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Panel proposes pilot project to test legal technician program

Posted By Administration, Thursday, April 2, 2015

A State Bar task force last month proposed the development of a pilot program for limited licensing of legal technicians as part of a series of recommendations aimed at closing the so-called “justice gap.”

Millions of low- and middle-income Californians fall into the gap of needing civil legal assistance but not being able to afford to hire a lawyer. In some cases, they may even qualify for legal aid, but are turned away by cash-strapped nonprofit providers, according to the newly released Civil Justice Strategies Task Force report.

After studying the problem for about a year, the task force has proposed a series of ideas for closing the gap. Public comment is being sought through May 11 and then the report will go to the Board of Trustees.

Among the recommendations is a proposal to take the next step toward licensing legal technicians. The limited licensing concept was endorsed by a board working group in 2013. The task force now advocates that the bar work with the state Supreme Court to design a pilot program covering one subject matter. How the governance, oversight and licensing would be handled is yet to be determined.

Ideally, the technicians would be able to perform the limited services at a reduced cost to consumers, said State Bar President Craig Holden.

Read the whole story at California Bar Journal

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