A heavily discussed question among legal professionals today is how can we help to increase access to justice for the most economically vulnerable among us? The state of Washington sought to address this problem through its Limited License Legal Technician Program (which licenses non-attorneys who meet certain educational and experience requirements to advise and assist people going through divorce, child custody and other family-law matters in Washington). For paralegals seeking this type of work, what examples are there of career path options that provide an opportunity to work with this demographic, and what services can they provide?
In this episode of The Paralegal Voice, host Vicki Voisin sits down with the first Limited Licensed Legal Technician, Michelle Cummings, to discuss the LLLT program and what this license provides to low income communities and the law firms that serve them. Michelle reflects on her experience applying for the LLLT license, which is currently only available in Washington State, and gives some background on the program. She also provides prospective legal professionals insight into the requirements, such as acquiring 3,000 hours of substantive law work experience supervised by a licensed attorney and potential costs incurred by pursuing this license. Michelle also takes an in-depth look at what happens once you pass your exam and gives a breakdown of the services (like assisting clients with e-filing, paternity actions, or the child support administrative process) that limited licensed legal technicians can provide at a significantly reduced rate. She closes the interview by discussing how this license can benefit practicing paralegals and, knowing that this program is being considered by other states, peers into the potential future of the LLLT.
Michelle Cummings works for Fiori Law Office and graduated from Kentridge High School. She received her AAS from Highline Community College’s Paralegal Studies Program and earned her Limited License Legal Technician (LLLT) Program Certificate in the area of family law (domestic relations) from U.W. School of Law. She was admitted to the limited practice of law pursuant to Rule 28 of the Admission and Practice Rules in Washington by the Supreme Court of Washington on June 25, 2015.
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