Archive for June, 2013

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.

ABA Accreditation?

Saturday, June 15th, 2013

Even on summer break there does not seem to be time to do all I’d like to do. I have begun again to scroll through LinkedIn discussion boards and find many articles or posts on which I hope to comment. Here’s the first.

The Paralegal Place has an article entitled, “The Importance of an ABA Accredited Paralegal School” that suggests that it is only worthwhile getting an degree or certificate from an ABA Accredited program. This is simply not the case. While I do not have the time for a full statement of why this is so, I did make this comment:

It is important that students investigate the quality of the program they are considering before enrolling and committing to the expenditure of thousands of dollars on a degree or certificate. However, there are many fine programs that are not ABA Accredited. ABA Accreditation itself costs schools thousands of dollars and hours of time that could be expended on student services if not devoted to the ABA. Some programs, while meeting most or even all of the ABA requirements, chose to put those funds into the program rather than into the ABA coffers. Note that there is no documented evidence for the often made claim that “most” law offices and legal departments only hire graduates of accredited programs. While this may true in some areas, it is far from true in many others.

Note also that the ABA Guidelines for Approval are designed by attorneys, not paralegals or paralegal educators. While I’ve been proud to be an attorney for over 35 years, it was not until I became a paralegal educator that I really understood the paralegal education process. The American Association for Paralegal Education’s mission statement is “Recognizing the need to increase and improve access to the legal system, the American Association for Paralegal Education (AAfPE) promotes quality paralegal education, develops educational standards and encourages professional growth, in order to prepare graduates to perform a significant role in the delivery of legal services.” Rather than run automatically to the ABA, prospective students should check the AAfPE website for assistance in Finding a Quality Program.

Our program at Ole Miss is not ABA Accredited as a result of a decision on how best to expend resources in an age when legislatures are cutting budgets, but an even better example is the George Washington University master’s degree program.

It should also be noted that the ABA does not accredit paralegal programs. This is done by regional accreditation boards. The ABA just “approves” paralegal programs. For more on this click here.

Dennyce Korb of Rapid City was recently named the 2013 AAJ Paralegal of the Year.

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

According to the Rapid City Journal:

A passion for the practice of law and a dedication to clients in need were two of the reasons that Dennyce Korb of Rapid City was recently named the 2013 AAJ Paralegal of the Year.

Korb, a paralegal at the Johnson Eisland Law Offices in Rapid City, has been a paralegal for 30 years and has participated in nearly 100 cases at trial, mostly on behalf of clients injured by nursing home abuse, medical malpractice or defective products.

Korb was nominated for the national award by Gregory A. Eisland; she was unanimously selected by a panel of judges from the American Association of Justice, which administers the award.

Congratuations, Dennyce.