Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson


PO Box 40110
Olympia, WA 98504-0110
800 Fifth Avenue, Suite 2000
Seattle, WA 98104


The Licensing and Administrative Law Division (LAL) comprises of 22 attorneys and 15 professional staff in Olympia and Seattle. Its work touches the lives of all Washingtonians and focuses on promoting public safety, protecting the economy, and preserving public integrity and trust. LAL prides itself as an inclusive, energetic, collegial, and high-performing team of professionals who provide high-quality, ethical legal services. The division handles litigation and advice for the Department of Licensing (including its regulation of drivers, professionals, and businesses in roughly 35 occupations), Employment Security Department (unemployment programs, paid family and medical leave, and long-term services and supports trust program (aka WA Cares Fund)), Liquor and Cannabis Board, Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors, Lottery Commission, Board of Accountancy, Commission on Judicial Conduct, Public Records Exemption Accountability Committee (Sunshine Committee), Consumer Directed Employer Rate Setting Board, Certified Professional Guardianship and Conservatorship Board, Interpreter Commission, Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals, Environmental and Land Use Hearings Office, and Columbia River Gorge Commission. Our work includes litigation before various tribunals, including the Office of Administrative Hearings, professional licensing boards, Washington superior and appellate courts, and federal courts. Cases and advice range from routine to high profile and cutting-edge.

LAL attorneys are called upon daily to provide legal advice to agency clients, and also regularly respond to constituent inquiries. LAL members have considerable legal and practical expertise in administrative and appellate procedure, responsibilities under the public records and open public meetings acts, due process under the state and federal constitutions, regulatory enforcement of professional licensing standards, licensing of drivers and vehicles, and tribal/state licensing, regulatory authority, and tax issues.

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Legal Services Provided

LAL provides option-based advice and counseling on a variety of issues, including rule-making, contracts, conforming agency policy to law, proposed legislation, and public record retention and disclosure.  LAL litigates before administrative tribunals, representing client agencies that initiate disciplinary proceedings against regulated individuals and businesses actions.  LAL defends appeals of final agency orders in the superior and appellate courts practice.  LAL defends most actions against client agencies and their employees and officers in state and federal courts.

Steady litigation handled by the division includes:

Employment Security Department:  Appeals in Washington state courts seeking review of decisions granting or denying unemployment benefits and tax warrant cases, usually at the appeal level, in which the department seeks payment of unemployment insurance taxes from employers.

Department of Licensing:   Appeals in superior and appellate courts where drivers challenge their breath test results or their refusal to take breath tests when suspected of drinking and driving.

License suspension appeals in superior court for uninsured drivers involved in vehicle accidents where there is personal injury or property damage.

Disciplinary cases brought before regulatory boards or administrative law judges against professional licensees, such as real estate licensees and vehicle dealers, and tax assessment matters against motor vehicle fuel distributors.

Liquor Control Board: Litigation regarding the implementation of voter initiatives I-502 (legalization of production, distribution and sale of marijuana) and I-1183 (privatization of liquor sales).

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