The State Bar’s recently published California Justice Gap Study: Measuring the Unmet Civil Legal Needs of Californians, found that 55 percent of Californians experience at least one civil legal problem in their household each year, and Californians received no or inadequate legal help for 85 percent of these problems. A lack of knowledge about what constitutes a legal issue and concerns about legal costs lead many Californians to deal with problems on their own rather than seek legal help. A thoughtfully designed and appropriately regulated paraprofessionals program is an important component of the solution to the access to legal services crisis in California by expanding the pool of available and affordable legal service providers.
The State Bar’s Board of Trustees directed formation of a California Paraprofessional Program Working Group at its meeting on January 24, 2020; the working group submitted its final report and recommendations to the Board on September 23, 2021. A public comment period concluded on January 12, 2022. (See links below)
The California Paraprofessional Program Working Group was charged with developing recommendations for consideration by the Board of Trustees for the creation of a paraprofessional licensure/certification program to increase access to legal services in California. In carrying out this charge, the working group was directed to balance the dual goals of ensuring public protection and increasing access to legal services.
The working group developed specific recommendations regarding the following: