Whether in solo, small firm or not for profit legal aid offices, new modes of serving clients of modest means offer promise of expanded access to legal advice and assistance but also pose ethical and professional challenges for the personal service bar. This course explores new modes of practice such as: discrete task representation (unbundled legal services), collaborative law practice, advice and hot line services, on-line advice services, virtual law practices, and participation in court based lawyer of the day and other on-site assistance for self-represented litigants. We will also consider the professional duty to provide pro bono services, review the rule and code changes enacted to accommodate new modes of practice, and study leading ethical opinions and judicial rulings relevant to service innovations. In addition to a focus on the law and ethics of the profession, we will consider practical issues such as law practice management, developing a sound business plan, participating in referral services, assuring service quality, assessing the outcome and cost-effectiveness of different approaches to service delivery, understanding typical legal needs of people of modest means, and assuring that prospective clients/consumers of legal services understand the service options available to them. In lieu of a final exam, students will, in consultation with the course instructor, investigate and report on the efficacy, ethics and feasibility of one or more service innovations.
Some seats are reserved for students enrolled in the fall Delivery of Legal Services clinic. Students must be enrolled in the clinic before they are eligible to claim one of these reserved seats. Please see the fall clinic's description for more information.