by Kaylee Willis
Children with disabilities have specific and unique needs when it comes to their education. Though the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) makes it so that all children with disabilities have access to a free appropriate public education designed to meet their unique needs, there are still many families that struggle to get the services the act entitles them to. The act makes appropriate evaluations, individualized educational plans (IEP), least restrictive environments, and parental participation the right of each special needs child. However, school boards often try to spend as little as possible on providing for children with disabilities, so parents must rely on the legal system to make sure schools provides for their children's needs.
Since lawyers are prohibitively expensive, making it difficult for qualified professionals to participate in the process leaves families with no affordable options for legal guidance. In September, the New Jersey Supreme Court Ethics Committee released an opinion that would make it even more difficult for families to get appropriate help from experts concerning their child’s special educational needs. In response, we submitted a comment which resulted in the New Jersey Supreme Court Committee on the Unauthorized Practice of Law superseding that opinion with one that answered many of our requests.
by Tom Gordon
Yesterday, our community lost one of its great advocates, as Paula Littlewood died after a battle with cancer. Paula served as the executive director of the Washington State Bar Association (WSBA) for twelve years, and had served on Responsive Law's board of directors for the last two years.
by Michaela Reger
Responsive Law has submitted comments to the Utah Supreme Court in support of its proposed reforms to regulation of legal services in the state.
The Court’s proposal (known as the “Sandbox”) would eliminate restrictions on non-lawyer ownership of law firms. For law businesses that choose to include nonlawyer ownership, there would be a new regulatory body using outcomes- and risk-based approaches to balance increased access to justice with actual consumer harm.
by Paul Avelar
As has been previously discussed here, the Rhode Island Supreme Court has been considering recommendations from its own Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee in three cases involving real-estate closings and related services. The Court has issued its decision, and it is mostly a victory for consumers.
by Tom Gordon
Responsive Law has submitted comments to the California Task Force on Access Through Innovation in Legal Services (ATILS) in response to its proposed reforms to regulation of legal services in the state.
Overall, we like the task force’s proposal. It does a good job of balancing the potential for increased access to legal services against the potential for consumer harm. Additionally, it looks at regulation as something that needs to address specific potential harms, rather than taking regulations that were created decades ago to govern potential misconduct by lawyers and treating the regulation itself as the principle to be preserved, rather than looking at the reason behind the regulation and seeing whether it is still the best way to address a particular regulatory objective.