In June 2012 the Supreme Court of the State of Washington adopted a court rule authorizing persons who are not traditionally licensed lawyers to deliver legal services in a limited fashion. For more than a decade the Washington Supreme Court was aware of a growing need to provide legal services to the public, a need that was not being served by lawyers. A study commissioned by the Washington Supreme Court (Civil Legal Needs Study, 2003, tinyurl.com/mq5jfzj) revealed that the segments of the population not able to access the legal system were not only the poor but lower-middle-income and middle-income families. In this article I will articulate why the rule was adopted; how the program works; and the effect on our profession—particularly on solo and small firm lawyers.
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