Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 20

In 2019, months before one of her daughters graduated from high school,
Peterson-Lalka prepared for another court battle with her ex-husband, this
time for post-secondary child support so he could help pay for the teenager's
college education. "My daughter received a [partial] scholarship, but my
ex-husband was unwilling to pay any amount toward her education,"
Peterson-Lalka says.
Under Washington State law, a court can order a divorced parent to pay
some or all of a child's education expenses at a college, trade school, or
vocational school, and sometimes graduate school. To receive post-secondary
child support, the guardian parent must file a petition before the child turns
18 or graduates from high school.
Peterson-Lalka, who earns a moderate income, still could not afford a lawyer.
But through some of her attorney friends from her home state of Montana,
she learned about Washington's limited license legal technicians (LLLTs) -
professionals who help clients fill out legal paperwork, provide information,
and help clients navigate court proceedings without the supervision of
a lawyer. LLLTs cost substantially less than lawyers.
Through a Google search, Peterson-Lalka found Kellie W. Dightman, an LLLT
based in Olympia, Washington, who guided her through the petition filing
process. After reviewing the ex-husband's income, Dightman discovered that
he should have been paying more than double the amount he'd been ordered
to pay in child support based on his monthly income. The ex-husband, however, refused to release his income information to the court, so Dightman
helped Peterson-Lalka file for an extension on the post-secondary child
support petition.
Peterson-Lalka appeared in court six times. Although Dightman was not
authorized to appear in court with Peterson-Lalka, her legal assistance led to
a favorable outcome. "My daughter is now going to get post-secondary child
support from him in the amount of $18,000 a year, which will allow her to
graduate from college with zero debt," Peterson-Lalka says.
The charge for Dightman's services, which continued over a period of five
months, was just $395.

ELEVATING THE ROLE
OF NONLAWYERS
Peterson-Lalka's case illustrates the crisis many people face nationwide
regarding access to justice. According to a 2017 Legal Services Corporation
study, low-income Americans received inadequate or no legal help for
86 percent of civil legal problems reported the previous year.
In 2013 Washington sought to mitigate the crisis by becoming the first state
to offer an affordable option for individuals priced out of the services of lawyers:
a new category of nonlawyer professionals called LLLTs. Licensed by the
Washington Supreme Court, LLLTs advise and assist clients in certain family
matters, including divorce and child custody, without lawyer supervision -
but cannot represent them in court.
To become an LLLT, an applicant must have a minimum of an associate degree
in any subject; earn at least 45 credits in legal studies courses from an American
Bar Association (ABA)-approved or a Washington State Bar Association LLLT
Board-approved paralegal program, or from an ABA-accredited law school; and
pass three examinations focused on core competencies, practice area, and professional responsibility. The state has approximately 30 practicing LLLTs to date.
Other states have explored similar approaches to increasing access to justice.
In 2013 the Colorado Judicial Branch authorized the use of self-represented
litigant coordinators called Sherlocks, who staff self-help centers in courthouses
throughout the state and provide free one-on-one procedural assistance, offer
referrals, and give out court forms and written information to civil litigants.
Sherlocks assisted 175,162 self-represented litigants in 2017.
In November 2018, Utah's Supreme Court amended Rule 14-802 of the Rules
Governing the Utah State Bar to permit licensed paralegal practitioners (LPPs) to
assist clients in specific matters. The minimum educational requirement for an
LPP is an associate degree in paralegal studies from an accredited school. An
applicant must also pass a professional ethics exam and an LPP exam for each
practice area in which he or she seeks to be licensed, and obtain certification by
the National Association of Legal Assistants, the National Association of Legal

"

The challenge for LLLTs to work in the District
might be finding opportunities where they can
earn a high enough income to pay whatever
student debt [they have] and afford the
expense of living in D.C.
PATRICK McGLONE
Ullico Inc.



Washington Lawyer - September 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - September 2019

Digital Extras
Your Voice
From Our President
Practice Management
Calendar of Events
Tomorrow’s Lawyers: Jd + Practice Ready
The Justice Gap & The Rise Of Nonlawyer Legal Providers
D.C. Bar Cle: Keeping Up With The Law
Aba Delegate’s Corner
Member Spotlight
Global & Domestic Outlook
Worth Reading
Media Bytes
Attorney Briefs
Ask The Ethics Experts
Disciplinary Summaries
2019 Celebration Of Leadership & Presidents Reception
Community & Connections
Last Word
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 1
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 2
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 3
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - Digital Extras
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - Your Voice
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 7
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - Practice Management
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 9
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - Calendar of Events
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 11
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - Tomorrow’s Lawyers: Jd + Practice Ready
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 13
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 14
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 15
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 16
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 17
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - The Justice Gap & The Rise Of Nonlawyer Legal Providers
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 19
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 20
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 21
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 22
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 23
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 24
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - D.C. Bar Cle: Keeping Up With The Law
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 26
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 27
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - Aba Delegate’s Corner
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 29
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - Member Spotlight
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 31
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 32
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 33
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - Global & Domestic Outlook
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 35
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - Worth Reading
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 37
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - Media Bytes
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 39
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - Attorney Briefs
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - Ask The Ethics Experts
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - Disciplinary Summaries
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 43
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 2019 Celebration Of Leadership & Presidents Reception
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 45
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - Community & Connections
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 47
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - Last Word
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - Cover4
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