CA Bar Gives Approval to Broad Sandbox Proposal to Test Innovative Ways to Deliver Legal Services

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The State Bar of CA recently approves sandbox proposal to examine access through innovation of legal services delivery. The article from the ABA Journal states:

“The board overwhelmingly supported forming a sandbox working group that will examine permitting nonlawyer ownership of law firms and fee-sharing, among other rule changes, bucking its vice chair’s recommendation that the new group not be charged with reviewing alternative business models.”

The CA state bar supports a working group recommended by the Task Force on Access Through Innovation of Legal Services. This group is examining needed changes to existing law and rules to promote the development of innovative legal services delivery. To say this is an exciting time for nonlawyers is an understatement. Those of us who have long worked in the legal industry have been patiently waiting for these initiatives to gain enough momentum to be implemented. CA is not far behind a handful of other states who have been valiantly working towards lessening the gap for access to justice.

Do you feel that nonlawyers should be allowed or disallowed to partner with an attorney for delivery of legal services?

Keep in mind that as a paralegal in CA, one is required by code to work under the supervision of an attorney. Basically, as a CA paralegal I’m already “partnering” with an attorney in the delivery of legal services. Why should I be prohibited from being a part of the business plan when I’m essential to the delivery of the services at hand?

I think changing regulations to allow additional professionals to be part of the business plan is in some way giving the much needed and well-deserved respect to a line of professionals often looked at as “less than” their supervisory counter-parts. Even better though, these changes continue to lay a pathway for clear access to justice for all groups, even those marginalized the most.

What are your thoughts on how to narrow the gap?

How long do you think it will take CA to pass new/updated regulations for these initiatives?

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