Utah is one of only two states to have licensed paralegal practitioners. These professionals are licensed nonlaywers that have the ability to practice law. So what do they do exactly and why do we need them? Here are 3 things to know about licensed paralegal practitioners.
What is the purpose of the Licensed Paralegal Practitioner?
In November of 2015, the Supreme Court Task Force to Examine Limited Legal Licensing identified gaps in access to justice in Utah in three areas – family law, debt collection, and eviction.
As one solution to support access to justice the Utah Supreme Court accepted the Task Force’s recommendation to create a limited legal license to help fill the gaps in access to justice in the above areas.
What can LPP’s do for people?
The licenses allow Licensed Paralegal Practitioners to practice law without a lawyer’s supervision in three areas, though courtroom appearances aren’t allowed. They are:
Cases involving temporary separation, divorce, parentage, cohabitant abuse, civil stalking, custody and support, and name change.
Cases involving forcible entry and detainer.
Debt collection matters in which the dollar amount in issue does not exceed the statutory limit for small claims cases
How does a person become an LPP and how long does it take?
An LPP applicant must have either a degree from an accredited law school, an Associate degree in paralegal studies from an accredited school, a Bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies from an accredited school, or a Bachelor’s degree in any subject from an accredited school, plus a paralegal certificate, or 15 hours of paralegal studies from an accredited school.
In addition to degree requirements, an applicant is also required to complete 1,500 hours of substantive law-related experience within the 3 years prior to the application. They must also pass a professional ethics examination, a Licensed Paralegal Practitioner Examination for each practice area for which the applicant seeks to practice, and have one of many certifications in order to be eligible.
All classes will be offered through continuing education at Utah Valley University online and on campus.
For more information about Licensed Paralegal Practitioners visit Utah State Bar, call 801-746-5201 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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