Our state seems to be a testbed for the rest of the country for everything; gay marriage, legalized marajiuana and now legal advice with a stamp of approval that really ought to have a lot of warning labels.
What appears to be an effort to manage the free market of legal advice, not all of which is licensed, the Supreme Court of Washington has developed a rule to annoint persons who have not gone to law school with the approval to discharge limited legal tasks. This can be of great help to persons who cannot afford or do not need a full service firm. Or it can be a disaster because there are tripwires in the legal landscape no one but a lawyer with some experienc is going to know about.
The standards are tough however, so who knows- this might work out. The Bar has yet to accept any applications as they are still working out the operational details but first thing applicant must show is “good moral character”. I think that means you have no felonies as a start, but in my time on the Character and Fitness Board it meant generally a disregard for the Rule of Law.
Next there needs to be some education, either an associates degree in law or postgraduate work in legal studies.
Finally, and most appropriately, one has to work for a lawyer for at least two or three years so the applicant has some idea how this all really fits together.
Then the applicant sits for an exam, not quite the Bar Exam. Perhaps we should call it Bar Exam Lite.
This all sounds vigorous, and yet I cannot help but be worried about unintended consequences, like people relying on legal techs when they really need a legal engineer called a lawyer.