RECOMMENDATIONS


Highlights of the proposed Paraprofessional Program

What could paraprofessionals do?

They could give you legal advice in the areas list below. They could also represent you in court for most of these:

Consumer Debt/General Civil

  • Consumer debt and creditor harassment
  • Enforcement of judgment
  • Name and gender changes

Criminal

  • Expungement and reclassification of convictions
  • Infractions

Family, Children, and Custody

  • Most family law matters, including divorce and child custody, uncontested adoptions, and uncontested conservatorships and guardianships

Housing

  • Most residential landlord-tenant matters
  • Lien clearing

Income Maintenance

  • Wage and hour cases
  • Unemployment insurance proceedings
  • Public benefit proceedings

Violence Prevention

Restraining orders for:

  • Domestic violence
  • Elder or dependent adult abuse
  • Gun violence
  • Civil harassment
  • Workplace violence

How would they be licensed?

The proposal includes:

  • Education and experiential training requirements
  • Subject matter-specific testing and licensing
  • Moral character review process, including fingerprinting and background check

How will consumers be protected?

The proposal contains many consumer protection measures. Practitioners would be required to:

  • Carry a $100,000 bond.
  • Pay into a client security fund to support restitution for victims of misconduct.
  • Meet continuing education requirements.
  • Abide by rules of professional conduct similar to those for attorneys.
  • Disclose the limits of their license as well as options for free legal help for those who quality.
  • Report the fees they charge so that the license could be monitored for impact on affordability.

A discipline system would handle complaints and discipline those who fail to follow the rules.

What would these new legal providers be called?

The term "legal paraprofessionals" is really a placeholder. There are three possible names in the plan:

English

Limited license legal practitioner Limited legal practitioner Limited legal advisor

Spanish

Practicante legal con licensia limitada Practicante legal limitado Asesor legal limitado

Once a final name is chosen, translations would be provided in other languages commonly spoken in California.

How the program would be implemented