Paralegal Division of the Utah State Bar

Report on Licensing

REPORT OF THE Licensing of Legal Assistants Committee of the Legal Assistant Division of the Utah State Bar

April 6, 1998
(Minor Editing Changes: May 6, 1998)

This is an overview of the Report of the Licensing of Legal Assistants Committee. This report was approved for further development by the Bar Commission at its May 15, 1998 Meeting. If you would like, you may also download a complete copy of the report for your evaluation.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

COMMENT FROM THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
LICENSING COMMITTEE MEMBERSHIP
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
RECOMMENDATIONS

HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE
LICENSING IN OTHER STATES
LEGAL ASSISTANT/PARALEGAL LICENSING AND DUE PROCESS RIGHTS
"GRANDFATHERING" OR "TRANSITIONING" INTO A LICENSED LEGAL ASSISTANT MODEL
WRITTEN EXAMINATION OPTIONS
ADMISSIONS AND SWEARING-IN
CONTINUING LEGAL EDUCATION
DIRECT SUPERVISION VS. GENERAL SUPERVISION
EXPANDED DUTIES
APPENDICES

COMMENT FROM THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

The board of directors of the Legal Assistant Division of the Utah State Bar recognizes great diversity of membership opinion regarding the licensing of legal assistants and does not render any opinion or recommendation on the matter of whether or not to license legal assistants. The board will, however, support any final decision of the Board of Bar Commissioners.

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LICENSING COMMITTEE MEMBERSHIP

Advisory Committee:

Robyn Dotterer, CLA
President LAAU
Dunn & Dunn

Kay Hanson, CLA-S
Chair-Elect, LAD
Counsel II Counsel

Peggi Lowden, CLA-S, Co-Chair
Chair, LAD
Strong & Hanni

Shelly A. Sisam, Co-Chair
Utah State Bar Office of Professional Conduct

Gregory G. Skordas, Esq.
Appointed by Bar President
Watkiss Dunning & Watkiss

Subcommittees:

Kathy Allman, CLA-S
Strong & Hanni

Danielle Davis
Bertch & Birch

Connie Howard
Mary Mark & Associates

Lucy A. Jackson
Watkiss, Dunning & Watkiss

Anne Milne, Esq.
Utah Legal Services

Kris S. Pace, CLA
LAAU NALA Liaison
Waddingham & Peterson

Glen Proctor
Strong & Hanni

Billy Walker, Esq.
Utah State Bar Office of Professional Conduct

Editing :

Sanda Kirkham, CLA
Larsen, Kikham & Turner

Peggi Lowden, CLA-S
Strong & Hanni

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

CHARGE

This committee was charged with preparing a model for the licensing of legal assistants to be considered for implementation. The Access to Justice Task Force previously made the recommendation that, The Bar should explore and, if appropriate, adopt licensure by the Bar of legal assistants, enabling them to provide limited service and advice. (Task Force Report, p. 6.) This report should not be considered an affirmation of support nor opposition for licensing, as the LAD membership has not yet been polled to make that determination.

FINDINGS

The recommendations of the Licensing Committee of the Legal Assistant Division of the Utah State Bar are the result of much research over the years by legal assistants/paralegals in the state of Utah, organizations of legal assistants locally and nationwide, and lawyers within the state. The eyes of the nation are watching Utah on this very important issue. Our discussions with the ABA and other states shows that, to date, no state has been completely successful on this issue, therefore, Utah would be the leading authority looked upon for direction.

The Committee has determined that licensing is not a solution to the Unauthorized Practice of Law. If anything, the issue of UPL may be greater if licensing occurs without thorough review and education/training of all effected persons.

Under our proposal, licensed legal assistants remain under the supervision of a licensed attorney while their duties expand from "direct" supervision to "general" supervision.