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Dear Legal Document Preparers community,
Here's the latest news from the Sacramento Superior Court:
As you know, "many court operations have been curtailed and understandably, have adversely impacted the civil legal community.
The Court is developing and are implementing an operational plan that will increased civil, family law and probate operations. It is very important that you check the court’s website for updates and additional orders.
Missed Hearings: Hearings missed during the court closure period (March 20, 2020 through May 15, 2020) will be continued by minute order and posted to the Public Case Access System (https://services.saccourt.ca.gov/PublicCaseAccess/) . The posted minute order will provide new hearings dates, extend temporary orders if applicable, and provide instructions for appearing using Zoom. Continuance dates could be set as early as May 11, 2020.
Missed FCS Return Hearings: Hearings on the return from mediation will be reset, noticed via the Public Case Access System (https://services.saccourt.ca.gov/PublicCaseAccess/) to be heard commencing the week of May 25, 2020.
Missed FCS Mediation Appointments: All mediations missed since the court closure on March 20, 2020, will be rescheduled with notification sent to parties by US Mail, by the anticipated date of May 27, 2020. Mediations conducted via telephone or Zoom could begin as early as May 1, 2020.
FCS 10-Page Input Letters: A designated email address will be contained within the FCS notification sent out to parties.
FCS Mediation Reports: All reports for mediations conducted in early March will be issued by May 11, 2020, and posted on the Public Case Access System (https://services.saccourt.ca.gov/PublicCaseAccess/) .
Retroactive Modification of Support: Child and Spousal support are statutorily retroactive to date of filing. See Judicial Council web link at courts.ca.gov/doc…/2020-04-19-rules-effective-04-20-2020.pdf (http://www.courts.ca.gov/…/2020-04-19-rules-effective-04-20…) .
Probate: Probate Court will accept and process ex parte applications beyond those limited to temporary
conservatorship and guardianship. See Probate Court Closure Mitigation Plan saccourt.ca.gov/…/extended-court-closure-mitigation-planfor… (https://www.saccourt.ca.gov/…/extended-court-closure-mitiga…)
For more details, please visit the Court's COVID-19 website: https://www.saccourt.ca.gov/general/coronavirus.aspx
If you’re looking for more ways to protect yourself and your loved ones, check out the CDC (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html) website.
Thank you so much for sticking with us!
We look forward to supporting each other during these challenging times.
Keeping track of the relief rollouts amidst the coronavirus (COVID-19) is difficult to say the least. Tracking down the forms needed to apply for relief can be nearly impossible. We've started a webpage dedicated COVID-19 legal resources for those affected by the coronavirus pandemic. As the situation continues to develop, we continue to upload forms and other resources to the COVID-19 Legal Resource page.
Great news! Legal Document Preparers is glad to offer Clio Connect to clients.
Clio Connect allows our clients access to their files in a secure virtual portal where our they can actively participate and monitor their cases. With Clio Connect clients can:
Here's a brief introduction video on Clio Connect. Enjoy!
Starting January 1, 2020, Judicial Council of California the California Court Interpreter Credential Review Procedures will take effect creating a complaint guidelines for alleging professional misconduct or malfeasance against California certified or registered interpreter.
As of January 1, 2019, Small Claims Court interpreters are no longer exempt from the requirement that they be court certified in the language they interpret. See GOV §68560.5. Interpreters whose compliance status set to expire on December 31, 2019 will be removed from the Judicial Council Master List
The California Courts have developed a Court Interpreters Program become a certified court or registered
California interpreter. Court interpreters play a key role in insure access to justice at trial courts by interpreting for defendants, litigants and witnesses.
Source: https://www.courts.ca.gov/7996.htm; https://www.courts.ca.gov/programs-interpreters.htm; https://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/CIP_CRProcedures.pdf
The implications of AB 5 are far reaching beyond the intended gig business targets. We’ll see what the new year brings for independent contractors in the legal services industry. California Assembly Bill 5 (2019) took effect January 1, 2020. The bill was introduced by California assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez then was signed by Governor Gavin Newsom on September 18, 2019.
Many California Freelance Paralegals have already felt AB5's impacts. While Lawyers are exempt from Labor Code §2750.3, Paralegals are not. What does this mean? In scenarios where the ABC Test (which is based on Dynamex) would be used to determine whether a Paralegal is an independent contractor or employee instead Borello would be considered which is far more complex.
Both the Borello test and the ABC test assume that the worker is an employee and the hiring entity must prove that the worker is an independent contractor.
