Navigating Human Rights Hearings: Who Can Represent You

Navigating Human Rights Hearings: Who Can Represent You

Under the Washington State Human Rights Commission's (WSHRC) practice and procedure regulations, who can represent you before either the commission or an administrative law judge for purposes of a WSHRC hearing? Here's my point of view (NOTE: please read our DISCLAIMER before proceeding).


When it comes to human rights hearings, having the right representation can make all the difference. The WSHRC recognizes this importance and maintains a regulation that outlines who is eligible to represent parties before the commission or an administrative law judge during these hearings. This rule appears to ensure a fair and professional process while accommodating a variety of qualified individuals.


The regulation categorizes eligible representatives into four distinct groups:

Washington Lawyer: If you're an attorney entitled to practice before the Supreme Court of Washington, you're automatically qualified to represent parties in these hearings. Your experience and familiarity with the state's legal landscape make you an ideal representative.

Other Lawyer: Attorneys licensed to practice in the highest court of record in any state other than Washington can also represent parties, provided that Washington state lawyers have similar privileges in that state's administrative agencies; and if not otherwise prohibited by Washington law. This reciprocal approach ensures that representation is based on a foundation of mutual respect for legal standards.

Legal Intern: The rule even extends to legal interns licensed under admission to practice Rule 9 in Washington. This forward-looking provision offers emerging legal talents a chance to participate in real-world proceedings under the guidance of experienced practitioners.

Officer, Partner, or Full-time Employee: If you're a bona fide officer, partner, or full time employee of an association, partnership, or corporation appearing for the association, or one of its members for the partnership, or corporation, you're eligible to represent your organization. This acknowledges the significance of non-attorney professionals in legal proceedings involving complex organizational dynamics.

See WAC 162-08-021.


I believe the introduction of this representation regulation carries several noteworthy benefits:

Expertise and Quality: With qualified legal professionals as representatives, you can expect a higher standard of expertise and professionalism in the proceedings, ensuring a robust legal representation for your case.

Fairness at the Core: The rule's inclusivity fosters fairness in hearings by allowing parties to be represented by a diverse range of professionals. This ensures that no party gains an unfair advantage due to representation constraints.

Empowering Emerging Talent: Legal interns, given the chance to participate, gain practical experience that goes beyond the classroom. It's an opportunity for growth and learning while adhering to established guidelines and mentorship.

Modern Legal Dynamics: The provision for non-attorney representatives recognizes the evolving nature of legal practice, where intricate corporate structures often require specialized representation.


The Washington State Human Rights Commission's representative-capacity regulation helps shape a more equitable, professional, and adaptive landscape for human rights hearings. Whether you're a seasoned Washington lawyer, an out-of-state attorney, a budding legal intern, or a representative of an organization, this rule ensures that your voice is heard in the pursuit of justice. At Williams Law Group, we're here to guide you through these intricate proceedings, ensuring that your rights and interests are well-represented every step of the way.


If you would like to learn more, then consider contacting an experienced Washington State Employment Discrimination Attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case. Please note: the information contained in this article is not offered as legal advice and will not form an attorney-client relationship with either this author or Williams Law Group; please see our DISCLAIMER.


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