RULES OF COURT
|IN THE MATTER OF THE ADOPTION OF THE AMENDMENTS TO APR 12, REGULATIONS OF THE LIMITED PRACTICE BOARD, CONTINUING EDUCATION REGULATION, DISCIPLINARY RULES AND REGULATIONS||)
Now, therefore, it is hereby
(a) That the amendments as attached hereto are adopted.
(b) That pursuant to the emergency provisions of GR 9(i), the amendments to the Regulations of the Limited Practice Board, Continuing Education Regulation, Disciplinary Rules and Regulation will be published in the Washington Register, Washington State Bar Association and Administrative Office of the Court's websites and, in addition to the above, the amendment to APR 12 will also be published in the Washington Reports and become effective July 1, 2002.
DATED at Olympia, Washington this 6th day of June 2002.
| Alexander, C. J.
| Smith, J.
|| Ireland, J.
| Johnson, J.
|| Bridge, J.
| Madsen, J.
|| Chambers, J.
| Sanders, J.
|| Owens, J.
ADMISSION TO PRACTICE RULES (APR) RULE 12. LIMITED PRACTICE RULE FOR CLOSING OFFICERS
ADMISSION TO PRACTICE RULES (APR)
RULE 12. LIMITED PRACTICE RULE FOR CLOSING OFFICERS
(a) Purpose. The purpose of this rule is to authorize certain lay persons to select, prepare and complete legal documents incident to the closing of real estate and personal property transactions and to prescribe the conditions of and limitations upon such activities.
(b) Limited Practice Board.
(1) Establishment. There is hereby established a Limited
Practice Board (referred to herein as the "Board") consisting of
nine members to be appointed by the Supreme Court of the State of
Washington. Not less than four of the members of the Board must
be admitted to the practice of law in the State of Washington.
Four of the members of the Board shall be business
representatives, one each of the following four industries:
escrow, lending, title insurance, and real estate.
members first appointed, two shall be appointed for 1 year, three
for 2 years, two for 3 years, and two for 4 years. Thereafter, a
Appointments shall be for 4-year terms. No member may serve more
than two consecutive terms. Terms shall end on December 31 of
the applicable year , except that no term shall end prior to
December 31, 1984. The Supreme Court shall designate one of the
members of the Board as chairperson.
(2) Duties and Powers.
(i) Applications. The Board shall accept and process applications for certification under this rule.
(ii) Examination. The Board shall conduct the examination for certification required by this rule. The examination shall consist of such questions as the Board may select on such subjects as may be listed by the Board and approved by the Supreme Court. The Board shall establish the number of examinations to be given each year and the dates of the examinations.
(iii) Investigation and recommendation for admission. The Board shall notify each applicant of the results of the examination and shall recommend to the Supreme Court the admission or rejection of each applicant who passes the examination. The Supreme Court shall enter an order admitting to limited practice those applicants it deems qualified, conditioned upon each applicant taking an oath that he or she will comply with this rule and paying to the Board the annual fee for the current year. Upon the entry of such order, the taking and filing of the oath, and payment of the annual fee, an applicant shall be enrolled as a certified closing officer and shall be entitled to perform those services permitted by this rule. The oath must be taken before a court of record in the State of Washington.
(iv) Education. The Board shall approve individual courses and may accredit all or portions of the entire educational program of a given organization which, in the Board's judgment, will satisfy the educational requirement of these rules. It shall determine the number of credit hours to be allowed for each such course. It shall encourage the offering of such courses and programs by established organizations, whether offered within or outside this state.
(v) Grievances and discipline. The Board shall adopt
hearing and appeal procedures and shall hear complaints of
persons aggrieved by the failure of certified closing officers to
comply with the requirements of this rule and of APR 12.1. Upon
a finding by the Board that a certified closing officer has
failed to comply in any material manner with the requirements of
this rule, the Board shall take such action as may be appropriate
to the degree of the violation, considering also the number of
violations and the previous disciplinary record of the closing
officer. Disciplinary action may include admonitions,
censure, reprimands, and recommendations to the Supreme Court for
the suspension or revocation of the closing officers
(vi) Investigation. Upon the receipt of a complaint that a closing officer has violated the provisions of this rule and in other appropriate circumstances, the Board may investigate the conduct of the closing officer to determine whether the closing officer has violated the requirements, conditions or limitations imposed by this rule.
(vii) Approval of forms. The Board shall approve standard forms for use by closing officers in the performance of services authorized by this rule.
(viii) Fees. The Board shall establish and collect examination and annual fees in such amounts as are necessary to carry out the duties and responsibilities of the Board.
(ix) Regulations. The Board shall propose regulations to implement the provisions of this rule for adoption by the Supreme Court.
(x) Interim certification and approval of forms. The Board
may adopt regulations permitting interim certification of closing
officers and approval of forms pending adoption of final
regulations and the initial certification of successful
applicants pursuant to this rule, provided that this interim
certification shall expire 18 months from the date of adoption of
(3) Expenses of the Board. Members of the Board shall not
be compensated for their services. For their actual and
necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties,
they shall be reimbursed by the Board in a manner consistent with
The Board may contract with agencies or organizations
to carry out its administrative functions. All such expenses
shall be paid pursuant to a budget submitted to and approved by
the Supreme Court Washington State Bar Association on an annual
basis. Funds accumulated from examination fees, annual fees, and
other revenues shall be used to defray all expenses of the Board.
The administrative support to the Board shall be provided by the
Washington State Bar Association.
(c) Certification Requirements. An applicant for certification as a closing officer shall:
(1) Age. Be at least 18 years of age.
(2) Moral Character. Be of good moral character.
(3) Examination. Satisfy the examination requirements established by the Board.
(4) Oath. Execute under oath and file with the Board two
copies of his or her application
, one of which shall be in the
applicants own handwriting, in such form as may be required by
the Board. Additional proof of any fact stated in the
application may be required by the Board. In the event of the
failure or refusal of an applicant to furnish any information or
proof, or to answer any interrogatories of the Board pertinent to
the pending application, the Board may deny the application. The
form of the application shall be prescribed by the Board by
regulation adopted pursuant to this rule.
(5) Examination Fee. Pay, upon the filing of an application, the examination fee.
(d) Scope of Practice Authorized by Limited Practice Rule. Notwithstanding any provision of any other rule to the contrary, a person certified as a closing officer under this rule may select, prepare and complete documents in a form previously approved by the Board for use in closing a loan, extension of credit, sale or other transfer of real or personal property. Such documents shall be limited to deeds, promissory notes, guaranties, deeds of trust, reconveyances, mortgages, satisfactions, security agreements, releases, Uniform Commercial Code documents, assignments, contracts, real estate excise tax affidavits, and bills of sale. Other documents may be from time to time approved by the Board.
(e) Conditions Under Which Certified Closing Officers May Prepare and Complete Documents. Certified closing officers may render services authorized by this rule only under the following conditions and with the following limitations:
(1) Agreement of the Parties. Prior to the performance of the services, all parties to the transaction shall have agreed in writing to the basic terms and conditions of the transaction.
(2) Disclosures to the Parties. The closing officer shall advise the parties of the limitations of the services rendered pursuant to this rule and shall further advise them in writing:
(i) that the closing officer is not acting as the advocate or representative of either of the parties;
(ii) that the documents prepared by the closing officer will affect the legal rights of the parties;
(iii) that the parties' interests in the documents may differ;
(iv) that the parties have a right to be represented by lawyers of their own selection; and
(v) that the closing officer cannot give legal advice as to the manner in which the documents affect the parties.
(f) Continuing Certification Requirements.
(1) Continuing Education. Each certified closing officer
must complete a minimum number of credit hours of approved or
accredited education, as prescribed by regulation of the Board,
during each calendar year
after the effective date of this rule
in courses certified by the Board to be appropriate for study by
closing officers providing services pursuant to this rule;
provided, that the certified closing officer shall not be
required to comply with this subsection during the calendar year
in which he or she is initially certified.
(2) Financial Responsibility. Each certified closing officer or employer thereof shall show proof of ability to respond in damages resulting from his or her acts or omissions in the performance of services permitted by this rule. The proof of financial responsibility shall be in such form and in such amount as the Board may by regulation prescribe.
(3) Annual Fee. Each certified closing officer must pay the annual fee established by the Board.
(g) Existing Law Unchanged. This rule shall in no way expand, narrow or affect existing law in the following areas: (1) The fiduciary relationship between a certified closing officer and his or her customers or clients;
(2) Conflicts of interest that may arise between the certified closing officer and a client or customer;
(3) The right to act as one's own attorney under the pro se exception to the unauthorized practice of law including but not limited to the right of a lender to prepare documents conveying or granting title to property in which it is taking a security interest;
(4) The lack of authority of a certified closing officer to give legal advice without being licensed to practice law;
(5) The standard of care which a certified closing officer must practice when carrying out the functions permitted by this rule.
(h) Treatment of Funds Received Incident to the Closing of Real or Personal Property Transactions. Except to the extent certified closing officers are not required to be employed in the selection, preparation and completion of closing documents under APR 12 (g)(3), persons admitted to practice under this rule shall comply with APR 12.1 regarding the manner in which they identify, maintain and disburse funds received incidental to the closing of real and personal property transactions.
RULES FOR ADMISSION AND CERTIFICATION TO REGULATIONS OF THE APR 12
LIMITED PRACTICE BOARD
UNDER APR 12 (LPR)
RULE REGULATION 1 [APPLICATION] IN GENERAL
Every person desiring to be admitted to limited practice as
a Limited Practice Officer LPO) pursuant to
APR Admission to
Practice Rule (APR) 12 must submit an application in the form and
manner and within the time limits established by these
Regulations, pay the requisite $125.00 fee, and satisfy all of
the requirements of the Rules APR 12.
RULE REGULATION 2: APPLICANTS APPLICATIONS A. Definitions. An "applicant" means any individual who
submits an application for admission to limited practice under
Qualifications Application. An applicant , in order to
have an application for admission to limited practice under APR
12 considered, must complete and file in duplicate with the
Washington State Bar Association (WSBA):
Fully complete the two copies of a completed application
for admission to limited practice under APR 12 (one of which may
be a photcopy) and photocopy the completed application with both
copies of the application forwarded to the Administrative Office
Of The Courts (OAC));
Return with the application the a fingerprint card which
has been processed by the applicant at a local police department;
Submit completed, signed, and notarized a signed
Authorization and Release; and
Submit completed, signed, and notarized a signed
Affidavit of Applicant ; and. The application shall not be
considered complete and will not be approved pursuant to
Regulation 4 unless the applicant has provided a current
residential address. 5. Pay a fee of $125.00 with application. The applicant
shall be entitled to a refund of $50.00 of the application fee if
the application be is withdrawn at least fourteen (14) days
before the date scheduled for examination. If the application be
withdrawn by the applicant, and the applicant reapplies to sit
for the examination at the next scheduled examination date, the
applicant shall pay $50.00 to sit for the examination. If the
application be denied before the examination has been
administered, the applicant shall be entitled to a refund of
$50.00 of the application fee. If the applicant reapplies to sit
for the examination, the cost of reapplication shall be $125.00.
If an applicant fails the examination and intends to sit for the next scheduled examination, the examination fee shall be $125.00. No application will be considered or processed without the requisite fee.
C. Filing Application. Persons applying for admission to limited practice under APR 12 should submit their application, in duplicate, together with the required attachments and fee to the Administrative Office Of The Courts, PO BOX 41172, OLYMPIA WA 98504-1172. The application shall not be considered complete and will not be approved pursuant to Rule 4 unless the applicant has provided a residential address.
Intake of the application for admission will be handled by the staff of the OAC.
A cutoff date for acceptance of applications will be established by the Limited Practice Board before each scheduled examination. The date shall be disseminated to each applicant when the application packet is distributed by the staff of the OAC.
