Proposed Rules ArchivesAPR 12 - Limited Practice Rule for Limited Practice Officers
GR 9 COVER SHEET
SUGGESTED AMENDMENTS TO
Submitted by the Limited Practice Board
Purpose: This proposal is a substantial revision of the entire body of administrative rules that cover Limited Practice Officers (LPOs). It also includes the suggested adoption of a new set of rules governing the professional conduct of LPOs, and the replacement of the existing disciplinary rules for LPOs with a new set of disciplinary rules. This proposal is the result of approximately three years of work by the Limited Practice Board (LP Board), which undertook a complete review of the administration of the LPO licensing system, from the examination, through the administrative rules governing admission and continued licensing, and continuing through the disciplinary process.
The LP Board is made up of lawyer and non-lawyer representatives of groups involved in the real estate industry in Washington, and by its makeup, it is intended to receive and include input from all areas of that industry. The LP Board created a Rules Committee to review existing rules and develop a proposal to present to this Court. The proposals developed by that Committee and ultimately adopted by the full LP Board were broadcast to all licensed LPOs in Washington and to major employers in Washington’s real estate industry, with a request for input and feedback. Information about the report was also disseminated to members of the WSBA through its Sections, Committees and Boards, and to the Legal Foundation of Washington (LFW) and the Access to Justice Board, and through the WSBA website.
The report of the LP Board Rules committee was first presented to the Washington State Bar Association (WSBA) Board of Governors in June of 2007 (for first reading), then presented again (for action) in September of 2007. At the September 2007 WSBA Board of Governors meeting, the LFW expressed its support of this proposal. Also at the September 2007 meeting, the Board of Governors voted to approve this proposal. The final materials submitted to the WSBA Board of Governors in September for action – consisting of the cover memo, the LP Board Rules Committee Report providing detailed explanations of the suggested rule changes and reasons for the suggestions, and red-lined and clean versions of the suggested amendments and new rules and regulations - accompany this proposal.
Significant elements of the submission are the following:
Comments are distinguished from the “Explanatory/Purpose Statements” contained in the LP Board Rules Committee final report, which were are not intended to be included with the rules and regulations. The Explanatory/Purpose Statements are intended to provide insight into the considerations weighed by the LP Board and Rules Committee when discussing and developing these suggestions.
The suggested amendments to the regulations in Appendix APR 12 and the regulations following LPO 11.5 are more in the nature of housekeeping and also have fewer matters of major significance. These suggested amendments are intended primarily to improve administration of LPO admissions, licensing, exams, continuing education requirements, etc., and to make adjustments to these regulations as would be necessary if the other rules in this submission are adopted. The suggested elimination of the LPO would suggest that all of the regulations be placed in Appendix APR 12 – Regulations of the APR 12 Limited Practice Board, with the Disciplinary Regulations and the Continuing Education Regulations following the other regulations.
Of note (and a major topic of discussion, input and feedback from many groups) are the suggested revisions to the IOLTA rules applicable to LPOs. The suggested changes are intended to bring LPO IOLTA requirements more in line with current lawyer IOLTA requirements in RPC 1.15A and B (rather than the lawyer IOLTA rules as they existed several years ago), yet reflect the reality of limited practice as an LPO – hence the intentional omission of the Comments to RPC 1.15A, most notably Comment 15, from the corresponding LPORPC 1.12A. See suggested LPORPC 1.12A and B with the associated Explanatory/Purpose Statements, and the suggested amendments to RPC 1.15A with the associated Explanatory/Purpose Statements, contained in the LP Board Rules Committee report for an explanation of the reasoning behind this approach.
The LP Board believes that in order to achieve the desired goals of the rule changes, all of the suggested rule changes need to be adopted as a “package”.
This submission also suggests amendments to RPC 1.15A relating to IOLTA requirements for lawyers. Currently, LPOs must ensure that all funds for transactions in which the LPOs selected, prepared and completed documents are maintained in accordance with IOLTA rules even if the LPOs do not personally handle the funds. These amendments are being suggested in order to require the same of lawyers - lawyers who select, prepare and complete real estate transaction documents would be required to ensure that the funds for that transaction are maintained in accordance with IOLTA rules, even if the lawyers personally do not handle the funds. The reasoning behind this approach is set forth in the Explanatory/Purpose Statements in the Rules Committee report, related to LPORPC 1.12A and B, and related to the suggested changes to RPC 1.15A.
In order to accomplish the intended objectives with respect to IOLTA requirements, it is important that these amendments be adopted as a package with the suggested new LPORPCs.
The intent of these rules, however, is that the LP Board and/or the LP Board Discipline Committee is always involved in the “resolution” stages of any disciplinary grievance or proceeding, including dismissal, imposition of a disciplinary sanction, and appeals, and that the final authority rests with the Supreme Court.
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