diplomaprivilegeCool as it is, ChatGPT and its cousins have yet to make lawyers redundant. DoNotPay might help a bit when it comes to traffic court, but more complicated forms of representation — namely criminal representation — still require a human touch. Right now, hands are in short supply. Florida has a plan that could help meet the need: modified diploma privilege. From the ABA Journal:

A Florida proposal to allow court appearances for law school graduates, up to one year before bar admission, has been made by the state’s public defenders organization.

“To me, it’s primarily an access-to-justice issue,” said Carlos Martinez, president of the Florida Public Defender Association, according to a Feb. 13 website post by the Florida Bar.

I think that this is a step in the right direction. While it is true that there is a right to counsel in criminal cases, there is a gap between what is constitutionally required and what is feasibly allowed. More hands on deck, especially capable hands that are otherwise being held back because of a test that AI will soon pass, should be a tide that raises all boats. And here’s the kicker — this game changer isn’t even too far from what Florida already allows:

An existing Florida Bar rule allows surprised practice, including court appearances, for students working with law school programs.

“Essentially, it opens up all law [school graduates] to us, not just the ones that [completed] a clinical program, or a law student practice program,” Martinez said

If the Florida Supreme Court ultimately decides to approve this measure, the efficacy of Florida’s response to the public defender shortage may spill over to other states dealing with the same problem. We could see similar rules pass in Oregon not too long from now. And Alaska. And Georgia

Citing Lack Of Lawyers, Public Defenders In This State Ask To Let Law Grads Work Before Bar Admission [ABA Journal]

Chris Williams became a social media manager and assistant editor for Above the Law in June 2021. Prior to joining the staff, he moonlighted as a minor Memelord™ in the Facebook group Law School Memes for Edgy T14s.  He endured Missouri long enough to graduate from Washington University in St. Louis School of Law. He is a former boatbuilder who cannot swim, a published author on critical race theory, philosophy, and humor, and has a love for cycling that occasionally annoys his peers. You can reach him by email at [email protected] and by tweet at @WritesForRent.


Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *