Regulating access to justice: The Arizona experience

Hooper, Donna
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This study traces the development of the independent paralegal movement, summarizes the literature, uses Arizona as a case study to evaluate trends, and makes recommendations about incorporating paralegals into the legal services system to increase access to justice for all. The study is based on a review of printed sources, an investigation of case law and statutes, and a series of interviews with players in the Arizona controversy. The policy decision as to whether to allow nonlawyers to perform legal tasks must balance the public's right to choose with the potential for harm. While the Arizona case reveals a minimum of harm has resulted from allowing independent paralegal practice, the system functions without regulation and therefore affords little protection from incompetence. The Arizona case demonstrates that nonlawyers can perform routine legal tasks, it could be improved by implementing a more state regulation including a registration system.

Social sciences, Independent paralegal movement, Legal services system