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Professional Responsibility

Professional Responsibility resources. Prepared for LAW B510, Problems in Professional Responsibility. Updated Feb. 9, 2021

Model Rules

Annotated Model Rules

Washington and ABA Model Rules Compared

Washington (like most states) has adopted the ABA's Model Rules of Professional Conduct. But adopting the rules is not simply a matter of copying and pasting. The Washington Supreme Court has used its rulemaking process (see GR 9) to adapt the rules for our state.

To highlight the differences between the Model Rules and Washington's rules, Prof. Hugh Spitzer and Evan Hejmanowski prepared a "blueline" text: 

Some of the changes are fairly small—e.g., changing the title of RPC 1.9 from "Duties to Former Clients" to "Duties to Former Client." Other changes are significant. For example, Washington has pioneered the new status of Limited License Legal Technician so some rules add provisions about LLLTs that the model rules lack.

Another change came in response to our state's legalization of marijuana while it is still illegal under federal law. RPC 1.2 provides that a "lawyer shall not counsel a client to engage . . . in conduct that the lawyer knows is criminal"—and yet marijuana businesses need legal services. So the Supreme Court added a comment (Comment [18]) to RPC 1.2, explicitly allowing a lawyer "to assist a client in conduct the lawyer reasonably believes is permitted by this statute and the other statutes, regulations, orders, and other state and local provisions implementing them." For more on this issue, see Prof. Tom Andrews's blog post, Cannabis and Washington Lawyering.)