ABA Adopts Proposal Toward Nonlawyer Legal Services

The Findlaw Blog is reporting that [a]fter contentious debate, the delegates to the ABA's midyear meeting adopted a modest proposal to give states a framework for considering regulation of "nontraditional legal service providers."

The debate over the proposal, Resolution 105, was heated. Some delegates worried that it would take away business from attorneys who are already struggling. Others, that it would lead to the creation a lower tier of less-qualified legal providers, particularly for the poor.

Opponents included the New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Nevada, and Texas bars, according to The American Lawyer, along with the ABA's litigation and solo and small firm sections. Backing the resolution were the South Carolina, Washington State, and San Francisco bars, along with the ABA's business law section.

As noted, Resolution 105 is a fairly cautious step toward nonlawyer legal services.

The resolution does not explicitly endorse nonlawyer legal services, nor does it call for the repeal of laws against practicing a law without a license. 

But it is radical in that it acknowledges that some states may consider allowing nonlawyers to perform certain legal tasks and creates guiding principles to help them get there.


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