Today was an exciting day as the Utah State Bar admitted its newest lawyers to begin practicing. But this Bar Ceremony was historical because the first four Licensed Paralegal Practitioners (LPPs) were also admitted to begin practicing. Angie Allen, Utah’s legal coach, was one of those four.
The Need for Legal Services to Change
For many years, there has been a need for legal services to change. Many people who need legal representation, don’t have it, especially in family law and debt collect collection cases because they can’t afford it. Since 2015, the Utah Supreme Court has been investigating how best to serve underrepresented Utahns (i.e. those with low income or those in rural areas where there are no law firms nearby). The solution was the LPP program.
Utah is the second state after Washington to allow non-lawyers to provide legal services (including giving legal advice) to clients. LPPs can provide legal services in family law, debt collection, and forcible entry and detainer cases. LPPs services cost less than those of a traditional lawyer, allowing even more people to get the legal help they otherwise couldn’t afford.
Utah’s New LPP Program
In an answer to close the “access to justice” gap, the solution was to allow paralegals who meet certain criteria to practice independently and . The qualifications to become an LPP are very strict and include a combination of education – including new courses at Utah Valley University – 1,500 hours of legal work, and rigorous testing.
As of now, LPPs can help clients review and create legal documents, provide legal advice, and represent clients in mediation (representation at court still requires a lawyer).
Angie is excited to be able to offer more affordable legal services to Utahns who can’t afford a traditional attorney, helping them represent themselves in court cases. You can contact her no matter where you are to help you go over documents or get legal coaching to help you with your case.