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Washington Limited License Legal Technician (LLLT) Research Guide

Updated Aug. 20, 2015.
Prepared by Anna L. Endter; updated by AJ Blechner (2014).

This research guide provides links to resources and materials related to Washington State’s Limited License Legal Technician Rule (APR 28). This guide will be updated as additional resources become available.

For information about developments in other states, see the Gallagher guide on State Activities Related to Limited License Legal Professionals.


On June 15, 2012, Washington became the first state to adopt a Limited License Legal Technician (LLLT) Rule (APR 28). The new LLLT rule authorizes non-attorneys who meet certain educational requirements to advise and assist clients in approved practice areas of law.

The purpose of the new LLLT rule is to increase access to legal services, particularly in certain practice areas with high demand. The first identified high-demand practice area is family law. The University of Washington School of Law will begin offering a Family Law Course Curriculum during the 2013-14 school year.

You can learn more about the LLLT family law program at the UW Law School's website. The Washington State Bar Association has LLLT practice area frequently asked questions here.

History of the LLLT Rule & Current Developments

Washington Supreme Court Orders

As noted above, the Washington Supreme Court adopted the new LLLT rule on June 15, 2012. The effective date of the order was September 1, 2012. You can access that Order here:

  • Supreme Court Order in the Matter of the Adoption of New APR 28-Limited Practice Rule for Limited License Legal Technicians

On July 10, 2013, the Washington Supreme Court approved education amendments to the LLLT rule and adopted Regulation 4 to Appendix APR 28 (limited time waiver):

On July 18, 2013, the Washington State Bar Association LLLT Board submitted proposed Regulations 1-12 to Appendix APR 28 to the Washington Supreme Court.  The regulations "set forth the scope of practice for LLLTs licensed in domestic relations; core and practice area education requirements; application procedures; examination standards; requirements regarding substantive law-related experience, financial responsibility, and annual license fees; and the Oath for Limited License Legal Technicians. Regulation 4: Limited Time Waiver was previously approved by the Court as noted above, so the text is not included with the suggested regulations. The Board is further reserving Regulation 7 for character and fitness procedures."

The Washington Supreme Court adopted these proposed regulations on August 8, 2013.  The Order is available here.

Several additional regulations were adopted recently.

  • 13-21-099 Wash. Reg. (Oct. 18, 2013) (adopted Nov. 6, 2013).
  • 13-17-020 Wash. Reg. (Aug. 8, 2013) (adopted Sept. 4, 2013).
  • 13-15-055 Wash. Reg. (Jul. 12, 2013) (adopted Aug. 7, 2013).
  • 13-15-057 Wash. Reg. (Jul. 10, 2013) (adopted Aug. 7, 2013).
  • 12-15-036 Wash. Reg. (Jul. 11, 2012) (adopted Jul. 11, 2012).

On March 23, 2015, the Supreme Court issued an order adopting changes to the Rules of Professional Conduct for Lawyers to coordinate those rules with the LLLT Rules of Professional Conduct.

Discussion of Limited License Legal Technicians also appear in the following Washington State Register sections:

  • 13-11-049 Wash Reg. (May 10, 2013) (regarding proposed Rule 12.4 on Access to Bar Association Records).
  • 12-13-063 Wash. Reg. (June 15, 2012) (regarding printing and publication of the Limited License Legal Technician Materials).


Washington State Bar Association

Washington State Bar Association

The Washington State Bar Association maintains an informative webpage about Limited License Legal Technicians, which includes a history of the adoption of the LLLT rule and provides current status updates about the rule (amendments, regulations, etc.).

The WSBA states that its “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…This rule provides Washington the opportunity to lead the nation in expanding legal services for the people of our state.”

WSBA staff have assembled a collection of materials concerning the history and development of the Limited License Legal Technician Rule. These materials were developed in anticipation of a Town Hall Meeting on February 2012.  On November 19th, 2013 from 12:00 pm -1:00 pm Stephen R. Crossland & Thea Jennings hosted a Webcast regarding the Limited License Legal Technician Program  through the Washington State Bar Association CLE Program.

The WSBA recently posted information regarding the education and application process, including details on how to waive certain educational requirements for a limited time.

WSBA Limited License Legal Technician Board

The Limited License Legal Technician Board derives its authority from the Washington State Supreme Court under APR 28. The Board's charter for the first year is to begin creating and drafting the operational details for the LLLT program, including regulations for professional conduct, exam procedures, continuing education requirements, and disciplinary procedures.  The Limited License Legal Technician Board is currently seeking volunteers to form a Family Law Exam Advisory Workgroup.

WSBA Board of Governors

The WSBA Board of Governors has also discussed the LLLT rule and program.