B. Fees. An applicant will pay a fee of $125.00 which must be paid with the application and each applicant will be sent a receipt of the application and fee.
C. Verification Of Application Information. Each applicant must submit a fingerprint card which shall be forwarded to the Washington State Patrol for a criminal history check, and for each applicant who has not resided in the state of Washington for two years, a Federal Bureau of Investigation check shall also be conducted. A status review on all professional licenses will be conducted for each applicant. The applicant will furnish whatever additional information or proof may be required in the course of investigating the applicant.
D. Refunds and Transfers.
1. For all applicants there is a $75.00 nonrefundable administration fee.
2. An applicant may withdraw from the current examination by written request received at least 14 days prior to the date set for the examination and may also request a refund of the fee less the administration fee.
3. An applicant may withdraw from the current examination and apply the examination fee to the next examination only, and only upon the following conditions: the written request to transfer must be received at least 14 days prior to the date set for the examination, and the applicant must repay the administration fee.
4. An applicant withdrawing an application or requesting to transfer to the next examination less than 14 days prior to the date set for the examination will receive no refund of any kind.
5. If the application is denied before the examination, the application fee less the $75 administration fee will be refunded. If the applicant reapplies to sit for the examination, the applicant will pay the full application fee then required of all applicants.
6. If an applicant fails the examination and applies to repeat the next scheduled examination, the examination fee shall be $125.00.
7. Any applicant transferring to the next application must execute and file a Declaration in the form prescribed by the Limited Practice Officer Board.
E. Filing Deadline. An applicant must file the application to take the LPO examination not less than 30 days prior to the examination date. No applications will be accepted less than 30 days prior to the examination date.
RULE 3: PROCEDURE FOR PROCESSING APPLICATIONS
A, Initial Review of the Application. The staff of the AOC will conduct an initial review of all applications received to determine if the application has been completed in accordance with Rule 2 (B) and (C). If the application does not meet the requirements of Rule 2 (B) and (C), the application with all attachments and fee will be returned to the applicant with an explanation of the deficiency in the application.
B. Application Fee. The $125.00 will be deposited by the staff of the OAC. Staff will receipt all monies received and send a receipt for the application fee to each applicant acknowledging receipt of the application.
C. Verification Of Application Information. Screening criteria and verification will be conducted by the staff of the OAC. Each applicant shall submit a fingerprint card which shall be forwarded to the Washington State Patrol for a criminal history check, and for each applicant who has not resided in the state of Washington for two years, a Federal Bureau of Investigation check shall also be conducted. A status review on all professional licenses shall be conducted for each applicant.
RULE 4 REGULATION 3: APPROVAL OR DENIAL OF APPLICATION
A, Approval of Application.
After the application has been
screened and verified by the staff of the OAC, staff will make a
recommendation for approval of the application to the Chair of
the The Limited Practice Board will determine if the application
meets the criteria established in APR 12. The staff will forward
the application together with all attachments to the Chair of the
Limited Practice Board for review. The Chair of the Limited
Practice Board will review the application and make a
recommendation of approval or denial.
B. Denial of Application.
After the application has been
screened and verified by the staff of the AOC and found to be
deficient in the criteria established in APR 12, staff will
forward the application together with all attachments to the
Chair of the Limited Practice Board. Further, staff will furnish
the Chair with a memorandum reciting the facts disclosed during
the investigation leading to the recommendation of denial of the
application. The Chair of the Limited Practice Board will review
and consider the application together with all attachments and
the memorandum of staff and make a recommendation of approval or
denial of the application.
If the Chair approves the application, he will make a
recommendation of approval, and the applicant may sit for the
examination. If the application
be is denied, the applicant will
be granted the right to an appeal of the determination pursuant
to Rule Regulation 5 herein.
C. Notification of Action on Application.
The staff of the
AOC shall notify each The applicant will be notified as to
whether the application has been approved or denied. If the
application has been approved, the applicant will be informed of
the date, time and location of the next examination. If the
application has been denied, the staff of the AOC will notify the
applicant will be notified of the basis for the denial and of the
appeal process of Rule Regulation 5 herein and state the basis of
the denial of the application.
RULE 5 REGULATION 4: DENIAL OF APPLICATION -- RIGHT OF APPEAL
A. Appeals Panel. The Appeals Panel shall be made up of
three members of the Limited Practice Board
which shall be
appointed by the Chair. Staff of the AOC shall supply support to
the Appeals Panel.
B. Right of Appeal. Every applicant who has been denied
admission under APR 12
by the Chair of the Limited Practice Board
shall have a right of appeal before the Appeals Panel. Written
appeal materials will be submitted to the AOC who will distribute
them to the Appeals Panel.
C. Time Period for Appeal. An
aggrieved applicant whose
application has been denied shall have the right to appeal denial
of admission pursuant to APR 12 by submitting a written request
to the Administrative Office Of The Courts, PO BOX 41170, OLYMPIA
WA 98504-1170 within fourteen (14) calendar days of the date the
denial of application was issued.
D. Procedure for Appeal.
1. To begin the appeal procedure. The
must file a written request with the OAC. The written request
for appeal must : a. Be timely be filed in accordance with Rule 5(C) herein
within the time period for appeal b. Sufficiently identify the aggrieved applicant; and c. State the aggrieved applicant's reason for believing that
the application should be approved.
Other Written submissions. The complete application will
be provided to the Appeals Panel for consideration. The
aggrieved applicant may submit other written materials to the
Appeals Panel which may include statements, correspondence,
affidavits, memoranda of law or other written items that the
aggrieved applicant believes will assist the Appeals Panel in
reviewing the denial. If the Appeals Panel determines the
written submissions are merely cumulative or not relevant to the
appeal, the Appeals Panel may exclude any submitted materials
from consideration. The staff of the AOC shall supply the Appeals Panel with the
application together with all attachments and all other material
relating to the denial of the application. Written materials
must be received by staff no later than ten (10) calendar days
prior to the scheduled hearing date.
3. Stipulations. Upon agreement of the parties, written stipulations may be utilized by the Appeals Panel.
4. Review by the Appeals Panel. The Appeals Panel
will consider the all relevant written material submitted in
accordance with Rule 4 unless excluded under Section 2 herein
these Regulations. The Appeals Panel may also request oral
presentations by the parties if it deems such them helpful to a
final determination. The Appeals Panel may set time constraints
on the oral presentations.
5. Findings of the Appeals Panel. The Appeals Panel
will make written findings and may affirm or reverse the denial
of the application or remand to the Chair of the Limited Practice
Board direct further investigation for the reasons stated in the
6. Time lines and scheduling of the appeal.
a. Upon timely receipt of the request for appeal, the
Appeals Panel will schedule the matter for consideration on a
date not more than fourteen (14) calendar days from the date the
request is received
at the Administrative Office Of The Courts.
The staff of the AOC and will notify the aggrieved applicant of
the scheduled date for the consideration of the appeal. Written
materials must be received by the Appeals Panel at least seven
(7) calendar days prior to the scheduled hearing date.
b. The Appeals Panel will not consider any request for
appeal which does not strictly comply with
Rule 5 herein these
c. Upon a showing of good cause, the Appeals Panel may waive
the any of the procedural requirements of Rule 5 herein these
Regulations or reschedule the matter appeal for an earlier or
d. Telephone conferences may be held in lieu of a hearing, and oral presentations may be made by telephone if requested by the Appeals Panel.
7. Notification of findings. The
staff of the AOC shall
Appeals Panel will notify each aggrieved the applicant of the
findings of the Appeals Panel. If the application has been
approved, the applicant will be supplied any forms or information
necessary to sit for the examination by the staff of the OAC. If
the application has been denied, the applicant will be informed
and supplied a copy of the Appeals Panel's written findings.
RULE 6: RESERVED
RULE 7: RESERVED
RULE 8: NECESSARY LETTERS AND FORMS
Staff of the AOC shall prepare all the necessary letters and
forms and submit them to the Limited Practice Board for approval.
Approval of the forms and letters is garnered by the vote of the
majority of the members of the Board.
RULE 9 REGULATION 5: ADMINISTRATION OF EXAMINATION FREQUENCY AND LOCATIONS
The examination will be administered twice a year
examination will be given in at appropriate locations within the
state . The staff of the AOC is to notify all applicants at least
thirty (30) days before the scheduled examination date of the
times and locations of each examination. at dates and locations
established by the Limited Practice Board.
RULE REGULATION 10 6: EXAMINATION STANDARDS AND NOTIFICATION OF RESULTS
The passing standard for the examination is
set at 75
percent for each section. All applicants will be notified by the
staff of the AOC of the applicant's examination results. Those
applicants who unsuccessfully sit for fail the examination may
request in writing that they be informed of their score on the
examination by category. The request shall be made in writing by
the applicant to the staff of the OAC. Test scores shall not be
made available disclosed to those applicants who successfully sit
for pass the examination. Copies of the examination shall not be
available to any applicant.
RULE REGULATION 11 7: REAPPLICATION FOR EXAMINATION
Applicants who fail the examination may
take repeat the
examination three times without making reapplication. However,
after three failures, an applicant must make reapplication in
order to sit for reexamination. If more than one year passes
from the date the applicant last sat for the examination without
the applicant sitting for reexamination submitted an application,
then the applicant shall be is required to make reapplication to
sit for the examination.
RULE REGULATION 12 8: SUBMISSION OF SUCCESSFUL APPLICANTS CERTIFICATION OF RESULTS TO SUPREME
A. Admission Order.
Chair of the Limited Practice Board shall will submit to
the Chief Justice of the Washington State Supreme Court the names
of those persons who have successfully taken passed the
examination for admission pursuant to APR 12, taken an the oath
that he or she will comply with APR 12 as prescribed by these
rules, and furnished proof of the applicant's individual policy
for Errors and Omissions insurance in the amount of at least
$100,000 or the Errors and Omissions policy of the employer or
the parent company of the employer who has agreed to provide
coverage for the applicant's ability to respond in damages in the
amount of at least $100,000 pursuant to APR 12, or submitted the
applicant's audited financial statement showing the applicant's
net worth to be at least $200,000, or submitted an audited
financial statement of the employer or other surety who agrees to
respond in damages for the applicant, indicating net worth in the
following amounts in relationship to the number of employees
covered who may be subject to the jurisdiction of the Limited
|Net Worth||Number of Employees|
|$200,000||Each employee to and including five (5); and|
|$100,000||Each additional employee over five (5)|
Each successful applicant shall complete all the requirements for certification within nine (9) months of the date the applicant successfully sat for examination. If an applicant fails to satisfy all the requirements for certification within this period, the applicant shall not be eligible for admission under APR 12 without submitting a new application for admission.
B. Contents of Oath. The oath which all applicants shall take is as follows:
OATH FOR LIMITED PRACTICE OFFICERS
STATE OF WASHINGTON
I,_____________, do solemnly declare:
1. I am fully subject to the laws of the state of Washington and the Admission to Practice Rules 12 and 12.1 and Regulations adopted by the Washington State Supreme Court and will abide by the same.
2. I will support the constitutions of the state of Washington and of the United States of America.
3. I will abide by the Admission Rules and the Disciplinary Rules approved by the Supreme Court of the state of Washington.
4. I will confine my activities as a Limited Practice Officer to those activities allowed by law, rule and regulation and will only utilize documents approved pursuant to APR 12.
5. I will faithfully disclose the limitations of my services, that I am not able to act as the advocate or representative of any party, that documents prepared will affect legal rights of the parties, that the parties' interests in the documents may differ, that the parties have a right to be represented by a lawyer of their own selection, and that I cannot give legal advice regarding the manner in which the documents affect the parties.
