Can’t Afford a Lawyer?

Civil representation is too expensive for many, but Washington state has one solution.

News Story (Washington)

Christie Thompson
Marshall Project
July 18, 2018

Tags: Access to Justice, Civil Right to Counsel, Limited License Legal Technician

Organizations mentioned/involved: Legal Services Corporation (LSC), National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel (NCCRC), Voices for Civil Justice


This civil legal system “crisis”, as advocates call it, has sent states scrambling for solutions. Washington has taken the unusual approach of creating an entirely new legal position, one that can help clients with straightforward legal problems for a fraction of the cost.

The new “legal technicians”, the first of whom were licensed in 2015, go beyond a paralegal and don’t need a lawyer’s oversight to offer legal advice. They are to the legal field what a nurse practitioner is to medicine, a triage model that may soon expand to several other states.