono and legal aid programs, Minority Bar Associations, advocacy programs or organizations, and community-based organizations are welcome to apply!

Application: Click here to access the online application. Applications close on Friday, Jan. 13, 2023. All applicants will be notified by email by Tuesday, Jan. 31.

Free Postings for Positions in Rural Parts of Washington State

Many rural communities in Washington do not have enough lawyers to meet the legal needs of their residents. In an effort to increase awareness among WSBA members about employment opportunities in rural parts of the state, the Washington State Bar Association and the Career Center are offering free 30-day postings of jobs for legal professionals in “rural” areas, defined as: “any job not in Thurston, Clark, Pierce, King, Snohomish, Spokane, and Whatcom counties, WITH the proviso that if the job is in a town of 5,000 or less within said county, it may also be posted for free.” To determine eligibility for a free posting, please contact memberbenefits@wsba.org with “RURAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY” in the subject line. 

Please Donate

Please include a donation to the Washington State Bar Foundation on your license renewal. Last year, WSBA members were more generous than ever, enabling us to support 10 Powerful Communities grants to fund projects that ensure everyone has access to legal aid, especially our state’s most vulnerable communities. Your support makes a difference. Thank you!

Serve on the WSBA Board of Governors

The WSBA Board of Governors is seeking applicants for congressional district positions 3, 6, and 7N. The application deadline for these positions is Feb. 15, 2023. The WSBA Board of Governors is also seeking applications for the at-large position (with applications going through the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council) and 2023-2024 president-elect. The application deadline for these positions is April 17, 2023, at 5 p.m. PST. www.wsba.org/elections.

Help Fill the Moderate Means Legal Need

The statewide Moderate Means Program serves moderate income clients through a network of attorneys and limited license legal technicians who offer assistance in family, housing, consumer, and unemployment law cases at reduced fees scaled to the client’s income. There is an urgent need for legal professionals to serve. Visit www.wsba.org/connect-serve/pro-bono-public-service/mmp for more information and join now through your myWSBA account, www.mywsba.org.

WSBA Office Hours

The WSBA’s office hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. These are the times in which our service representatives will staff the main phone lines and the reception desk. If you need to speak in person to a particular WSBA employee, please make an appointment; they will not be available on site for drop-in visitors. Visit www.wsba.org/about-wsba/contact-us for more information.

Engage With WSBA Leaders

The Member Engagement Council, which seeks member input and involvement in decision-making processes, wants to hear from you! The first agenda item of each meeting (the first Thursday of each month from 1-3 p.m. via Zoom) is reserved for member comments. All topics are welcome. Visit the events calendar at www.wsba.org for more information.

Follow Board Meetings and Submit Feedback

Join the Board meeting notice subscription list to receive WSBA Board of Governors meeting notices straight to your inbox! To join, email barleaders@wsba.org or complete the form at www.wsba.org/about-wsba/who-we-are/board-of-governors. Send your feedback to boardfeedback@wsba.org. Please note that all WSBA emails are subject to public records requests.

WSBA Office Space for Sublease

The state Bar is offering space for sublease at its headquarters in the Puget Sound Plaza Building in the heart of downtown Seattle. There is a mix of size and space configurations available with competitive terms. All interested parties should go through broker Adam Chapman at
206-521-2672 or adam.chapman@am.jll.com. The WSBA’s current lease runs through December 2026, and space has become available as many positions have transitioned to remote or hybrid work. The WSBA’s Long-Range Strategic Planning Council is currently investigating the future of the WSBA’s office location beyond 2026.


VOLUNTEER

Applications Will Open Soon

The WSBA Volunteer Application will open March 1, 2023. There are many reasons to volunteer with the WSBA: to support the Bar’s mission, to grow your professional network, to learn a new skill, or reap the health benefits of volunteering. No matter your reason, you are welcomed and encouraged to join a community of other WSBA members and have an impact on the profession. Complete the Volunteer Interest Form at www.wsba.org/volunteer and we will contact you to discuss the opportunities that match your interests.

Volunteer With the Lawyer Discipline System

Learn more about volunteering as an adjunct disciplinary counsel (ADC). ADCs assist as needed in carrying out the functions of the lawyer discipline system pursuant to Rule 2.9 of the Rules for Enforcement of Lawyer Conduct. Visit www.wsba.org/adc-panel or contact rachela@wsba.org to learn more.


