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Working group to study limited legal license technician in Montana

Wednesday, April 12, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Joe Menden
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A working group created by the Montana Supreme Court will study the idea of a Limited License Legal Technician (LLLT) for Montana in order to address challenges related to self-represented litigants and litigants of modest means.

The idea is based on a category of legal providers the Washington Supreme Court created in 2015 to help meet the needs of people who can’t afford an attorney. LLLTs in Washington are currently limited to practice in the area of family law.

The State Bar of Montana, the State Bar’s Paralegal Section and the Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission requested the study.

According to the Washington State Bar Association’s website, legal technicians are not fully licensed lawyers, but they are licensed to assist clients in certain limited legal matters. They differ from attorneys in three primary ways: They cannot represent clients in court, they cannot negotiate on behalf of a client, and they can only prepare legal documents that have been approved by the Limited License Legal Technician Board.

Technicians in the Washington program must have an associate’s degree or higher, complete 45 credit hours from an approved legal program, complete applicable practice area courses offered through the University of Washington School of Law, and complete 3,000 hours of paralegal experience under a lawyer’s supervision.

Justice Patricia Cotter, who retired from the Montana Supreme Court in January, will serve as chair of the working group. Others who will be appointed to the group include a member of the Paralegal Section, a member of the Access to Justice Commission, a State Bar member appointed by the bar president, an appointee from Montana Legal Services Association, a representative from the University of Great Falls, and an appointee from the University of Montana’s Alexander Blewett III School of Law.

The group will submit a report within six months of the April 11 order.