What is a Legal Document Assistant?
Legal Document Assistants in the State of California are still sometimes incorrectly referred to as “independent paralegals” or “freelance paralegals,” even though it has been more than a decade since those terms became obsolete by law. On September 30, 1998 Governor Pete Wilson signed California State Senate Bill SB1418, regulating the legal document preparation profession in the State of California, and creating a new formal title, Legal Document Assistant (LDA).
While many LDAs have paralegal education and experience, in California they are not the same as paralegals. Under California law, a paralegal is prohibited from providing services directly to the consumer. Paralegals may only be employed by an attorney, law firm, corporation, governmental agency, or other entity; and work under the direct supervision of a licensed attorney within the scope of that employment.
Unlike paralegals, LDAs are authorized by law to provide legal document preparation services to consumers, after complying with the registration and bonding requirements. Neither paralegals or LDA’s are permitted to engage in the practice of law.
LDAs are not lawyers and do not offer legal advice, discuss legal strategies, answer questions of a legal nature, select forms for the consumer, or appear in court on the consumer’s behalf. They are professionals, qualified through education, training or work experience, authorized to assist consumers representing themselves in legal matters by preparing and processing the necessary legal documents.
A Legal Document Assistant, as defined by the California Business & Professions Code (Section 6400 (c)) is: “Any person who is otherwise not exempted and who provides, or assists in providing, or offers to provide, or offers to assist in providing, for compensation, any self-help service to a member of the public who is representing himself or herself in a legal matter, or who holds himself or herself out as someone who offers that service or has that authority, or a corporation, partnership, association, or other entity that employs or contracts with any person who is not otherwise exempted who, as part of his or her responsibilities, provides, or assists in providing, or offers to provide, or offers to assist in providing, for compensation, any self-help service to a member of the public who is representing himself or herself in a legal matter or holds himself or herself out as someone who offers that service or has that authority.”
How can a legal document assistant help me? Most legal document professionals deal in a wide variety of subjects, including but not limited to:
|Will/ Living Will||Trademark|
|Step Parent Adoption||Power of Attorney|
|Prenuptial Agreement||Partnership Agreement|
Did You Know?
◊ Each year 38 million low and moderate income Americans get closed out of the legal justice system.
◊ Americans could save $3.3 billion a year by using a Legal Document Assistant instead of lawyers to handle routine matters in common legal areas.
◊ A 2002 American Bar Association survey found that only half of respondents that faced a legal situation in the past year hired a lawyer. The most frequent reasons given for not hiring a lawyer involved high legal fees.
◊ The main force driving pro se, or propria persona litigation is money. For example, attorney fees can range from about $3,000.00 for a simple divorce to tens of thousands of dollars for more complex cases. In contrast, the cost of a do-it-yourself divorce typically ranges from $599 to $2,000.
◊ Only one in three Americans say they have a living will, one of the most important documents a person can have because it clearly states a patient’s end-of-life wishes.
◊ Only 11% of people between the ages of 18 and 34 have drawn up a last will in testament.
◊ Courts in Arizona, California, Maryland, Washington, Utah and other states have developed a range of Web-based legal forms and instructions to help pro se litigants fill out forms for divorces, child custody orders and restraining orders.
◊ A recent survey found that the vast majority of California consumers (96%) were satisfied with the quality of their legal document assistant’s service and would use an LDA again.
Shaun Tyler Smith
Legal Document Assistant
Registration No. 15-005
We are not an attorney. We can only provide self-help services at your specific direction.
If you are in need of legal representation by a licensed attorney, please contact Quality Law For Less and we can evaluate your case and refer you to a trusted licensed attorney that can represent you in your legal matter.
Disclaimer: We are not divorce lawyers or family law attorneys.
We can only provide self-help services at your specific direction.
Save time and money without using a divorce lawyer, family law attorney,
or an estate planning living trust law firm.