Growing Support For Non-Lawyer Practitioners Will Put Pressure on Law Firms

The mechanical-sounding name of a limited license legal technician, or LLLT, doesn’t hint at the disruptive potential this new job title could have on the legal profession.

The first LLLTs are set to be licensed in April or May in the state of Washington. California, New York and others are discussing creating the same or similar categories to address the needs of people who can’t afford lawyers to represent them in relatively low-level legal proceedings.

LLLTs in Washington will be allowed to fill out legal forms, inform clients of procedures and timelines, review and explain pleadings and identify additional documents that might be needed in court. The initial practice area is limited to domestic relations but is expected to expand to areas like wills, adoptions and bankruptcy.

The threat to law firms is that clients who do hire lawyers and paralegals to perform such tasks will now hire LLLTs for those duties. Nothing will prevents lawyers from hiring LLLTs to provide those services from their own offices, but it seems likely that LLLTs will inevitably exert downward pressure on billable hours and fees, even as the glut of unemployed attorneys continues.

Response to a need

The concept of LLLTs sprung from the perception that the number of poor people needing legal services – and unable to get them – was growing unabated. And the debate about allowing non-lawyers to provide legal services has gone national: American Bar Association President William C. Hubbard has convened a Commission on the Future of Legal Services to study that and other issues.

Robert Ambrogi reported in the Law Sites blog ( that other states are following Washington’s lead. In February, the Oregon State Bar issued a report recommending that its board of governor’s “consider […]

April 13th, 2015|News|

If you think Halloween is scary…

Technology infuses every successful business and nearly every function, making us more productive and efficient. But technology also creates a certain unease: We never know what will go wrong, or when.

We can be certain, however, that things will go wrong.

Now is a good time to review the potential issues — and find ways to prevent or protect against them – as October is Cyber Security Awareness Month, sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security:

No one is immune from cyber attack, including the smallest businesses. In fact, they are sometimes more vulnerable because they don’t have staff assigned to information technology. Significantly, businesses with fewer than 250 employees were the target of 31 percent of all cyber attacks.[i]

Data breaches are not a mere annoyance. Nearly 45 percent of cyber attacks involve the loss of clients’ or customers’ names, passwords, and email addresses.[ii] When that happens, they look to you to make them whole. Even if their information was not hacked, they will expect you to protect them by supplying services to alert them if their bank accounts and other information is compromised.

Most cyber security problems are the result of malicious intent, with 76.8 percent of incidents caused by activities by people outside the targeted organization, according to “Risk Based Security, An Executive’s Guide to Data Breach Trends in 2012.

And protecting against that loss, along with the rest of a cyber attack aftermath, is becoming more expensive. One study showed that response costs following a breach — involving legal, regulatory, client identity protection services, among others — reached an average of $1.6 million per incident.[iii]

Breaches are more expensive per capita for smaller organizations, which pay $1,607 per employee, vs. the $437 of larger firms.[iv]

Unfortunately, the […]

October 31st, 2014|Uncategorized|