Those were not my words. The American Bar Association published an article entitled “Middle-Class Dilemma: Can’t Afford Lawyers, Can’t Qualify for Legal Aid.” As usual, it seems like the middle class is caught in the middle again.
After reading the article I did something I normally do not do. I never read the comments posted to an article. First of all because I think most of them are so incendiary and not worth my time and also because I don’t want others comments to cloud my thinking about the issue. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy talking to others about their opinions and I like to hear all views on a subject. However, for some reason, people don’t feel like they have to be respectful when they are hiding behind a computer screen. Anyway, I digress. I read the comments on this article and, I am sure you will not be surprised to hear, none of the opinions mentioned the simplest solution to the problem.
The solution isn’t to make the court system easier to navigate, or filing fees less expensive, or even more pro-bono work for lawyers. Don’t they also deserve to get paid for the hard work that they have put into their profession and their studies? I think they deserve to get paid the fees they are charging. So no, in my opinion lowering attorney’s fees is also not a solution to the problem. The simplest way to remedy this situation and make all parties to the issue “happy” is to utilize the resources we already have. Are you ready?????? Are you sure??????? Drum roll please………Utilize the paralegal professionals that have been standing in the background and raising their hand letting you all know that they can do the work.
I am not suggesting we do not need attorneys. I think attorneys are very much necessary. However, what I am saying is that there are plenty of legal services that are currently being performed by attorneys that need not be. There is no reason why a lawyer needs to fill out every form, spend hours and hours doing legal research, interview witnesses, summarize depositions, read and review every medical record, draft every motion or pleadings, etc. Most paralegal are perfectly capable of performing the above mentioned services and some can even do it with their eyes closed. Ohhh and let’s not forget that the paralegal can perform the work for half the price. Talk about a happy client!!!!!!!
Allowing the paralegal to do more of the legal work will free the attorney to do the attorney work. The type of work the attorney went to school for… oh and this just dawned on me. Maybe if the attorney allows him/herself the opportunity to do more attorney work and less paralegal work, we will have happier attorneys and happier clients and we all know that happier clients mean happier paralegals…. hmmmmm it all comes back to the paralegal.