Back in August I reported that Utah approved significant changes to the notion of the practice of law and its regulatory scheme (see here). As I said back then, the report of the Utah Work Group on Regulatory Reform suggested changes intended to improve access to legal services for residents unable to afford private attorneys in civil and family court cases including a proposed increased role for non-lawyers in legal services, including tech companies, and the creation of a regulatory agency to determine how they could help.
One of the main recommendations suggests that Utah loosen or possibly repeal the state’s Rule 5.4, which bans law firms and other legal services operations from sharing fees with non-lawyers. The proposals were approved unanimously by state Supreme Court, but there’s still work to do, particularly in order to create the administrative regulatory agency, which will be independent of the bar.
To achieve this goal, the Utah Bar will work with the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System which announced last week that its new “Unlocking Legal Regulation” project was devised in part to advance Utah’s plans to loosen restrictions on non-lawyers in the state’s legal system. According to reports, the IAALS will help Utah develop and test a “risk-based regulation system” based on a model the group created that ensures high-quality services, but doesn’t limit service providers to just lawyers.
However, as I have mentioned in the past, not everyone supports the proposals.