Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Florida proposal to allow paralegals to provide limited legal services

Readers of this blog will remember the current discussion within a number of jurisdictions on whether to allow trained non-lawyers to provide limited types of legal services.  See here, and here for example, I am writing today with an update on the discussion in Florida.

Last year, the Florida Supreme Court Commission on Access to Civil Justice’s approved a proposal to create an “Advanced Florida Registered Paralegal” designation as part of the Florida Registered Paralegal Program.

According to the proposal, Advanced Registered Paralegals would be required to have additional education and work experience than is required to become a Florida Registered Paralegal in order to engage in the limited practice of law under a lawyer’s supervision in family law, landlord tenant law, guardianship law, wills, advance directives, and debt collection defense.

The proposed rule revisions also set forth a licensing and disciplinary process and states that the Advanced Registered Paralegals must be supervised by a lawyer who “maintains a direct relationship with the client and maintains control of all client matters.”

The proposal was sent to the Florida Bar’s Board of Governors for review and Bar President John Stewart announced at the Board’s January 31, 2020 meeting that he had referred the proposed program to the Florida Bar’s Rules Committee to consider objections that were made by the Bar’s Family Law, Real Property, Probate and Trust Law, Elder, and Public Interest Law sections.

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