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Paraprofessional License Program to Come to Orange County?

Posted on: January 13, 2022 by in Divorce, Uncategorized
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In an effort to give Californians greater access to justice, particularly those who cannot access/afford attorneys, the State Bar has proposed a “paraprofessional” program, which would essentially allow non-lawyers to practice law in California.

As the State Bar of California puts it, “a legal paraprofessional is to a lawyer as a nurse practitioner is to a doctor: a legal paraprofessional is a licensed and regulated professional who can provide legal advice and representation within the authorized practice area in which they are licensed, with a designated scope of practice for each practice area.” These paraprofessionals have the ability to provide legal advice and may also represent parties in court on some issues within the practice area they are licensed, though they cannot represent parties in jury trials.

The practice areas eligible for a paraprofessional license are Collateral Criminal, Consumer Debt/General Civil, Income maintenance, Family Law, and Housing.

To be licensed to practice family law, a paraprofessional will have to complete educational, practical training, and testing requirements, as well as receive a favorable moral character determination. They will also be required to complete continuing legal education and required to report about the fees to be charged to their clients.

So why would a client pay for a lawyer when they can pay less for a paraprofessional? What are the distinguishing factors between the two? For starters, paraprofessionals are limited in scope within the practice area they are licensed. By way of example, a paraprofessional licensed in Family, Children, and Custody, is authorized to, among other things, assist in domestic violence prevention, but cannot represent a client in a domestic violence hearing involving children, and cannot introduce or cross-examine expert witnesses in hearings. In family law matters, a paraprofessional is also not authorized to participate in various forms of discovery, which are often necessary to partake in to settle a family law dispute. These are just a few of the instances where the gap between paraprofessional and lawyer are not met.

The State Bar is currently gathering public comment on the proposal for such a program before submitting the final proposal to the Board of Trustees. Should the Board approve the program, it will go to the California Supreme Court and the State Legislature for their review and approval.

While it is unknown how this program will affect the practice of law in California, there is much hesitation, nonetheless. Many attorneys have spoken out against the proposal for various reasons. To read the final report on this program, please go to:

Handling your Orange County Family Law Case Remotely

Posted on: January 12, 2022 by in Divorce, News
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Like most of the world, with the ongoing rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Orange County Family Law Courts have had to adjust. The County’s court system is constantly updating their website to keep the public apprised of current applicable procedure. While this is helpful, the issue as a whole may be confusing – both from a technological perspective and a legal one.

From a technological perspective, not everyone is well adept at navigating the internet. For those who do not know how, or are not familiar with applications like Zoom, WebEx, Microsoft Teams, and the like, the stress of enduring a family law case is only multiplied by the anxiety of having to do so remotely. Using these platforms can be confusing and, depending on where people are located, they can also experience glitches with internet or other technical difficulties – obviously, this only adds to the stress of an already difficult time.

From a legal perspective, working through a case remotely can present confidentiality issues. In some cases, people may not feel comfortable with a remote hearing if they live with others and/or do not have a safe/private place to speak freely to the judge. Similarly, attorney communications – if overheard by third parties – may no longer be subject to applicable privilege; and, thereby, may hinder the professional relationship between attorneys and their clients.

Knowing these concerns, it is important for parties to be aware of what pursuing a family law case in Orange County during an ongoing pandemic may look like.

Each department withint he Orange County Family Court has different rules. While some courtrooms are handling cases in person, many others may still remain only remote. It is especially important for parties going through a remote case to constantly check the Orange County Family Court’s website as courtroom instructions are constantly changing.

For more information, visit:

This article was prepared by Orange County Family Law Attorney Marissa A. Rodriguez of Bayati Law Group, P.C.Marissa A. Rodriguez