WSBA Board of Governors Meeting Minutes

2012-2013 Minutes; all mention the new LLLT rule and/or program

Amended Court Rules

Admission to Practice Rules, Wa. R. Admis. Apr. 1 (effective Jan. 1, 2014).

Filings in Family Law and Non-Marital Relationships, Okanogan County Local Rules LSPR 94.04.01 (Sept. 2, 2013).


News & Other Resources

Ellen Conedera Dial, Supreme Court Adopts Changes to Rules of Professional Conduct to Recognize Limited License Legal Technicians, NW Lawyer, June 2015, at 20.

Robert Ambrogi, Who Says You Need a Law Degree to Practice Law?, Washington Post - Opinions, March 13, 2015.

Robert Ambrogi, Authorized Practice: Washington State Moves Around UPL, Using Legal Technicians to Help Close the Justice Gap, ABA J., Jan. 2015, at 72-79.

David B. Mendoza, Caution on the Road to Limited License Legal Technicians, NW Sidebar, June 19, 2014.

Stephen Crossland, Progress Update: Limited License Legal Technician (LLLT) Program, NW Sidebar, June 18, 2014.

Paris Achen, Clark College Program Trains Non-Lawyers to Give Legal Advice, The Columbian, June 8, 2014.

Port Townsend Chapter of American Association of University Women Awards 17 Scholarships, Peninsula Daily News, May 28, 2014.

Rachel Payne, Opportunity Knocks with New Option for TCC Paralegal Students, The Suburban Times, May 11, 2014.

Richard Zorza, Progress in Three States on Non-Lawyer Access, Access to Justice Blog, Apr. 4, 2014.

Debbie Cafazzo, Tacoma Community College Will Offer New Legal Tech Training, Tacoma News Tribune, Mar. 27, 2014.

New York's Top Judge on Non-Lawyer Legal Assistance, SBM Blog, Mar. 13, 2014.

Limited License Legal Technician, Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, Mar. 2014.

Richard Grant, Two ABA Presidents to Weigh In on Future of Legal Education, eLawyering Blog, Feb. 19, 2014.

Structure of Profession Presents Obstacles to Resolving Justice Gap, Panelists Say, ABA News Archive, Feb. 10, 2014.

Katherine C. Pearson, Elder Law & the Future: What Role for ‘Limited License Legal Technicians?’, Law Professor Blogs Network, Feb. 6, 2014.

Paul Paton, The Ball Is Rolling, Lexpert, Feb. 2014.

Frank H. Wu, Cutting Law Schools, The Huffington Post (Nov. 10, 2013).

Ferd. H. Mitchell, Changes in Washington Practice (#1) / Status Report on the New Legal Technician Program, Legal Solutions Blog, Nov. 7, 2013.

Frank H. Wu, My Father's Will: What Lawyers Must Respond To, The Huffington Post, Oct. 31, 2013.

See generally, Dan Lear, Patient Report: Patient "Law School" Needs Financial Therapy and Rehab, Not Amputation, NWSidebar, Oct. 30, 2013 (listing LLLT programs as part of a three-step plan to save legal education without eliminating the third year of law school).

Merrilyn Astin Tarlton, The LLLT and the Power of Positive Thinking, Attorney at Work, Oct. 1, 2013.

Paula Littlewood, Rethinking Legal Education in a Changing Legal Profession, Bar Notes, 1-4, Oct. 2013.

Dan Kittay, An Inside Look at Limited Practice for Nonlawyers In Washington and Other States, 38 Bar Leader, no. 1, Sept.-Oct. 2013.

Carolyn Elefant, Future Fridays: Will Limited Licensed Technicians Kill Solos Smalls?, My Shingle (Sept. 27, 2013).

Tamar Lewin, Task Force Backs Changes in Legal Education System, NY Times, Sept. 20, 2013 (In the interest of completeness this article is included.  However, this article purports to discuss the success of Washington's program and the program has not yet been implemented.  Therefore, any assessment of success is premature).

Paula Littlewood, Legal Education Facing a Wave of Change, Bar Notes, 9-10, Sept. 2013.

University of La Verne Legal Studies Department, Update: Washington Limited License Legal Technician Applications, Legal Studies Weblog, Aug. 27, 2013.

Dick Clever, Law: Washington Breaks New Ground by Allowing Legal Techs, Puget Sound Business Journal, Aug. 23, 2013.

University of La Verne Legal Studies Department, The Next Big Thing: Limited License Legal Technician, Legal Studies Weblog, Jul. 18, 2013.

Chief Justice Barbara Madsen & Stephen Crossland, The Limited License Legal Technician: Making Justice More Accessible, NWLawyer, Apr.-May 2013, at 23.

SHG, Washington State Leads The Way To Affordable Legal Services, Simple Justice, Feb. 16, 2013.