6. I understand that I may incur personal liability if I violate the applicable standard of care of a Limited Practice Officer. Also, I understand that I only have authority to act as a Limited Practice Officer during the times that my financial responsibility coverage is in effect. If I am covered under my employer's errors and omissions insurance policy or by my employer's certificate of financial responsibility, my coverage is limited to services performed in the course of my employment.
Signature Limited Practice Officer
Subscribed and sworn to before me this ______ day of _________, _______.
RULE REGULATION 13 9: ANNUAL FEE
Except as set forth in section B of this
every Limited Practice Officer (LPO) shall pay an annual fee of
$85.00, which is due July 1 of each year through the OAC. The
fee runs in accordance with the fiscal year commencing July 1,
1984. Failure to pay the annual fee shall subject the LPO to
disciplinary action suspension from limited practice as a Limited
B. The prorated annual fee for LPOs who pass the qualifying
examination given in the spring and who request active status
prior to July 1 of that same calendar year shall be $40.
LPOs shall pay the annual fee set forth in Rule 13.A. Regulation
10(A) to retain their active status after June 30 of the calendar
year of their admission.
C. An LPO shall provide his or her residential address to the Board at the time of payment of the annual fee.
REGULATION 10: REINSTATEMENT AFTER SUSPENSION FOR NONPAYMENT OF ANNUAL FEE. An LPO who is suspended pursuant to Regulation 9(A) shall be reinstated if the LPO has:
1. submitted an application for reinstatement in the form prescribed by the Board;
2. the LPO continues to meet the qualifications set out in APR 12 and these Regulations; and
3. paid a sum equal to the amount of all delinquent annual fees, not to exceed the equivalency of double the amount of three year's fees, plus the then current year's fees, and any investigation fees as may be determined by the Board.
RULE REGULATION 14 11: INSURANCE FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
Each LPO shall either be insured or covered under the
financial statement of an employer or employer's parent company
or other surety at all times as specified in
Rule 12 herein
Regulation 9. If the LPO is covered under a financial statement,
the LPO, employer, employer's parent company or other surety who
has assumed such financial responsibility shall annually file
with the Limited Practice Board, by July 1, the audited financial
statement for the most-recent fiscal year of the financially
responsible party indicating net worth.
Each LPO shall notify the
staff of the Limited Practice
Board of any cancellation or lapse in coverage. During any
period that a LPO is not covered in accordance with Rules 12 and
14 these Regulations, or is not on inactive status pursuant to
Rule 16 Regulation 14, the license of the LPO shall be suspended.
Each suspended LPO must demonstrate compliance with the
requirements of Rule 12 Regulation 9 within nine (9) months of
the date of the suspension or the license of the suspended LPO
shall will be revoked.
RULE REGULATION 15 12: CONTINUING EDUCATION
Every LPO shall attend a minimum of ten (10) hours of approved continuing education during each calendar year. Two (2) hours of the required ten (10) hours of continuing education shall be on liability issues. If an LPO completes more than ten (10) credit hours in a given calendar year, the excess credit, up to ten credits, may be carried forward and applied to such LPO's education requirements for the next calendar year.
Every LPO shall submit proof of compliance with the
continuing education attendance requirements by filing an
Affidavit of Attendance as prescribed by the Continuing Education
Regulations of the Limited Practice Board
through the AOC at the
end of each calendar year. Failure to attend the requisite hours
of approved comply with the continuing education requirements
each calendar year shall will subject the LPO to disciplinary
action suspension of license as a Limited Practice Officer.
RULE REGULATION 16 13: INACTIVE STATUS Any An LPO may request leave of the Limited Practice Board
to move transfer to inactive status after being certified. An
LPO who has been granted transferred to inactive status must
continue to meet all the continuing education requirements
occurring applicable during the period of inactive status. An
LPO awarded on inactive status by the Limited Practice Board is
required to pay the annual fee prescribed by Rule 13 required by
If an LPO does not meet the continuing education
requirements or the annual fee requirement, the LPO may
inactive status and be suspended.
awarded on inactive status by the Limited Practice
Board is not required to meet the insurance financial
responsibility requirements prescribed by Rule 14 these
regulations during the period of inactive status.
who has been awarded voluntary on inactive status may
return to active status by filing a petition to return to active
status with the Board. To be granted active status, the LPO must
be current on the payment of the annual fees, prescribed by Rule
13, must have met the continuing education requirements of Rule
15 and meet and the insurance financial responsibility
requirements prescribed by Rule 14 these Regulations.
RULE REGULATION 17 14: VOLUNTARY CERTIFICATION CANCELLATION
Any Limited Practice Officer may voluntarily surrender the LPO certificate by notifying the Limited Practice Board in writing of the desire to cancel and returning the LPO certificate with the request. The Limited Practice Board will notify the LPO of the effective date of the cancellation.
The former LPO shall then promptly notify by registered or certified mail, return receipt request, all clients being represented in pending matters, of the certification cancellation and the consequent inability to act as a Limited Practice Officer.
After entry of the cancellation order, the former LPO shall not accept any new clients or engage in work as a LPO in any matter.
Within ten (10) days after the effective date of the
cancellation order, the former LPO shall file with the
the Supreme Court Limited Practice Board an affidavit showing:
1. The former LPO has fully complied with the provision of
the order and with these
2. The residence or other address of the former LPO
communications may hereafter be directed for purposes of mailing
or for service of process; and
3. Attaching to
such the affidavit a copy of the form of
letter of notification sent to clients being represented in
pending matters, together with a list of the names and addresses
of all clients to whom such the notice was sent.
shall will cause a notice of the cancellation to
be published in the Washington State Escrow Association of
Washington newsletter and a newspaper of general circulation in
the county in which the former LPO worked.
RULE REGULATION 18 15: CHANGE IN STATUS
When an LPO is demonstrating financial responsibility by 1)
an endorsement on the employer's Errors and Omissions insurance
policy, or 2) submission of the employer's audited financial
statement accompanied by the Certificate of Financial
Chair of the Limited Practice Board shall
notify the employer when the LPO is transferred to one of the
following statuses: inactive status, voluntary certification,
cancellation, disability inactive status, or the license is
suspended or revoked.
RULE REGULATION 19 16: LPO NAME, SIGNATURE, AND NUMBER REQUIRED ON DISCLOSURE FORM
The documents, selected, prepared, and/or completed by the LPO shall be particularly identified on a disclosure which shall also include the name, signature, and number of the LPO.
RULE REGULATION 20 17: RECORDS DISCLOSURE
A. The Board shall make available for public inspection and
copying all public records, unless the record falls within the
specific exemptions of this
Rule Regulation or any other Rules
and Regulations applicable to Limited Practice Officers (LPOs).
A "public record" is defined as written information, regardless
of physical form or characteristic, that has been made or
received by the Board or the Administrative Office Of The Courts
(OAC) Limited Practice Board in connection with the transaction
of public business.
B. To the extent required to prevent an unreasonable
invasion of the privacy interests set forth in
this Rule or
elsewhere in these Rules Regulations, the Board shall delete
identifying details in a manner consistent with those rules the
Regulations when it makes available or publishes any public
C. No fee shall be charged for the inspection of public
records. The fee charged for the copying of public records shall
be the same fee charged by the
AOC Washington State Bar
Association for making copies of public records.
D. The Board shall not distinguish among persons requesting records, and such persons shall not be required to provide information as to the purpose for the request except to establish whether inspection and copying would violate a statute, court order or rule which exempts or prohibits disclosure of specific information or records.
E. The following records are exempt from public inspection and copying:
1. Test questions, scoring keys and other examination data used by the Board to administer the qualifying examination.
2. Preliminary drafts, notes, recommendations, and intra-Board memorandums in which opinions are expressed or policies formulated or recommended.
3. Records which are relevant to a controversy to which the Board is a party but which records would not be available to another party under the rules of pretrial discovery for causes pending in the superior courts.
4. The residential address and residential telephone number of a limited practice officer.
5. Membership information; however, status, business addresses, business telephone numbers, facsimile numbers, electronic addresses, license number and dates of admission shall not be exempt.
6. (6) Applications for admission to limited practice and related records.
F. The disclosure of records in disciplinary files shall be governed by Disciplinary Rules 1.8 and 8.6.
G. The exemptions to disclosure set forth in this
Regulation shall be inapplicable to the extent that information,
the disclosure of which would violate personal privacy or fall
within an exemption, can be deleted from the specific records
H. Responses to requests for public records shall be made promptly by the Board. Within five business days of receiving a public record request, the Board must respond by either (1) providing the record; or (2) acknowledging the request and providing a reasonable time estimate for responding to the request, or (3) denying the request. The Board may ask the requestor to clarify the request. If the requestor fails to clarify the request, the Board may deny the request. Denials of request must be accompanied by a written statement of the specific reasons therefore.
I. Whenever the Board concludes that a public record is exempt from inspection and copying, the person may appeal that decision to the Board.
J. The disclosure of information under this section should not violate an individual's right to privacy by amounting to a disclosure of information about that person that would be highly offensive to a reasonable person and is not of legitimate concern to the public.
REGULATION 18. NOTICE AND FILING; ADMINISTRATION
All notices and filings required by these Regulations, including applications for admission as a Limited Practice Officer, shall be sent to the headquarters of the Washington State Bar Association. The Washington State Bar Association shall provide administrative support for the Limited Practice Board pursuant to APR 12 (b)(3).
REGULATION 19. AMENDMENT.
These Regulations may be altered, amended, or repealed by vote of the Board on approval of the Board of Governors and the Supreme Court.
TITLE 1. GROUNDS AND JURISDICTION
RULE 1.1 GROUNDS
A. The commission of any act involving moral turpitude, dishonesty, corruption, or other act which reflects disregard for the rule of law, whether the act be committed in the course of an LPO's conduct or otherwise; and whether or not the act constitutes a felony or misdemeanor; and if the act constitutes a felony or misdemeanor, conviction thereof in a criminal proceeding shall not be a condition precedent to disciplinary action, nor shall acquittal or dismissal thereof preclude the commencement of a disciplinary proceeding. Upon such conviction, however, the judgment and sentence shall be conclusive evidence at the ensuing disciplinary hearing of the guilt of the respondent LPO of the crime described in the indictment or information, and of the violation of the statute upon which it is based. A disciplinary hearing as provided in Rule 1.8 of these Rules shall be had to determine:
1. Whether moral turpitude was in fact an element of the crime committed by the respondent LPO; and
2. The disciplinary action recommended to result therefrom;
B. Violation of the oath or duties as an LPO;
C. Permitting an LPO's name to be used as an LPO by another person who is not an LPO authorized under APR 12;
D. Misrepresentation or concealment of a material fact made in the application for admission under APR 12 or in support thereof;
E. Suspension, revocation or other disciplinary sanction by competent authority in any state, federal or foreign jurisdiction;
F. Selecting, preparing, or completing documents authorized by APR 12 for or together with any person whose LPO certification has been revoked or suspended, if the certified LPO has knowledge of such revocation or suspension;
G. Willful disregard of a subpoena or notice of the
Disciplinary Panel or the Limited Practice Board (hereinafter
referred to as Board) or the making of a false statement under
oath in any document filed with
the staff of the Administrator
for the Courts (hereinafter referred to as the OAC) or members of
H. Conduct demonstrating unfitness to work as an LPO;
I. Working as an LPO while on inactive status;
J. Failure to cooperate during the course of an
investigation as required by this rule shall also constitute
grounds for discipline.
B. Term. The members of the Disciplinary Panel shall serve until replaced by the Chair of the Board or for a two-year period from the date of their appointment.
C. Duties. It shall be the duty of the Disciplinary Panel to:
1. Take cognizance of any alleged or apparent violations of these rules coming to its attention, whether by grievance or otherwise, to investigate the same promptly and to submit a report to the full Board within sixty (60) days from the date the matter first came to the attention of the Disciplinary Panel unless the time is extended by the Chair of the Board; and
2. Submit reports to the Board which shall be in such form and pursuant to such procedures as may from time to time be prescribed by the Board; such reports shall form a part of the permanent records of the Board and may be used as a basis for the commencement of disciplinary proceedings.
