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- Colorado Supreme Court accepting public comment on proposal until Sept. 14
- Licensed legal paraprofessionals would provide some services in family law matters
(Reuters) – Colorado could soon join other US states that have set up programs to license some trained professionals who aren’t lawyers to deliver limited legal services.
The Colorado Supreme Court has released for public comment until Sept. 14’s implementation plan that would allow licensed legal paraprofessionals, like paralegals, to provide services confined to some types of family law matters.
The court will then review the proposal and comments and could decide whether to adopt the program, according to Rob McCallum, a spokesperson for the Colorado Judicial Department. There is no specific time frame for a decision to be made, he said in an email this week.
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Advocates across the country have held up limited non-lawyer licensing as a way to increase access to justice, though there have been some concerns such moves might open the door to unauthorized legal practice.
Oregon’s high court approved a licensed paralegal program in July. Utah, Arizona and Minnesota also have programs in place, as does Washington, though its high court last year decided to stop offering new licenses. Programs address issues including family law, housing disputes and debt collection matters.
California is weighing a proposal that has faced opposition from lawyers and some state lawmakers.
The proposed plan in Colorado would allow the paraprofessionals to assist in “less complex” family law cases, including some divorce matters where net marital assets fall under $200,000, and in certain child custody matters.
The initiative is an attempt to provide limited assistance to “those who can’t afford lawyers and are trying to do it alone,” said Jessica Yates, attorney regulation