Why hire a Legal Paraprofessional rather than an Attorney?
In January 2022, 10 Arizona Legal Paraprofessionals (“LP”) were licensed by the Supreme Court to represent parties in court in place of an attorney. Since then a few more have been appointed. LPs are comparable to an attorney as a nurse practitioner is to a doctor. They can provide legal advice, draft documents, and appear in court with clients.
These first 10 LPs included our own Legal Paraprofessional, Amber Labadie.
Although a Legal Paraprofessional is not required to attend law school, LPs qualify through practice or education. They are required to pass stringent exams like the State Bar Exam. They take exams specific to their field and a core exam. Each exam is three hours and requires endless preparation. The State Bar evaluates their moral character, and professional reputation, and conducts a full background check.
LP’s are licensed by the Supreme Court and have a State Bar ID card. Further, they are insured and carry malpractice coverage. They can also own a law firm, which previously could only be done by an attorney.
For the client, hiring a legal paraprofessional rather than an attorney can save them hundreds or even thousands of dollars. LPs offer a lower hourly rate. The client will save on paying an attorney’s higher hourly rate. LPs take cases on a flat fee basis. This keeps costs within reason for clients.
To give an example, on average our LP will accept an uncontested family law matter for a flat fee of around $1000. The case starts with a consult with the LP. The client is advised on likely outcomes and the process.
After retaining, the Petition and accompanying documents are drafted and filed with the Court. Then, the documents to finalize the divorce are drafted, approved, and filed. Most attorneys will bill at $300+ an hour. Estimated 6-10 hours of work or $3,000. As a result, you are paying about 1/3 the cost to hire an LP than with hire an attorney on an hourly basis.
Brittany Labadie is the Managing Partner at Lewis Labadie. She has been working with Lewis Labadie since it opened. Her current focus is with adoption cases, including juvenile adoptions, adult adoptions, foster care adoptions, same-sex adoption, surrogacy adoptions, and when necessary termination of parental rights. She works throughout the State of Arizona.