APR 8 - Special Admissions - Alternative 1Comments for APR 8 must be received no later than April 29, 2005.
GR 9 Cover Sheet
Rule 8: Special Admissions
Submitted by the Board of Governors of the Washington State Bar Association
Purpose: Current rule 8(f) (Special Admission for House Counsel) of the Admission to Practice Rules (APR) will be superseded if the suggested amendment to Rule 5.5(d)(1) of the Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC), which permits attorneys admitted in other states to practice law in-house in Washington, is adopted. This suggested amendment would retain APR 8(f) to apply solely to lawyers admitted in other countries to allow them to practice under a limited license as house counsel. See Alternative 1. If the suggested amendment to RPC 5.5(d)(1) is not adopted, then current APR 8(f) would be retained, and this suggested amendment would become APR 8(h). See Alternative 2. Finally, if the suggested amendment to RPC 5.5(d)(1) is adopted but this suggested amendment is not, then current APR 8(f) should be deleted and reserved. See Alternative 3.
Persons admitted as house counsel under this suggested amendment would be required to meet the limited licensing criteria in the current 8(f), except that consistent with the proposed RPC 5.5, they would not be required to take the ethics portion of the bar examination. The amendment will also make a technical change to tie these house counsel application fees to the application fees for admission of foreign attorney applicants to the bar in Washington. These suggested amendments would not affect any other special admission rule in APR 8.
The proponents of this amendment believe this change would be very beneficial. Washington is part of the global community, and our economy increasingly relies on that role. The ability of our businesses to operate effectively from Washington is important in fostering our economy. For example, the information technology and bio-technology industries are founded on intellectual property rights, and an effective in-house legal team is key to success. At some businesses, that team includes lawyers from many countries, working together in Washington. Denying Washington businesses the opportunity to bring in attorneys from other countries inhibits their ability to grow and conduct business here, forcing growth out of the state or out of the country.
Although some states do not consider lawyers in-house to be practicing law and, thus, do not regulate them at all, that is not true in Washington. The suggested rule would require an application process, and the Washington Supreme Court and the Washington State Bar Association would maintain control over admission, regulation and the ability to discipline.
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