The Washington State Bar Association or WSBA is voluntary membership law society that has the responsibility of licensing the attorneys and other legal professionals who want to practice law in the state. It has more than 40,000 members of whom include lawyers, paralegals, law clerks, and court administrators. The organization is entirely self-funded and does not receive any money from the state or federal government. Its numerous duties include serving and protecting the public, advocating for the state’s legal industry, and working as a champion for justice.
A 14-member Board of Governors and an executive director comprise the governing entity for the WSBA. Presidents and executive directors serve one year terms.
The WSBA is the first legal society in the U.S. to allow members who are not lawyers. It welcomes membership from others like paralegals who work in the legal industry. The WSBA has the authority to issue limited licenses for non-attorneys to prepare and handle legal documents like those used to issue and close a loan or extension of credit. This license is called a Limited Practice Offer or LPO. Almost 800 non-attorneys have this LPO licensing issued to them in Washington.
In exchange for their membership dues, members have access to WSBA benefits that can be used for professional or personal reasons. For example, attorneys going into private practice may need to invest in insurance for themselves as well as their families and practices. Instead of paying full price for policies, they could take advantage of reduced cost insurance policies available through a WSBA insurance broker.
Likewise, lawyers often need to conduct fast yet thorough legal research for their clients and cases. Many times, they have to pay to access resources like case law and legal documents. The WSBA grans access to free online legal research that can save attorneys time and money.
The public in Washington also can use the WSBA website for their own legal research. For example, members of the public often cannot understand complex legalese used in laws and legal documents. They can decode the language by using the legal resources on the website.
Further, they file for relief from the Client Protection Board if they feel they have been taken advantage of by their attorney. The funds may reimburse what they paid for attorney fees. They can contact the WSBA at 1325 Fourth Avenue, Suite 600 in Seattle, 98101.