Posts Tagged ‘LLLT’

LLLTs in Minnesota?

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

Lawyerist.com has a good article about a recent report from a Minnesota Bar Task Force. It reports:

Two years ago, the Minnesota State Bar Association launched two task forces to study the future of law practice and legal education. Those reports will be made public at the MSBA Annual Convention next Friday, but Lawyerist obtained copies ahead of schedule. Here are the highlights.

Limited License Legal Technicians

In its report (pdf), the MSBA Task Force on the Future of Legal Education says the MSBA should consider establishing a limited-license legal technician (LLLT) certification in Minnesota.

The Lawyeris.com article contains a link to a .pdf of the report and the substance of that recommendation from the Executive Summary portion of the report:

In order to identify a less costly path to a career in legal services and address unmet needs for specific types of legal services, the MSBA should establish a separate task force focused on studying the viability of certifying Limited License Legal Technicians (“LLLT”) with authority to provide supervised legal services in defined practice areas. This task force should consist of representatives from the state court administrative office, civil legal services and pro bono programs, private practices from diverse practice settings throughout the state, potential clients, and institutions of higher education (including, but not limited to law schools). The task force should prepare a recommendation to the MSBA Assembly on the question whether to submit a petition to the Minnesota Supreme Court to establish an LLLT practitioner rule by June 2016.

Closing the Gap with LLLTs

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

By now most of you are familiar with Washington state’s new LLLT program, a topic covered here several times. (See the link in “Categories” for “LLLTS, etc.,” a sub-category of “Regulation, Certification and Licensing.” I’ve long argued for a variety of methods of utilizing paralegals as part of efforts to close the access to justice gap in the United States. Now California may join Washington in closing the gap through LLLTs. According to an article in the California Bar Journal, “A State Bar task force last month proposed the development of a pilot program for limited licensing of legal technicians as part of a series of recommendations aimed at closing the so-called “justice gap.” The article is short, but provides a concise telling of the task force’s work, reasoning, and recommendation. As one member of the bar trustees said, ““Our recommendations are a start rather than an end.” There is a long way to go before the recommendation is implemented and, if it is implemented, there’ll still be a lot to do to close the gap.

Washington OKs Fee Sharing and Joint Ownership Between Lawyers and LLLTs

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

I’ve posted here previously on Washington State’s LLLT program and hope to post soon about AAfPE’s Task Force on Legal Education’s report regarding similar proposals in other states. But, Washington continues to jump ahead of other states according to this report by Robert Ambrogi:

The Supreme Court of Washington has approved revisions to the Rules of Professional Conduct governing lawyers in that state that allow lawyers and limited license legal technicians to form partnerships and share fees. To my knowledge, this makes Washington the first state to allow fee sharing and joint ownership of a law practice between a lawyer and nonlawyer. (The District of Columbia also allows ownership and fee sharing by nonlawyers in limited circumstances.)

The new Washington rule was part of a package of changes to the Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC) proposed by the Washington State Bar Association to bring the rules into alignment with the LLLT program and to provide guidance to lawyers concerning their interactions with LLLTs and the clients of LLLTs. LLLTs are subject to a separate set of professional conduct rules.

For more information, read Ambrogi’s full post.

AAfPE Task Force on the Future of Legal Education

Monday, May 12th, 2014

The American Association for Paralegal Education has established a Task Force on the Future of Legal Education. The Task Force is charged to “study the provision of legal education to non-lawyers in the U.S., including the training of Limited License Legal Technicians and other models, and to make recommendations on how AAfPE and the legal profession can best address these issues.” We are fortunate that Janet Olejar has agreed to chair the task force. Janet is on the Washington State Committee developing and implementing its LLLT program. The task force has members from all five of AAfPE’s regions.

One responsibility of this task force will to research and monitor efforts to utilize well-trained non-lawyers to help address the access to justice problem in the United States, whether those efforts are taking place within state bar associations, the ABA, state legislatures, state court systems (the source of both the Washington State LLLT program and New York’s Navigator program.)

This is an important step forward for AAfPE and the future of legal education. If you are aware of efforts in your state that might be of interest to the Task Force, please let me know.

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.

Is the Paralegal Profession Going Backwards?

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

In a recent post I spoke about a LinkedIn discussion on paralegal regulation. The discussion there took an interesting turn when Bonnie Taylor posted, “We have been fighting this battle on a national level since the early 1980’s and it is sad to see that it is still being fought across the country with little resolution or progress. I have been a Paralegal for 35 years and this is the first time that I have felt that the profession is going backwards instead of forward.” I’d like your impression on this question – is the profession going backwards or progressing. Here’s my take on it as I posted in that discussion board:

I disagree with the perception that the profession is moving backwards. Keep in mind that attorneys are regulated on a state-by-state basis, not a national basis, so it is extremely unlikely that paralegal are going to achieve some sort of nationwide status not even held by attorneys. How ever there has been progress in many states. As I noted above the State of Washington created a new practitioner called a Limited License Legal Technician which will allow some paralegals to engage in a limited practice of law without attorney supervision. Several other states, including California, New York, and Oregon, are considering similar programs. As I recently noted on my blog (www.theempowereparalegal.com), an ABA Task Force has endorsed LLLT programs, stating

“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.

In addition, several states have adopted or are considering adopting, registered paralegal programs such as Florida’s. All this indicates that the profession is progressing rather than regressing as a profession, moving closer to a professional identity similar to that held by nurse practitioners. Much of this progress can be attributed to hard work on the part of national organizations such as NFPA, NALA, and NALS, and their local affiliates. Those interested in the development of professional identity for the paralegal profession may be interested in the articles addressing this issue in “The Empowered Paralegal Professionalism Anthology.”

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.