Under Borello, no single factor determines whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor. So to say doing business as a sole proprietor would be enough to rebut the presumption based on a B2B exemption is not solid enough for me. More importantly, would it be enough for the lawyer you’re hope to contract with.
An inescapable factor considered under Borello is the degree of control and direction required in the Lawyer-Paralegal relationship. BPC §6450 et seq. clearly spelled out, Paralegals perform all services under the direction and supervision of an attorney.
Another factor is whether the work is a regular or integral part of the employer’s [lawyer’s] business, which obviously it is.
Remember, the point of AB5 is to impose an employer-employee relationship. Borello is a “multifactor” test which requires consideration of all potentially relevant facts in the determination whether an exemption exists. No single factor controls.
It is my humble recommendation that LDAs support Freelance Paralegals.
Affording clients the option to apply for monthly payment plans is a great way to ensure affordability and access to legal services. Legal Document Preparers is launching Square Installments as a convenient feature for clients who need a little more time to pay and response timely to pending actions.
Loving this article! Finally, demand driving creation of non-lawyer legal services! It's time to breaking up lawyer's monopoly on the legal services market.
Clients are demanding [lawyers need to be creative] as other professionals. Use paralegals, legal technicians, and document preparers plus automation to help reduce the costs and create affordable fees. - MARY E. JUETTEN
Read more: https://abovethelaw.com/2019/01/are-some-law-offices-just-like-the-mall
Effective 09/27/2018, Rule 3 4.00.09 Filing through Fax Filing Agency, of the Local Rules for the Superior Court, County of El Dorado, is hereby amended as set forth below:
4.00.09 FILING THROUGH FAX FILING AGENCY
The Superior Court of California, County of El Dorado, accepts [electronic] fax filing in civil, probate, and family law departments by facsimile transmission pursuant to California Rules of Court, rules 2.300 through 2.306.
Documents received by 4:00 p.m. shall be filed with that day’s date. All documents received after 4:00 p.m. are deemed to have occurred on the next business day. The Superior Court of California, County of El Dorado, does not accept direct facsimile filing of documents except as authorized in rule 4.00.08. Refer to the court’s website for online electronic fax filing instructions at www.eldoradocourt.org. (Revised January 1, 2019)
"[Limited License Legal Technicians] (LLTs) are an important piece of [closing the access to justice gap] and it’s the think[ing] around them, that we have been innovative enough to create a tier that never existed before in the history of law in this country. And there’s probably more jobs, descriptions, opportunities for us to create professionals, preferably regulated, as part of our large profession.
States with Non-Attorney Professionals:
Legal Document Assistants
Unlawful Detainer Assistants
Bankruptcy Petition Preparer
Legal Document Preparers
Certified Legal Document Preparer
More info can be found on the NFPA website, where the association provides a comprehensive list of Paralegal and Non-Lawyer Regulation by State:
Are you well organized, detail oriented, self-directed? Do you enjoys working with the public? Eh... me neither but that didn't stop me from becoming an LDA and I love it! If you enjoy preparing documents and you're good at it, this might be right for you. Being comfortable with the unknown and having the skill to research it really helps. There are many challenges that come with running a business. Being a trained legal researcher, as many of us Paralegals are, helps.
On a more serious note, are offering "Paralegal Services" directly to the public? Do you fill out documents for compensation? If you offer or are contemplating providing document preparation services directly to the public for compensation without the supervision of an attorney, you may be required to register as a Legal Document Assistant, according to California Business & Professions Code § 6400, et seq.
HERE IS WHAT THE LAW SAYS:
Bus & Professions Code § 6400(c)(1) Any person 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. This paragraph does not apply to any individual whose assistance consists merely of secretarial or receptionist services."
Making that decision to walk down this career pathway requires more than just adherence to BPC section 6400, et seq., it requires a commitment and a belief in oneself to take on challenges of not only the legal industry, but also working with California courts that are severely underfunded. This challenge, however can be very rewarding. Legal Document Assistants close the legal resource gap that often exists in our judicial system.
The Legal Document Assistant profession was bore from community based legal advocacy. In fact, the LDA profession is an innovation in the legal services industry which enhances the delivery of, and access to, legal services. In some communities throughout California LDAs are the only legal resource. Becoming an LDA is privilege which should not be taken lightly. We serve members of the public who aren't able to hire a lawyer, while alleviating the demand on limited court resources. Legal Document Assistants are an affordable non-attorney professional alternative for members of the public facing a legal problems, but can't afford to hire an attorney.