What Are Self-Help Services?
Kinds of services that a Legal Document Assistant (LDA) can perform for you:
We can perform the following self-help services for you in connection with a legal matter in which you are representing yourself:
These are the only kinds of services that Legal Document Assistants can perform for you. If you need additional services are needed beyond the scope of services we are able to provide, we can refer you to an attorney.
Kinds of services that an Legal Document Assistants (LDAs) cannot perform for you:
LDAs cannot represent anyone in court, cannot provide advice about legal rights or the law, nor can LDAs select legal forms. Fortunately, Court websites have document packets with most commonly used legal documents free to download. Only an attorney can provide legal advice.
Services are exclusively for Pro Per litigants representing who are themselves in a legal matter and the self-help service relates to that legal matter.
This firm cannot and will not engage in the practice of law.
This means that we cannot give you any kind of advice, explanation, opinion or recommendation about possible legal rights, remedies, defenses, strategies or options that you may have. We cannot give you any advice, explanation, opinion or recommendation regarding selection of forms.
It can be difficult deciphering what legal advice is. Clients regularly ask legal questions not understanding they are putting the LDA in a compromising position.
Questions related to:
Are you well organized, detail oriented, self directed? Do you enjoys working with the public?
Then becoming an LDA might be right for you.
Do you offer 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.
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 § 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.
Chronic underfunding of the courts unfairly affects members of the public seeking their day in court. Trial courts receive a little more than a penny for every general fund tax dollar, and in the past the judicial branch has had funds swept to support the state budget during times of crisis. Now the courts have an ongoing funding crisis, new laws are added annually, there are more complex cases, but there is no stable funding solution for the judicial branch and the people we all serve. - Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye
Before the judicial branch implemented the Workload-based Allocation and Funding Methodology (2013-14, left) some trial courts were underfunded by as much as 60%. By 2017-18 (right), the new formula had helped equalize funding gaps. SOURCE: The Trial Court Funding Formula, Explained by Merrill Balassone
In the past year, 55 percent of Californians at all income levels experienced at least one civil legal problem in their household, yet nearly 70 percent of them received no legal assistance. Fewer than 1 in 3 Californians sought legal assistance to address their problems. - California Justice Gap Study: Measuring the Unmet Civil Legal Needs of Californians.
The Legal Document Assistant (LDA) 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.
The Justice Gap Study Executive Report also tells us the gap in knowledge is the one of the key issues in access to justice. As an LDA One of the biggest challenges of working with the self-representing litigants, is they do not realize their questions are legal questions which can or should only be answered by an attorney. While we can provide litigants self-help resources or sure the litigant an research the answer themselves, but legal research is a art in of of itself which is a two semester program taught in a paralegal program. This is a systemic civics issue that transcendent socio-economic condition. How does the constitutional right to redress serve the people if they cannot navigate the legal system without paying thousands in attorney fees? Fortunately, the California State Bar is presently working on address this very issues.
The Legal Document Assistant profession, while challenging, can be very rewarding. LDAs close the legal resource gap that often exists in our judicial system. Even if we can't provide legal advice, at minimum we help pro se litigants identify that they have a legal issue. We provide affordable legal services bridging accessibility. Are you ready to become part of the legal justice solution?
The California State Bar Paraprofessional Program Working Group (CPPWG): Why It's Important for LDAs
The California Paraprofessional Program Working Group (CPPWG) is one of the many working groups established pursuant to the ATILS Taskforce (Task Force on Access Through Innovation of Legal Services) recommendations (see Final Report and Recommendations).
One of the more notable mandates the ATILS Taskforce was charged with was the review of, "the prohibitions against unauthorized practice of law (UPL) as well as the impact of those prohibitions on access to legal services." This directly impact our profession as LDAs because their findings were to recommend the consideration of implementation of the new paraprofessional licensing program. It was at this juncture where LDAs should have had a voice in the outcome of these recommendations. Instead of the development of a new non-attorney professional, rather the expansion of our current profession as LDAs. But, that ship has long since sailed. The ATILS Taskforce final report was adopted in March 2020.
It is imperative that LDAs are involved in not just the Paraprofessional Working Group, but the other ancillary working groups, subcommittees and taskforces.
Here's a link to the California Paraprofessional Program Working Group
http://www.calbar.ca.gov/About-Us/Who-We-Are/Committees/California-Paraprofessional-Program-Working-Group for more details.
Updated LDA Contract Provision 7
Effective January 1, 2016. BPC §6402. our registration requirement has changed. We are no longer required to register in each count where we perform business.
We can now offer business in ANY county throughout California and are only required to register in the county in which our principal place of business is located, and in which we maintain a branch office.
"A legal document assistant or unlawful detainer assistant shall be registered pursuant to this chapter by the county clerk in the county in which their principal place of business is located, and in which they maintain a branch office..."
To date, the Department of Consumer Affairs has yet to update our statutory contract to conform with BPC §6402.
7. As required by law, I have filed a bond or made a cash deposit and have registered as a legal document assistant in each county where I will perform services on your behalf.
7. As required by law, I have filed a bond or made a cash deposit and have registered as a legal document assistant in the county where my principal place of business is located, and in any counties in which this business maintains a branch office.
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.
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COVID-19 Legal Resources Page
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.
All Legal Document Assistant-Client communications should contain the following:
CA BPC 6408
CA PBC 6408.5
I am not a lawyer. I cannot give legal advice. [YOUR BUSINESS NAME] is not a law firm. I can only provide self-help services at your specific direction.
Amid COVID-19 the U.S. Small Business Administration is offering low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses.
Interest rate on the disaster loans is 3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% for private nonprofit organizations. SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years.
Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/
For more information on SBA disaster assistance:
In response to the COVID-19 outbreak we be providing virtual assistance for the safety of our clients and staff. We will remain open during regular business hours and reachable by phone, text, and email.
We will continue to provide essential legal services necessary to assist in compliance with legally mandated activities and limited emergency matters. This includes:
• Domestic Violence and Elder Abuse Restraining Order
• Family Emergency Temporary Restraining Order
• Emergency Family Law Ex Partes
We'll continue to provide virtual assistance; however, filings will be delayed as a result of the Temporary Court Closures.
At the direction of government officials in Sacramento County, our building will comply by operating under reduced hours temporarily beginning this afternoon through at least May 31, 2020. A precise end date has not yet been determined by local government officials.
Stay safe and healthy!
Innovate the document digitizing and organization process using Clio with a click of the ScanSnap button. With the ScanSnap-Clio Launcher integration you can scan documents directly into Clio Matters.
The ScanSnap-Clio Launcher integration cuts down time by eliminating steps in the digitizing and document organization process. Instead of having to go through the eight-step process of scanning the document: scanning, coding, searching for the matter, open the matter, selecting documents tab, uploading the document, then categorize it, now it can be done in three easy steps. After adding Clio Launcher to the ScanSnap Application, just scan the document, select the matter and code it directly into the Clio Matter. ¡Voilà! The document is digitized and organized.
To add Clio Launcher to ScanSnap Manager Application follow steps laid out in the following article:
Don't use ScanSnap? Check this out!
This March 2020 will be a year since approval for the creation of a standing Language Access Subcommittee. This subcommittee was established under its Advisory Committee on Providing Access and Fairness to help ensure that any remaining recommendations are implemented after the language access task force sunsets on March 1, according to Blaine Corren's article.
El Dorado Superior Court: Electronic Fax Filing - Administrative Order Re: Local Rule 4.00.09
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)
Author: Angela Grijalva
Just another entrepreneur "Tryin' to make a dollar out of fifteen cent," and making a difference.