Paralegal Division

JurisdictionUtah,United States
CitationVol. 33 No. 2 Pg. 71
Publication year2020
Paralegal Division
Vol. 33 No. 2 Pg. 71
Utah Bar Journal
April, 2020

March, 2020

The First Four Licensed Paralegal Practitioners

By Julie M. Emery

On November 18, 2015, Utah’s Supreme Court Task Force to Examine Limited Legal Licensing (Task Force) identified gaps in access to justice in three areas – family law, debt collection, and eviction. These three areas contain the highest concentration of self-represented parties in the state. Indeed, Utah’s 2017 court records show 56% of petitioners and 69% of respondents were self-represented in family law matters, while 98% and 95% of respondents in debt collection and eviction matters are self-represented respectively. Alternatively, nearly all petitioners in these practice areas had legal representation. Following the Task Force’s recommendation, the Utah Supreme Court created a limited legal license to help fill the gaps in access to justice in the following areas:

• Specific family law matters, such as temporary separation, divorce, parentage, cohabitant abuse, civil stalking, custody and support, or name change;

• Debt collection matters in which the dollar amount at issue does not exceed the statutory limit for small claims cases; and

• Forcible entry and unlawful detainer.

A steering committee was formed to identify and affect the details necessary for making Utah’s Licensed Paralegal Practitioner (LPP) profession a reality. The LPP Steering Committee created subcommittees to complete tasks related to education, admissions and administration, as well as professional conduct and discipline. Since February 2016, the LPP Steering Committee has met regularly to review and discuss work completed by the subcommittees. Committee members spent countless hours thoughtfully developing criteria and drafting rules, all of which were subject to approval by the Utah Supreme Court and the Judicial Council. The rules governing Licensed Paralegal Practitioners went into effect on November 1, 2018, and the first LPP licensure exams were given in August 2019.

What is the scope of the LPP practice?

An LPP performs some of the same services as an attorney at a lower cost. Since the services performed by an LPP are limited, clients may be referred to a lawyer for certain aspects of their cases.

Rule 14-801 of the Rules Governing the Utah State Bar contains an exception that authorizes LPPs to practice law in the area(s) in which they are licensed. The narrow scope of LPP practice is based on...

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