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Disciplinary Counsel - WSBA

Employer Info:

WSBA or Washington State Bar Association

wsba.org
Job Name
Disciplinary Counsel - WSBA
Brief Description
Disciplinary Counsel are responsible for the efficient and effective conduct of investigations, prosecutions, and appeals related to lawyer misconduct or disability. For many grievants, respondent lawyers, bar members, and the public, Disciplinary Counsel are the most visible face of the WSBA.
Job Type
Full-Time
Education Level Required
J.D. / Law Degree
Location City
Seattle, WA 98101, United states
Contact Person
Lisa Williams
Contact Email
lisaw@wsba.org
Contact Phone
12062392132
How to Apply
For immediate consideration, candidates must apply online (via the link in the job description) and submit the following required materials with their online application: A comprehensive resume, cover letter, legal writing sample. 
Direct Link
Click here for more info
Job Details
Disciplinary Counsel
The Office of Disciplinary Counsel 

Starting Salary: $82,330 + WA State Benefits 
FSLA Status: Exempt; Full-time

 *Remote, Hybrid, or In Office work options available* 

The WSBA's mission is to serve the public and the members of the Bar, ensure the integrity of the legal profession, and to champion justice.

The Washington State Bar Association (WSBA) operates under the delegated authority of the Washington Supreme Court to license the state’s nearly 40,000 lawyers and other legal professionals. In furtherance of its obligation to protect and serve the public, the WSBA both regulates lawyers and other legal professionals and serves its members as a professional association—all without public funding. 

About the Position:

Disciplinary Counsel are responsible for the efficient and effective conduct of investigations, prosecutions, and appeals related to lawyer misconduct or disability. For many grievants, respondent lawyers, bar members, and the public, Disciplinary Counsel are the most visible face of the WSBA.

Primary Job Duties & Responsibilities:

Investigates Disciplinary Matters:

Disciplinary Counsel investigate and analyze grievances alleging ethical misconduct by lawyers in accordance with the Washington Supreme Court’s Rules for Enforcement of Lawyer Conduct (ELC) and Office of Disciplinary Counsel (ODC) procedure. Disciplinary Counsel must promptly and accurately determine the best means to protect the public from harmful and unprofessional conduct by lawyers, and protect respondent lawyers from unfounded allegations, all in service of maintaining the integrity of the profession.   In conducting their investigations, Disciplinary Counsel:

  • May require lawyers to provide written responses, records, files and accounts, appear for interviews or depositions and must demonstrate experience, knowledge, and discretion in determining what information to seek, how to best obtain it, and whether and when to act on it.
  • May seek suspension of lawyers who fail to cooperate with investigations.
  • Direct the work of investigators, paralegals, administrative assistants, and auditors who have been assigned to assist them, and are responsible for ensuring that the conduct of these persons is compatible with Disciplinary Counsel’s professional obligations under the Supreme Court’s Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC) and the ELC, including the obligation of strict confidentiality.
  • Apply the law to the facts, assess the proper resolution of the matters – whether to dismiss, defer, divert, or seek public discipline against the lawyer -- and then draft letters and memoranda that detail the results of their investigations.  Disciplinary counsel act with considerable autonomy when making decisions regarding whether and how to investigate matters and whether to dismiss.

Tries Disciplinary Cases:

Disciplinary Counsel have responsibility to litigate and conduct trial-like hearings of public disciplinary cases. In public disciplinary cases, Disciplinary Counsel:

  • Exercise substantial discretion to decide which charges to bring and which to forego.
  • Draft pleadings, motions, discovery requests, briefs, and responses to papers filed by respondent lawyers.
  • Decide what evidence to present, determine how to admit evidence, conduct legal research, and prepare witnesses.   Like any trial lawyer, Disciplinary Counsel must effectively examine and cross-examine witnesses, decide what evidentiary objections or stipulations are appropriate to make, and present opening statements and closing arguments.  In order to be successful at hearing, Disciplinary Counsel must have a strong, ready command of disciplinary rules and law, and be able to think on their feet and react to changing trial dynamics.
  • Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each case to make sanction recommendations, and negotiate and draft proposed stipulations to discipline, disability inactive status, and resignations in lieu of disbarment.
  • Represent ODC in conducting settlement conferences as ordered by a hearing officer.
  • Brief and argue appeals to the Disciplinary Board and to the Washington Supreme Court.  The decisions made on appeal impact not only the careers of the respondent lawyers, but also shape the public and the practicing bar’s perceptions of the lawyer discipline system and frequently impact the law and policy in this area.
  • Prepare interim suspension petitions to the Washington Supreme Court if a lawyer fails to cooperate during the investigation, receives a felony conviction, declares a disability, presents an immediate threat to the public, or after the Disciplinary Board recommends disbarment.

Performs Other Duties as Assigned:

Disciplinary Counsel perform other duties as assigned, including consulting with members about the conduct of other members; presenting CLEs; coordinating with Adjunct Trial Counsel, Adjunct Investigative Counsel, or Special Disciplinary Counsel; and providing staff support or liaison to groups, committees, and special task forces within and outside of ODC.

Experience, Qualifications, Knowledge, and Skills:

A Disciplinary Counsel at the WSBA, must possess the following (up to and including):

  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Excellent analytical, organizational, and problem solving skills
  • Proficient level Attention to detail
  • Ability to work with minimal supervision
  • Ability to maintain strict confidentiality of information
  • Ability to adapt to changing technological requirements
  • Proficiency in legal research
  • Advanced knowledge of legal procedures (will train on specific lawyer discipline procedures)
  • Teamwork and professionalism 
  • Ability to use a computer for long periods of time, use the telephone frequently, use various other office machines in locations outside of the desk area, and interact with other staff.

This position is one that may work primarily remotely. However, there may also be the need to perform work in our Seattle offices and occasionally travel around the State and locally. This position may also work hybrid or primarily in office.

Education Required:

Bachelor and J.D. Degree or Law Clerk Program Completion

Experience Required:

Two years practicing law, including litigation experience; active Washington license to practice law

Experience Preferred:

Seven or more years practicing law with experience in both criminal and civil areas and/or appeals is preferred

WSBA Benefits Include:

  • Flexible work location with the ability to work remotely (employees must reside in WA state);
  • State of Washington Retirement system (PERS), including an optional Deferred Compensation Plan through DRS;
  • Medical benefits through the WA Healthcare Authority, with WSBA paying a majority of the premium costs;
  • 100% coverage for employee Dental and Vision Coverage;
  • Long-Term Disability Plan
  • Generous Paid Time Off Benefits
  • Transportation benefit through the ORCA Passport system, based on work selection option
  • Allowance to set up a home office based on a Remote work selection option
  • Free Employee Assistance Program 
  • You will be working with a team of supportive, collaborative, creative, and dedicated colleagues driven to accomplish our WSBA Mission.

For immediate consideration, candidates must apply online here and submit the following required materials with their online application: A comprehensive resume, cover letter, legal writing sample. 

WSBA employees must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of November 1, 2021. All new employees are required to present proof of vaccination status by this date unless they qualify for a medical or religious exemption. 

The WSBA is committed to fostering a diverse and equitable work environment and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status.