News Letters

LETTER TO ALL WASHINGTON STATE LAWYERS 

February 18, 2017

From Stephen Kerr Eugster WSBA # 2003

Fellow Washington Lawyers:

A new Washington State Bar Association came into existence on January 1, 2017.  I call the new association WSBA 2017.  It replaced the Washington State Bar Association of the State Bar Act of 1933, I call this legal entity association WSBA 1933.

I suspect this comes as a shock to many of you and that you may be in disbelief.  But, let me explain:  At a regularly called meeting of the WSBA 1933 Board of Governors, the BOG took the WSBA 1933 Bylaws and made a host of amendments to them.  This was on the second day of the BOG meeting of September 29 – 30, 2016 in the offices of the WSBA 1933.  The Bylaws were not really amended.  They were used with changes to create the bylaws for the new association, the new “Washington State Bar [sic] Association” of the WSBA 2017 Bylaws.

You are still a member of WSBA 1933.  And, as of January 1, 2017, you are also a member of WSBA 2017 along with new members, – Limited Practice Officers (APR 12) (LPOs) and Limited License Legal Technicians (APR 28) LLLTs.

A group has hijacked WSBA 1933. It is made up of the Executive Director officers WSBA 1933 — Executive Director, Paula C. Littlewood, President Robin Haynes, Past President William Hyslop, and Governors of the WSBA 1933 Board of Governors.

WSBA 1933 is still in existence, but it no longer acts, WSBA 2017 acts.  The individuals who have created the new WSBA think the new WSBA is still the first WSBA. It is not.  Here is why: The Bar Act WSBA is a legal entity association which is an agency of the state of Washington.  RCW 2.48.010.  The members are the lawyers who admitted to the bar of the Washington Supreme Court.  RCW 2.48.020 and .021.  These members are compelled to be members and required to pay dues to the entity.  If a lawyer ceases to be a member because of failure to pay dues is suspended or disbarred, she no longer has the right to practice law in Washington.

The members are also subject to the regulations applied to Washington lawyers and the Washington Lawyer Discipline System operated and staffed by WSBA members, persons selected, and employees of WSBA 1933.

The WSBA 1933 is an integrated bar association like other integrated state bar associations all of which became adherents of the Integrated Bar Association of the early decades of the 1900’s.  Integrated bars are limited to lawyers who are subject to the discipline by the integrated bar.

As an integrated bar association WSBA 1933 has two intertwined elements:

  1. The membership of the WSBA 1933 is limited by law to members of the bar of the Supreme Court. RCW 2.28.020 and RCW 2.28.021.
  2. The discipline system is a part of WSBA 1933, and its function is limited to the members of the Association, the lawyers.  RCW 2.48.060.

The RCW sections above are the same as corresponding sections of the Bar Act, 1933 c 94.

The new WSBA is decidedly different.  Its bylaws call the association the “Washington State Bar Association.”  This wrong because the name is the name of the entity created by the Bar Act.  RCW 2.48.010.  And, because the association is not limited to lawyers it is not a bar association.  Rather, it is an association of Washington lawyers and others – Limited Practice Officers (APR 12) LPOs and Limited License Legal Technicians (APR 28) LLLTs.  These members are required to be members, and pay dues to the association.  If a member fails to remain a member or is disciplined and is no longer a member, the member her legal services in Washington.

The members, all of them, are also subjected to regulation and discipline by the new WSBA 2017.

There are differences between WSBA 1933 and WSBA 2017 of substantive consequence and meaning.  Here is a comparison:

Character WSBA 1933 WSBA 2017
Organic Source Bar Act 1933 Bylaws September 30, 2016
Legal Status (Legal) Entity Association, as Agency of State of Washington Association
Members Lawyers Lawyers, LPOs (APR 12), and LLLTs (APR 28)
Compelled Membership and Compelled Dues Yes Yes, As to All Members
Integrated Yes Yes, As to All Members
Regulation and Discipline Lawyers Yes, as to All members

The circumstances present a significant and time-sensitive problem — the preservation of the approximate $25,000.000.00 in income and assets of the WSBA 1933.  See my letter to Attorney General Bob Ferguson, http://washlawyerdefense.com/?page_id=668. About $10,000,000.00 of these assets belong to the members of WSBA 1933. They could serve as funding for a voluntary Washington State Bar Association formed by the members receiving WSBA 1933 assets.

For this and other matters and issues concerning the Washington State Bar Association see Washington Lawyer Defense, www.washlawyerdefense.com.

We would appreciate your ideas, legal analyses, arguments, encouragement – discouragement –

February 18, 2017

s/ Steve Eugster

Spokane, WA

eugster@eugsterlaw.com

www.washlawyerdefense.com