Saturday, April 29, 2023

Update on Idaho's rejection of Model Rule 8.4(g)

Back in January I reported (here) that Idaho rejected a proposal to adopt Model Rule 8.4(g).  A few days ago, the Louisiana Legal Ethics Blog published a comment.

Friday, April 28, 2023

How to leave a firm ...

 In a recent post, Michael Kennedy (Ethical Grounds) reviews issues related to lawyers leaving firms.  If you need a quick reminder of some of the ethical issues involved, you can read it here.

Meanwhile, over at Above the Law, another recent article discusses the key trends shaping today’s lateral moves landscape.

Saturday, April 15, 2023

Mississippi Supreme Court rules that the state's public defender system must be fixed to prevent defendants from spending unreasonable amounts of time before indictment

Poor defendants in Mississippi are routinely jailed for months, and sometimes even years, without being appointed an attorney due to the state’s inadequate public defender system. The Mississippi Supreme Court now says this practice must end.  The state’s highest recently rules that criminal defendants who can’t afford their own attorney must always have one before an indictment.  You can read the opinion here and a comment on the opinion here.

Monday, April 10, 2023

Colorado Supreme Court approves licensing of paraprofessionals to perform limited legal services -- UPDATED

April 9, 2023

Last month, the Colorado Supreme Court adopted new rules to create a program to license legal paraprofessionals to perform certain limited legal services.  You can read the Supreme Court's full opinion here.  You can also read a press release here.

As you probably know, Arizona, Minnesota, Oregon [also here], and Utah already have similar programs.  California is considering creating one. The first one in the country was created in Washington (state, not DC) but it was abandoned a few years later. 

According to the new rules in Colorado, licensed paraprofessionals will be allowed to complete and file standard pleadings, represent clients in mediation, accompany clients to court proceedings, and respond to a court’s factual questions but will not be allowed to represent clients in oral arguments or to examine witnesses in a hearing.

To obtain a license, the paraprofessional will be required to pass a written licensed legal paraprofessionals exam, submit to a character and fitness review, pass an ethics class, and pass a professional conduct exam. They will also have to complete 1,500 hours of law-related practical experience, including 500 hours of experience in Colorado family law. The rules also provide for a disciplinary process which is similar to the process for Colorado lawyers.

UPDATE 4/10/23:  Thanks to a reader of the blog for letting me know that New Hampshire also has a rule that allows paraprofessionals to provide certain types of legal services under certain circumstances.  You can find the rule here.