ACC comments on proposals that could burden some in-house counsel in Washington State

ACC and our Washington State Chapter today filed a comment letter with the Washington State Bar Association.  We asked to start a discussion over proposed changes to the state’s practice rules that would impose new requirements on some in-house counsel.

Most important, the proposals would largely get rid of the “show up and work” system that currently allows Washington companies to hire in-house lawyers who have have law licenses from elsewhere.  Under the proposed changes, the current rule would apply only to affected in-house lawyers who work in the state on a “temporary basis.”  After that, the lawyers would need to register with Washington State.

The change would introduce some new red tape and uncertainty — specifically, figuring out when the “temporary” period ends.  And, even after jumping through the new hoops, these lawyers still wouldn’t be able to practice in state courts or tribunals.  That’s different from Virginia and Colorado.  Those states also require registration, but then grant full practice rights to this group of in-house lawyers, including the right to practice in courts.

We’ve asked the Washington State Bar Association to discuss these proposed changes with us before finalizing them.

ACC’s letter is available at: