While other professions have attempted to make their services more readily available in recent years, the legal profession's availability has remained relatively static. Today there is a considerable lack of legal services for a great majority of the people. This lack of available services is most critical in the lower and middle income classes. Only recently have any remedies to this problem been suggested and actively undertaken. Legal aid societies, lawyer referral services, and group legal service plans are the three primary methods used to combat the problem. Legal aid societies are primarily for lower income individuals while group legal service plans and lawyer referral services are mainly for use by the middle class. However, at this time only the legal aid societies and the lawyer referral plans have become workable tools. Group legal service programs are not yet sufficiently established to provide adequate relief. It is the purpose of this article to consider the effect of these programs on the lower and middle income classes. Since legal aid societies and lawyer referral plans are becoming well established, the first portion of this paper is devoted to a brief history of legal aid societies and lawyer referral plans and the development of the present need for group legal service plans. It is shown that even though both legal aid societies and lawyer referral plans are providing more people in the low and middle classes with legal services, there still is a failure to provide legal services for the middle class. A detailed consideration of group legal service plans case law is then developed in an effort to demonstrate how acceptable such plans are to the courts. The second portion of the article is devoted to a critical analysis of why the legal aid societies and lawyer referral plans are so widely accepted when group legal service plans are struggling for recognition. Of particular importance is a discussion of the old Canons of Ethics and the new Code of Professional Responsibility. It is shown that the American Bar Association and the legal profession in general have seen fit to make express provisions in the new Code to accommodate legal aid societies and lawyer referral plans. Particular attention is given to the absence of adequate provisions in the Code of Professional Responsibility to support group legal service plans.
Are Legal Aid Societies, Lawyer Referral Services, and Group Legal Services Adequate under the Code of Professional Responsibility,
51 Neb. L. Rev. 486
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