Washington State Supreme Court Ends LLLT Program
On June 5, 2020, the Washington State Supreme Court issued a letter ending the newly established Limited Licensed Technician program (LLLT). The program was established to address the divide between clients who couldn't fund access to essential legal services by creating a step between an attorney and a traditional paralegal. The program was designed such that experienced paralegals who could demonstrate the requisite knowledge could represent a client who couldn't handle the expenses associated with traditional legal representation.
The idea was good; the execution and implementation was a disaster. The fundamental flaw was this: the program demanded that applicants complete a certain number of hours under the guidance and direction of a practicing attorney, but did not require those hours be in family law. The result of this was that paralegals who knew an awful lot about bankruptcy law, business law, or some other area of practice, were allowed to represent clients with family law problems, without having any experience with family law. It was doomed to fail.
In their letter, the Washington Supreme Court cited a lack of interest in the program and the costs to administrator the program as the basis for its decision to end Washington's LLLT program. Nowhere in the letter was the continued need for low-cost representation for family law clients addressed.