Two University of Utah Law School graduates recently started their own non-profit law firm, Open Legal Services, which employs a sliding scale fee structure based on the client’s family size and income. Open Legal Services keeps costs low in a number of unique ways, including giving clients a more hands-on role in their representation. For example, clients are responsible for writing their own affidavits, which are then reviewed by the attorneys.
Another proposal to address the growing justice gap is allowing non-attorneys, or Limited License Legal Technicians (LLLT), to provide legal services in limited circumstances. Washington State is currently the only state to authorize the practice of LLLTs, although several states are exploring similar options. Colorado's Supreme Court Advisory Committee recently announced that it will study Washington's LLLT program and make recommendations on the possibility of Colorado implementing a similar program. This article from the Fordham Law Review discusses the development of other non-lawyer professions that are developing and making it so that lawyers do not have a monopoly of the legal market.
In New York, council members are proposing a measure providing free attorneys to low-income tenants in housing court. This solution would help reduce the number people in homeless shelters.
Michael Zuckerman, The Lawyers Who Are Making Legal Services Affordable, The Atlantic (August 7, 2014). Available at http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/08/the-utah-lawyers-who-are-making-legal-services-affordable/375717/ (Last Visited November 5, 2014).
Leslie C. Levin, The Monopoly Myth and Other Tales About the Superiority of Lawyers, 82 Fordham L. Rev. 2611 (2014). Available at http://fordhamlawreview.org/assets/pdfs/Vol_82/No_6/Levin_May.pdf. (Last visited September 19, 2014).
Corinne Lestch, Council Members, Advocates Call on City to Provide Low-Income Tenants with Attorneys in Housing Court, New York Daily News, June 11, 2014.