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Whatcom is one of five state colleges to offer core curriculum for new Limited License Legal Technician program

LLLTs provide greater access to affordable legal services

Post Date:03/21/2017 9:01 a.m.

BELLINGHAM, Wash. – Whatcom Community College was recently approved as one of five community colleges in Washington state to offer the core curriculum required to become a Limited License Legal Technician (LLLT). Indicating the strength of its paralegal studies instruction, Whatcom is the first college to offer the curriculum that isn’t currently part of an American Bar Association-approved program. Retroactive to fall 2016, graduates of Whatcom’s paralegal studies program who continue and successfully complete LLLT requirements may become independent law practitioners who assist clients with a limited scope of family law legal issues.

Approval of LLLT education programs is granted by the LLLT Supreme Court Board.  The Washington State Bar Association provides program support. The Washington Supreme Court approved this first-in-the-nation program to expand access to affordable legal services. Legal technicians or LLLTs are trained and licensed to advise and assist people going through divorce, child custody and other family-law matters in Washington.

WCC’s paralegal studies program coordinator Nancy Ivarinen is among legal professionals who have advocated for the establishment and expansion of the LLLT program in Washington. "This new program creates a legal support option for Washington state residents who maybe cannot afford to hire an attorney but want assistance navigating the sometimes confusing legal system,” Ivarinen says. “Access to the justice system is an important and fundamental right.  I’m proud that Whatcom’s paralegal studies program will help expand access to justice by graduating students who are prepared to pursue LLLT requirements.”

Whatcom is approved by the LLLT Board to provide the 45 credits of core curriculum; one component of the pathway to becoming a LLLT.  The other components require the LLLT to obtain 3,000 hours of supervised legal experience, pass 15 credits of family law taught by the UW and Gonzaga Law Schools, pass exams on ethics and LLLT practice, post a bond, and pass a background check. More information regarding the LLLT program can be found at the WSBA website.

For more information and to enroll, visit

About Whatcom: Whatcom Community College is a regionally and nationally accredited two-year college with an accomplished faculty and staff who serve 11,000 students annually. On its campus in Bellingham, Wash., and through online courses, Whatcom offers transfer and professional-technical degrees as well as basic education, job skills training, and community and continuing education classes. The College will offer a BAS degree in IT Networking, beginning fall 2017. Based on student outcomes, the Aspen Institute recognizes Whatcom as one of the top community and technical colleges in Washington and among the nation’s leading two-year colleges. The College is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2017. For more information, visit

Contact: Mary Vermillion, Whatcom Community College PIO, 360.383.3310,

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