The State Bar of California is considering a proposal that would allow legal technicians to offer legal advice and nonlawyers to share fees with attorneys. Similar proposals have drawn criticism from Illinois State Bar Association leaders, who claim they would fundamentally shift the legal landscape.
“It has been the consistent position of the Illinois State Bar Association that the practice of law is a privilege reserved for licensed lawyers,” said ISBA President David B. Sosin. “The sharing of fees with hedge funds, multi-national corporations, and nonlawyers has been a disaster in other countries. Most importantly, nothing in the California proposal, or similar proposals and plans, address the preeminent issue, which is the protection of the public.”
The State Bar of California’s board of trustees on July 11 authorized a 60-day public comment period for regulatory reform options developed by the Task Force on Access Through Innovation of Legal Services, according to the state bar’s website. The task force, which formed last year to find alternatives to enhance the delivery of and access to legal services, also held a public hearing on Aug. 10 at the state bar’s San Francisco office.
During that meeting, Sosin expressed concerns about the effects of regulatory changes in foreign countries.
“Has access to justice been enhanced in these other jurisdictions?” Sosin asked the task force. “We haven’t seen it.”
For the full story, read the September issue of the Illinois Bar Journal.