Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

ABA Journal - Legal Technicians Belong in Courtrooms

http://www.abajournal.com/news/arti cle/legal_technicians_bel ericcrapton04/25/18
A lot of the people being sued for non payment or evicted si orgdonor04/25/18
Sounds a lot like criminal law. Maybe it ought to be. jeffm04/25/18
I volunteered at a landlord/tennant pro bono clinic when I f thirdtierlaw04/25/18
The whole issue regards due process. You have to have it. jeffm04/25/18
I agree it's all about due process. But the court could put thirdtierlaw04/25/18
There is a huge need for legal services that 1) Don't requir superttthero04/25/18
This is just pure flame. The issue is not the number of dietcoke04/25/18
TITCR. The vast majority of the types of people in “need wearyattorney04/25/18
I agree with this, especially in the context of LL/T or coll flharfh04/25/18
That is just it. The clients that come in the door looking f thirdtierlaw04/25/18
I don't know. I could envision some low-cost legal technici jeffm04/25/18
ericcrapton (Apr 25, 2018 - 7:36 am)

http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/legal_technicians_belong_in_court/

Reply Like (0)
orgdonor (Apr 25, 2018 - 9:54 am)

A lot of the people being sued for non payment or evicted simply didn't pay. If they had a good enough defense a lawyer could be persuaded to take it.

What is going to happen is that the legal technicans are just going to be settling cases for consumers on terms consistent with the LT's ongoing relationship with opposing counsel.

Terrible idea.

Reply Like (0)
jeffm (Apr 25, 2018 - 10:40 am)

Sounds a lot like criminal law. Maybe it ought to be.

Reply Like (0)
thirdtierlaw (Apr 25, 2018 - 11:27 am)

I volunteered at a landlord/tennant pro bono clinic when I first got out of school, I must have "handled" close to 50 cases, there was only 1 person who had a legitimate defense for nonpayment. Many of these people contesting the conviction know how to play the game, they drag out the proceeding as long as possible, all while not paying rent, then show up to the first status, agree to move out immediately if the landlord agrees to not disclose their nonpayment, write them a letter of recommendation, or at least not say anything negative about them as a tenent if a future possible landlord calls. The landlords take the offer because attorney fees and not being able to rent the place is costing them more than they'll ever recover from the tennant.

But I'm not a fan of this idea. It's a waste of money for the state, further dillutes the legal profession, and it'll likely confuse pro-se litigants.

Reply Like (0)
jeffm (Apr 25, 2018 - 11:33 am)

The whole issue regards due process. You have to have it. Whether there is a lawyer, a legal aid or the person is pro se, the rules are the same. Putting it in the hands of LT's probably doesn't change much of anything, except to apprise tenants of their rights and help them play "by the rules."

Reply Like (0)
thirdtierlaw (Apr 25, 2018 - 5:27 pm)

I agree it's all about due process. But the court could put out a simple pamphlet outlining that process and you'd achieve the same result.

Reply Like (0)
superttthero (Apr 25, 2018 - 11:40 am)

There is a huge need for legal services that 1) Don't require someone with a law licensed--that is, a trained person that only works in that field could do the job well; 2) are needed by people that can't afford what an attorney charges. A related issue is that there are plenty of predatory attorneys having clients max out loans and credit cards only to get them 1/3 of the way through a case before they withdraw when the funds run out.

Sure, on the counter, programs like this will dilute the profession and push down the demand for services. This is a huge problem given the number of attorneys being pumped out and the money being borrowed for the degrees.

Still, I don't know that the existence of the racket that is legal education is a good enough reason to stop looking at programs like these that could be of great societal benefit. LL/Tenant, custody disputes, child support disputes are problems people have to face, whether they have money or not and often do not go beyond straight statutory interpretation and document gathering.

If these techs are taking only a specific type of case, their fees and caseloads are monitored properly, I say that this can be good for all (except starving attorneys).

Reply Like (0)
dietcoke (Apr 25, 2018 - 1:23 pm)

This is just pure flame.

The issue is not the number of people available. It's the fact that bottom-tier clients can't afford to pay. Period. Anything.

There's plenty of unemployed JDs. Plenty of people with JDs not working in the legal field. Why? Because there's no money in it.

The article cites that 98% of debt collection respondents are self-represented. Just lol. so if there's another profession how much of these drowning-in-debt respondents are going to pony up enough money to get a human on their case?

$1,000 isn't enough, by the way. Given the transaction cost of obtaining representation, the actual work/time, the transport to/from, the collection rate (because, lol, these people aren't known for paying their bills), the insurance (malpractice still has to be a thing), etc.

You'll either have legal technicians who charge too much for the bottom-tier clients (>$1,000 per case) or ones who just wash out because they can't afford to live at the rates they charge. It's the exact same issue as with a JD.

Reply Like (0)
wearyattorney (Apr 25, 2018 - 3:43 pm)

TITCR. The vast majority of the types of people in “need “ of these services don’t want to pay for anything, except the next iPhone or video game system. It’s not that they don’t want to pay 50 dollars an hour or 25 dollars an hour. They want to pay 0 dollars an hour. They don’t want to pay for anything except food and entertainment.

This problem goes away only if the government subsidizes services for them, whether legal technican, paralegal or lawyer. That’s the Objective here.

You want an army of these people. You want that army to grow. You want to keep giving them stuff for free and having them breed. More votes. More power.

Reply Like (0)
flharfh (Apr 25, 2018 - 3:49 pm)

I agree with this, especially in the context of LL/T or collections. Does anyone think a person who is getting evicted from their cheap apartment for non-payment has even a few hundred $ in the bank with which to pay for legal representation? Ridiculous. If they had money they would pay their bills.

If there was actually a market for this sort of service it would already be filled by the volume mill practice model, where paralegals and secretaries do the work cheaply and there are a few attorneys to sign the docs and go to court from time to time.

Reply Like (0)
thirdtierlaw (Apr 25, 2018 - 5:26 pm)

That is just it. The clients that come in the door looking for legal representation can either pay my rate or they can't afford anything at all. The idea that LT charging $50/hr would change anything is a pipe dream. People in these situations rarely want to pay anything, but in reality probably can't afford more than $8-$10/hour and wouldn't be able to put up a retainer. My state only pays $50/hr for ad hoc criminal conflict work and the number of attorneys on that list is longer than my arm. If they could get guaranteed payment of $50/hour to do this work, they'd be all over it.

Let's do a little back of envelop math, $50 x 40hrs a week (we are assuming they'd treat this like volume work) x by 50 weeks a year= $100k. Being that you're not really entering an appearance and are just giving statutory guidance, your overhead is extremely low if you even need an office. That attorney is making like $75k a year for pretty simple work i.e just sit in a courtroom all day.

There are some debt collection attorneys on here who work 60hr weeks and make less than that.

Reply Like (0)
jeffm (Apr 25, 2018 - 6:36 pm)

I don't know. I could envision some low-cost legal technician arranging to set up a small banquet table outside the courtroom with a sign offering services for cheap. Something like that might actually be lucrative enough to make a decent living. I saw a similar get-up in Chicago outside the foreclosure courtrooms. However, it was a non-profit, IIRC.

Reply Like (0)
Post a message in this thread