At its meeting May 19–20, the State Bar Board of Trustees accepted final amendments to the recommendations of the California Paraprofessional Program Working Group (CPPWG).
Following a robust public comment period that generated more than 2,000 comments, approximately 70 percent from attorneys, the Working Group adjusted their initial proposal, including:
- Eliminating the ability of paraprofessionals to jointly own a firm with attorneys;
- Requiring paraprofessionals to provide detailed disclosures on practice limits and alternate resources, as well as contact information for legal services alternatives;
- Excluding certain areas from paraprofessional practice, such as estate conservatorship and guardianship matters, and family law matters related to surrogate parentage;
- Ensuring that no funding for the new program comes from funds used to support the State Bar’s discipline system; and
- Requiring the State Bar to provide annual public disclosure of all entities funding the paraprofessional program.
The next step in moving the plan forward involves development of a proposal to be approved by the Board later this year, for the California Supreme Court’s review. Upon the Court’s authorization, the State Bar would then submit the program to the Legislature for review and approval.