About KCBA

What is the King County Bar Association?

The King County Bar Association (KCBA) was founded in 1886 and incorporated in 1906 as a voluntary professional association. Today the mission of the King County Bar Association is to promote and support a diverse and collegial membership; work with the judiciary to achieve excellence, equity, and accessibility in the administration of justice; and benefit the community through public service and engagement in public policy.

Governed by a 17-member Board of Trustees, the bar currently has over 5,600 members,  over 55 staff members and an annual budget of $6 million. The Executive Director as chief executive officer is responsible for the organization, operation and supervision of Association activities, as guided by policies and goals established by the board.

Serving Members

The core activities of the King County Bar Association are typical of a professional association of lawyers. Over 20 committees and 15 sections meet monthly. Our Continuing Legal Education Department offers seminars each year to attorneys. KCBA offers many networking opportunities to its members, including socials, the annual awards dinner and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. luncheon. Our monthly newspaper, the Bar Bulletin, features articles about substantive areas of the law as well as information about KCBA programs and activities. Attorneys enjoy a variety of benefits through membership in the organization, including group insurance plans and discounts on services and products.

The Lawyer Referral Service benefits both the public and KCBA members who register for the service. Referrals are made after the callers are screened by an intake interviewer. The service is certified by the American Bar Association and attorneys must meet certain requirements to register for the panels.

Improving the Justice System

Working to improve the administration of justice is an important part of the King County Bar Association’s mission. Sitting judges, commissioners and magistrates are honorary KCBA members and work collaboratively on many KCBA committees and projects. The Bench Bar Conference is an annual opportunity for members of the legal profession and the judiciary to come together to discuss topics of common interest.

KCBA provides information to the public on judicial performance and suitability through regular attorney surveys and a special screening committee that rates judges in contested elections.

Serving the Community—Access to Justice

KCBA helps low-income residents of King County with civil legal matters through legal service/pro bono programs: VLS – Volunteer Legal Services, the Neighborhood Legal Clinics, Kinship Care Solutions Project; the Housing Justice Project and the Family Law Mentor Program and Self-Help Plus.

King County Bar Foundation

The King County Bar Foundation (KCBF), a 501(c)3 organization, was established in 1979. Its mission is to ensure access to the legal system to encourage diversity in the legal profession. The Foundation provides scholarships for minority law students at the University of Washington and Seattle University law schools and provides funding for pro bono legal services to the poor through KCBA’s Pro Bono Services.

King County Bar Institute

The King County Bar Institute (KCBI), is a 501(c)3 organization incorporated in 2003 committed to conducting and supporting law-related education programs for the benefit of the public toward understanding and improving the justice system.   In the early 2000s, KCBI's focus was on providing funds for the bar's drug policy reform efforts.  KCBI's focus today is on providing financial support to a statewide voter education website called VotingforJudges.org.

Financial Information

The financial records of the King County Bar Association, Foundation, and Institute are reviewed annually by independent outside auditors, and nonprofit tax returns are filed for each entity annually with the Internal Revenue Service. Copies of these reports and filings are available upon request. For more information, please contact Sophie Petersen by email sophiep@kcba.org or phone 206-267-7045.