Frequently Asked Questions about Legal Document Wizards:
- A NEW profession in California
- Who are Legal Document Assistants? (LDA)
- What does an LDA do?
- What is the advantage of hiring an LDA?
- Do I need an LDA?
- How can an LDA help me?
- What are the basic requirements for an LDA?
- What legislation affects legal document assistants?
- WHAT EXACTLY IS CALDA?
- What is the best way to contact CALDA or make a complaint about a member?
- How can I get a referral for an LDA?
FAQ aboutBecomea wizard for legal documents:
- I'm LD. How do I join CALDA?
- COMMON QUESTIONS. with 43 questions about being or becoming an LDA
A new profession in California
For the first time, a new California law called SB1418 authorizes non-lawyers to prepare legal documents for people doing their own legal work. As of January 1, 2000, these non-attorneys, called Legal Document Assistants, can:
- Distribute legal materials that have been published or approved by an attorney to your clients
- Prepare clients' legal documents under the direction of their clients
- Submit clients' legal documents to the appropriate courts
To qualify as a Legal Document Assistant, an individual must:
- Register in the municipality where you work
- Post a $25,000 bond
- Establish that he or she has a minimum level of experience and/orTraining
Every legal document wizard must use a contract. The Agreement will provide Legal Document Assistant's clients with reasonable information regarding the scope of the Client's rights and Legal Document Assistant's obligations. This law was passed for your protection. If you want to hire a legal document assistant after January 1, 2000, ask if he or she is sworn and registered.
Who are Legal Document Assistants? (LDA)
Legal document assistants were once commonly known as independent paralegals. However, as of January 1, 2000, only paralegals who work directly for attorneys can call themselves paralegals. Formerly known as Independent Paralegals, they are now officially known as Legal Document Assistants (LDAs). LDAs often have the same educational background as paralegals and are REQUIRED by law to be registered and bound in the county in which they have their primary place of business. Watch:
- A Legal Document Assistant is NOT a lawyer.
- By law sheit cannotgive you legal adviceorrepresents you in court in all matters.
- If you need to consult a lawyer, your LDA can advise you.
- We always recommend that you ask the LDA you want to keep if he or she is bonded and registered with your county. This is for your protection. All listed in our LDAsMember search engineare registered and bound by their districts. If an individual acts as an LDA but is not registered and required, he is acting illegally in California. The bond is for your protection!
What does an LDA do?
An LDA is an experienced professional who is authorized to prepare legal documents for a client, but only under the client's direction. In other words, an LDA exists to help the "self-help" client handle their own legal matters without the expense of an attorney. As even the best legal self-help books can be confusing and overwhelming, your LDA can provide invaluable assistance with routine legal tasks such as: Again, because an LDA is prohibited from practicing law of any kind, they cannot make suggestions about what the customer should do about a specific matter or what forms the customer should fill out with the state or the other party to the claim.
For example, to apply for an uncontested divorce in California, there are about 6 different forms that must be filled out accurately. Of course, the average customer doesn't know which forms they need. The LDA is not permitted to suggest to the client what forms would be required for an uncontested divorce, as this requires legal experience and judgment and constitutes UPL (Unauthorized Exercise of Law). However, the LDA may have a pre-printed instruction sheet or list prepared by a licensed California attorney detailing what forms are required for a no contest divorce. All the LDA can do is hand over the sheet and say to the client, "Here's what a lawyer says you need for a divorce. Do you want me to fill out THESE forms for you?"
Of course the same applies to ALL other LDA services. You should have a lawyer-approved detailed guide detailing what forms are required. The LDA is not allowed to use its judgment and say, 'Well, you're actually talking about this type of case instead of this type of case. Therefore, you must follow this practice and submit THOSE forms.” The CLIENT needs to know what they want and which forms to use (or decide which forms to use based on the attorney-approved list of instructions), and the LDA is there to fill out the forms. Just because an LDA is only there to fill out forms doesn't mean they aren't an invaluable resource in your legal matter. Many if not all legal forms are very confusing; incorrectly completed forms can delay your process for a long time. An experienced LDA can help you avoid pitfalls and ensure that all the important details on a form are covered. This alone makes them the best choice for your legal self-help endeavors. As all certified LDAs are trained professionals in various fields, there are a variety of services they can provide.
What is the advantage of hiring an LDA?
- LDAs offer a cost-effective alternative to hiring an attorney for routine paperwork.
- In many cases, one visit is usually enough to resolve most issues.
- LDAs provide you with top-notch legal writing assistance.
Do I need an LDA?
- If you don't know your legal rights in a situation, chances are you need to consult a lawyer.
- If you've already decided on a course of action but aren't sure how to complete the paperwork, you may need your personal LDA.
- If you've recently purchased a legal self-help book, an LDA can be particularly helpful in helping you complete and submit your legal paperwork.
How can an LDA help me?
LDAs are usually trained in multiple areas and often specialize in multiple areas. This means your LDA can help you prepare your documents for:
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Few LDAs offer all of the above services. Each LDA in ourdirectoryhas its own list of services that LDA can provide. To make your search as quick as possible, you can also search for just the legal self-help you need!
What legislation affects legal document assistants?
One of our goals is to provide as much education and information about LDAs as possible.Click herefor detailed information on legislation directly dealing with Legal Document Assistants. Independent paralegals are now referred to as Legal Document Assistants. All LDAs and UDAs are now required to identify themselves on all documents they create, as well as in other areas such as advertising, etc. Section 6408 of the Commercial and Professional Code is amended as follows:
The registrant's name, business address, telephone number, registration number, expiration date and country of registration must appear in any application or advertisement and on any appropriate paper or document prepared or used by the registrant, including, but not limited to, Contracts, letterhead, cards, mail, documents, forms, claims, petitions, checks, receipts, money orders, and summaries. If an applicant has an office in more than one county doing work in that county, the applicant must register and provide a copy of the affidavit.
The basicThe requirements to be an LDA are:
To apply for registration under this chapter as a legal document assistant, the applicant must have at least one of the following characteristics:
- High school diploma or equivalent general diploma and at least two years of legal experience under the supervision of a licensed attorney or at least two years of experience providing self-help services prior to January 1, 1999.
- A bachelor's degree in any field and at least one year of legal experience under the supervision of a licensed attorney or at least one year of experience providing self-help services prior to January 1, 1999.
- A certificate of completion from a paralegal program that is institutionally accredited but not approved by the American Bar Association and that requires successful completion of at least 24 semester units or equivalent courses in legal specialization courses.
- A certificate of completion from an American Bar Association-approved paralegal program.
WHAT EXACTLY IS CALDA?
You can find the history of CALDA in ourAbout Usbook page. Read ourmission statementto find out more about CALDA's objectives.
What is the best way to contact CALDA?
You can find the best person for your question by visiting ourBoard of Directorsbook page. You can find more CALDA members on oursearch mechanism. If you have a complaint about a specific member of CALDA, please complete ourclaim form.
How can I get a referral for an LDA?
If you are looking for an LDA to help you, the quickest and easiest way is to visit ourSearch engine for member directories.