Josh Camson, Washington: Quasi-Lawyers Can Provide Greater Access to Legal Services, Lawyerist, Feb. 16, 2013.

Ethan Bronner, A Call for Drastic Changes in Educating New Lawyers, N.Y. Times, Feb. 10, 2013 (addressing changes to the legal education and discussion of the Washington State program by the ABA Task Force).

Julie Shankland, Court Passes Limited License Legal Technician Rule, Wash. St. B. News, Aug. 2012, at 35.

Correy Stephenson, State Approves 'Legal Technicians' for Civil Courts, Lawyers USA, Jul. 13, 2012. [UW Access]

Debra Cassens Weiss, In Washington State, ‘Legal Technicians’ Will Be Allowed to Help Civil Litigants, ABA Journal, June 19, 2012

Supreme Court Adopts Rule Authorizing Non-Lawyers to Assist in Certain Legal Matters (June 15, 2012), Washington State Supreme Court Press Release.

Richard Zorza, Important Step Forward with Washington State Legal Technician Rule, Access to Justice Blog, June 19, 2012.

Limited License Practitioner Town Hall (Feb. 23, 2012, YouTube Video)

Supreme Court Adopts Limited License Legal Technician Rule, WSBA Press Release


Journal Articles

The Honorable Barbara Madsen, The Promise and Challenges of Limited Licensing, 65 S.C. L. Rev. 533-45 (2014).

Stephen R. Crossland & Paula C. Littlewood, The Washington State Limited License Legal Technician Program: Enhancing Access to Justice and Ensuring the Integrity of the Legal Profession, 65 S.C. L. Rev. 611 (2014).

Jessica Dixon Weaver, Overstepping Ethical Boundaries? Limitations on State Efforts to Provide Access to Justice in Family Courts, 82 Fordham L. Rev. 2706 (May 2014).

Laurel A. Rigertas, The Legal Profession's Monopoly: Failing to Protect Consumers, 82 Fordham L. Rev. 2683 (May 2014).

Jack P. Sahl, Cracks in the Profession's Monopoly Armor, 82 Fordham L. Rev. 2635 (May 2014).

Leslie C. Levin, The Monopoly Myth and Other Tales About the Superiority of Lawyers, 82 Fordham L. Rev. 2611 (May 2014). (for more information see Abstract).

Matthew Longobardi, Unauthorized Practice of Law and Meaningful Access to the Courts: Is Law Too Important to be Left to Lawyers?, 82 Fordham L. Rev. 2043 (May 2014).

Richard Zorza & David Udelf, New Roles for Non-Lawyers to Increase Access to Justice, 41 Fordham Urb. L.J. 1259 (May 2014).

Benjamin P. Cooper, Access to Justice Without Lawyers, 47 Akron L. Rev. 205 (Feb. 7, 2014).

Globalization and the Monopoly of ABA-Approved Law Schools: Missed Opportunities or Dodged Bullets?, 82 Fordham L. Rev. 2869 (2014).

Gillian K. Hadfield, Innovating to Improve Access: Changing the Way Courts Regulate Legal Markets, Daedalus (2014).  (for more information see Abstract)

Philip G. Schrag, MOOCS and Legal Education: Valuable Innovation or Looming Disaster?, 59 Vill. L. Rev. 83 (2014).

Tom Lininger, Deregulating Public Interest Law, 88 Tul. L. Rev. 727 (2014).

Benjamin H. Barton, The Lawyer's Monopoly - What Goes and What Stays, 82 Fordham L. Rev. 3067 (2014).

Wallace B. Jefferson, Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Legal System Falls Short in Protecting Basic Rights, 88 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 1953 (Dec. 2013) (citing LLLT programs, such as Washington's, as a potential solution to a lack of availability of legal services).

Luz E. Herrera, Educating Main Street Lawyers, 63 J. Legal Educ. 189 (Nov. 2013) (discussing the Washington LLLT rule).

Mark Hansen, Two Different Animals: ABA Entites Pursue Separate Paths in Search of Ways to Improve Legal Education99 A.B.A. J. 62, (Jul. 2013) (addressing the ABA Task Force on the Future of Legal Education microconference which took suggestions on reducing law school to two years and creating limited license legal technician programs).

David Yellen, The Impact of Rankings and Rules on Legal Education Reform45 Conn. L. Rev. 1389 (May 2013) (citing the limited license legal technician program as way to enhance the legal profession by engaging in a state effort to limit the barriers to legal practice).

Brooks Holland, The Washington State Limited License Legal Technician Practice Rule: A National First in Access to Justice, 82 Miss. L.J. Supra 75 (2013). [Note Miss. L. J. Supra is the online-only companion to the Mississippi Law Journal.]