D. Testimony. Where, in the discretion of the Disciplinary Panel, there is reasonable cause to believe that testimony should be perpetuated, the Disciplinary Panel may, upon reasonable notice to the LPO investigated, cause the deposition of any witness to be taken under oath before a Notary Public or before any other officer authorized by the law of the jurisdiction where the deposition is taken to administer an oath, and have the same transcribed for use in further proceedings under these Rules to which the LPO may be a party.
E. Authority. The authority of the Disciplinary Panel shall include, but not be limited to, the power conditionally to settle and dispose of grievances of a trivial nature without a hearing; provided, that a complete report of the disposition of each grievance shall be made to the Board; upon the filing of the report with the Board, such conditional disposition shall be deemed conclusive unless the Board acts otherwise within sixty (60) days from receipt of such report. Settlement of, compromise of, or restitution in a matter shall not justify the Disciplinary Panel in failing to undertake or complete its investigation and report thereof to the Board.
F. Matters Involving Related Pending Civil or Criminal
Liability. Processing of grievances involving material
allegations which are substantially similar to the material
allegations of pending criminal or civil litigation may be
deferred when authorized by the Board. In such event, the
respondent LPO shall make all reasonable efforts to obtain a
prompt trial and disposition of such pending litigation. The
acquittal of the respondent LPO on criminal charges or a verdict
or a judgment in the LPO's favor in a civil litigation involving
substantially similar material allegations shall not in and of
itself justify abatement of a disciplinary investigation
predicated upon the same material allegations.
It shall be the duty and the obligation of an LPO who is the subject of a disciplinary investigation to cooperate with the Board and Disciplinary Panel
, Board, or OAC staff as requested,
subject only to the proper exercise of the LPO's privilege
against self-incrimination where applicable by:
A. Furnishing any papers or documents, permitting inspection and copying of his or her business records, files and accounts;
B. Furnishing, in writing, or orally if requested, a full and complete explanation covering the matter contained in such grievance;
C. Furnishing written releases or authorizations where needed to obtain access to documents or information in the possession of third parties; and
D. Appearing before the Disciplinary Panel or Board at the time and place designated;
E. An LPO may be represented by counsel during any stage of
an investigation or proceeding under these rules.
Upon request, the person complaining shall furnish to the Board or Disciplinary Panel
, Board, or OAC staff, documentary and
other evidence in the complainant's possession and the names and
addresses of witnesses, and assist in securing evidence in
relation to the facts charged; and appear and testify at any
proceeding resulting from the grievance. Failure to fulfill
these duties may be grounds for the dismissal of a grievance.
The only permissible pleadings upon proceedings before the Disciplinary Panel are a formal complaint, a notice to answer, answer to complaint and motions to make more definite and certain, or in the alternative, for a bill of particulars. Informality in the complaint or answer shall be disregarded.
A. Formal Complaint. If the Disciplinary Panel determines a
hearing should be had to ascertain whether a violation of these
Rules has occurred, a formal complaint shall be prepared and
in the office of the OAC with the Board, and proceedings
shall be had thereon as hereinafter provided. The formal
complaint, which need not be verified, shall set forth the
particular acts or omissions of the respondent LPO in such detail
as to enable the LPO to know the charge and shall be signed by
the Chair of the Disciplinary Panel.
1. Prior Record of a Separate Count. Prior disciplinary proceedings and grievances against a respondent LPO, excluding dismissals after a hearing before the Disciplinary Panel or Board, shall be made a separate count of the complaint if they indicate conduct demonstrating unfitness to act as an LPO.
2. Prior Record as Professional History. If a prior record of the respondent LPO is not made a separate count of the complaint, any prior record of admonition, letters of censure, reprimand, suspension of further proceedings, suspension or revocation or any absence of such record, shall be made a part of the record prior to the recommendations of the Disciplinary Panel to the Board.
3. Joinder. The Disciplinary Panel in its discretion may consolidate for hearing two or more charges as to the same LPO, or may join the charges as to two or more LPO's in one formal complaint.
4. Commencement of Proceedings. A disciplinary action shall
be deemed commenced when the formal complaint has been filed
the office of the OAC.
5. Procedural Irregularity. No technical irregularity shall affect the validity of such complaint or of any proceedings pursuant thereto.
B. Answer. The answer must contain:
1. Denials. A general or specific denial of each material
allegation of the complaint that is controverted by the
respondent LPO, or a denial of knowledge or information thereof
sufficient to form a belief. Any allegation
, not denied will be
2. Affirmative Defenses. A statement of any matter constituting a defense or justification in ordinary and concise language without repetition;
3. Address. An address at which all further pleadings, notices or other documents in relation to the proceedings may be served upon the respondent LPO;
4. The answer with two copies shall be filed
at the office
of the OAC with the Board;
5. The Chair of the Disciplinary Panel may at any time allow or require amendments to the complaint or to the answer;
6. If personal service is made on the respondent LPO in the state of Washington, the LPO shall be allowed twenty (20) days from the date of service, exclusive of the date of service, in which to answer; if service be made in any other manner or place, the respondent LPO shall be allowed thirty (30) days from the date of service, or the date of mailing, exclusive of the date of service, or mailing, in which to answer; and
7. For good cause, the Chair of the Disciplinary Panel may extend the time for any pleading.
1. Formal Complaint. A copy of the formal complaint with notice to answer shall be served on the respondent LPO in the following manner.
a. Personal Service in Washington. If the respondent LPO be found in the state of Washington, by personal service upon the LPO in the manner as is required for personal service of a summons in civil actions in the Superior Court;
b. Service If Not Found in Washington. If the respondent LPO cannot be found in the state of Washington, then by leaving a copy thereof at the LPO's place of usual abode in the state of Washington, with some person of suitable age and discretion then resident therein, or by mailing by registered or certified mail, postage prepaid, a copy addressed to the LPO at the LPO's last known 1) place of abode, 2) office address maintained by the LPO as an LPO, or 3) post office address;
c. Service Outside Washington. If the respondent LPO be found outside of the state of Washington, then by personal service or by mail as set forth in subsection b. above; or
d. Service When Question of Mental Competence. If a guardian or guardian ad litem has been duly approved for the respondent LPO who has been judicially declared to be of unsound mind, or incapable of conducting the LPO's own affairs, service as above shall be had on the guardian or guardian ad litem. Where a complaint is filed under Rule 1.6 A, service as above shall also be had on the person having the care and custody of the respondent LPO, if there be such a person.
2. Other Pleadings, Notices or Other Documents. Service
upon the respondent LPO of any pleadings, notices or other
documents required by these rules to be served, other than the
formal complaint and notice to answer, may be made by mailing the
same postage prepaid to, or leaving the same at, the address set
forth in the LPO's answer, or in the absence of an answer, by
mailing the same postage prepaid to, or leaving the same at, the
address of the respondent LPO on file
in the office of the OAC
with the Board.
3. Service on the Board or Disciplinary Panel. Service on
the Board or Disciplinary Panel of any pleadings, notices or
documents shall be made by filing the same
at the OFFICE OF THE
ADMINISTRATOR FOR THE COURTS, PO BOX 41170, OLYMPIA WA 98504-1170. with the Board at the
offices of the Washington State Bar Association.
4. Mailing. When such other pleadings, notices, or documents are to be served by mail, they shall be sent by registered or certified mail with postage prepaid.
5. Proof of Service. Proof of service by Affidavit of
Service, Sheriff's Return of Service or a signed Acknowledgment
of Service, shall be filed
in the office of the OAC with the
A. Where Held. All disciplinary hearings shall be held within the state of Washington at such place as may be directed by the Board or Disciplinary Panel Chair.
B. Date of Hearing. The Chair of the Disciplinary Panel shall cause notice of the time and place of the hearing to be given to the respondent LPO at least ten (10) days prior thereto. The hearing shall occur not earlier than thirty (30) days or later than sixty (60) days after service of the complaint, unless delayed for good cause.
C. Postponements. At the time and place approved for the hearing the Disciplinary Panel may grant a postponement, but no postponement shall be for longer than thirty (30) days, and the total period of time of all postponements shall not exceed sixty (60) days unless approved by the Board. An application for postponement by the respondent LPO or by the complainant shall be supported by affidavit and served and filed at least seven (7) days prior to the scheduled hearing, unless such time is shortened by the Chair of the Disciplinary Panel.
D. Representation. The complainant may be present at the hearing(s) before the Disciplinary Panel and may be represented by counsel. The respondent LPO may be present at the hearing(s) before the Disciplinary Panel and may be represented by counsel.
E. Default. In no event shall a default be entered against the respondent LPO. If the LPO fails to answer the complaint within the time allowed by these rules, the Disciplinary Panel shall proceed to a determination of the matter in the same manner as though the respondent LPO were present and had answered by a general denial. No notice of the date of hearing or of the taking of depositions of witnesses to be used at the hearing shall be required to be given to such respondent LPO failing to answer. If the respondent LPO has answered but fails to attend the hearing at the time set, the Disciplinary Panel shall proceed to a determination of the matter in the same manner as though the respondent LPO were present.
F. Proceedings Public. Upon the filing and service of a formal complaint and after the LPO has answered that complaint, or failed to answer within the time required, a disciplinary proceeding shall be public, subject to the provisions of any protective order as may be entered pursuant to Section I. The filing of a motion for a protective order shall stay the provisions of this rule with regard to any matter sought to be kept confidential in that motion, and the motion itself shall be confidential until ruled upon.
G. Matters Which Are Public. In a matter which is public pursuant to section (F), any person may have access to the contents of the Disciplinary Panel's file in the pending proceeding, and may attend any hearing on the charges against the LPO, except a hearing on a motion. In any disciplinary matter referred to the Supreme Court, the file, record, briefs, and argument in the case shall also be public except to the extent previously made confidential by a protective order or as otherwise ordered by the court.
H. Matters Which Are Not Public. In no case shall deliberations of a hearing panel, board or court, or matters made confidential by a protective order, be public.
I. Protective Orders. In order to protect a compelling interest of a complainant, witness, third party, or respondent, the panel chair or the chair of the Board when a matter is before a panel or the Board for review, may, upon motion and for good cause shown, issue a protective order prohibiting the disclosure of specific information or specific documents or pleadings, and direct that the proceedings be conducted so as to implement the order.
J. Procedure. Each member of the Disciplinary Panel shall have the power to issue subpoenas to compel the attendance of witnesses or the production of books or documents at such hearings. The respondent LPO shall have the opportunity to make a defense, and upon timely application may have issued such subpoenas as any member of the Disciplinary Panel deems necessary. Subpoenas shall be served in the same manner as in civil cases in Superior Court. Witnesses shall testify under oath administered by the Chair of the Disciplinary Panel. Testimony shall be electronically recorded and may be taken by deposition in accordance with these rules.
K. Depositions. Depositions for use at the hearing may be
taken either within or without the state upon either written or
oral interrogatories before any member of the Disciplinary Panel
or before any other officer authorized to administer an oath by
the law of the jurisdiction where the deposition is taken. Any
member of the Disciplinary Panel shall have the power to order
the taking of a deposition.
All depositions when taken shall be
filed in the office of the OAC.
L. Discovery, Admissions, Inspection of Documents. After the filing of the formal complaint against an LPO, the parties shall have the rights afforded to Superior Court litigants under Rules 33, 34, and 36 of the Superior Court Civil Rules, limited and prescribed as follows: Such rights may be limited to the extent the Chair of the Disciplinary Panel deems just who shall do so by order.
