Long time readers of this blog know I have posted many stories on efforts around the country to provide more access to legal services, particularly by allowing non lawyers to provide some of those services. A couple of states have implemented new rules to provide licensing to so called "Limited License Legal Technicians" (LLLTs) who are now allowed to provide legal services without the supervision of a lawyer in limited types of cases. For some of my posts on this go to the section on innovation or the section on regulation.
I am writing about this today because the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System has posted a comment on the programs and proposals that allow (or would allow) non lawyers to provide legal services in order to improve access to legal services.
Among other things, the author points out that although LLLT programs are good in theory, some argue they have proven to be a failure because they have not reached the people it was designed to reach, which has been a lingering argument against them since they were first proposed many years ago in Washington state.
Hopefully, however, we will have some actual data we can use to reach a conclusion on this argument. The National Center for State Courts (NCSC) will soon begin a year long process to evaluate Washington state’s LLLT program. Although the program has been around for five years, it’s only been in the last few that NCSC has begun looking at its efficacy. This upcoming comprehensive review aims to determine, among other things if LLLTs are adequately trained, and if they’re meeting the needs of their clients.
The most important thing it should try to determine is whether the program has resulted in making legal services more accessible and affordable.