Arizona Supreme Court to Create Larger Pool of Legal Advisors
Arizona has been facing an extreme shortage of lawyers. According to the American Bar Association, as of 2020 the state has a ratio of fewer than one lawyer for every 1,000 residents. This can make access to a lawyer challenging and even harder to find an affordable lawyer. As a result, at least one party in more than 75% of the state’s cases represents themselves.
UArizona and Arizona Are Creating More Legal Advisors
The University of Arizona (UArizona) and the Arizona Supreme Court are working together to address this issue. They aim to create a larger pool of legal advisors. The state Supreme Court recently approved a UArizona pathways program. As part of this program, UArizona students working towards a law degree (bachelor’s or master’s) can become licensed legal paraprofessionals.
The Importance in Context
The Supreme Court’s approval of this program is notable and even more important because of recent Task Force for Legal Services Delivery recommendations. The task force recommended that legal paraprofessionals be allowed to provide legal advocacy and counsel. Specifically, the task force recommends these paraprofessionals be allowed to work with low-level criminal cases (without jail time). It is also proposed that legal paraprofessionals can work in limited civil procedures, administrative law, and family law.
Importantly, the program makes becoming qualified under those recommendations significantly easier. It lets candidates fulfill the educational path to becoming qualified legal paraprofessionals. Previously, the only other option required seven years of paralegal work. Essentially, the new course creates a pipeline or pathway to this qualification.
The idea behind the new program from UArizona is that there will be a larger pool of legal advisors in Arizona. Residents should be able to find affordable alternatives to hiring a lawyer.
Arizona residents deal with limited access to lawyers, which drives up the cost of legal representation. The new pathway program from UArizona will make it easier to become a legal paraprofessional. This should reduce the shortage and provide a more affordable alternative to lawyers.