Are Limited License Legal Technicians Coming to Oregon?

With the success of the Washington Limited License Legal Technician (LLLT) experiment, will Oregon finally dip its toe into paraprofessional licensing? The answer appears to be yes.

In June 2017 the OSB Futures Task Force submitted its report to the OSB Board of Governors. Among the recommendations: implementation of a paraprofessional licensing (LLLT) program in Oregon.

The task force recommended the BOG appoint a committee to develop a detailed implementation plan. The plan would include draft rules of admission, practice, and professional conduct for approval by the Supreme Court and adoption by the BOG. ORS Chapter 9 would be amended to provide for licensure of paraprofessionals who would be authorized to provide limited legal services, without attorney supervision, to self-represented litigants in family law and landlord-tenant proceedings. Consumer protection measures would also be enacted.

Why Do We Need LLLTs (Paraprofessionals)?

Short answer: access to justice. As detailed in the task force report, the number of self-represented litigants continues to grow. Legal Aid, pro bono services, and limited scope representation only meet a small part of the need.

Minimum Qualifications and Licensing

The task force report lays out a series of minimum qualifications for paraprofessionals or LLLTs. Licensing would include “liability insurance in an amount to be determined,” preferably through the Professional Liability Fund, and continuing legal education. To protect the public from confusion, LLLTs would be required to use written agreements with mandatory disclosures.

Scope of Services

“Licensees should be able to select, prepare, file, and serve forms
and other documents in an approved proceeding; provide information and advice relating to the proceeding; communicate and negotiate with another party; and provide emotional and administrative support to the client in court. Licensees should be prohibited from representing clients in depositions, in court, and in appeals.”

Proposed Expansion of Washington’s LLLT Program

BOG approval of a LLLT/paraprofessional program seems greater than 50-50. As we await the outcome in Oregon, Washington is seeking to update its program. Under draft amendments, the LLLT role would expand to permit:

  • Accompanying and assisting clients in specific court proceedings, mediation, settlement conferences, and arbitration proceedings.
  • Attending, but not participating in, depositions.
  • Communicating with opposing counsel and parties on procedural matters and negotiations.
  • Gathering information on the value and potential encumbrances on a home.
  • Presenting agreed, uncontested, and default court orders.
  • Assisting clients seeking nonparental custody or major modifications up to the point of the adequate cause hearing.
  • Dividing single-family residential dwellings which have no more than twice the homestead exemption in equity.

Washington bar members have until July 17 to submit comments.

Parting Thoughts

At its June meeting, the BOG accepted the OSB Futures Task Force report. As noted on the OSB website, “the board will be looking at those recommendations throughout the year and likely into 2018.” Comments are encouraged and may be submitted to president@osbar.org.

All Rights Reserved Beverly Michaelis 2017

Free Shred Day for Multnomah County Lawyers

The Professional Liability Fund is providing free shredding of legal files on Saturday, March 15, from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. in the Oregon State Bar Center parking lot. Mobile shredding trucks from Recall, a document management company, will be shredding the materials onsite. Limit: 15 boxes per firm.

The trucks will be located in the back Free Shred Day 8 24 2013 photo by Ivan Hernandezparking lot of the OSB Center, 16037 SW Upper Boones Ferry Road, Tigard, Oregon, 97224. Shredding will be available until the trucks are filled to capacity. Please respect the 15 box per firm limit, so that we can provide this service to as many firms as possible. You must wait until your material is shredded and take your boxes back with you. Paper clips and binder clips are okay to shred but 3-ring binders should be removed.

If you have any questions please contact DeAnna Shields at 503-639-6911, ext. 440 or deannas@osbplf.org.

Free Law Practice Transition CLE

On November 1, the Oregon State Bar is offering a FREE Law Practice Transition CLE for lawyers who are interested in buying or selling a law practice.  Here is the announcement:

The legal profession is undergoing a demographic shift as baby boomers retire in large numbers and a steady stream of law school grads enter the marketplace. In the meantime, the ratio of new lawyers to entry-level positions has caused many new lawyers to hang out their own shingle when they don’t find employment elsewhere.

To address this issue, a free CLE will be held on Friday, November 1, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. at the bar center in Tigard, with a social/networking hour hosted by LawPay immediately following. “Law Practice Transitions: Buying, Selling, or Transferring a Law Practice” is the first in a new series of seminars designed to help lawyers looking to move into our out of an existing practice.

Whether you want to sell or you are looking to start a career (without starting from scratch), this CLE will give you valuable insight into what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to transition planning. Plus, all attendees will receive a coupon code to post a practice for sale on the bar’s online Career Center for FREE!

Thanks to LawPay for graciously hosting the social/networking event immediately following the CLE.

Special thanks to the Oregon New Lawyers Division and the Sole and Small Firm Practice Section for the assistance with this program.

 

2013 Legislative Proposals from the Oregon State Bar

Sixteen proposals from various Oregon State Bar groups are up for consideration by the 2013 Oregon Legislature.  Here is a recap:

1. LC 450Custodianship of Law Practice; Electronic Bar Notices

2. LC 466Unlawful Practice of Law 

3. LC 462Notice of SCRA in Administrative Hearings

4. LC 461Increase Judicial Discretion in Sentencing Certain Veterans

5. LC 2764Interest from Escrow Accounts

6. LC 448Fastcase Pilot Project

7. LC 449Community Caretaking Functions

8. LC 452Remote-only Shareholder Meetings

9. LC 451Equity Awards to Employees

10. LC 454Amended Notices of Sale

11. LC 455Qualifications to Serve as Trustee

12. LC 456Protective Proceedings

13. LC 457Digital Assets

14. LC 459Housekeeping (ORS Ch 107 and 109) (Family Law Section)

15. LC 460Life Insurance (Family Law Section)

16. LC 465Technical Correction to Uniform Criminal Jury Instructions

Among the proposed changes, LC 2764, requiring that escrow trust accounts held by title companies be set up similarly to lawyers’ IOLTA accounts, with interest going partially to funding legal services.