New Marshall Foundation Grant Will Fund Legal Paraprofessional Training at University of Arizona Law

Nov. 7, 2022

Scholarships will be awarded on a first come, first-serve basis for up to 40 students.

In partnership with The Marshall Foundation, the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law has established two new scholarships for students pursuing a Legal Paraprofessional (LP) license beginning in the Spring 2023 semester. A recent $40,000 grant from the Foundation, will go towards funding the education and licensing of students completing one of three paraprofessional tracks available only at University of Arizona Law.

Founded in 1930, the Marshall Foundation focuses its community giving on early childhood through undergraduate education and supportive wrap-around social services for underserved populations. The Foundation also funds projects, programs and scholarships at the University of Arizona, including post-secondary levels.

The funds have been used to develop the Marshall Foundation Legal Paraprofessional Scholarship and the Marshall Foundation LP Graduation Award. The Marshall Scholarship will help support students who wish to obtain the necessary education to become an LP. If selected, students will receive a one-time award applied to the costs of attendance associated with either the University of Arizona BA in Law, the Master of Legal Studies (MLS) program or the accelerated MLS program for qualified BA in law students. Once finished with their course work, students can then become eligible for the Graduation Award which will support the pursuit of licensure by providing reimbursement for the costs associated with testing – specifically one core exam and one endorsement area exam – and the state licensure application fees.

Currently, University of Arizona has the only MLS Graduate LP Certificate and the only Arizona Supreme Court certified BA program in the state providing the educational pathways to become an LP. Additionally, students enrolled in the BA program can earn the first ever undergraduate LP certificate beginning this Spring.

“We are so grateful to Marshall Foundation for their support of our LP students at University of Arizona Law,” said Kristy Clairmont, coordinator for the LP program. “These scholarship opportunities represent our sincere belief in our students' future impact as licensed LPs on the access to justice issues in our state.”

In 2021, the Arizona Supreme Court approved the LP program on the recommendation of the Task Force For Legal Services Delivery, which conducted a review of approaches employed nationally and internationally to deliver legal services. The LP program allows candidates qualified by education, training, and licensing, to provide legal advice and advocate for clients within a designated scope of practice.

The creation of this new tier of licensed legal professionals came in response to a state-wide need to improve access to justice. A recent survey conducted in Arizona found that more than half of respondents were not able to access the legal help they needed, and more than 75% of court cases in the state involve one self-represented party. The rate of lawyers per capita in Arizona is also among the lowest in the country with only 2.1 lawyers per 1,000 residents as noted in 2020 by an ABA study. Nationally, legal representation continues to remain prohibitively expensive, contributing to what many have termed the ‘justice gap’. Other states, including Oregon, Minnesota, Washington, and Utah have created similar programs while as many as 20 other states are considering their own proposals.

Scholarships will be awarded on a first come, first-serve basis for up to 40 students. Application materials for the Marshall Scholarship must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. on November 30, 2022. Scholarships will be distributed in Spring of 2023. The Marshall Graduation Award applications will be considered on a rolling basis. More information on how to apply to both opportunities can be found online at law.arizona.edu/LP.