M. LPO Duties. The respondent LPO shall bring to the hearing such documents, files, records, or other written materials or things as the Chair of the Disciplinary Panel may request in writing. The written request shall be served on the respondent LPO at least five (5) working days before the scheduled hearing.
N. Cooperation. It shall be the duty of an LPO who has been served with a formal complaint to respond to all lawful orders made by the Chair of the Disciplinary Panel as provided in the paragraphs L and M. Should such LPO fail to do so, the Chair of the Disciplinary Panel shall report the same to the Board, and such failure may constitute a separate violation of these rules.
O. Standard of Proof. The burden of establishing an act of misconduct shall be by a clear preponderance of the evidence.
P. Rules of Evidence. The following rules of evidence shall apply during disciplinary hearings:
1. The Chair of the Disciplinary Panel may admit and give probative effect to evidence which possesses probative value commonly accepted by reasonably prudent persons in the conduct of their affairs. The Chair of the Disciplinary Panel may exclude incompetent, irrelevant, immaterial and unduly repetitious evidence.
2. All evidence, including but not limited to records and documents in the possession of the Board of which it desires to avail itself, shall be offered and made a part of the record in the case and no other factual information or evidence shall be considered in the determination of the case. Documentary evidence may be received in the forms of copies or excerpts or by incorporation by reference.
3. The LPO (or the LPO's counsel) shall have the right of cross examination of witnesses who testify and shall have the right to submit rebuttal evidence.
4. The Chair of the Disciplinary Panel may take notice of judicially cognizable facts and in addition may take notice of general, technical or scientific facts within the panel's specialized knowledge. The LPO (or the LPO's counsel) shall be notified either before or during hearing, or otherwise, of the material so noticed and shall be afforded an opportunity to contest the facts so noticed.
Q. Findings, Conclusions and Recommendation. Within twenty
(20) days after the hearing, the Chair of the Disciplinary Panel
shall cause findings, conclusions and recommendation to be filed
with the Board.
A. Requirements. Any disciplinary matter may be disposed of by a stipulation for discipline entered into at any time by the respondent LPO and by the Board or the attorney appointed to represent the Board if one has been so appointed. No such stipulation shall be effective unless approved by the Board, and no stipulation for suspension or revocation shall be effective unless approved by the Supreme Court. The stipulation may be presented to the Board and the Supreme Court for approval without notice.
B. Form. A stipulation for discipline shall:
1. Set forth the material facts relating to the particular acts or omissions of the respondent LPO in such detail as to enable the Board and the Supreme Court to form an opinion as to the propriety of the discipline being agreed upon, and if approved, to make the stipulation useful in any subsequent disciplinary proceedings against the respondent LPO;
2. Set forth the respondent LPO's prior record of admonition, censure, reprimand, suspension, revocation or any absence of such record;
3. State the stipulation is not binding as a statement of all existing facts relating to the conduct of the respondent LPO, but that any additional existing acts may be proven in any subsequent disciplinary proceedings; and
4. Fix the amount of costs and expenses to be paid by the respondent LPO.
C. Stipulation Approved. If the stipulation
be is approved
by the Board and/or the Supreme Court, the disciplinary action
agreed to in the stipulation shall follow. If the stipulation is
for admonition , censure or reprimand, the stipulation shall be
retained at the OAC by the Board with notice thereof sent to the
D. Stipulation Not Approved. If the stipulation is not approved by the Board or the Supreme Court, as the case may be, then the stipulation shall be of no force and effect and neither it nor the fact of its execution shall be admissible in evidence in any pending disciplinary proceeding, in any subsequent disciplinary proceeding or in any criminal or civil action.
E. Failure to Comply. Failure of a respondent LPO to comply
with the terms of a stipulation for discipline entered into and
approved as provided in this rule may constitute grounds for
A. Sanctions. The disciplinary sanctions or actions affecting the status of an LPO are admonitions,
censure, reprimands and recommendations to the Supreme Court for
the suspension or revocation of the certification.
B. Restitution. An LPO who has been found to have committed an act of misconduct and who has been sanctioned pursuant to this rule may in addition be ordered to make restitution to persons financially injured by the LPO's conduct. The Chair of the Disciplinary Panel may order the terms of payment of restitution. Failure of an LPO to make restitution when ordered to do so, or failure to comply with the terms entered, may constitute grounds for discipline.
A. Automatic Transfer. In the event an active LPO 1) has been found to be incapable of assisting in the LPO's own defense in a criminal action, 2) has been acquitted of a crime on the ground of insanity, 3) has had a guardian (but not a limited guardian) appointed for the LPO's person or estate upon a finding of incompetency, or 4) has been found to be mentally incapable of conducting the work of an LPO in any other jurisdiction, the LPO shall automatically be transferred from active status to disability inactive status upon receipt by the Board of a certified copy of the judgment, order or other appropriate document demonstrating that one or more of the above events has occurred.
The LPO and the LPO's guardian, if one has been appointed, shall forthwith be notified of the transfer to disability inactive status. The Supreme Court shall be notified of the transfer to disability inactive status and shall be provided with a copy of the judgment, order or other appropriate document upon which the transfer was based.
B. Discretionary Transfer.
1. Disciplinary Panel May Order Inquiry. When it appears to the Disciplinary Panel that there is reasonable cause to believe that an active LPO is unable to adequately engage in the work of an LPO because of insanity, mental illness, senility, excessive use of alcohol or drugs, or other mental or physical incapacity, the Disciplinary Panel shall order that a hearing be held to inquire into the capacity of the LPO to engage in the limited practice of law.
2. Inquiry During Disciplinary Proceeding. When it appears to the Disciplinary Panel or Board that there is reasonable cause to believe a respondent LPO is incapable of conducting a proper defense to a disciplinary proceeding against the LPO because of insanity, mental illness, senility, excessive use of alcohol or drugs or other mental or physical incapacity, the Disciplinary Panel or Board shall order that a supplemental hearing be held to inquire into the capacity of the LPO to conduct a proper defense. Such hearing shall be automatic where the respondent LPO alleges in the course of a disciplinary proceeding that the LPO is unable to conduct a proper defense because of such mental or physical incapacity.
3. Procedure. Proceedings conducted pursuant to this rule are not disciplinary proceedings but shall be conducted under the same procedural rules as disciplinary proceedings. Any hearing held under subsection (2) above may be treated either as a new proceeding or as part of an existing proceeding, at the discretion of the Disciplinary Panel or Board, and the disciplinary hearing shall be held in abeyance pending the outcome of the supplemental proceeding. A recommendation of the Disciplinary Panel that an LPO be transferred to disability inactive status under this rule shall be treated as a recommendation for suspension for the procedural purposes of these rules, including Rules 2.4 and 3.1.
4. Appointment of Counsel. In the event the respondent LPO does not appear with counsel within the time required by these rules for the filing of an answer, or within twenty (20) days of being notified of the issues to be considered in a supplemental proceeding under subsection (2) above, the Chair of the Board shall appoint a member of the Washington State Bar Association as counsel for the respondent LPO.
5. Finding of Incapacity. If after review of the decision of the Disciplinary Panel, the Board finds an LPO does not have adequate mental or physical capacity to engage in the work of an LPO or to conduct a proper defense to disciplinary charges, it shall enter an order immediately transferring the LPO to disability inactive status. Such transfer shall become effective upon service of such order upon the LPO or the LPO's counsel.
6. Appeal to Supreme Court. The LPO may appeal an order of transfer to disability inactive status pursuant to the provisions of Rule 3.1. The order of the Board shall remain in effect, regardless of the pendency of such appeal unless and until reversed by the Supreme Court.
7. Proceedings Confidential. All proceedings conducted
pursuant to this rule shall be confidential except as otherwise
provided for herein.
A. Restriction, Right of Petition, and Burden. No LPO transferred to disability inactive status may resume active status except by order of the Board or the Supreme Court. Any LPO transferred to disability inactive status shall be entitled to petition the Board for transfer to active status. The LPO shall have the burden of showing that the disability has been removed.
B. Petition and Initial Review. The petition for
reinstatement shall set forth the facts demonstrating that the
disability has been removed. The petition shall be filed with
at the OAC. Upon the filing of the petition, the Chair
of the Board shall direct whatever action appears necessary or
proper to determine whether the disability has been removed.
Such actions include, but are not limited to, direction: 1) that
an appointed counsel for the Board or any other person conduct an
investigation and file a report, 2) that an examination of the
LPO be conducted by a qualified expert or experts, and 3) that a
hearing be held before the Disciplinary Panel or Board.
C. Waiver of Doctor-Patient Privilege. The filing of a petition for reinstatement to active status by an LPO transferred to disability inactive status shall be deemed to constitute a waiver of any doctor-patient privilege with respect to any treatment of the LPO during the period of the LPO's disability. The LPO shall be required to disclose the name of each psychiatrist, psychologist, physician or other person and each hospital or other institution by whom or in which the LPO has been examined or treated since the LPO's transfer to disability inactive status. The LPO shall furnish, if requested by the Board or its appointed attorney, if there be one, written consent to each person or hospital to divulge information and records relating to the disability.
D. Review of Record. Prior to the submission of the petition and any report to the Board, the LPO shall have a reasonable opportunity to review the report and to make any additional submissions deemed desirable.
E. Board Review. The Board shall review the petition and report as expeditiously as possible and take one or more of the following actions:
1. Grant the petition;
2. Direct whatever additional action the Board deems necessary or proper to determine whether the disability has been removed;
3. Direct that the LPO establish proof of competence and learning in the area of work of an LPO, which proof may include certification by the APR 12 examiners of the LPO's successful completion of an examination for a limited admission to practice under APR 12;
4. Deny the petition, but no such denial shall occur except as hereinafter provided without the LPO having the opportunity for a hearing before the Board or Disciplinary Panel. A hearing is not necessary if the LPO has failed to state a prima facie case for reinstatement in the LPO's petition, or if the petition does not indicate a material change of circumstance since a previous denial of a petition for reinstatement filed by an LPO; and/or
5. Direct the LPO to pay the costs of the reinstatement proceedings.
F. Petition Granted. If the petition for reinstatement be granted, the respondent LPO shall immediately be transferred to active status and the Supreme Court notified thereof. If a disciplinary proceeding has been held in abeyance because of a disability inactive transfer, the proceeding shall go forward upon reinstatement.
G. Review by Supreme Court. If the petition for
reinstatement is not granted, the respondent LPO shall have the
right to appeal the decision of the Board to the Supreme Court by
filing a notice of appeal with the
office of the OAC Board within
fifteen (15) days of service of the decision of the Board upon
the respondent LPO. Review shall be conducted pursuant to the
procedures of Title 3 herein.
H. Continuing Education Requirements. All of the required continuing education requirements occurring during the disability inactive status of an LPO must be made up within one (1) year of transfer to active status by the LPO.
I. Length of Inactive Status. No LPO shall remain on
disability inactive status for longer than one (1) year from the
date of transfer to disability inactive status. If an LPO
remains on disability inactive status for a period longer than
one (1) year from the date of transfer to disability inactive
status, the LPO can be returned to active status only after
successfully taking the examination required for certification
under APR 12.
RULE 2.1 NOTICES
When the findings, conclusions and recommendation of the Disciplinary Panel are filed
at the OAC with the Board, a copy
thereof and a notice of filing, with a copy of Rules 2.1 through
2.6, shall be served upon the respondent LPO or the LPO's
At any time within ten (10) days after the service of the above-mentioned notice, the counsel appointed by the Board, if any, or the respondent LPO shall have the right to file with the Board a typewritten statement in support of or in opposition to the findings, alleged errors of law or any other matter in support of such statement. A copy of such statement, when filed, shall be served on the counsel appointed by the Board, if any, or the respondent LPO or the LPO's counsel.