Stephen Gillers, How to Make Rules for Lawyers: The Professional Responsibility of the Legal Profession40 Pepp. L. Rev. 365, (2013) (suggesting a new committee that would seek to lead the movement toward limited license legal technicians if it is found that they help clients with moderate means).

Philip P. Schrag, Failing Law Schools - Brian Tamanaha's Misguided Missile, 26 Geo. J. Legal Ethics 387 (Nov. 22, 2012) (describing Washington's LLLT program and discussing it as an alternative to limiting law school to two years).


General Articles

The following articles mention Washington's LLLT Program in the context of a broader discussion of legal education. The most recent articles are listed first.

Elizabeth Chambliss, Law School Training for Licensed "Legal Technicians"? Implications for the Consumer Market, 65 S.C. L. Rev. 557 (2014).

Renee Newman Knake, Legal Information, the Consumer Law Market, and the First Amendment, 82 Fordham L. Rev. 2843 fn 135 (May 2014).

Deborah L. Rhode & Lucy Buford Ricca, Protecting the Profession or the Public? Rethinking Unauthorized Practice Enforcement, 82 Fordham L. Rev. 2587 fn. 16 & 127 (May 2014).

Dana Remus, Hemispheres Apart, a Profession Connected, 82 Fordham L. Rev. 2665 fn. 33 (May 2014).

W. Bradley Wendel, The Legal Profession's Monopoly on the Practice of Law, 82 Fordham L. Rev. 2564 fns. 92 & 110 (May 2014).

Dan Subotnik, Does Testing = Race Discrimination?: Ricci, the Bar Exam, the LSAT, and the Challenge to Learning, 8 U. Mass. L. Rev. 332, fn. 222 (2013) (discussing the bar examination).

Michael A. Olivas, 58,000 Minutes: An Essay on Law Majors and Emerging Proposals for the Third Year of Law Study, 45 McGeorge L. Rev. 115, fn. 56 (2013) (describing concerns about Limited License Legal Technician programs).

Elizabeth Chambliss, It's Not About Us: Beyond the Job Market Critique of U.S. Law Schools, 26 Geo. J. of Legal Ethics 423, fn. 132 (2013) (citing the existence of limited assistance positions in particular areas of law).

Jack Graves, An Essay on Rebuilding and Renewal in American Legal Education, 29 Touro L. Rev. 375, fn. 34 (2013) (incorporating LLLTs in a three-step proposed plan to reform legal education).

Jeanne Cham, Celebrating the "Null" Finding: Evidence-Based Strategies for Improving Access to Legal Services, 122 Yale 2206, fn. 72 (2013) (discussing the possibility of "intermediate choices" in legal decision making that are priced at a lower cost, including but not limited to seeking aid from a LLLT).

Renee Newman Knake, Democratizing Legal Education45 Conn. L. Rev. 1281, fn. 40 (2013) (touching briefly on limited license legal technicians as a jurisdictional solution to the ABA’s resistance to change).

Cara H Drinan, Getting Real About Gideon: The Next Fifty Years 70 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. 1309, fn. 182-83 (2013) (advocating the inclusion of non-lawyers in the traditional right to counsel).

Stephen Gillers, How to Make Rules for Lawyers: The Professional Responsibility of the Legal Profession40 Pepp. L. Rev. 365 (2013) (suggesting a new committee that would seek to lead the movement toward limited license legal technicians if it is found that they help clients with moderate means).

Vincent R. Johnson, Legal Malpractice in a Changing Profession: The Role of Contract Principles61 Clev. St. L. Rev. 489 fn. 186 (2013) (discussing professional discipline as applied to Limited License Legal Technicians).

James E. Cabral et. al., Using Technology to Enhance Access to Justice26 Harv. L.J. & Tech. 241, fn. 394 (2012) (arguing that the Court’s movement in the direction of allowing LLLTs supports “arguments for explicitly permitting the use of document assembly software and similar tools provided by nonprofit legal aid providers.”).

Richard Zorza, The Access to Justice “Sorting Hat”: Towards A System of Triage and Intake that Maximizes Access and Outcomes89 Dev. U. L. Rev. 859, fn. 41 (2012) (suggesting that legal triage activities would expand with the advent of legal technicians or lay advocates).



Listen to the most recent podcast of the Paralegal Voice on the Legal Talk Network.  Listen now.

Watch a presentation to the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges on the program with Washington State Chief Justice Barbara Madsen, LLLT Board Chair Steven Crossland, Jessica Nielson, Paralegal Program Director at Highline Community College, and Thea Jennings, LLLT Program Lead presenting.  Watch it now on TVW.  The presentation starts at 8 minutes and 25 seconds into the webcast.


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