The Washington State Supreme Court is considering rules that would move the state one step closer to licensing non-lawyers to help consumers with certain legal matters. The court is reviewing proposed rules regarding limited license legal practitioners (LLLTs). These trained and licensed service providers would be able to provide certain forms of assistance to people needing assistance with family law matters. We wrote previously about LLLTs, describing what services they will and won't be able to provide consumers. Essentially, LLLTs will have training roughly equivalent to a paralegal and will be allowed to guide customers through legal processes, but will not be allowed to represent them in court.
The first class of LLLTs is currently finishing its training, so the court is finalizing ethics rules that would govern this new profession. Responsive Law submitted testimony to the court reemphasizing the need for this new profession, and urging the court to loosen proposed restrictions on the form that LLLT businesses can take. These restrictions would make it more difficult for LLLTs to work independently from lawyers and to form the type of creative business structures that could allow them to best serve their customers. You can read our testimony to the court here.