Posted: January 23, 2023
Rules Governing the Utah State Bar – Comment Period Closed March 9, 2023
USB14-0802. Authorization to practice law. Amend. The amendments to Rule 14-802(c)(1)(H), which were expedited under UCJA Rule 11-105(5), establish that Licensed Paralegal Practitioners (LPPs) may negotiate on their client’s behalf for purposes of settlement. While these amendments are intended to be broadly applicable to all of the LPP practice areas, the immediate result is that LPPs will be able to serve unrepresented litigants on the courts’ pro se calendars.
To expand the role of LPPs is not a good idea. Law school provides good training for negotiating settlements, so LPPs might be better off going to law school if they want to do this kind of legal work.
Will the LPP practice of law (ie. negotiating settlements in court) be limited to only pro se litigants? If so, the rule should so specify because that is the justification for opening the practice of law to non-attorneys (particularly in the area of family law.)
Outside of this limited, specific context there should be no allowance for an LPP to practice law, especially unsupervised.
This appears to be a slippery slope to making the practice of law open to anyone who has a) not attended law school and b) not passed the Bar Exam.
Once you do this, why limit this “settlement negotiation in court” to LPPs? What will happen when there aren’t enough LPPs for pro se litigants? Will you allow legal assistants and administrative assistants to practice law?
The effect of opening up the practice of law to non-lawyers is the complete and intentional dilution of our profession for the benefit of “access to justice” but in fact, it does the exact opposite. Lowering the standards and ethics and competence to the lowest common denominator is not access to “justice”. It is at best, access to mediocre, “moot court”, fantasy “justice”. How can one even negotiate a settlement without knowing the rules of evidence? It boggles the mind.