The Washington Leadership Institute (WLI) is a leadership development program created in 2004 by the WSBA Board of Governors at the behest of then president Ronald H. Ward. Its mission is to recruit, train and develop traditionally underrepresented attorneys for future leadership positions in the Washington State Bar Association and legal community. It is a collaborative leadership program between the Washington State Bar Association and the University of Washington School of Law.

The program strives to recruit fellows for each class who reflect the full diversity of our state, which includes race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability and geographic location. The program sessions include topics such as the “nuts and bolts” of law practice, leadership styles, the judiciary and the legislative process.

Program Benefits

The WLI provides the fellows with numerous opportunities to personally interact with legal, judicial and political leaders. The program offers a unique combination of benefits:

  • The program is a no-cost endeavor for Fellows because all travel, lodging and meals are covered
  • No tuition fee
  • CLE credits, enough to satisfy approximately 3 full years of MCLE requirements — at no cost
  • Exposure to practice and industry leaders
  • Training in the law, courts and the bar
  • One-on-one interaction with judges
  • Mentorship from well-known bar leaders

Apply to Become a WLI Fellow

2018-19 WLI Application now open. 

To apply to WLI, you must be:

  • An active WSBA member
  • Admitted to practice law in a U.S. jurisdiction for at least 3 years and not more than 10 years (Eligibility based on date of admission: Therefore, in order for you to be able to apply to WLI this year, you must have been admitted to the bar by or after Sept. 15, 2014).
  • Nominated by your employer, or if self-employed, by a lawyer with at least 10 years of practice or a judge

The WLI application period is open from August to September each year.