Escrow Thursday: History of Escrow in Washington State

History of Escrow in Washington State

Prior to 1979 only attorneys could practice law in Washington State. The question of whether others were practicing law by preparing documents was asked, but never legally challenged.


As a result of Washington State Bar Association vs. Great Western Savings & Loan, RCW (Revised Code of Washington) 19.62 was created by the Legislature. This allowed “lay persons” i.e., non-attorneys, to select, prepare and complete documents relating to real estate transactions.


As a result of Bennion, Van Camp, Hagen & Ruhl vs. Kassler Escrow, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled RCW 19.62 unconstitutional because it violated the separation of powers doctrine. This was a judicial issue, not a legislative one.

December, 1982

The Washington State Supreme Court adopted “Admission to Practice Rule 12,” which dictates the standards for “non-attorneys” to prepare legal documents.


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