The Utah Lawyers Who Are Making Legal Services Affordable

A so-called sliding-scale model plus a bit of creativity allows Open Legal Services in Utah to represent those with few other options.

Feature, News Story (Utah)

Michael Zuckerman
Atlantic, The
August 7, 2014
Link to story

Organizations mentioned/involved: Utah Legal Services (ULS), Open Legal Services (OLS) (Utah), Legal Services Corporation (LSC)


DETAILS

Like more and more new lawyers, Argyle and Spencer graduated into a demoralizing job market, especially for jobs in public-interest law. So they decided to start a small nonprofit firm of their own, with four full-time equivalents and two part-time volunteers, catering to local, middle-class clients in a creative way. Instead of providing representation for free and surviving on grants, they decided to charge for their services.

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OLS is an intriguing response to two related problems: the feasibility of legal guidance for everyone but the rich, and the current glut of lawyers.

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Meanwhile, they’re leveling a playing field that has been notoriously uneven for years, serving a constituency—the modest-means middle class—that often feels itself forgotten between attempts to cater to the rich and aid the poor.

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Others working on access-to-justice issues have started to take notice. The OLS team says they’ve received calls from the American Bar Association’s president-elect, the Colorado State Supreme Court, and the Montana and Washington State Bars.