A Licensed Paralegal Practitioner (LPP) is a legal professional who has satisfied education, experience, and testing requirements. LPPs practice in certain areas of the law as designated by the Utah State Bar without the oversight of a lawyer.
Good News for Utah
Utah is the second state to license paralegals in an effort to close the justice gap. Even with lawyers providing pro bono assistance, a large number of Utah citizens are not receiving the legal information and advice that they need. LPP’s are licensed to help clients outside the courtroom and are able to help with forms, provide representation at mediation, prepare and negotiate settlements and give advice throughout the case.
On October 15th, 2019, the Utah State Bar admitted the first LPPs. Because of the stringent qualifications required to become an LPP, only four individuals in the state were licensed.
What can a Licensed Paralegal Practitioner Do?
LPPs can practice in a limited scope in the following areas:
- family law (divorces, custody cases, name changes, etc.)
- forcible entry and detainer
- debt collections
LPPs are able to provide legal advice on these matters, making legal representation accessible to more people who can’t afford a lawyer.
Benefits of Hiring a Licensed Paralegal Practioner
There are several benefits to hiring an LPP. Many people try to represent themselves in legal proceedings, such as divorces or collection issues, and are unsuccessful or accept unfavorable settlements. An LPP can help clients navigate these tricky proceedings.
Opening the bar to admit LPPs in Utah is revolutionary and can help many people get the representation that they need. It’s important to remember that the scope of practice for these practitioners is limited and that matters outside the practice areas listed above may still require the advice of a licensed attorney.
Should I Consult a Licensed Paralegal Practitioner or a Lawyer?
If you’re unsure whether you should consult an LPP or an attorney, you should consider the following:
- Scope: if your legal matter falls outside any of the above, then you will likely need to hire a lawyer. If your matter falls within the scope of any of these areas, you may decide to use an LPP.
- Cost: It’s no secret that hiring an attorney is expensive. If your resources are limited, then you might want to hire an LPP.
- Relationships: If you already have a lawyer who you trust, then it may not be necessary to hire an LPP.
There are certain situations where it makes more sense to hire an LPP instead of a lawyer. Many law firms and lawyers offer consultations that help you determine what kinds of legal services you need and who you should work with.
If you’re dealing with a legal matter and are unsure how to handle it, book an appointment today with our LPP Angie.
*This article first appeared on utahattorneys.com
Hi! I’m Angie Allen and I’ve been a paralegal for almost 20 years. My passion for the law led me to become one of the first four paralegals to become a Licensed Paralegal Practitioner in Utah so that that I can work towards equalizing access to justice. I’m dedicated to helping people get the legal help they need and I want to help you with your legal matters. My practice is focused on helping clients with family law and debt collection matters at a reasonable cost.
I also have experience in many facets of the law including family law, bankruptcy, debt collection, and criminal prosecution and defense. I’m currently appointed to the Utah Supreme Court’s Advisory Committee on the Rules of Professional Conduct and the Licensed Paralegal Practitioner Steering Committee.
Outside the office, I enjoy trying to be a clumsy adrenaline junkie, spending half the month with my husband and enjoying the other half enjoying him being out of town for work and showing our two children new things. I will travel anywhere that I can find cheap airfare to and love being with my family and friends.