In making the above statement in support of or in opposition to the findings, conclusions and recommendation of the Disciplinary Panel, the counsel appointed by the Board, if any, or the respondent LPO may request an additional hearing before the Disciplinary Panel based on newly discovered evidence; provided however, that such statement shall contain a complete outline of such newly discovered evidence and shall set forth the reasons why the same was not presented at the hearing, all supported by affidavit. Such request may be granted or denied at the discretion of the Board.
Each proceeding in which a hearing has occurred shall be reviewed by the Board upon the record
made and filed in the
office of the OAC, together with the statements in support of or
in opposition to such findings, conclusions and recommendation as
provided by these rules. No person shall be entitled to be heard
orally in such review, unless ordered by the Board.
The Board may have all the testimony transcribed. If a transcript be made, a copy thereof shall be served upon the respondent LPO or the LPO's counsel and the counsel appointed by the Board, if any, each of whom shall have ten (10) days from the date of service of the transcript to file objections to the contents thereof with the
staff of the OAC Board.
A. Decision of Board. Prompt decision of the Board upon such review shall be made. The Board shall adopt, modify or reverse the findings, conclusions and recommendation of the Disciplinary Panel by written order, a copy of which shall be served upon the respondent LPO or the LPO's counsel.
B. Transcript Required for Suspension or Revocation. No suspension or revocation shall be recommended by the Board unless and until a transcript of the testimony before the Disciplinary Panel shall have been reduced to writing and settled as provided in Rule 2.5.
C. Dissent. If any member or members of the Board shall dissent from the findings, conclusions and recommendation of the majority, the member or members shall state briefly the reasons therefore and such dissent or dissents shall be made a part of the record.
D. Disposition Not Requiring Supreme Court Action. If the
formal complaint is dismissed or if there is no recommendation of
discipline by the Board or if the recommendation is that the
respondent LPO be admonished
, censured or reprimanded, the record
of the proceeding shall be retained in the office of the OAC by
E. Disposition Requiring Supreme Court Action. If the recommendation of the Board is that the respondent LPO be suspended or revoked, that recommendation along with the record shall be transmitted to the Supreme Court.
F. Chair Not Disqualified. Neither the Chair of the Board nor a member or members of the Board who also serve on the Disciplinary Panel are, by virtue of that office or service, disqualified from participating in the review before the Board of that Disciplinary Panel's findings, conclusions and recommendation or from participating in that Board's vote on the matter.
G. Information to Grievant. The grievant in all cases shall
be advised by the Board of the final disposition of the
RULE 3.1 PROCEDURE
B. Review on the Record. The Supreme Court shall review the recommendation of the Board for suspension or revocation together with the record. The Supreme Court shall adopt, modify or reverse the recommendation of the Board by written order. A copy of the order shall be mailed to the respondent LPO and the Board by the Clerk of the court.
C. Finality. An opinion in a disciplinary proceeding is
final when filed unless the court specifically provides
B. The revoked or suspended LPO, after entry of the revocation or suspension order, shall not accept any new clients or engage in work as an LPO in any matter.
C. Within ten (10) days after the effective date of the
revocation or suspension order, the revoked or suspended LPO
shall file with the
Clerk of the Supreme Court Board an affidavit
1. That the LPO has fully complied with the provision of the order and with these rules;
2. The residence or other address of the revoked or suspended LPO where communications may hereafter be directed to the LPO; and
3. Attaching to such affidavit a copy of the form of letter of notification sent to clients, together with a list of the names and addresses of all clients to whom such notice was sent.
D. The Board shall cause a notice of the suspension or
revocation to be published in the Washington State Escrow
Association newsletter and a newspaper of general circulation in
the county in which the disciplined LPO worked. However, if the
Board determines that the LPO no longer resides in Washington
State at the conclusion of the disciplinary process, then the
notice may be published solely on the electronic website
maintained by the
OAC for the courts of the State of Washington
Washington State Bar Association.
E. A revoked or suspended LPO shall keep and maintain
written records of the various steps taken by the LPO under these
rules so that, upon any subsequent proceeding instituted by or
against the LPO, proof of compliance with these rules and with
the revocation or suspension order will be available. Proof of
compliance with these rules shall be a condition precedent to any
petition for reinstatement.
RULE 4.1 COSTS AND EXPENSES
In all cases resulting in the administration of admonition
censure, reprimand, suspension or revocation pursuant to these
rules, the Chair of the Board shall serve upon the respondent LPO
and file in the office of the OAC with the Board the verified
statement of cost and expenses for the disciplinary proceedings
to the time the Board makes its recommendation.
A. Costs and Expenses Defined. The term "costs" is defined to be all sums so taxable in civil proceedings. The term "expenses" is defined as all other obligations in money reasonably and necessarily incurred by the Board in the complete performance of its duties under these rules; such as but not limited to necessary expenses of the Disciplinary Panel or Board members, charges of expert witnesses, charges of court reporters, reasonable attorney's fee, as well as other direct provable expenses. The Board may waive payment of any and all costs and expenses if it deems such waiver to be in the interests of justice.
B. Statement of Costs and Expenses. In all cases in which
the Board determines that an admonition
, censure or reprimand
should be administered, the statement of costs and expenses shall
be served on the respondent LPO at the time the LPO is notified
of the Board's recommendation, together with a statement by said
Board as to the amount of said costs and expenses which it, in
its discretion, deems just to assess against the respondent LPO.
C. Assessment on Suspension or Revocation. In all cases in which the Board recommends suspension or revocation, the statement of costs and expenses together with a statement by the Board as to the amount of the costs and expenses which it, in its discretion, deems just to assess against the respondent LPO at the time the LPO is notified of the recommendation of the Board, shall be a part of the record sent to the Clerk of the Supreme Court.
D. Payment of Costs and Expenses. In all cases where disciplinary action results, the respondent LPO shall pay the assessed costs and expenses within thirty (30) days or such longer period of time as is determined by the Board in its discretion. Should the respondent LPO fail to pay the costs and expenses as herein provided, such failure shall be grounds for suspension, and the Board may move the Supreme Court for an order suspending the LPO until the costs and expenses are paid.
E. Assessment Upon Dismissal of Charges. In cases in which
the Board dismisses the charges, the Board may fix the amount of
the LPO's costs and expenses which the Board, in its discretion,
deems just to assess against the complainant. F. E. Determination of Costs by Supreme Court. The Board
and the respondent LPO shall each submit a verified cost
statement to the Clerk of the Supreme Court which shall be served
on the adverse party respondent LPO within ten (10) days after
the cause has been submitted to that court. The parties
respondent LPO shall have ten (10) days after such service within
which to file exceptions thereto. The judgment of the Supreme
Court, in any suspension or revocation proceeding, shall fix the
amount of the costs and expenses to be paid by the parties as it
shall deem just.
No suspended LPO shall resume working as a Limited Practice Officer until the amount of the costs and expenses fixed pursuant to these rules has been fully paid.
RULE 5.1 RESTRICTIONS AGAINST PETITIONING
A. When Petition May Be Filed. No petition for reinstatement shall be filed within a period of two (2) years after revocation or within one (1) year after an adverse decision of the Supreme Court upon a former petition, or within a period of six (6) months after an adverse recommendation of the Board on a former petition when that recommendation is not submitted to the Supreme Court. If prior to revocation the LPO was suspended pursuant to the provisions of Rule 6.2 herein, or any comparable rule, the period of suspension shall be credited toward the two (2) years referred to above.
B. Payment of Obligations. No revoked LPO may file a
petition for reinstatement until costs and expenses assessed
pursuant to these rules, and restitution ordered as provided,
have been paid by the revoked LPO.
If an LPO has been revoked solely because of the LPO's conviction of a crime and the conviction is later reversed and the charges dismissed on their merits, the Supreme Court may in its discretion, upon direct application by the LPO, enter an order reinstating the LPO to limited practice under APR 12. At the time such direct application is filed with the court, a copy shall be filed with the Board.
A petition for reinstatement as an LPO after revocation shall be in writing in such form as the Board may prescribe. The petition shall set forth the age, residence and address of the petitioner, the date of revocation, and a concise statement of facts claimed to justify reinstatement. The petition shall be accompanied by the total fees required for application under APR 12.
B. Statement in Support or Opposition. On or prior to the
date of hearing, anyone wishing to do so may file with the Board
a written statement for or against reinstatement, such statements
to set forth factual matters showing that the petitioner does or
does not meet the requirements of Rule 5.6 A. Except by its
leave, no person other than the petitioner or petitioner's
counsel shall be heard orally by the Board.
B. Action on Recommendation. The recommendation of the
Board shall be served upon the petitioner. If the Board
recommends reinstatement, the record and recommendation shall be
transmitted to the Supreme Court for disposition. If the Board
recommends against reinstatement, the record and recommendation
shall be retained
in the office of the OAC by the Board unless
the petitioner requests that it be submitted to the Supreme
Court. If the petitioner so requests, the record and
recommendation shall be transmitted to the Supreme Court for
disposition. If the petitioner does not so request, the
examination fee shall be refunded to the petitioner, but the
petitioner shall still be responsible for payment of costs
incidental to the reinstatement proceeding as directed by the
B. Petition Denied. If the petition for reinstatement be
denied, the examination fee shall be refunded to the petitioner,
but the petitioner shall still be responsible for payment of the
costs incidental to the reinstatement proceeding.
RULE 6.1 SUSPENSION FOR CONVICTION OF FELONY
B. Duration. When an LPO is suspended upon conviction of a felony as provided in this rule, the duration of such suspension shall not exceed final disposition of the disciplinary proceedings commenced against the LPO. When the disciplinary proceedings are fully completed, after appeal or otherwise, the suspension occurring in this manner shall end and such disciplinary action as then occurs shall commence.
C. Petition for Reinstatement. A petition for reinstatement
after automatic suspension for conviction of a felony pending
completion of disciplinary proceedings shall be in writing and
verified by the petitioner and filed with the Board
at the OAC
office. The petition shall set forth the age, residence and
address of the petitioner, the date of the conviction and a
concise statement of the facts claimed to justify reinstatement
pending completion of the disciplinary proceedings. The petition
shall be accompanied by the application for admission and the
total fees required for certification under APR 12.
D. Investigation. In its discretion, the Board may refer the petition for reinstatement for investigation and report to the Disciplinary Panel or to such other person or persons as may be determined by the Board.
E. Notice of Hearing. The Board shall fix a time and place for hearing of the petition by the Board and shall serve notice thereof ten (10) days prior to the hearing upon the petitioner and upon such persons as may be ordered by the Board.
F. Requirements and Procedure. Such petition for reinstatement shall be recommended to the Supreme Court only upon affirmation showing to the satisfaction of the Board that the petitioner possesses the qualifications and requirements for certification under APR 12 and that the LPO's reinstatement will not be detrimental to the integrity of the profession or be contrary to the public interest.
G. Granting or Denial of the Petition by the Supreme Court.
The Board shall keep a record of the hearing upon the petition
for reinstatement and shall make and file its findings,
conclusions and recommendation thereon with the Supreme Court for
B. Petition and Notice to Answer. The petition to the Supreme Court under this rule shall set forth the acts and omissions of the respondent LPO contained in the pending complaint, together with such other facts as may constitute grounds for suspension pending disciplinary proceedings. The petition may be supported by documents or affidavits. An order to show cause to be signed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court shall be issued thereon requiring the respondent LPO to be and appear before the Supreme Court on that court's first motion day following the expiration of seven (7) calendar days after the date on which the show cause order was signed, or on such other date as the Chief Justice may set, then and there to show cause why the prayer of the Petition for Suspension Pending Disciplinary Proceedings should not be granted.
C. Service. Service of the petition and order to show cause shall be by service of a certified copy of such order to show cause and an uncertified copy of such petition served in the manner provided in Rule 1.7 C(1) at least five (5) calendar days before the scheduled show cause hearing.
