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Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Spreading the Word on the Benefits of LAR: An Interview with the Chief Justice of the Probate & Family Court

Valerie Qian

Photography by
Matthew Raymond
In a recent interview with Chief Justice Angela M. Ordoñez, Valerie Qian, of Skylark Law & Mediation, and the Chief Justice discussed the benefits of Limited Assistance Representation ("LAR"):
Chief Justice Ordoñez: "one of my goals and objectives in this department is to increase lawyer retention, and we have an enormous amount of unrepresented litigants, and a small percentage of represented litigants. We could close that gap significantly with LAR."
In Valerie's article the Chief Justice and retired Justice Hon. Edward M. Ginsburg both noted the lack of public and bar knowledge about LAR and the need to spread the word.
"The sad consequence of our ignorance is that by overlooking LAR, attorneys fail to extend our hands to help those who most need it. If there is any vestige of the bright-eyed, bushy-tailed lawyers we were when we emerged from law school ready to change the world, we owe it to ourselves and to the practice to acknowledge the most important benefit of LAR: that with it, many who cannot afford a lawyer, and who most need one, can have one."
Valerie also addressed some frequently asked questions about LAR, and made an excellent case for adding this work to your practice.  In the article's conclusion, Valerie notes the importance of providing services that are client focused.  This not only means addressing the clients' substantive concerns, but it also means providing clients with different choices for process.  Mediation, Collaborative Law, and LAR all offer clients the chance to make an informed choice about what portions of their case they want to be in charge of, and what portions of their case they need professional help with:
"In the same way, it could be beneficial to a large portion of potential family-law clients to dissect their case into parts that could most benefit from the help of a lawyer, and parts that they could handle on their own without incurring the costs of an attorney. There should be a broader way to look at a family law case. A family is much more than what happens in the courtroom and what lawyers can do."  
Read the full article on the Boston Bar Association website here.

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