Washington State Bar Reciprocity

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Washington bar reciprocity relies upon APR(3)(c). This regulation, known as Admission on Motion, indicates how attorneys that are licensed in other states can be licensed in the state of Washington. To be admitted to practice in Washington attorneys in other states must:

  • Have admitted via bar exam in another jurisdiction allowing similar admission standards to that of Washington (such as through the UBE)
  • Or have engaged in active legal practice in any of the states or territories of the United States for a minimum of 5 years our of 7 years.

Washington Bar Reciprocity: Admission on Motion

Attorneys must be admitted in another jurisdiction, known as the admission on motion process, before they can be considered a licensed Washington attorney. Washington Bar Reciprocity admission is based upon the receipt of a complete bar application. Washington also has a unique reciprocity with its close neighbors Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Utah. Any attorney licensed in one of these states, receives a reduced duration requirement for admittance as long as they are in active practice.

Reciprocal Jurisdictions

Washington has a list in which it has reciprocity with certain states. The list is below as follows but can change at any time. We recommend you check out their list on their site just in case! You can get to it here.

Alaska & Arizona New Jersey
Colorado New Mexico
District of Columbia Georgia New York
Idaho North Carolina
Illinois North Dakota
Indiana Ohio
Iowa Oklahoma
Kansas Oregon
Kentucky Pennsylvania
Maine South Dakota
Massachusetts Tennessee
Michigan Texas
Minnesota Utah
Mississippi  Vermont
Missouri  Virginia
Montana Wisconsin
Nebraska Wyoming
New Hampshire

Additional Washington Reciprocity Requirements

  • Law Degree from a ABA law school
  • Good standing in all other jurisdictions where admitted before bar exam
  • No failure of the bar exam within 5 years of a previous application for admission
  • Passage of the MPRE (85 or more)
  • Active practice of law in at least one state for 5 of 7 years (active license and at least 1,000 hours per year in law practice and made at least 50% of their income not from an investment from the practice.)
    • In-house counsels (can not be used for duration requirement)
    • Legal Professors
    • Judicial Law Clerks
    • Judges
    • JAG Attorneys

4 thoughts on “Washington State Bar Reciprocity

  1. I was admitted in WA on Motion in 2009, and practiced for 3 1/2 years before moving to Arizona, where I was admitted on Motion in January, 2012 but didn’t actively move there and start practicing until October, 2012.
    (I took the Ethics portion of WA bar exam and passed before being admitted.)
    For health reasons we both left AZ in October, 2017 after practicing there for 5 years. We settled in Las Cruces, NM in October, 2017 but on the suggestion of my wife I thought I would become a real estate broker instead, so I resigned my law license in March, 2018 from AZ and became a licensed real estate broker in New Mexico.
    It was a mistake. I now find myself needing to return to a more certain income flow, which law was, and move back to a lower elevation. My wife has developed congestive heart failure, and returning to Sequin, WA where we have friends and which is located at sea level, will be a perfect fit.
    My dilemma is that I resigned my Bar membership when we moved to AZ in 2009, and I’d like to know I can get it back without gambling $620 if my application on motion will be denied. I don’t have 5 of the last 7 years in active practice–that deadline passed a year ago.
    Could I pay the arrears that would have been owed at the Inactive rate of $300 a year for 8 years? It would only mean un-doing the Motion to Resign I had filed. Your answer and assistance would be very helpful, and appreciated.
    Thank you!
    This is very important to me, and would save me stress and a lot of time.

    1. Hi Robin,

      We are a bit confused. At first you provide that you resigned your law license in 2018 from Arizona, which means you are still within the timeline to be re-admitted. However, you then indicate that you resigned your bar membership in AZ in 2009. Did you still have your license at that time, or still doing any type of remote work in WA? If you are licensed and have been doing work in NM as an attorney even to a minimal degree, you may be eligible to return based on motion. These vary on a case to case basis. Your inquiry related to the motion to resign is interesting, and on paper seems like one of plausibility. We advise simply contacting the AZ Bar Association. They get these types of questions daily and may be more suited to answer your inquiry. You can can reach them here: Phone: 602.252.4804

  2. What does “…must have practiced 5 of the last 7 years ” mean? What if you don’t have an hourly billing practice–what proof/documents is (are) required of active practice which meets this ambiguous standard?

    1. “Practiced 5 of the last 7 years” means that you have had to be an active member of the bar in the last 5 years out of 7.

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