In his State of the Judiciary address, Utah Supreme Court Chief Justice Matthew B. Durrant said, "The high cost of legal services has become a barrier not just to the poor, but the middle class as well." ("Chief justice: Courts at the limit, need help," Tribune, Jan. 29).
Recently, my brother-in-law, a California resident, hired a paralegal to help him probate his deceased mother's estate. He didn't have to use a lawyer; since 1998, California has allowed non-lawyer "legal document assistants" to open their own offices and perform many routine legal services, including uncontested probates.
With help from an LDA paralegal, my brother-in-law's probate went through court without a hitch, and for less than one-fifth the prices quoted by three California lawyers.