Myshingle Comments On California Task Force Proposals

Myshingle Comments On California Task Force Proposals – By now, most of you have heard about actor Alex Burstein’s acceptance speech at the Emmy Awards on Sunday night. Finally, Burstein shared the story of her grandmother, who was waiting to die in a death camp, but was in danger of crossing the border. “For that matter,” said Burstein, “I am here, and . . .”

These are the comments I submitted in response to the proposals of the California Task Force on Access to Justice through Innovation in Legal Services. I took the time to consider solo and small business attorneys because it is so important – there are huge opportunities here. Speaking on behalf of the seat…

Myshingle Comments On California Task Force Proposals

There are many tips for opening a law firm. All over the web – here, here, here or here, you can find all kinds of tips and suggestions and plans to get started. Yes. But for today, we focus on another topic: what not to do when starting a law firm. 1.…

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Looking back four years after my husband’s death, I realize that one of the most difficult obstacles to moving forward was my confidence in each new move—getting a car that our young daughter could drive at home or refinancing. Even if we are at a low price…

Last week, the California Bar Association released several regulatory reform recommendations developed by the California Task Force on Access through Innovation in Legal Services for public comment. Designed to encourage innovation and expand alternative access to justice, the task force proposed three major reforms to limit the use of Unauthorized Access to Law (UPL)…

If the length of this post has proven anything, it’s that artificial intelligence is a very broad topic in legal research and legal practice that is rapidly changing. Additionally, large companies have the resources to understand and utilize AI tools, while individual and small companies are at a disadvantage because they don’t have the time…

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In general, today’s AI tools for sole proprietorships and small law firms fall into three categories: (1) legal research and issuance; (2) automation of legal practices and marketing tools and (3) significant legal issues arising from the use of AI-based algorithmic platforms in criminal defense, employment, insurance, custody defense and other legal practices…

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Earlier this week I chaired an American Association of Law Librarians (AALL) roundtable discussion on artificial intelligence in legal research and legal practice in Washington, DC. And because Clark Law School forced me to happen…

Attorney and legal business consultant Mark Cohen points out that the legal profession is essentially a data wasteland in the digital age, using big data and its urban cousin artificial intelligence to make decisions and serve clients more than any other private industry. However, nature and today’s clients hate a vacuum… Last week, the California Bar Association released for comment several regulatory reform proposals prepared by the California Task Force on Public Access and Innovation in Legal Services. Designed to encourage innovation and expand alternative access to justice, the task force recommended three major reforms:

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No wonder solo lawyers and small law firms are horrified by California’s proposals. Lawyers have expressed concern in various individual and small Facebook groups and lists of people lacking their knowledge and training misleading clients. To be fair, these concerns are unfounded. After all, there have been major foreclosure scams in California itself, including a company that sold foreclosure and eviction services to homeowners, who then signed fake bills implying that the properties were given to fake third parties. However, California’s proposed amendments address the potential dangers of regulating non-lawyer providers (after all, the appropriate amount of regulation is one of the issues that can be commented on—in my opinion, how many small, individual non-lawyer providers do this. Very little legal work is a suitable sliding scale to deal with with burdensome and expensive compliance requirements).

Others raise different concerns about the California initiative. Lone ATL and small business writer Stephen Chung questions whether the proposed laws will increase access to justice and reduce legal costs, or whether business-backed firm services or Uber-type bidding platforms are meant to target these customers instead.

Legal services are available but no out-of-pocket costs are required. I’m always skeptical of the motives of non-profit technical legal firms that raise the A2J banner as a marketing tool, and the reality is that most legal services cost more than the value they provide. Why should consumers—even those with money—pay $5,000 or more when a complicated divorce or estate plan can be done with forms and automation? In today’s world, we lawyers constantly have to prove our worth – and there’s nothing wrong with that.

I absolutely do not agree with all the proposed amendments. My point is that the proposals focus too much on creating new providers without exploring ways to loosen the regulations on individual lawyers and small firms (specifically, escrow accounts and strict advertising regulations and safe office rules) so they can compete and bid. Low cost services. This was the subject of my lecture on 2 Civility, which will be available online soon.

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Additionally, at some point, California and other states implementing reforms will have to face the reality that the inability of non-lawyers to bring cases to court in some cases could force adversaries to take advantage of them. In my line of work, I often work with a land company that negotiates easement rights for landowners and charges less than an eminent domain attorney would. The system works great if the parties can reach a settlement – but often, once a pipeline realizes the land company can’t defend a case in court, it will be more than before. These problems can also be solved – in fact, by splitting fees between lawyers and non-lawyers, non-lawyers can have an incentive to team up with lawyers if they get into trouble. But again, the potential for unequal bargaining power cannot be completely ruled out when a non-lawyer represents lawsuits against a qualified firm.

These criticisms aside, I strongly disagree that California’s initiative will harm private and small business attorneys and our clients. On the contrary, the proposed reforms create great opportunities for the development of new services that will make our legal services more relevant and convenient to our clients’ lives. Imagine if a family law attorney could split fees with a social worker and offer some form of combined divorce + health care products. Or can a support firm provide its clients with lawyers to handle special education cases by arranging fees? As solo lawyers and small firms there are many ways we can be more relevant and sustainable in doing so. This is cause for celebration, not fear.

Most importantly, regardless of where you are licensed, and regardless of your position on California’s proposal, it is imperative that private attorneys and small businesses make our voices heard. Whether you have true stories of how non-lawyer vendors or services have hurt your clients, or how you developed an innovation that was blocked by bar rules, you should share your experiences with the bar. Technology companies and legal service providers will weigh in to protect their interests, and as individuals and small businesses, we must make our voices heard. The deadline for comments on the California proposal is September 23, 2019 and can be sent by email to: [email protected]

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