New York Legal Industry Reform
New York is making strides toward legal industry reform. By chipping away at regulatory problems that have decreased access to justice, the Empire State hopes to create a better legal industry for all.
“The gap between the number of people who need legal services and the resources available to meet that need remains significant.”
What Legal Industry Reforms Are Being Considered in New York?
New York is one of the first East Coast states to consider legal industry reform. In 2020 and 2021, the Commission to Reimagine the Future of New York’s Courts submitted reports detailing how to improve the state’s legal system, and some reports are still in process.
The Commission is made up of seven working groups, each dedicated to a different aspect of the legal industry:
- Online Courts
- Pandemic Practices
- Regulatory Innovation
- Structural Innovation
- Appellate Practice
The Working Groups’ recommendations are substantial and broad, ranging from allowing trained/certified social workers to provide limited legal services and advocacy to overhauling the New York Courts website.
The Pandemic Practices Working Group is the newest addition to the Commission’s résumé. The Group is examining what pandemic-related changes to the court worked well, what didn’t, and what might be kept going forward.
When Will Legal Reforms in New York Be Implemented?
New York has not set a clear timeline for implementing the suggested legal industry reforms.
Why Is Legal Industry Reform in New York Necessary?
Legal industry reform in New York is necessary because—without intervention—the access to justice gap continues to grow.
“The gap between the number of people who need legal services and the resources available to meet that need remains significant,” writes the New York State Permanent Commission on Access to Justice in its 2019 Annual Report.
And as stated in the Working Group’s report, “The situation in New York is serious.” The Working Group determined that if this serious situation is ignored, it will only worsen.
Is New York the Only State Pursuing Legal Industry Reform?
No! At least a dozen states are considering legal industry reform and researching the access to justice gap.
In Arizona, legal industry reform is already implemented, and our application to operate an Alternative Business Structure in the state has been approved. In Utah, legal reform takes the shape of the legal regulatory Sandbox, and Law on Call has been in operation there since Winter 2021.