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Westlaw News

California bar advances "regulatory sandbox" plan

The State Bar of California’s board of trustees on Thursday voted to approve a proposal to further explore the development of a so-called “regulatory sandbox” that would allow lawyers to partner with non-lawyers to create consumer-facing technologies on a limited, experimental basis, with the aim of increasing access to civil legal aid.

The proposal had been a controversial one, as it creates a working group to consider how to develop the “sandbox” in which innovative legal service providers would be subject to fewer regulations, possibly including eased rules around the unauthorized practice of law, fee sharing and nonlawyer ownership. The concept has in recent years sparked backlash from many lawyers who argue loosening those regulations, even on a small scale, puts consumers at risk.

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