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Abstract

Because of the documented threat that racial and gender bias pose to the effective administration of justice in Washington, this Comment advocates amending the Washington Rules of Professional Conduct to explicitly make intentional gender and racial bias an act of attorney misconduct and to discipline any attorney who engages in such behavior. Section I of this Comment identifies and describes instances of attorney behavior that result in gender and racial bias and explains the impact of such bias on attorneys, clients, and the judicial system. Section II explores similar anti-bias rules proposed or in place in other states. Section III introduces the rule advocated in this Comment, compares this proposal to the approaches taken by other states, and explains the operation of the rule. Section IV examines the constitutionality of the proposed rule of professional conduct (RPC), concluding that the rule would withstand First Amendment scrutiny. Finally, Section V argues that the proposed RPC would be an effective and necessary tool in combating racial and gender bias in the Washington court system and concludes that the Washington State Supreme Court should adopt the proposed amendment to the Washington Rules of Professional Conduct.