April 30, 2021
Salt Lake City, UT— The Utah Supreme Court voted unanimously last week to extend the term of the Utah legal regulatory Sandbox to seven years. The Sandbox allows entities to use new business structures and service models to provide legal services in Utah after going through a review and approval process.
The Sandbox was originally authorized for a period of two years, running from the end of August 2020 through the end of August 2022. The extension now means that the Sandbox will run through the end of August 2027, thereby providing a longer period in which the impact of the regulatory reforms may be felt. “The Court’s objectives for regulatory reform are significant and need sufficient time to truly work and create real change in the legal services market in Utah,” said Utah Supreme Court Chief Justice Matthew Durrant. “We have already seen innovations in legal services in the short two years. We are eager to see even more.” The Court has revised Standing Order No. 15 to reflect the extended Sandbox term.
The Sandbox, which is overseen by the Office of Legal Services Innovation, has garnered strong interest in the local and national legal services arena. The Office has received 47 applications to the Sandbox. The Court has authorized 26 entities to offer services. Services provided range across legal needs, including family law, end of life planning, and small-business needs. Entities include those with new business structures, including nonlawyer ownership and investment and joint ventures between lawyers and nonlawyers. Several entities have been authorized to use nonlawyer human or software providers of legal advice and assistance. All entities authorized in the Sandbox are required to submit regular reports on the services provided to the Office of Legal Services Innovation. The entities’ authorization is contingent upon data showing no evidence of significant consumer harm. To date, the Office has not observed evidence of consumer harm in the services being provided by the Sandbox. Further detail on the Office, including the most recent report on consumer risk issued by the Office, may be found at https://utahinnovationoffice.org.