Like It Or Not, Law May Open Its Doors To Nonlawyers

Illinois is poised to launch an official exploration into opening up the legal profession to nonlawyers, in what some say could be a "tipping point" for such efforts to increase access to legal help, despite heated attorney opposition in places like California.

News Story (NATIONAL)

Aebra Coe
September 22, 2019

Tags: Access to Justice


“A catastrophe waiting to happen” that would “completely destroy the practice of law” and “erode the quality of legal services.” That’s what some attorneys have told the California bar task force on allowing more nonlawyer participation in the state’s legal sector. A public comment period on the proposal is drawing to a close on Monday.

And yet the number of states considering similar reforms continues to grow. Law360 has learned that the Chicago Bar Foundation and Chicago Bar Association plan to launch a joint task force Oct. 7 to explore how state attorney regulations could be modified to encourage more innovation in the legal sector and ultimately increase access to justice.

That was the stated goal of California, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico when they made moves, all within the last year, to open up the legal industry to greater participation from non-traditional players such as legal technology companies. So far the reforms are in the proposal phase, except in Utah, where the state Supreme Court voted to pursue changes to its regulatory structure last month.