Rules Governing the Utah State Bar – Comment Period Closed November 7, 2022

USB14-0802. Authorization to practice law. Amend. The purpose of the proposed amendments to Rule 14-802 is to give Licensed Paralegal Practitioners (LPPs) the ability to modify the court forms that are relevant to their areas of practice. This would give LPPs some much needed flexibility to complete services for their clients while still working within the scopes of practice established by the Supreme Court. Rule 14-802 was initially drafted with the intention of both defining the scope of practice for LPPs and ensuring the availability, accuracy, and effect of that scope of practice through forms that have been vetted and approved by the Judicial Council’s Standing Committee on Court Forms. While the intent of this rule was to guide LPPs, attorneys, and the public through a new and uncharted program that authorized the limited practice of law by non-attorneys, it resulted in unanticipated results. LPPs’ effectiveness has been artificially limited, with negative results for their clients in the form of reduced cost savings and the inability to tailor pleadings to clients’ individual circumstances.


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9 thoughts on “Rules Governing the Utah State Bar – Comment Period Closed November 7, 2022
  1. Peter Vanderhooft

    I am a Licensed Paralegal Practitioner and it is very difficult to utilize the Court forms under the current rule. It is difficult if not impossible to represent clients adequately due to the fact that certain forms (such as Statement of Discovery Issues; Discovery Requests; and Discovery Responses) are non-existant. Very few clients I have encountered have cases that can be resolved within the confines of the Court forms, and clients of LPPs are at a disadvantage if they have to rely on the structure of the forms as the forms do not include citations to case law and the Rules of Civil Procedure that are necessary in order to support those documents. Additionally, cost savings in drafting materials for clients are lost by having to use the interview option in OCAP as responses are required in order to get the form generated, but not all of the questions are applicable to every client.

    Additionally, the Court forms are cumbersome to use and are visually unappealing. The use of checkboxes is a major detriment as it can be unclear what information is relevant on the form and it is much cleaner to delete out information from the form than is unnecessary than it is to leave blank information in a form. The forms were prepared in a legacy version of Word and the formatting of the documents makes them unusable for filing orders as orders must be filed in the .RTF format and many of the forms include drawing objects that must be removed in order for the documents to be filed.

  2. Alex Leeman

    The proposed redline isn’t very clear to me. “Contain essentially the same information” makes it sound like they can restate what the form says in their own words or format, but can’t really customize anything. My recommendation would be to stick with the court forms, but add an “Other” section to the forms that allows an LPP to customize certain things, or create an “Addendum” form (similar to the standardized Real Estate Purchase Contract in Utah) where an LPP can add or modify things in the standard court form without going too far.

    The original intent in confining LPP’s to court forms was to ensure they stayed within a limited scope of services and didn’t venture into complicated matters more appropriate for a licensed attorney to handle. I disagree with any modification to the rules that would weaken this limitation.

    By the way, I recognize that it is beyond the scope of this committee, but the court’s standardized forms need to be updated badly.

  3. Matt Robar

    It is difficult to understand why the Utah Bar and the Utah Supreme Court want to continue weakening the practice of law with these kinds of programs (paralegal practice and Sandbox). The excuse that they are trying to better serve the public and increase access to justice does not pass muster. Allowing paralegals to perform actual legal work without the proper training will cause low-income consumers to get poor advice and service that will cost them more as a whole. There are already so many bad lawyers out there that cause problems for their clients I don’t see any reason for expanding the field to invite untrained and unqualified people into the practice.

    I have no issues with paralegals reformatting the absolutely embarrassing forms provided by the courts but allowing other modifications could lead to serious legal problems. There are numerous websites out there that sell legal forms causing those same problems without repercussions. Its almost as if the Utah Bar and the Supreme Court are more concerned about inclusion, diversity, and forced acceptance of less qualified practitioners than they are about actually protecting the public from legal concerns.

    1. Peter Vanderhooft

      Mr. Robar, it is inaccurate to state that LPPs lack proper training. The Bar has set out very stringent standards for who is eligible to become an LPP and I would argue that most paralegals are more familiar with the Rules of Civil Procedure and the application of law than any newly minted attorney free out of law school. See UCJA Rule 15-703.

      As to your comment regarding that the LPP and Sandbox programs do not “pass muster”, I would refer you to the Utah Bar Journal article from 2017 “Measuring the Legal Services Market in Utah” that explicitly states why the LPP program and Sandbox are necessary due to pricing and service gaps in our legal market.


    I am a Licensed Paralegal Practitioner and the current rule requiring LPPs to utilize the Court forms makes it very difficult to represent clients to our fullest potential. The use of court forms are hindering LPPs from efficiently representing their clients. The forms do not accurately reflect the representation LPPs are able to provide to their clients.

    Additionally, the Court forms are visually unappealing and make LPPs look unprofessional. The use of the forms does not allow LPPs to delete information that is irrelevant to a client’s case. They are forced to leave answers blank, which makes the pleadings look sloppy. Allowing LPPs to modify Court forms will give them the flexibility they need to represent clients accurately.

  5. R. Clayton Huntsman

    Why did I work so hard to qualify for law school, then endure the discipline of three years of professorial bullying, and then decades of practice, most of it destructive to health and family, so that someone with a GED can replace me? The Supremes seem to go out of their way to screw over the ordinary lawyer–one damn thing after another. I f#$%ing quit!

    1. Peter Vanderhooft

      Mr. Huntsman, the intent of the LPP practice is not to replace lawyers but to expand access to justice to individuals who cannot otherwise afford lawyers. The data suggests that the clients LPPs represent are not the same clients that attorneys and that the alternative is for the client to represent themselves. Unless you represent family law clients for less than $150 an hour, no one is coming for your job or otherwise diverting clients away from attorneys.

      My experience as an LPP has also been that a number of attorneys who I have referred my clients to have reported bad experiences due to a lack of communication. Additionally, I have noted that opposing counsel in many of my cases seems completely unaware or indifferent to the Rules of Civil Procedure and the recent changes as they apply to family law or statutes.

    2. Jenny Arganbright

      I have worked for over 8 years on many cases with you (and some against your clients) as a paralegal. Now, I am the only LPP in our area. Feel free to send the cases you decline to me. The LPP program is specifically designed for those cases you decline.

  6. Angela

    I am also an LPP. I agree with the other LPPs. Having to use OCAP and go through the entire interview process just to get a proposed Stipulation, or another single document is very time consuming. I’ve also had many issues with certain information not showing up on my document when I use OCAP. If we are able to have access to all the forms and be able to edit them without having to use OCAP, that would save me so much time and money for my clients.