FUTURE OF THE PROFESSION
continues the discussion
initiated at the WSBA’s
Mission Possible: Choose
the Future of Your Practice
forum and will appear in
each issue throughout the
year. Your participation in the
conversation is welcome and
Does It Make Good Business Sense?
A discussion by
Jerry Moberg and
Limited License Le- gal Technicians (LLLTs, usually said “triple-L-Ts”) are now a reality in Washington. LLLTs, of course, are legal pro- fessionals who have not completed law school
nor the Rule 6 Law Clerk program, yet
hold a license to practice law in Washington state, albeit in a limited fashion.
The wisdom of the program has been
questioned, including whether it will
help close the access to justice gap and
whether LLLTs will adequately serve
their clients’ legal needs. While we believe those are still worthy discussions,
they are not ones we engage here. Instead, we address the issue of whether
it could make good business sense for
lawyers to incorporate LLLTs into a firm,
as lawyers are now permitted to do.
Upon completion of the required instruction, passing a “bar examination,”
and 3,000 hours of lawyer supervised
“law-related” work experience, a LLLT
is entitled to a limited license. A LLLT
must maintain malpractice insurance
and pay annual licensing fees. LLLTs
can practice solo or within a law firm.
If they are in a law firm, they may have
some ownership of the firm, but may not
have a controlling interest. One com-
mentator has pointed out that this rule
makes Washington the first state in the
nation wherein “non-lawyers are au-
thorized to share fees with lawyers and
have ownership interests in law firms,”
though Washington, D.C., also has such
The authors of this article come from
two practice areas identified by our Bar
Association as underserved. Jerry Mo-
berg has a civil litigation practice that
includes a growing family law compo-
nent. Family law is thus far the only prac-
tice area approved for LLLTs, though ad-
ditional areas are likely to be approved
in the coming year. Greg McLawsen
runs an immigration law firm focused
on serving families. Though not yet ap-
proved as a practice area, both Greg and
Jerry agree that it is possible that LLLTs
will be authorized to practice immigra-
tion law in the future.
Can LLLTs offer unique value
JERRY: I currently have two paralegals
enrolled in the LLLT program and believe it will be a benefit to have licensed
LLLTs practicing in my firm. First, a LLLT
can operate without direct supervision
of the attorney. He or she can take in
clients, meet with them, and perform the
allowable services with a fair amount of
independence. Since an LLLT’s rates will
likely be less than an attorney’s, these
services should be available to more
clients at an affordable rate. To be successful, the law firm will have to create
efficient and streamlined procedures.
Is There a Case for
Bringing LLLTs into
•;Provide legal service and advice
to clients. APR 28(F).
•;Advise clients on the appropriate
legal procedures to obtain desired
results. APR 28(F)( 2).
•;Advise clients on the documents
needed to achieve a result in a
legal proceeding. APR 28(F)( 9).
•;Prepare legal forms for clients
(e.g., court forms promulgated by
the Administrative Office of the
Courts). APR 28(F)( 6).
•;Represent a client before a
court or other formal proceeding. APR 28(H)( 5).
•;Negotiate on behalf of a client. APR 28(H)( 6).
LLLTs may . . . LLLTs may not . . .