Lawyers, Make Room For Nonlawyers, by Gillian Hadfield, CNN Opinion (with hat tip to Mainne Besser on LinkedIn)
The majority of lawyers in my part of the world aggressively use experienced paralegals and legal assistants to provide lower costs and quality work for their clients. It is simple math. It cuts costs for clients and increases profits for the lawyers. It is a win-win. Yet, there is no dispute that legal fees, which include criminal fines and filing fees, depositions, discovery, and e-discovery expenses, can drive up a client’s bill in a hurry.
Like medical costs for a serious illness, many people find these expenses outside their reach. -CCE
In our country, lawyers and judges regulate their own markets. The upshot is that getting legal help is enormously expensive and out of reach for the vast majority of Americans. Anyone faced with a contract dispute, family crisis, foreclosure or eviction must pay a lawyer with a JD degree to provide service one-on-one in the same way lawyers have done business for hundreds of years.
Increasingly, the only ‘persons’ with access to legal help are “artificial persons” — corporations, organizations and governments. No wonder that in a 2010 New York study, it was shown 95% of people in housing court are unrepresented. The same is true in consumer credit and child support cases; 44% of people in foreclosures are representing themselves—against a well-represented bank, no small number of whom engaged in robo-signing and sued people based on faulty information.