Since 2015, divorcing couples in Washington State have had the option to utilize a new form of licensed legal professional to keep their costs down. Keep reading to learn if one might be able to help you.
What is an LLLT?
A Limited License Legal Technician (LLLT) compares to a nurse practitioner, except in family law. Most basic family law issues can be handled by an LLLT at a much lower cost than an attorney. Legal technicians are members of the State Bar and provide professional legal advice to clients, select and complete proper court forms, file pleadings, and finalize divorces.
I’m a Limited License Legal Technician licensed by the Washington State Bar to advise and assist in family law matters. Washington State became the first state in the country to license legal paraprofessionals. The purpose of the LLLT license was to bridge the access to justice gap and protect consumers from the unauthorized practice of law and unlicensed legal services.
My approach as a legal practitioner is a low-conflict one, and I encourage parties to cooperate to reach amicable solutions. I want to honor agreements that parties have made as they are best suited to resolving the issues relating to the division of their property and co-parenting.
Please read more about my approach on my website.
I guide clients through their divorce step by step and help them focus on their end goals. I meet individuals during a difficult time in their lives, and I find it very rewarding to help them achieve their legal goals and move forward with their lives with minimal conflict and minimal cost.
The mission of LLLTs is innovative and progressive, but unfortunately, as practitioners, we got stuck with a mouthful of a name. Many people refer to us as “triple LTs”. Most of my clients are working folks who don’t qualify for legal aid, but can’t afford – and often don’t need – a full-service attorney.
I have worked in family law since 2010; first as a paralegal and then I earned my LLLT license in 2017 after meeting the strict licensing requirements. These requirements include the three Es:
- Education: 45 basic credits from an ABA-accredited school and 15 credits in Family Law. (I attended UW School of Law.)
- Experience: 3,000 supervised hours of substantial legal work.
- Examination: LLLTs must pass a multiple-choice exam, a practical exam by selecting and drafting pleadings, and an ethics exam.
Read more about LLLTs here.
An LLLT must maintain liability insurance and their Washington State Bar license by paying yearly bar dues. LLLTs follow rules of professional conduct (RPC) that parallel attorney RPCs. One of these rules is that I’m not able to represent both parties in a divorce, because if the divorce proceedings for some reason go south, one spouse’s interests may conflict with the other’s. Each party may have a legal professional of their choosing to review the final divorce documents before signing.
In addition to Divorce, other common family law actions that can be completed by a legal technician include:
- Preparing a client for a family law court appearance
- Legal separation
- Establishing the parentage of a child
- Adjusting or modifying child support
- Requests for post-secondary (college) costs
- Minor modification of a parenting plan (less than 90 overnights).
Should an issue be outside of the scope of practice of an LLLT, such as: representing a client at trial, determining a committed intimate relationship, adoption, third-party custody, or contested relocation, A LLLT is required to refer their client to an attorney or get written instructions from an attorney.