University of Arizona Law to Host Second-Annual Legal Paraprofessional Summit

Oct. 12, 2023

Attendees will have the chance to accumulate up to five Continuing Legal Education credits, including three ethics CLE credits.

Main Campus fountain

The University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law is gearing up to host its highly anticipated second-annual Legal Paraprofessional Summit on February 9, 2024. This event promises to connect both licensed and aspiring Legal Paraprofessionals with exceptional opportunities for continuing legal education and a platform for engaging in meaningful professional discussions. Attendees will have the chance to accumulate up to five Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits, including three ethics CLE credits.

In January 2023, the inaugural summit saw a remarkable turnout, with 130 eager participants. Held at the UA Chandler campus, it featured distinguished speakers such as Justice John R. Lopez IV and Judge Maria Elena Cruz.

“I am thrilled to witness the continued growth and impact of this event. Our mission is to empower both licensed and aspiring legal paraprofessionals with the knowledge and resources they need to make a difference in our legal system,” said Kristy Clairmont, coordinator for the Legal Paraprofessionals program. “This year, our summit promises to be even more enriching and dynamic, bringing together legal professionals, esteemed speakers and passionate participants. We look forward to fostering meaningful discussions, promoting ethical practice, and ultimately contributing to a more accessible and just legal landscape.”

This year's summit will offer both in-person and virtual attendance options, providing flexibility for participants. Our confirmed lineup of speakers boasts esteemed figures like Arizona Supreme Court Vice Chief Justice Ann Timmer, Arizona Court of Appeals Judges Maria Elena Cruz and Samuel Thumma, as well as representatives from the Arizona State Bar. The central theme for this year's summit is "Access to Justice in Action," and it will encompass breakout sessions that delve into crucial topics, including Ethical practice and legal community standards, Access to Justice initiatives across the state, spousal maintenance, misdemeanor downstream effects, and real-life experiences shared by licensed legal paraprofessionals from the past year working in the field.

A New Tier of Legal Professional

Recognizing the pressing statewide need to enhance access to justice, the Arizona Supreme Court introduced a new tier of legal advocates known as Legal Paraprofessionals in 2021. A survey conducted by the ABA in Arizona revealed that more than half of the respondents faced barriers in accessing the legal assistance they required, and over 75% of court cases in the state involved at least one self-represented party. Furthermore, Arizona's lawyer-to-resident ratio, as of 2020, remains one of the lowest in the country, with only 2.1 lawyers per 1,000 residents. Nationally, legal representation remains prohibitively expensive, contributing to what is commonly referred to as the 'justice gap.'

In response to these challenges, the University of Arizona Law has pioneered two groundbreaking educational pathways to qualify for LP licensure through our BA in Law and Master of Legal Studies programs. These pathways are available both in-person and online, ensuring accessibility to training from anywhere within the state.

To secure your attendance, tickets are a requirement. Take advantage of our early bird pricing of $50 available until December 31. A special student rate will also be offered during this time. Prices will increase in January.