Blog

Blog

Blog (126)

Responsive Law recently submitted comments to the American Bar Association regarding proposed rule changes to the Model Rules of Professional Conduct governing lawyer advertising and solicitation. Lawyer advertising is one of the most common ways that people find out about where they can get legal help. Restrictions on truthful advertising not only hinder the lawyer's ability to advertise her services, but also the consumer's ability to find the right lawyer for her legal matter. Lawyers have the right to convey truthful information and consumers have the right to make an informed decision among different options for legal services. The current…
The ability to sign electronically is a convenient process allowing people to sign documents or confirm purchases from the comfort of their homes. However, the use of electronic signatures has not yet been applied to the process of estate planning. The 2016 Gallup Poll determined that the percentage of Americans with a will was only 45%, leaving the other 55% of the U.S. population with no record of their wishes upon their death. Responsive Law recently released a statement stating its support for laws that would allow for greater use of electronic signatures in estate planning. In its statement, Responsive…
Laura Snyder's new book, "Democratizing Legal Services: Obstacles and Opportunities," provides a comprehensive analysis of international trends and developments in the regulation of legal service providers. Aided by dozens of detailed interviews with both traditional and nontraditional providers of legal and quasi-legal services, Snyder explores a developing market through lenses that are both specific enough to create a multi-dimensional story and broad enough to give readers a sense of the issue's global scope. Her refreshingly frank and pragmatic tone leaves one laughing aloud at the absurdity of some obsolete regulatory schemes while simultaneously cringing at the same. Similarly, her inclusion…
In a disappointing move for proponents of public oversight of the bar, on November 17 the California Supreme Court authorized its State Bar Association to collect interim dues from its members for 2017. Responsive Law testified on this issue to the California Supreme Court, urging it to tie any such authorization to a requirement that the State Bar pursue reform of its governance structures. The California Supreme Court itself had earlier mandated that the State Bar of California act to segregate its attorney discipline and trade organization functions, reacting to a recent US Supreme Court case holding that professional organizations…
Responsive Law testified this week at a District of Columbia Council hearing regarding a proposed bill to expand funds for legal service providers representing low-income DC tenants in housing matters. Responsive Law supports the bill's spirit and objectives, but we expressed concerns that the limits imposed in the bill's text will stifle innovation in the provision of types of legal services available to the public. The bill's aspirational goals are noble and sorely needed – studies indicate that only 3% of tenants in DC Housing Courts have access to counsel, and this shortcoming has extreme and far-reaching consequences for tens…
Responsive Law has submitted an amicus curiae letter urging the Supreme Court of California to require the State Bar of California (SBC) to reform its governance structure to address insufficient public oversight of the bar. The current structure of the SBC is inadequate to meet its titular primary mission of public protection. Currently, the State Bar Board of Governors consists of 13 attorneys and only six public members. When an industry's regulatory body is composed predominantly of industry members, inherent conflicts of interest arise. Lawyers, for example, have incentive to exclude competition (from both non-lawyers and out-of-state lawyers), restrict innovation…
The Florida Supreme Court is considering amendments to its rule regulating lawyer referral services which could drastically restrict consumer access to justice. Lawyer referral services collect legal information and resources in a single forum and play a vital role in making community members aware of the legal aspects of their problems. These agencies describe lawyers’ qualifications and experience, provide cost comparisons between lawyers offering similar services, and guide consumers toward lawyers specializing in specific services, such as assistance with consumer debt or child custody issues. Such recommendations are invaluable to ordinary consumers, who are generally inexperienced with the legal system…
The American Bar Association’s Commission on the Future of Legal Services has just released its final report and recommendations. Responsive Law will have a lot to say about this report over the coming weeks and months, but we’d like to make a few important points upon its release. Responsive Law testified to the Commission numerous times. The Commission, which had among its membership a number of legitimate advocates for a more open, innovative, and accessible legal system. We had great hopes that it would issue recommendations that would make legal help available to the millions of Americans who cannot afford…
The American Bar Association (ABA) Commission on the Future of Legal Services recently published an issue paper addressing whether alternative business structures (ABS) would benefit consumers in the United States. ABS allows non-lawyers to own and invest in law firms. Currently, practically every U.S. jurisdiction restricts non-lawyers from investing in law firms. The Commission requested responses and data on the benefits and risks of ABS. Responsive Law has repeatedly urged the bar to permit the broadest possible range of outside investment in law practices.  In our recent testimony to the Commission, we take the same position. Utilizing investments from non-lawyers…
The American Bar Association’s Commission on the Future of Legal Services recently released an issue paper on non-lawyer legal service providers (LSPs) and their role in providing consumers with accessible legal help. The purpose of the issue paper was to explore whether a new regulatory system for non-lawyer LSPs was warranted and whether it would improve the quality and availability of legal services for consumers. The Commission seems inclined to proceed with the expansion of non-lawyer LSPs, but is uncertain as to whether it should do so without implementing a new regulatory system for them. Responsive Law was the only consumer…
Page 1 of 9