D. Answer to Petition. The answer may contain additional facts relating only to the issue of substantial risk of injury to the public, shall be verified by the respondent LPO or the LPO's counsel, and may be supported by documents or affidavits. The answer shall be filed with the Clerk of the Supreme Court at least three (3) days before the scheduled show cause hearing. For good cause shown, the Chief Justice may extend the time for answer.
E. Service of Answer. A copy of the answer shall be served
on the Board
at the OAC.
F. Costs. No costs shall be assessed.
RULE 7.1 CRITERIA
A. Three or more admonitions, censures, and/or reprimands, or
B. Any combination of a suspension or revocation plus one or
more admonitions, censures and/or reprimands, shall be subject to
suspension from limited practice under APR 12.
B. The Board shall file with the Supreme Court the respondent LPO's prior record of discipline and its recommendation for suspension. The respondent LPO shall be served in the manner provided in Rule 1.6 C(1) with a copy of the record filed with the Supreme Court.
C. The Supreme Court shall allow the Board and the
respondent LPO the opportunity to submit written briefs or oral
arguments under such conditions and within such time as the court
RULE 8.1 RESIDENCE
For the purposes of these rules, an LPO is a resident of that county, district or congressional district in which the LPO maintains, or last maintained, the LPO's principal office whether or not that be the LPO's place of abode.
1. A copy of the order from the other jurisdiction; and
2. An order directing that the respondent LPO inform the court within thirty (30) days from service of the notice, of any claim by the respondent LPO that the imposition of the identical discipline in this state would be unwarranted, and the reasons therefore.
The Board shall cause this notice to be served upon the respondent LPO in the manner provided in Rule 1.7 C(1).
B. In the event the discipline imposed in the other jurisdiction has been stayed there, any reciprocal discipline imposed in this state shall be deferred until such stay expires.
C. In all other respects, a final adjudication in another
jurisdiction that an LPO has been found guilty of misconduct
shall establish conclusively the misconduct for purposes of a
disciplinary proceeding in this State.
1. The respondent LPO or the LPO's counsel may have access to the file consisting of the formal complaint, and all other pleadings, documents and instruments filed in the proceeding subsequent thereto.
2. When requested by the official disciplinary body of another state in connection with a pending disciplinary action in that state, the Clerk of the Supreme Court will certify and transmit to the official disciplinary body of that state the record of the LPO involved.
B. Disclosure. Notwithstanding all existing rules relating to confidentiality of these proceedings, the Board may inform the public of disciplinary investigation or proceedings against any LPO when, in the judgment of the Board, it is determined that the matters involved are of such grave importance that the public interest is affected thereby.
C. Notice of Disciplinary Action Taken.
1. If an LPO be permitted to resign during the pendency of disciplinary hearings, or upon suspension or revocation, the fact of such resignation, suspension or revocation, including the LPO's name, shall be published in the Washington State Escrow Association publication.
2. If an admonition
or censure is given to an LPO who has
previously been suspended or revoked or reprimanded, notice of
such admonition or censure, including the LPO's name, shall be
published in the publication of the Washington State Escrow
3. Notice of all reprimands, including the LPO's name, shall be published in the publication of the Washington State Escrow Association.
D. Disciplinary Records. The disciplinary record of an LPO shall consist of a brief summary of any grievance made against the LPO and the disposition or status thereof. Information with reference thereto may be released by the Board when:
1. Specified by these rules;
2. Requested in writing by the LPO;
3. Requested by the Chair of the Disciplinary Panel;
4. Requested by a licensing authority or law enforcement agency;
5. Directed by the Board in the public interest; or
6. Directed by the Supreme Court.
E. Contempt. Disclosure, except as herein provided, of any
matter made confidential by these rules by any person whomsoever
shall subject such person to a proceeding as for contempt.
RULE 9.1 EXONERATION FROM LIABILITY
B. Complainants and Witnesses. Communications to the Board,
OAC staff, or any other individual acting
under authority of these rules, are absolutely privileged_and no
lawsuit predicated thereon may be instituted against any
grievant, witness or other person providing information.
RULE 10.1 EXAMINATION AND INVESTIGATION OF BOOKS AND RECORDS
A. Producing to such person forthwith all evidence and documents selected, prepared, and completed by authority of APR 12 as such person shall request for the purpose of the examination and investigation; and
B. Furnishing forthwith explanations as such person may
require for the purpose of the examination and investigation.
RULE 11.1 AUDITS AND INVESTIGATION OF BOOKS AND RECORDS
A. Random Examination. The Board may from time to time authorize examinations of the books and records of any LPO or closing firm selected at random. Such examination shall extend only to books and records of such LPO and to all transactions of the closing firm in which an LPO participated.
B. Particular Examination. The Chair of the Board may, upon receipt of information that a particular LPO or closing firm may not be in compliance with APR 12.1, authorize an examination limited to the scope set forth in Section A. Such information may be presented to the Chair without notice to the LPO or closing firm.
C. Audit. Upon the examination set forth in Section A or B,
if the Chair of the Board shall determine that further
examination is warranted, the Chair may then order an appropriate
audit of the LPO's or closing firm's books and records, including
verification of the information therein from available sources.
A. Producing for such person forthwith all evidence, books, records and papers as such person shall request for the purpose of his or her examination, investigation or audit;
B. Furnishing forthwith such explanations as the person may require for the purpose of his or her examination, investigation or audit;
C. Producing, in those cases where the examination,
investigation or audit is being conducted pursuant to Rule 11.1,
to such person forthwith written authorization, directed to any
bank or depository, for the person to examine, investigate or
audit trust and general accounts, safe deposit boxes and other
forms of maintaining trust property by the LPO or closing firm in
such bank or depository.
The examination and audit report shall be open to the Board, the LPO or closing firm examined, investigated or audited.
A. Questionnaire. The Board shall cause to be directed annually to each active LPO a written declaration or questionnaire designed to determine whether such LPO is complying with APR 12.1. Such declaration or questionnaire shall be completed, executed and delivered to the Board on or before the date of delivery specified in such declaration or questionnaire.
B. If an active LPO fails to comply with the requirements of Rule 11.4.A., compliance may still be accomplished by:
1. Submitting to the Board by April 30 the completed declaration or questionnaire called for by Rule 11.4.A., and
2. Paying at the time of filing such declaration or questionnaire a special $50 service fee.
C. Noncompliance. An active LPO who has failed to file the declaration or questionnaire on or before the date specified in Section B may be removed (or conditionally removed) from the roll of certified LPOs and suspended until in compliance with Rule 11.4.
1. To effect such removal, the Board shall send to the non-complying LPO by certified mail, directed to the LPO's last known address as maintained on the records of the Washington State Bar Association, a written notice of non-compliance. The notice shall advise such active LPO of the pendency of removal proceedings unless within ten (10) days of receipt of such notice such active LPO completes and returns to the Board an accompanying form of petition, to which supportive affidavit(s) may be attached for extension of time for, or waiver of, compliance with the requirements of Rule 11.4 or for a ruling by the Board of substantial compliance with the requirements.
2. If such petition is not filed, such lack of action shall be deemed acquiescence by the active LPO in the finding of non-compliance. The Board shall take such action as it deems appropriate.
3. If such petition is filed, the Board may, at its discretion, approve the same without hearing or may enter into an agreement on terms with such active LPO as to time and other requirements for achieving compliance with Rule 11.4.
4. If the Board does not approve such petition or enter into such agreement, the affected LPO may request a hearing before the Board. At the discretion of the Chair of the Board, the hearing may be held before the entire Board or panel thereof. The Board or panel thereof shall enter written findings of fact and an appropriate order, a copy of which shall be transmitted by certified mail to the active LPO affected at the address of such member on file with the Washington State Bar Association. Any such order shall be final and, in case of an adverse determination, shall be transmitted to the Supreme Court.
5. An adverse decision of the Board may be appealed by the active LPO affected to the Supreme Court in accordance with the applicable provisions of APR 12. As to such appeals, the Board shall be represented by counsel as the Board may designate.
D. Such failure shall also subject the LPO who has failed to
comply with this rule to a full audit of his or her books and
records as provided in Rule 11.1(C) upon request of the Board
Chair. A copy of the request made under this section shall be
served upon the LPO involved. The request shall be granted upon
a showing that the LPO has failed to comply with Section A of
this rule. If the LPO shall later comply, the Chair of the Board
shall have discretion to determine whether an audit should be
conducted, and if so the scope of the audit. An LPO audited
pursuant to this section shall be liable for the actual costs of
conducting such audit.
The Board may adopt regulations pursuant to its powers set forth in this rule subject to the approval of the Board of Governors of the Washington State Bar Association and the Supreme Court.
DISCIPLINARY REGULATIONS APPLICABLE TO APR 12.1
Regulation 101: Definitions
As used in these Regulations, the following definitions shall apply:
A. The term "closing firm" is defined in APR 12.1.
B. The "auditor" shall mean the person or accounting firm conducting the audits and examinations specified in Disciplinary Rules Title 11.
C. "Examination" shall mean a review and testing by the audit of the internal controls and procedures by an LPO or closing firm to receive, hold, disburse and account for money and property in which the client or other person has an interest using generally accepted auditing standards, to the extent they apply, without, however, making outside confirmations. In order to conduct such review and testing, the auditor shall have access to all of the internal books and records kept by the LPO or closing firm which comprise the LPO's or closing firm's financial records showing financial transactions involving the receipt of client's funds for fees, costs, or other purposes, either from the client or third persons and all expenditures by the closing firm or LPO for clients or third persons and all distributions to the LPO or LPOs including but not necessarily limited to all journals, ledgers, books of accounts, canceled checks, deposit slips, bank statements, check registers, cash accounts, receipts, correspondence, records of accounts receivable, income and expense statements, balance sheets, tax returns of all types, federal, state, county, and city excepting, however, income tax returns.
D. "Audit" shall encompass "examination" but in addition may include positive or negative confirmation from external sources.
Regulation 102: Persons Authorized to Conduct Audits
A. The Board may from time to time select such person or
persons or accounting firms as the Board deems qualified to
conduct the audits and examinations specified in Disciplinary
Rules Title 11.
B. If the Board selects as auditor or auditors persons who are independent contractors, they may be hired to perform all or some examinations or audits or solely for the performance of a particular examination or audit. No auditor shall perform an audit or examination for a closing firm or LPO for whom the auditor has performed accounting work in the two (2) years preceding the date of the proposed examination or audit. The auditor, as a condition of employment, shall agree that neither the auditor nor any accounting firm with which the auditor is associated, will perform accounting work for any LPO or closing firm which the auditor audits or examines for a period of not less than two (2) years following the date of said audit or examination, whichever is later; however, this shall not preclude performance of accounting work for clients of the LPO or closing firm, nor preclude the auditor from being a lay or expert witness on behalf of a client or the LPO or closing firm.
C. Compensation of the auditor or auditors shall be
determined by the Board. Audits shall be conducted by the
Board's administrative support staff provided by the Washington
State Bar Association.
Regulation 103: Examination and Audit Reports
B. The report shall contain the date of the audit or examination, the name of the closing firm or LPO, and a statement of the scope of the examination or audit. In respect to each examination, it shall include a statement to the effect that either 1) as a result of the examination, an audit or further examination is indicated, or 2) during the course of the examination, the auditor has not observed anything which would indicate a need for further examination or audit at this time. In respect to each audit, the report shall state either 1) as a result of the audit, the auditor concludes that APR 12.1 has not been complied with (stating the particulars), or 2) as a result of the audit, the auditor has not observed anything which would indicate APR 12.1 has not been complied with. The auditor shall further state an opinion, as to whether the LPO or closing firm has cooperated as required by Disciplinary Rule 11.2, giving the particulars if lack of cooperation is claimed.
