As a long time supporter of civil rights and liberties, I am bewildered and angered by the ACLU’s support (under the heading “equality”!) for AB 74, which would establish fees and registration of documents preparers, who are the often the only access to the legal system for poor communities in Nevada. How is this equality? Why would the ACLU support such a bill?
While attorneys in Nevada are not required to carry malpractice insurance; however, AB 74, if passed as written, will require paralegals to carry a $50,000. 00 bond. As stated in the bill, the bond is to cover any misconduct of the paralegal. If attorneys are not required to carry malpractice insurance, why are they not required to carry at least a $150,000.00 bond? How is the client protected from attorney misconduct when they do not follow the Rules of Professional Conduct?
There is more: registration fees and fees for FBI background check and
fingerprinting and --possibly the most absurd and egregious portion -- a
provision prohibiting ex-felons from preparing documents. How does that
Why are attorneys not required to post notice of their fees for potential clients? And provide the notice in English and any other language that are native to the majority of the attorney’s clients?
Imagine what would happen if attorneys had to post their fees? We would finally see accountability in the legal profession, or it would be a start anyway, some semblance of social responsibility on the part
of Nevada’s legal community. Instead, the ACLU goes after paralegals?
I almost can’t believe I am typing these words.
If the ACLU was worried about equality, it would propose and support legislation to require increased pro bono hours by attorneys, AND not give attorneys an pass by paying a few hundred dollars. Poor people
do not trust the legal community because the legal community is not trustworthy. This is not about paralegals. This is about attorneys taking people’s money and leaving them high and dry without legal help. These lawyers - and yes, there are many in Nevada - are called dump trucks.
Low income communities need paralegals. We can’t afford attorneys’ outrageous fees. Additionally, how many attorneys in Nevada have EVER
done a pro bono case for a prisoner? Prisoners in Nevada are going blind
from denial of basic medical care, denied their basic rights in the
form of hearing aids and other assistive devices, suffering physical and
sexual abuse , retaliation for use of the grievance process and other
violations of their constitutional rights. Nevada attorneys, with a VERY
few exceptions do not assist prisoners. Now the ACLU would like to take
away the paralegals who do help them? Under the heading “equality”?
Please reconsider your support for AB 74. It is bad for poor people and anyone who has been and continues to be denied access to the court system.
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Saturday, March 23, 2013
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