Nationwide Paralegal Licensing Initiatives
December 17th, 2015
The list below summarizes the current state of paralegal licensure in the United States. The findings are limited to the specific issue of paralegal licensure only and not paralegal regulation/certification.
This document is for informational purposes only. If you are aware of paralegal licensure initiatives in a state that is not included in this list, please e-mail us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Legal Document Preparers-Non-Attorneys who may help individuals and entities prepare documents. They can provide legal information but cannot give legal advice.
The Arizona’s Supreme Court Access to Justice Commission has started a study with the goal of promoting access to justice for individuals who cannot afford legal counsel or who choose to represent themselves.
In February, 2015, the State Bar of California Civil Justice Strategies Task Force issued its final report endorsing the use of licensed, trained legal practitioners to provide limited legal services to low-income individuals.
The Colorado Supreme Court Advisory Committee, Subcommittee of Limited License Legal Technicians has compiled materials to begin consideration of whether the state should adopt a program allowing LLLT’s to perform limited legal services to the public.
The Connecticut Bar Association Task Force on the Future of Legal Education and Standards of Admission released a report in June, 2014 recommending that non-lawyers be allowed to perform some limited legal services. The report discussed the concepts of a post-bachelor’s degree training program that would be something in between paralegal training and a J.D. Program.
The Admission Committee of the Florida Bar’s Vision 2016 Commission were studying the issue of “Access to Legal Services” but has suspended the study due to the Florida Commission on Access to Civil Justice reviewing the issues, which has just issued an Interim Report.
During the 2013 Nevada Legislature, a new statute NRS Chapter 240A governing the registration and conduct of persons who provide document preparation services was enacted. See also approved regulations.
Effective March 1, 2014, a person who, for compensation and under the direction of a client, provides assistance in certain legal matters is required to be registered with the Secretary of State as a document preparation service. The law provides consumers protections and remedies for violations of conduct by a document preparation service. Please note, a person acting as a document preparation service cannot provide legal advice unless he or she is a licensed attorney in the State of Nevada.
The New Mexico Access to Justice Commission has formed a working group to study the Limited Licensure Legal Technician imitative with the possibility of recommendations to the Supreme Court based on the study group findings.
Contact: Elizabeth McGrath (505) 244-1101
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On June 20, 2013 the City Bar Association recommended limited roles for non-lawyers.
On March 11, 2014 New York’s top Judge delivered an address to New York Law School discussing the limited licensed legal technician.
Court Navigator Program:
The Court Navigator Program trains college students, law students and other persons deemed appropriate by the Program to assist unrepresented litigants, who are appearing in Nonpayment proceedings in the Resolution Part of Housing Court or the Consumer Debt Part of the Civil Court.
Nonpayment proceedings are cases where landlords sue tenants to collect rent. In these disputes, tenants and owners/landlords face the possibility of losing their homes through eviction or foreclosure. Consumer debt proceedings involve credit card companies, hospitals, banks or any other person or company that a litigant may owe money to. Despite the high stakes, most litigants appear in court without an attorney to advocate on their behalf.
The Program operates in partnership with LawHelp, and in Kings County Housing Court with the non-profit organizations University Settlement, and Housing Court Answers.
The goal of the Court Navigator Program is to help litigants who do not have an attorney have a productive court experience through offering non-legal support. Participating volunteers work in the courtroom under the supervision of a Court Navigator Program Coordinator. They have the opportunity to interact with judges, lawyers and litigants, and to gain real-world experience. Whatever a student's goal is in volunteering -- helping people in need, making new contacts, learning more about assisting a person in court or developing professional skills -- the Court Navigator Program sets the stage.
Oregon Legal Technicians Task Force Report-February 13, 2015: Recommended that the Oregon State Bar Board of Governors consider the general concept of limited license for legal technicians as one component of the Board’s overall strategy for increasing access to justice.
Utah Supreme Court Task Force to Examine Limited Legal Licensing-Issued a report dated November 18, 2015: Recommended adopting a Licensed Paralegal Practitioner.
The Vermont Joint Commission on the Future of Legal Services-September 24, 2015 Report-Recommended to the Vermont Supreme Court that it authorize the training a licensing of Vermont Certified Paralegals to provide specific legal services in the areas of family law, landlord tenant, collections. The difference between VT licensed paralegals and Washington State licensed paralegals is that the VT paralegals still must work under the supervision of an attorney and cannot charge a legal fee to the public.
Washington is the first state in the country to offer an affordable legal support option to help meet the needs of those unable to afford the services of an attorney. Legal Technicians, also known as Limited License Legal Technicians (LLLT), are trained and licensed to advise and assist people going through divorce, child custody and other family-law matters in Washington. Think of them like nurse practitioners, who can treat patients and prescribe medication like a doctor. Licensed Legal Technicians bring a similar option to the legal world, making legal services more accessible to people who can’t afford an attorney. While they cannot represent clients in court, Legal Technicians are able to consult and advise, complete and file necessary court documents, help with court scheduling and support a client in navigating the often confusing maze of the legal system.