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Regulation of the Paralegal Profession Nationwide

  • 12 Aug 2018 9:16 PM
    Message # 6532959
    Mariana Fradman (Administrator)

    By Joshua Normand, NYCPA Research Coordinator

    For about the last ten years or so, there has been a movement to regulate the paralegal profession as the paralegal and legal profession has evolved. There are some states that are implementing their own programs to acknowledge the education and skill level of a "certified paralegal".  This person could in fact be considered much closer to the attorney as far as preparation of legal documents is concerned. The need is magnified as the costs of hiring an attorney have doubled in the last ten to fifteen years.

     

    The state of Utah is the latest to join the world of regulation. On November 1st, the state of Utah will have a new class of legal professionals called the Licensed Paralegal Practitioner. This was approved by the Utah Supreme Court and classes to train LPP’s will take place this fall at Utah Valley University, the licensing exams to take place in the spring of 2019 and the first LPP licenses will be issued later in 2019, probably in the beginning of the summer.


    For about the last ten years or so, there has been a movement to regulate the paralegal profession, as the paralegal and legal profession has evolved. There are some state that are implementing their own programs to acknowledge the education and skill level of a certified paralegal who is much closer to an attorney as far as preparation of legal documents is concerned. This need is magnified as the costs of hiring an attorney have doubled in the last ten to fifteen years.

     

    The state of Utah is the latest to join the world of regulation. On November 1st, the state of Utah will have a new class of legal professionals called the Licensed Paralegal Practitioner. This was approved by the Utah Supreme Court and classes to train LPP’s will take place this fall at Utah Valley University, the licensing exams to take place in the spring of 2019 and the first LPP licenses will be issued later in 2019, probably in the beginning of the summer.

     

    Under the amendments to Utah Rule 14-802, LPP’s will be limited to practicing in three areas of law.

     

    1)    Cases involving temporary separation, divorce, parentage, stalking and child custody.

    2)    Cases involving forcible entry and detainer.

    3)    Debt collection matters in which the dollar amount in question does not exceed the statutory limit for small claims cases.

     

    I must give credit to Robert (Bob) Ambrogi who is an expert on law and technology who had this on his blog this week. His blog is called www.lawsitesblog.com

     

    The state of Washington has a program called LLLT (Limited License Legal Technician) in which qualifid technicians can help out those who can’t afford a lawyer in matters of family law like divorce and child custody. This program has been around in Washington State for six years.

     

    Other states, such as Pennsylvania and Virginia, have adopted a designation called Virginia Registered Paralegal or Pa.C.P. (Pennsylvania Certified Paralegal). As for the state of New York, on September 15th the Empire State Alliance of Paralegal Associations will be discussing regulation as one of their agenda topics. Hopefully after the ESAPA meeting in September, we in New York State will be closer to having some form of regulation or parameters for paralegals being able to assist lower-income individuals who can’t afford an attorney. This is what Washington State and Utah recognized and they are allowing the paralegals in very specific situations to guide the clients through either family law situations or debt collections, so as to provide access to justice for those individuals.


    Last modified: 15 Aug 2018 7:45 AM | Mariana Fradman (Administrator)


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