What are LLLTs and Why Should You Care?

Critics of the legal profession often point out – with some justification – that lawyers are slow to adapt to changes in culture and the legal marketplace. They also note that lawyers are too expensive for the average person, especially for certain basic legal needs that most Americans will need at some point, such as assistance with creating wills and getting divorced.

Responding to this dynamic, lawyers in Washington state are doing something about it. Several years ago, Washington created a novel new program to create a category of legal professionals that could handle certain, basic legal matters that the state determined could be sufficiently handled by non-lawyers with basic training in certain areas of law. These professionals – called Limited License Legal Technicians – are licensed to provide legal advice and assistance to clients in certain areas of law without the supervision of a lawyer. LLLTs can practice either under the umbrella of a law firm or on their own.

Now comes word that seven people have completed all requirements, including passing the licensing exams, to become the first LLLTs in the nation. Washington is hoping that these new entrants to the legal profession can help close the “justice gap,” which keeps the price of legal services out of reach for too many people who need them. Other states are watching closely to see how the Washington model progresses and whether it might be a viable solution to the justice gap, which is present in Texas and every other state as well.

Lawyers traditionally are very protective of their prerogatives, and for good reason, but this can sometime stifle innovative ways of improving our duty to provide justice to all Americans. Kudos to the lawyers in Washington for bravely venturing forth into what is likely to be the wave of the future, whether some attorneys like it or not.

 

Posted: 6/5/2015 11:04:26 AM by TCLE Editor | with 0 comments

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Thanks for stopping by On the Merits, the first blog from the Texas Center for Legal Ethics. On the Merits will take a close look at significant legal stories with an eye toward addressing the legal myths and misconceptions that turn up in news stories, movies, TV programs, websites, anonymous emails and other forms of mass communications. Our goal at On the Merits is to provide readers with a thoughtful examination of what the media and others are saying about the legal profession and to apply the frequently-absent context of how the legal system actually works.

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