Washington Law Review


Jayanne A. Hino


In 1979, the Washington legislature enacted RCW chapter 19.62, which authorized certain laypersons to prepare documents and instruments relating to real estate transactions. The statute was passed in response to the Washington Supreme Court's decision in Washington State Bar Association v. Great Western Union Federal Savings and Loan Association. In Great Western, the court held that laypersons who received compensation for the preparation of legal documents were engaged in the unauthorized practice of law. The legislature's response, authorizing the activities prohibited in Great Western, raised questions regarding the scope of legislative and judicial power to define and regulate the practice of law. This Note examines the doctrine of inherent judicial power to regulate the practice of law, as developed by the Washington court, and discusses the relation of this doctrine to the preparation of real estate documents. It recommends that the Washington Supreme Court adopt a limited practice rule or some other guideline to regulate competent lay preparation of real estate documents. Adoption of such a rule would allow the court to maintain its integrity, while best serving and protecting the public.

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