RESOURCES

Check Out the DEI Resource Library

The DEI Resource Library is where WSBA members can learn more about diversity, equity, and inclusion concepts. There are compiled resource lists, books, and articles on the criminal legal system, identity and intersectionality, microaggressions/bias, and race. Visit www.wsba.org/about-wsba/equity-and-inclusion/dei-resource-library.

Practice Guides Available

Access two practice guides—”The Law Firm Guide to Document Retention” and “The Law Firm Guide to Disaster Planning and Recovery”—as well as other law firm guides and templates at www.wsba.org/guides.

Career Consultation

Get help with your résumé, networking tips, and more—www.wsba.org/for-legal-professionals/member-support/wellness/consultation—or email wellness@wsba.org.

Free Consultations and Practice-Management Assistance

The WSBA offers free resources and education on practice management issues. For more information, visit http://www.wsba.org/pma. You can also schedule a free phone consultation with a WSBA practice-management advisor. Visit www.wsba.org/consult to get started.

Lending Library

The WSBA Lending Library is open to members for both in-person and online checkouts. We have made a few changes to be aware of. For more information, visit www.wsba.org/library or email lendinglibrary@wsba.org.

Work at the WSBA

Interested in joining the WSBA team? Current openings include: accountant, senior bookkeeper, disciplinary counsel (attorney), auditor (legal/forensic), auditor (legal random examination), and member wellness (clinician/therapist) program and outreach lead. Visit www.wsba.org/career-center/work-at-the-wsba to learn more.


ETHICS

Ethics Line

Members facing ethical dilemmas can talk with WSBA professional responsibility counsel for informal guidance. Learn more at www.wsba.org/for-legal-professionals/ethics/ethics-line or call the Ethics Line at 206-727-8284.

WSBA Advisory Opinions

WSBA advisory opinions are available online at www.wsba.org/for-legal-professionals/ethics/about-advisory-opinions. For assistance, call the Ethics Line at 206-727-8284.


WSBA MEMBER WELLNESS

Telehealth is Here!

The Member Wellness Program is now offering hi-def, HIPAA-protected video consultations using the telehealth portal Doxy.me. Visit www.wsba.org/for-legal-professionals/member-support/wellness and click “Book Your Initial Consultation” to schedule time with our licensed providers.

Judges Need Help Too

The Judicial Assistance and Services Program (JASP) provides confidential support for judges, or those who are concerned about a judge. Contact Susanna Kanther, Psy.D., at 415-572-3803. Visit www.wsba.org/for-legal-professionals/member-support/wellness/judicial-assistance-service-program.

The ‘Unbar’ Alcoholics Anonymous Group

The Washington Unbar Alcoholics Anonymous group for legal professionals has been meeting regularly for almost 30 years. The group meets Wednesdays, 12:15–1:30 p.m., and Sundays, 7–8 p.m. Currently, the group meets online via Zoom, and attorneys from all over Washington participate. For more information and Zoom credentials contact unbarwa@gmail.com.

Health Benefits

The WSBA Private Health Insurance Exchange offers members access to the most competitive group health insurance solutions on the market. Enjoy unique cost-saving opportunities, complimentary enrollment technology, valuable HR tools, and voluntary premier-level ancillary benefits with special pricing and concessions. Speak to a benefits counselor and request a free quote today: www.memberbenefits.com/wsba.


WSBA COMMUNITY NETWORKING

New Lawyers List Serve

This list serve is a discussion platform for new lawyers of the WSBA. To join, email newmembers@wsba.org.

ALPS Attorney Match

Attorney Match is a free online networking tool made available through the WSBA-endorsed professional liability partner, ALPS. Learn more at www.wsba.org/connect-serve/mentorship/find-your-mentor, or email mentorlink@wsba.org.


QUICK REFERENCE

November 2022 Usury

The usury rate for Nov. 2022 is 12.00%. The auction yield of the Oct. 3, 2022, auction of the six-month Treasury Bill was 3.98%. The interest rate required by RCW 4.56.110(3)(a) and 4.56.115 for Nov. 2022 is 5.98%. The interest rate required by RCW 4.56.110(3)(b) and 4.56.111 for Nov. 2022 is 8.25%.