Utah State Bar licensed paralegal program answering public need for access to justice


Anchor: LICENSED PARALLEL PRACTITIONERS WILL BE PROVIDING LEGAL SERVICES WHEN WE MAY NOT BE ABLE TO AFFORD AN ATTORNEY OR WOULD OTHERWISE CHOOSE NOT TO HIRE AN ATTORNEY. JOINING US TODAY IS MONTE SLIGHT WHO IS ON THE UTAH SUPREME COURT COMMITTEE ON LICENSED PARALLEL PRACTITIONERS. THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE. THANKS FOR HAVING ME. THIS IS A BRAND-NEW PROGRAM THAT’S COMING UP ONLINE IN THE FALL. TELL US ABOUT WHAT IT IS AND WHY WE’RE PERFORMING THIS PROGRAM. SO UTAH IS THE SECOND STATE IN THE COUNTRY TO RECOGNIZE A NEED FOR GREATER ACCESS TO JUSTICE THAT A LOT OF PEOPLE JUST CAN’T AFFORD A LAWYER AND WE’VE IDENTIFIED THREE SPECIFIC AREAS, DOMESTIC RELATIONS OR FAMILY LAW, LANDLORD-TENANT LAW, AND DEBT COLLECTION, WHERE WE FEEL LIKE WE COULD CREATE THIS UNIQUE NEW PROFESSION TO PROVIDE SERVICES, HOPEFULLY AT A LOWER COST TO PEOPLE, AND PROVIDE GREATER ACCESS TO PROFESSIONALS THAT ARE TRAINED IN THE LAW AND CAN HELP PEOPLE GET THROUGH THE LEGAL SYSTEM, BUT NOT NECESSARILY NEED TO BE A LAWYER OR NEED ALL THE EDUCATION AND TRAINING AND CERTIFICATION THAT A LAWYER GOES THROUGH. AND MANY, AS WE KNOW, LIKE MOST CASES DO NOT END UP IN THE COURTROOM. MY SISTER IS AN ATTORNEY. SO THAT IS ALL THE MORE REASON TO HAVE THIS KIND OF LAYER TO HELP PEOPLE NAVIGATE THROUGH WHATEVER THEY’RE DEALING WITH. SURE. A LOT OF CASES DO SETS OUT OF COURT, AND LICENSED PRACTICE IS THERS WILL HAVE A LOT OF ABILITY TO HELP PEOPLE WORK THROUGH THAT SETTLEMENT AND NEGOTIATION PROCESS, AND EVEN THOSE CASES THAT DO END UP IN COURT OR NEED PAPERWORK FILED IN COURT, A LOT OF WHAT HAPPENS IN THE COURTROOM HAPPENS BEFORE YOU GET INTO THE KROM, AND THE LICENSED PARALLEL PRACTITIONERS WILL HELP THOSE PEOPLE WHO RIGHT NOW WE THINK THOSE PEOPLE ARE SHOWING YOU WHAT WE CALL PRO BONO, MEANING THEY DON’T HAVE A LAWYER, THEY’RE SHOWING UP UNPREPARED, THEY ARE UNFAMILIAR WITH THE VOCABULARY, AND THE PROCEDURE AND THE PROTOCOL. HAVING A LICENSED PARALLEL PRACTITIONER THAT CAN MEET WITH THOSE PEOPLE, HELP THEM PREPARE THE PAPERWORK, MAKE SURE IT LOOKS THE WAY IT’S SUPPOSED TO. IT MAKES THE PROCESS SO MUCH MORE EFFICIENT. SO FORMING THIS NEW PROGRAM, YOU NEED PEOPLE WHO ARE QUALIFIED, RIGHT? SURE. THAT’S ONE OF THOSE THINGS. TALK A LITTLE ABOUT WHO MIGHT YOU BE LOOKING FOR AND THE PROCESS. WELL, OBVIOUSLY THE SKILL SET FOR THE LICENSED PARALLEL PRACTITIONERS CAN BE VERY SIMILAR TO THAT FOR THE ATTORNEYS, WE WANT PEOPLE THAT ARE VERY ORGANIZED, VERY ANALYTICAL, THAT’S GOING TO BE THE BIG SKILL SET. BUT AS FAR AS THE ACTUAL QUALIFICATIONS WE’RE LOOKING FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE WILLING TO GET THE EDUCATION NECESSARY TO BECOME A PARALLEL, THEY’RE GOING TO SPEND SOME TIME WORKING AS A PARALLEL BEFORE THEY BECOME LICENSED, WHICH MEANS THEY’LL BE WORKING UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF ATTORNEYS WHO WILL USE THEIR SERVICES IN THOSE AREAS. THEN AT SOME POINT WHEN THEY FEEL LIKE THEY’RE READY, THERE WILL BE FURTHER REQUIREMENT AS LONG THE LINES OF NATIONAL CERTIFICATION, SOME COURSE WORK THEY’LL HAVE TO COMPLETE BEFORE THEY CAN ACTUALLY BECOME LICENSED AS A PARALLEL. AND YOU WANT TO LET PEOPLE KNOW THAT THIS SERVICE IS AVAILABLE, BECAUSE OBVIOUSLY THERE’S SUCH A GREAT NEED IN OUR COMMUNITY FOR THOSE THINGS. YES. ACCESS TO JUSTICE IN UTAH IS A BIG ISSUE. TIE SUPREME COURT HAS MADE THAT ONE OF THEIR PRIORITIES AND THAT’S ONE OF THE REASONS THEY HAVE REALLY PUSHED THE CREATION OF THIS PARTICULAR POSITION, ESPECIALLY WHEN WE LOOK OUT AT THE RURAL AREAS. THE WASATCH FRONT, THERE’S ENOUGH LAWYERS AND ENOUGH PEOPLE HERE THAT MOST PEOPLE IF THEY NEED TO FIND A LEGAL PROFESSIONAL THEY’LL BE AIBLED TO FIND SOMEBODY. BUT DID THEY AFFORD IT IS THE BIGGY. YES, IT’S COST AND ACCESSION, A COMBINATION OF BOTH THOSE THINGS. WE’RE HOPING TO PUSH THIS OUT AND LET PEOPLE KNOW, ESPECIALLY PEOPLE IN THE RURAL COMMUNITIES THAT WANT TO BECOME LEGAL PROFESSIONALS BUT DON’T MAYBE HAVE THE TIME TO GO ALL THE WAY THROUGH LAW SCHOOL, BUT HAVE THAT SKILL SET, VERY ANALYTICAL, VERY ORGANIZED AND WILLING TO PUT IN MAYBE A COUPLE YEARS TO GET AN ASSOCIATES DEGREE INSTEAD OF SPENDING YEARS AND YEARS TO GET A PLOW DEGREE. THANK YOU FOR LETTING US KNOW ABOUT THIS PROGRAM. IF YOU ARE INTERESTED, IS THERE A WEBSITE.

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