The UA Program will go a long way to ease up a shortage of lawyers in a Southwestern state. In fact, it is considered a literal legal desert. Two-thirds of the counties in this state regionally had fewer than one lawyer per 1,000 residents in 2020. This information is based on data from the American Bar Association.
UA Program – Finding Affordable Legal Representation
The average lawyer in Arizona does cost around $260 per hour. Therefore, for residents that do live in rural and low-income areas, finding affordable legal representation is a real challenge. More so, in fact, that beyond 75% of the cases in the state do involve at least one that chooses to represent themselves.
“Yes, there are people who represent themselves. I have seen it in those instances. In fact, some of them do as good of a job as you could expect. But one does grimace because they are really still missing all of these opportunities to present a strong case and they just really don’t know it,” Keith Swisher, a law professor at the University of Arizona, said. “However, it is most helpful to have an advocate in your corner. One that understands those technicalities. There are some studies that do point to the fact the outcomes are better with (legal counsel).
New Avenues to Improve the Lawyer Scarity Issue
Earlier this month, the UA has received approval from the Arizona Supreme Court to launch a pathway program. It will allow the UA students who are trying to pursue a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in law to concurrently become licensed legal paraprofessionals as well.
Earlier this year, it is significant, because the court did get approval and a recommendation from the Task Force for Legal Services Delivery to allow legal paraprofessionals qualified by education, training, and licensing, to provide legal counsel and advocacy within one of the following four areas: family law, administrative law, limited civil procedure, and low-level criminal cases which don’t involve jail time.
Also, the idea is to offer an alternative to enrolling in what is traditionally expensive and time-consuming law schools that will create a larger pool of affordable legal advisors in Arizona.