Archive for the ‘LLLTs etc’ Category

New York Navigators

Sunday, April 20th, 2014

No, the New York Navigators are not another sports team. A colleague on the AAfPE Board of Directors provided us with a copy of New York Chief Judge’s State of the Judiciary Address. Here’s where the navigators come in:

Our efforts to find ways for non-lawyers to be of assistance begin in the courthouse. As of this month, specially trained and supervised non-lawyers will begin providing ancillary, pro bono assistance to unrepresented litigants in Housing Court cases in Brooklyn and consumer debt cases in the Bronx and Brooklyn. These are courts and case types in which virtually all defendants are unrepresented and are facing serious personal consequences as a result of litigation. It is shocking that in this day and age, over 95 percent of defendants in these critical cases are currently unrepresented. The new court-sponsored projects will offer an array of assistance to eligible pro se litigants ranging from general information provided at help desks and written material to one-on- one assistance, depending on the needs and interests of the litigants. This kind of one-on-one assistance will include providing informational resources to litigants and helping them access and complete court do-it-yourself forms and assemble documents, as well as assisting in settlement negotiations outside the courtroom.

Most significantly, for the first time, the trained non-lawyers, called Navigators, will be permitted to accompany unrepresented litigants into the courtroom in specific locations in Brooklyn Housing Court and Bronx Civil Court. They will not be permitted to address the court on their own, but if the judge directs factual questions to them, they will be able to respond. They will also provide moral support and information to litigants, help them keep paperwork in order, assist them in accessing interpreters and other services, and, before they even enter the courtroom, explain what to expect and what the roles are of each person in the courtroom.

Clear guidelines govern what a non-lawyer can and cannot do to ensure that they do not cross the line into the practice of law. They will receive training and develop expertise in defined subject areas. When these non-lawyers confront situations where the help of a lawyer is crucial, they will have access to legal service providers for help and referrals. (Emphasis added.)

This are not practitioners of the same nature as Washington State’s LLLTs, but they are another way for well-trained non-lawyers to help resolve the access to justice problem. They do sound a bit like a paralegal don’t they?

California Limited License Update

Friday, November 1st, 2013

Melanee Cottrill, Paralegal at Civitas, provided this update the task force tasked with investigating implementation of a LLLT program in California through the NFPA LinkedIn discussion board:

There was a thread on this a while ago, but I can’t find it now it’s too old. As some of you know, the CA bar formed a working group to look at doing a limited license program, inspired by WA state. The working group passed a resolution supporting the general concept and asking to be directed to develop a program. Rather than direct the working group to develop a program, the RAD committee (responsible for the working group) instead ordered some studies on access to justice and other things related to the need for a limited license. I think we all know the easiest way to kill something is to order studies on it…I’ve been in touch with bar staff but it seems to be going nowhere fast. Disappointing to say the least.

But Lisa Vessels, RP, CP, FRP, was more optimistic in her comment:

Actually, this is exactly what the WA state committee did first as well. It was (in my opinion) the most compelling piece of the reasoning of why the WA Supreme Court ordered the creation of the WA LLLT program. It also became the cornerstone of how they approached which practice area would be tackled first, etc.

Also, you can subscribe to the page where they post the agendas for the committee, and get updates when they are posted.

ABA Task Force Calls for LLLTs

Friday, October 4th, 2013

Although the ABAJournal.com article center’s on one attorney’s concerns that LLLTs would mean “solos take a hit,” the article is the first I’ve seen even mentioning the ABA Task Force on the Future of Legal Education’s draft report (PDF) call on courts, state bars and bar-admitting authorities to come up with frameworks for licensing of limited legal service providers. Here’s the Task Force’s “Key Conclusion”  on LLLTs:

Broader Delivery of Law
Related Services:
The delivery of law-related services today is primarily by lawyers. These services may not be cost-effective for many who are in need of them, and some communities and constituencies lack accessible legal services. State supreme courts, state
bar associations, and admitting authorities should devise  new or improved frameworks for licensing providers of legal services. This should include licensing persons other than holders of a J.D. to deliver limited legal services, and authorizing bar admission
for people whose preparation may be other than the traditional four years of college plus three years of classroom based law school education. The current lack of access to legal advice of any kind that exists across the country requires such innovative steps.
Of course, it’s still a draft report subject to revision and just a task force report subject to rejection by the full ABA. But it is a first step.

