Limited License Legal Technicians (LLLT)
Learn how to qualify to apply for the LLLT license
Learn how to qualify to enroll in the LLLT family law courses
Learn about how to waive certain education requirements through Dec. 31, 2016.
The Washington Supreme Court adopted the Limited License Legal Technician (LLLT) Rule, effective September 1, 2012. This rule authorizes a new legal professional who meets certain educational requirements to advise and assist clients in approved practice areas of law.
WSBA’s role is to maintain the high standards set for the legal profession while serving as the regulators of this new rule. The goal is to ensure quality implementation aimed at supporting WSBA members and upholding protection of the public. There is no other state with a similar LLLT rule. This rule provides Washington the opportunity to lead the nation in expanding legal services for the people of our state.
With the rule, the Supreme Court established the LLLT Board to administer the program. In late December 2012, the Supreme Court appointed the first LLLT Board, which includes several non-attorneys and a legal educator. The Board's charter for the first year is to begin creating and drafting the operational details for the LLLT program. This includes regulations for professional conduct, exam procedures, continuing education requirements, and disciplinary procedures.
The LLLT Board began its work in January 2013. As one of its first actions, the Board recommended family law as the first practice area in which to license LLLTs, which the Supreme Court unanimously approved in March 2013.
The LLLT Board is expected to begin accepting applications for the licensing examination in March 2015 and begin licensing of LLLTs in Spring 2015.
The LLLT Board submitted to the WSBA Board of Governors (BOG) suggested amendments to the lawyer Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC) asking that the BOG act as proponent for these suggested amendments, which the BOG approved on November 14, 2014. On December 4, 2014, the BOG submitted to the Supreme Court the suggested amendments to the lawyer RPC. See the GR 9 cover sheet andsuggested amendments to the lawyer RPC.
The suggested amendments are complimentary rule changes related to the proposed LLLT RPC currently under consideration by the Supreme Court. Given that it is envisioned that lawyers will be working in firms with and encountering LLLTs in their practice, the suggested amendments to the lawyer RPC are meant to provide guidance to lawyers about their duties and responsibilities with respect to LLLTs and their clients. A significant new provision is RPC 5.9, which covers permissible business structures for LLLTs and lawyers, including joint ownership of firms. The proposed rules include specific restrictions against an LLLT (1) directing a lawyer’s professional judgment, (2) having direct supervisory authority over a lawyer, and (3) possessing a majority interest or exercising controlling managerial authority. The LLLT RPC has further implications on the lawyer RPC with respect to imputation of conflicts and fee sharing. Additionally, given that an LLLT’s client is considered pro se, new proposed comments to Title 4 provide guidance regarding interacting with LLLTs and parties represented by LLLTs.
The LLLT Board submitted to the WSBA Board of Governors (BOG) suggested amendments to Rules 15.4 and 15.7 of the Rules for Enforcement of Lawyer Conduct (ELC) asking that the BOG act as proponent for these suggested amendments, which the BOG approved on November 14, 2014. On December 4, 2014, the BOG submitted to the Supreme Court the suggested amendments to ELC 15.4 and 15.7. See the GR 9 cover sheet and suggested amendments to ELC 15.4 and 15.7.
On Sept. 25, 2014, the LLLT Board submitted to the Supreme Court suggested amendments and new regulations 13-20 to Appendix APR 28. See the GR 9 cover sheet and the suggested amendments and new regulations to Appendix APR 28. The primary purpose of the suggested amendments and new regulations is to complete the basic regulatory framework for licensing LLLTs. The Court published the proposed rules for a 60-day comment period ending Feb. 7, 2015. Comment now.
On Aug. 18, 2014, the LLLT Board submitted to the Supreme Court suggested LLLT Rules of Professional Conduct (LLLT RPC). See the GR 9 cover sheet and the suggested LLLT RPC. The primary purpose of the LLLT RPC is to establish the ethical conduct rules for practicing LLLTs. The Court published the proposed rules for a 60-day comment period ending Dec. 1, 2014. Read the comments.
On Aug. 18, 2014, the LLLT Board submitted to the Supreme Court suggested amendments to APR 28. Seethe GR 9 cover sheet and suggested amendments to APR 28. The purpose of the suggested amendments is to provide for the efficient administration of the program and to clarify one issue related to the LLLT's scope of practice. The Court published the proposed rules for a 60-day comment period ending Dec. 1, 2014. Read the comments.
Questions about the LLLT program should be directed to Thea Jennings, LLLT Program Lead, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please refer to this page for updates on the status of the LLLT program.
*Any discrepancy or conflict between the information provided here and the rules and regulations set by the Washington State Supreme Court, or the bylaws and policies of the Washington State Bar Association, is unintentional and will be resolved in favor of strict compliance with the rules, regulations, bylaws and policies.
Watch a free webinar to learn more about the Program
The Supreme Court's order adopting the legal technician rule.
© 2015 Washington State Bar Association, all rights reserved.