Wall Street Journal: States Look to Unconventional Fix for Attorney Shortages

EXCERPT: “From his rural court about an hour north of Duluth, Minn., Judge Robert Friday regularly oversees cases in which people face losing their homes, divorce disputes and debts they can’t pay. One or both parties regularly show up without a lawyer. Individuals representing themselves don’t always understand how to present their cases or—sometimes, more important—how to avoid a courtroom altogether. ‘As a legal community, we haven’t done an acceptable job of defining solutions other than, ‘We need more attorneys,’’ Friday said. Minnesota is among a number of states considering an alternative, one that has sparked debate: allowing nonlawyers to provide legal advice. From evictions to family law, some of the most common legal issues are the ones in which it can be most difficult to find a lawyer. So states are considering potentially expanding the definition of those who can help people with their legal problems. Minnesota has a pilot program, in place since 2020, that allows paralegals to represent clients in housing and family law with attorney supervision. Minnesota’s Supreme Court recently agreed to extend it to next year. New Hampshire is also testing a similar initiative that took effect in January.” FULL STORY: https://fluence-media.co/43uBsUu