Rule 18 of the Washington Admission to Practice Rules governs admission to the Washington Bar for attorneys licensed in other jurisdictions. The process in Washington is called Reciprocity. Attorneys must have active legal experience as a lawyer or counselor at law at the time of the application for admission. Attorneys applying after March 1, 2013 must pass the Washington Law Component (WLC) test.
The Reciprocity procedure in Washington is based on bar reciprocity. Attorneys from other states, territories, or the District of Columbia will be admitted in Washington under rules, conditions, and procedures that, in the judgment of the Washington Supreme Court, are substantially similar to the procedures and conditions under which the other licensing jurisdiction allows admission to Washington attorneys.
At this time, Washington does not publish its list of reciprocal jurisdictions to the public. Washington rejected BarReciprocity.com’s public records request. Attorneys must contact the Washington State Bar Association in order to determine reciprocal jurisdictions.
Washington’s additional reciprocity requirements include:
Character and Fitness. Attorneys must meet the applicable character and fitness standards. The character and fitness report is conducted by the NCBE.
Good Standing and Prior Bar Exam. Attorneys must be active members in good standing in their reciprocal jurisdiction.
Practice of Law. Attorneys must have active legal experience as a lawyer or counselor at law at the time of the application for admission.
MPRE Requirement. Washington now tests the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (“MPRE”) and has a passing score of 85.
WLC. Attorney applying after March 1, 2013 must pass the Washington Law Component test. Attorneys take the WLC online. The minimum passing score is 80%.
Preadmission Education Requirement. Prior to admission, attorneys must complete a minimum of four hours of education in a curriculum and under circumstances approved by the Board of Governors. The courses are free.
Washington Bar Reciprocity Application Procedure
Attorneys eligible for Reciprocity in Washington must complete the Application. Attorneys must establish the terms and conditions under which the attorney’s home jurisdiction allows admission on motion for Washington attorneys. Applications may be accepted at any time. All requirements must be completed within one year of the date the application was filed.