Resolving common legal problems is simpler and less costly since Utah’s Supreme Court approved a rule allowing licensed paralegal practitioners to handle specific legal processes without the supervision of an attorney.
While it’s absolutely necessary in some cases to hire a lawyer, not every legal matter requires the experience and training of a licensed attorney. New rules adopted by the Utah Supreme Court in 2018 allows licensed paralegal practitioners to practice in specific areas of law without direct involvement or supervision of an attorney.
A licensed paralegal practitioner is a mid-level legal provider that is a step up from a paralegal and a step down from a fully practicing attorney. A licensed paralegal practitioner (LPP) can do many of the things traditionally accomplished by attorneys while charging lower fees. The court created the LPP program to improve access to justice for Utah residents.
Currently, LPP’s can be licensed to practice law in the areas of family law, debt collection and landlord-tenant disputes. LPPs can file court documents and serve as mediators, but they are prohibited from appearing in court, according to the Utah State Bar. An LPP can file forms, complete settlement negotiations, review court documents, and represent clients in mediation.
Currently, classes are offered exclusively at Utah Valley University in Orem. Students can finish up the coursework in one semester, but the time-consuming part of this licensure comes after the classes. To qualify to take the license exam paralegal practitioners must work with a law firm for at least 1500 hours in the three years prior to applying for certification and sitting for the LPP exam. Upon successful completion of the exam, LPPs will be sworn in along with attorneys who pass the Bar Examination.
The LPP program includes an ethics track and specialized tracks to become certified in family law, debt law or landlord-tenant law. LPPs sit for an exam and are thoroughly vetted before being certified by the Utah State Bar, just like attorneys. Once certified, an LPP can join an existing law firm or set up their own practice.
The earning potential of an LPP is essentially unlimited. An LPP can work for an existing law firm and earn a salary and benefits, or they can create their own firm and practice in the areas in which they are certified.