In 2012, the Limited License Legal Technician (LLLT) Rule became effective in Washington State. The rule’s purpose is to meet the unmet legal needs of the public through expanding the availability and affordability of quality legal assistance, thus the rule “authorize[s] certain persons to render limited legal assistance or advice in approved practice areas of law.” Pursuant to actions by the LLLT Board, which was established by the Washington State Supreme Court to administer the LLLT program, the first practice area is domestic relations. This means that in the domestic relations practice area, limited license legal technicians who have passed the licensing examination (this includes a subject area and professional responsibility exam) and fulfilled other licensing requirements will be able to provide litigants with legal advice and assistance.
This month, seven people passed Washington State’s first exam for limited license legal technicians to practice in domestic relations. There are additional steps remaining, such as 3,000 hours of supervised experience, but Washington State’s first successful candidates are on their way to being able to provide certain legal advice and assistance in domestic relations matters.
To learn more, you can read about the LLLT Program on the Washington State Bar Association’s website. In addition, check out these articles.
- Washington state moves around UPL, using legal technicians to help close the justice gap (ABA Journal)
- Seven people pass test to become nation’s first legal technicians (ABA Journal)
- Who says you need a law degree to practice law? (Washington Post)
Washington State is the first and only state thus far to allow limited license legal technicians, but it is under consideration or discussion in other states, such as California, Oregon and New York. The American Bar Association’s Commission on the Future of Legal Services is also reviewing limited license legal technicians. Check out this report by the ABA Task Force on the Future of Legal Education, which includes a recommendation for the adoption of “new or improved frameworks for licensing or otherwise authorizing providers of legal and related services”, which should include “licensing persons other than holders of a J.D. to deliver limited legal services” in order to expand access to justice. However, the future of limited license legal technicians in the United States remains unclear.