C. Upon request by the Chair, the auditor shall make available the working papers in respect to particular examinations or audits, for review by the Board and shall consult with the Board in respect to particular examinations and audits.
D. Upon conclusion of the examination or audit, the auditor shall make available to the LPO or closing firm a copy of the audit report.
E. The auditor shall preserve inviolate all confidences and
secrets of clients of the examined LPO or closing firm. No
client name or information which would permit the identification
of a particular client shall be revealed in the working papers or
the report of the auditor, except that the name or names of
clients who have filed complaints with the Board may be released.
As a condition of the auditor's employment, the Board shall
require such undertakings of the auditor as may be required to
insure compliance with this regulation.
F. When the audit is concluded, if it is determined pursuant
to Regulation 104A. that no further investigation, examination or
action is appropriate, the Board's copies of the audit report,
working papers, or other materials relating to the audit shall be
destroyed, except that the Board shall maintain a record showing
the identity of any LPO or closing firm audited and the dates of
the audit to ensure that the restrictions of Regulation 105A. are
Regulation 104: Determination that Further Examination and Audit
or Other Actions Are Warranted.
Regulation 104A: Auditor's Opinions Advisory Only.
The opinions expressed in the report of the Auditor shall be advisory only. They shall not in and of themselves constitute findings of fact in any disciplinary proceedings against any LPO unless so stipulated by the LPO or LPO's counsel.
Regulation 105: Method of Selection of LPO and Closing Firms to be Examined
A. At such time and from time to time as the Board determines, random examination of LPOs or closing firms may be conducted. Procedures shall be established by the Board for the selection of the LPOs or closing firms to be examined which 1) will utilize the principle of random selection, and 2) will distribute the examinations among the congressional districts of the state substantially in the ratio that the number of LPOs in each district bears to the total number of active LPOs in the state. For example, the Board may 1) determine the total number of examinations which can be made during the time period in question by the auditor or auditors, 2) allocate the number of examinations to each district substantially in the ratio that the number of active LPOs therein bears to all active LPOs in the state, and 3) select the LPOs by random within each group. If the number drawn is that of an LPO who is an employee of a closing firm, the closing firm shall be examined. If the number is that of an active LPO who is a business owner, the active LPO's records shall be examined. If the number is that of an LPO who, either as an individual or as a closing firm employee, has been audited in the twenty-four (24) months immediately preceding the drawing, the Chair may in the Chair's discretion excuse the LPO or closing firm from examination.
B. Upon consent of an active LPO, the LPO's books and records or those of a closing firm may be examined even though the active LPO's number has not been selected randomly.
C. The Chair may at all times upon the receipt of information that a particular LPO or closing firm may not be in compliance with APR 12.1 authorize an examination.
Regulation 106: Contents of LPO Declaration
December of each year connection with the annual license
fee collection, the Board shall mail to each active LPO, a
written questionnaire. The completed questionnaire shall be
delivered by the LPO to the Board on or before January July 31 of
the following that year. The questionnaire shall be comprised of
two parts. Parts One and Two shall be completed and signed by
each active LPO, provided that Part Two, in lieu of completion
and signing by each individual active LPO in a closing firm, may
be completed and signed by an authorized member of the firm on
behalf of all LPOs employed in the firm. Parts One and Two each
shall be separately signed and verified by the signer under
penalty of perjury and shall require disclosure of the following
Part I - LPO Verification
1. Name, current address and telephone number of the LPO.
2. Whether the LPO is actively closing real and/or personal property transactions.
3. If the answer to "2" is no, whether the LPO is nonetheless engaged in any LPO activities which involves or might involve the handling of client's funds or property.
4. Whether the LPO or closing firm maintain identifiable bank account(s) within the state for the deposit of funds of clients and a record keeping system to record funds, securities and other properties of clients coming into the LPO's or closing firm's possession (to be answered by all LPOs unless the answers to both "2" and "3" are "no").
Part II - Account Information Verification
1. The name of the bank(s) and branch(es) where the separate identifiable bank accounts are maintained as the depository (or depositories) for client funds.
2. Whether the accounts identified in "1" above are maintained in the manner specified in APR 12.1, and whether all clients' funds to the extent required by APR 12.1 are kept therein.
3. Whether all funds, securities, and other properties of clients coming into the LPO's or closing firm's possession are held in the manner specified in APR 12.1 and whether records in respect thereto are maintained in the manner specified in APR 12.1.
Part Two may also require disclosure of the account numbers for each separate identifiable bank account maintained as a depository for client funds.
OF THE LIMITED PRACTICE BOARD
A. A "Limited Practice Officer" (LPO) shall mean any person admitted to practice under Washington Supreme Court Rule APR 12.
B. An "approved" education activity shall mean an individual seminar, course, or other continuing education activity approved by the Continuing Education Committee of the Limited Practice Board.
C. A "credit hour" equals one (1) clock hour of actual attendance.
D. The "Committee" shall mean the Continuing Education Committee of the Limited Practice Board.
E. The "staff" shall mean the staff of the
Office of the
Administrator for the Courts Washington State Bar Association.
F. "APR 12" shall mean Admission to Practice Rule 12, together with any subsequent amendments thereto, as adopted by the Supreme Court of the state of Washington.
G. "Teaching" in an approved continuing education activity shall mean and encompass the preparation and/or delivery of a prepared talk, lecture, or address at such activity.
H. "Participating" in an approved continuing education activity shall mean and encompass: 1) acting as a planning and organizing chair of such activity, or 2) taking part in such activity as a member of a panel discussion, without the preparation of written materials or the delivery of a prepared talk, lecture, or address.
I. "Calendar year" shall mean January 1 to December 31.
J. To qualify for "liability credit," a course or subject must deal with the legal rights, duties, or responsibilities of LPOs.
Continuing Education Requirement
B. A credit shall be awarded for each hour actually spent by
active LPO in attendance at an approved education activity.
C. Credit will not be given for time spent in meal breaks. Credit will not be given for speeches presented at meal functions.
D. Excess or "carry-over" credits may be applied to the succeeding calendar year's credit hour requirement. Such credits shall be reported to the Committee on or before January 31 as required by Regulation 108A.
E. Credit toward the continuing education requirements set forth in APR 12 and Regulation 102 may be earned through teaching or participating in an approved continuing education activity on the following basis:
active LPO teaching in an approved education activity
shall receive credit on the basis of one (1) credit for each hour
actually spent by such LPO in attendance at and teaching in a
presentation of such activity. Additionally, an active LPO
teaching in such an activity shall also be awarded further credit
on the basis of one credit for each hour actually spent in
preparation time, provided that in no event shall more than ten
(10) hours of credit be awarded for the preparation of one (1)
hour or less of actual presentation.
active LPO participating in an approved educational
activity shall receive credit on the basis of one (1) credit for
each hour actually spent by such LPO in attendance at a
presentation of such activity. Additionally, an active LPO
participating in such an activity shall also be awarded further
credit on the basis of one (1) credit for each hour actually
spent in preparation time, provided that in no event shall more
than five (5) hours of credit be awarded for such preparation
time in any one such continuing education activity.
Standards for Approval
A. The course shall have significant intellectual or practical content and its primary objective shall be to increase the attendee's professional competence as an LPO.
B. The course shall constitute an organized program of learning dealing with matters directly relating to the limited practice of law and/or to the professional responsibility or ethical obligations of an LPO.
C. Each faculty member shall be qualified by practical or academic experience to teach a specific subject.
D. Thorough, high quality, readable, and carefully prepared written materials should be distributed to all attendees at or before the time the course is presented. It is recognized that written materials are not suitable or readily available for some types of subjects; the absence of written materials for distribution should, however, be the exception and not the rule.
E. Courses should be conducted in a setting physically suitable to the educational activity of the program. A suitable writing surface should be provided where feasible.
F. No course will be approved which involves solely television viewing in the home or office or correspondence work or self-study. Video, motion picture, or sound tape presentations may be approved, provided a teacher or moderator is in attendance at each presentation to comment thereon, answer questions, or conduct the discussion.
Procedure for Approval of Continuing Education Activities
B. Approval shall be granted or denied in accordance with the provisions of Regulation 107 herein. Upon approval of the activity, a list of certified limited practice officers will be provided to the class sponsor if requested in the initial application, along with written acknowledgment of approval.
C. As to a course that has been approved, the sponsoring agency may announce, in informational brochures and/or registration materials: "This course has been approved by the Continuing Education Committee of the Limited Practice Board for ___ hours of credit."
D. On the date of the continuing education activity, the sponsoring agency shall give a copy of the LPB course approval form to each LPO attending.
B. The Committee may organize itself into committees and/or appoint subcommittees for the purpose of considering and deciding matters arising under APR 12 and these regulations.
Staff Determinations and Review
B. The Committee shall review any adverse determination of
the staff. An
active LPO or the sponsoring agency affected may,
at the discretion of the Committee Chair, present information to
the Committee in writing, in person, or both. If the Committee
finds that the staff has incorrectly interpreted the facts, the
provisions of APR 12, or the provisions of these regulations, it
may take such action as may be appropriate. The Committee shall
advise the active LPO or sponsoring agency affected of its
findings and any action taken.
Submission of Information -- Reporting of Attendance
B. Supplemental Report. If an
active LPO has not completed
the minimum education requirement for the preceding calendar
year, or complied with Regulation 108A, compliance may still be
1. Submitting by April 30 the affidavit called for by
Regulation 108A (Form 2) setting forth therein the extent of the
active LPO's compliance with the minimum education requirement,
2. Paying at the time of filing such supplemental affidavit a special $50 service fee.
active LPO who fails to comply with the provisions of
this regulation shall be subject to the procedures and provisions
of Regulation 111.
Submission of Information -- Credit for Teaching or Participating
Extensions, Waivers, Modifications
Non-compliance -- Board Procedures
To effect such removal, the Committee shall send to the
non-complying LPO by certified mail, directed to the LPO's last
known address as maintained on the records of the
Office of the
Administrator for the Courts Board, a written notice of
non-compliance. The notice shall advise such active LPO of the
pendency of removal proceedings unless within ten (10) days of
receipt of such notice such active LPO completes and returns to
the Committee an accompanying form of petition, to which
supportive affidavit(s) may be attached for extension of time
for, or waiver of, compliance with the requirements of APR 12 and
these regulations or for a ruling by the Committee of substantial
compliance with the requirements.
A. If such petition is not filed, such lack of action shall
be deemed acquiescence by the
active LPO in the finding of
non-compliance. The Committee shall report such fact to the
Board with the Committee's recommendations for appropriate
action. The Board shall take such action as it deems
B. If such petition is filed, the Committee may, at its
discretion, approve the same without hearing or may enter into an
agreement on terms with such
active LPO as to time and other
requirements for achieving compliance with APR 12 and these
C. If the Committee does not approve such petition or enter
into such agreement, the affected LPO may request a hearing
before the Board. At the discretion of the Chair of the Board,
the hearing may be held before the entire Board or panel thereof.
The Board or panel thereof shall enter written findings of fact
and an appropriate order, a copy of which shall be transmitted by
certified mail to the
active LPO affected at the address of such
member on file with the Office of the Administrator for the
Courts Board. Any such order shall be final and, in case of an
adverse determination, shall be transmitted to the Supreme Court.
Appeals to the Supreme Court
Reactivation of Inactive Members
Reviser's note: The brackets and enclosed material in the text above occurred in the copy filed by the State Supreme Court and appear in the Register pursuant to the requirements of RCW 34.08.040.
Reviser's note: The typographical errors in the above material occurred in the copy filed by the State Supreme Court and appear in the Register pursuant to the requirements of RCW 34.08.040.
Reviser's note: The spelling error in the above material occurred in the copy filed by the State Supreme Court and appears in the Register pursuant to the requirements of RCW 34.08.040.