Can Opening up the Legal Services Market Increase Access to Justice? (Law 807H)

Several states — including California, Arizona and Utah — are considering or already moving forward with changes to the regulations on who can provide legal services — regulations that are contained in the Rules of Professional Conduct for each state. These proposed reforms are designed to accelerate innovation in the delivery of legal services, and increase access to justice, in part by allowing technology and people without JDs to play a greater role than they can today. As states consider these reforms, there are many questions around the likely impact of these reforms on consumers and providers of legal services, and the most promising regulatory regime(s).

Students will research and write about such questions as: (1) What are some of the most promising models from other industries for protecting consumers from harm, and providing redress? (2) What might an independent regulator that oversees entities that provide legal services look like? (3) What are the most promising innovations in states that have experimented with non- lawyer providers and other access to justice initiatives? (4) What lessons can we learn from other contexts, including other countries and other professions (for example the medical context, where nurse practitioners can provide services directly, and people other than physicians can own entities that provide health care)?

The client will be one or more of the following non-profits working on these issues: the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System, National Center on State Courts, or Responsive Law. The deliverables will be a set of policy briefs and talking points that will inform the regulatory reform debate. Students from a range of disciplines are very welcome, including undergraduates interested in public policy.

Course Details
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Clients & Deliverables

Possible clients: (1) Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (2) National Center on State Courts (3) Responsive Law

Deliverables: Policy briefs and talking points to inform the regulatory reform debate