Hello everyone and welcome to this Ethics Alert which will discuss the implementation of the limited license practitioners (LLP) program in Utah, which is the second such program in the United States. The first non-lawyer licensing program was Washington’s Limited Licensed Legal Technician (LLLT) Program, which has been in place since 2015.
In 2015, the Utah Supreme Court considered a proposal to permit limited licensed paralegal practitioners (LPPs) to provide legal advice and assist clients in limited matters; however, those paralegals would not be permitted to appear in court. The new LPPs would assist clients in completing legal forms, completing settlement agreements and representing them in mediated negotiations.
The Utah Supreme Court Task Force to Examine Limited Legal Licensing was appointed to consider rules permitting non-lawyers to provide help in specified areas of family law, eviction and debt collection. The task force’s report recommended that LPPs have a law degree or an associate’s degree with a paralegal certificate, paralegal certification, paralegal experience and additional coursework in their practice area. The Utah State Bar would supervise the licensing and discipline.
The Utah Supreme Court Task Force’s November 18, 2015 Report and Recommendation is here: http://www.utcourts.gov/committees/limited_legal/Supreme%20Court%20Task%20Force%20to%20Examine%20Limited%20Legal%20Licensing.pdf.
The new LLP Rules were approved by the Utah Supreme Court and will take effect November 1, 2018. The first LLPs in Utah are expected to be licensed in 2019, which will make it the second state to license non-lawyers to practice law and will allow LLPs practice without a lawyer’s supervision in three areas.
Those legal areas include: matters involving temporary separation, divorce, parentage, cohabitant abuse, civil stalking, custody and support, and name change, matters involving forcible entry and detainer, and debt collection matters in which the dollar amount in issue does not exceed the statutory limit for small claims cases. LLPs will not be permitted to appear in court on behalf of a client.
LPPs will be permitted to help clients choose, complete, file, and complete service of legal forms; review and explain court orders or another party’s documents; advocate for a client in a mediation; and complete settlement agreements after a negotiation. Classes for licensed paralegal practitioners will be taught at Utah Valley University and the first licensing examinations are expected to be held in Spring 2019.
Bottom line: Utah is the second state to permit limited licensed legal practice in the United States. Washington has had a Limited Licensed Legal Technician (LLLT) Program in place since 2015 and California and Oregon are thinking about it: See: http://www.calbar.ca.gov/About-Us/Who-We-Are/Board-of-Trustees/Board-Task-Force/Limited-License-Working-Group and http://bog11.homestead.com/LegalTechTF/Jan2015/Report_22Jan2015.pdf
Be careful out there.
Disclaimer: this Ethics Alert is not an advertisement, does not contain any legal advice, and does not create an attorney/client relationship and the comments herein should not be relied upon by anyone who reads it.
Joseph A. Corsmeier, Esquire
Law Office of Joseph A. Corsmeier, P.A.
29605 U.S. Highway 19, N., Suite 150
Clearwater, Florida 33761
Office (727) 799-1688
Fax (727) 799-1670