LLLTs in Your State?

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

As the Washington state LLLT (Limited License Legal Technician) program continues to progress, now gathering input on the best questions to ask on qualifying exams, I will be moderating a panel on LLLT programs, their impact on the paralegal profession, and the impact on paralegal education at the AAfPE National Conference in November. We are fortunate to have on the panel a member of the Washington state panel instituting the LLLT programs there, a member of the task force investigating the possibility of an LLLT program in Oregon, and a member of the Law Society of Ontario, Canada, the governing body for paralegals licensed in that jurisdiction under a similar program. As moderator, I’d like to have information about other states considering LLLTs available. I know that California and New York are both looking into the concept. If you are involved in or simply know about efforts in your state to implement or even investigate the possibility of implementing an LLLT program, please  let me know.

State of Washington Now Accepting Applications for LLLT Education Waivers

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

Via the AAfPE listserv Michael Fitch, a former AAfPE president, forwards an email from the Washington State Bar Association regarding the new Limited License Legal Technician program previously discussed here in January. The program is getting underway and, as the title of this post states, applications are now being accepted for LLLT education waivers. Here’s the email:

WSBA is leading the nation with the implementation of a new program that will educate and license a new classification of legal practitioners called Limited License Legal Technicians (LLLT). LLLTs will possess the knowledge and skills to help the public with specific legal assistance, like selecting and filling out legal forms and guiding them through the legal system.
Experienced and certified paralegals are now eligible to take advantage of a waiver period that allows them to register for courses needed to obtain an LLLT license, while waiving some core education prerequisites.
To qualify for the education waiver, experienced paralegals must have:
  • Passed the Certified Paralegal Exam conducted by NALA OR the Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam conducted by NFPA;
  • Active certification as a Certified Paralegal with NALA OR as a PACE Registered Paralegal with NFPA;
  • Completed 10 years of substantive law-related experience supervised by a licensed lawyer.
Classes are planned with professors from all three Washington law schools and will begin at the U of W Law School in September, both live and via webcast.
Waiver applications will be accepted by the WSBA until Sept. 18, 2013 for the fall courses. Family law will be the first practice area licensed, with others to follow in the future. The fee to apply for the waiver is $150.
The goal of the WSBA LLLT program is to provide much-needed access to justice by helping the public access affordable legal and law related services. For more information about the WSBA Limited License Legal Technician program including instructions on applying for the education waiver, please visit www.wsba.org/LLLT or contact Thea Jennings at theaj@wsba.org.

 

California State Bar’s LLLT Proposal

Sunday, June 16th, 2013

Through the AAfPE (and likely several others) LinkedIn discussion board Barbara Liss passes this on:

Here it is! California State Bar’s Limited License Legal Technician Proposal:
http://board.calbar.ca.gov/docs/agendaItem/Public/agendaitem1000010722.pdf

The proposal’s Executive Summary says:

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

In March 2013, the Board Committee on Regulation, Admissions & Discipline Oversight created the Limited License Working Group  (“Working Group”)  to explore the issue of licensing legal technicians and whether to create a limited license to practice law program in California. Legal Technicians are not fully licensed attorneys. They would be licensed to provide limited, discrete legal services to consumers in defined legal subject matter areas only.

The bottom line:

ISSUE – Should the State Bar of California propose a further study, development, and implementation of  a limited license to practice law program in California?

CONCLUSION -Yes.

So some progress is being made, but I am always leery of the study groups conclusion that an issue should be further studied. Sometimes that’s just a way to bottle up a proposal. (See, e.g., Congress.)

Thanks to Barbara there’s been a lot of discussion of this issue on various LinkedIn discussion boards. Some of that discussion is excerpted on this blog here.