Who are Legal Document Assistants? (LDA)
Legal Document Assistants were once commonly known as Independent Paralegals. However, as of January 1st, 2000, only those Paralegals working directly for attorneys may now be referred to as Paralegals. Those formerly known as Independent Paralegals are now officially known as Legal Document Assistants (LDAs).
LDAs often have the same educational background as a paralegal and are REQUIRED by law to be registered and bonded in the county in which they have their principal place of business.
• A Legal Document Assistant is NOT a Lawyer.
• By law, they cannot give you legal advice or represent you in the courts in any matter.
• If you need to consult with an attorney, your LDA will be able to provide you with a referral.
• We always suggest that you be sure to ask the LDA you are thinking of retaining if he or she is bonded and registered in their county. This is for your protection.
All LDAs listed on Calda.org are registered and bonded by their counties. If a person is acting as an LDA but is not registered and bonded, then they are operating 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 at the direction of the client. In other words, an LDA is there to assist the "self-help" client handle their own legal matters without the cost of an attorney.
Since even the best legal, self-help books can be confusing and overwhelming, your LDA can provide invaluable assistance with routine legal tasks, such as typing and filing the paperwork for uncontested divorces, bankruptcies, wills, and many other types of documents
Again, because an LDA is forbidden to practice law of any sort, they cannot make suggestions as to what the client needs done for a particular matter, or what forms that the client must file with the state or the other party to the action
Do I need an LDA?
• If you do not know your legal rights in a situation, chances are highly likely that you may need to see an attorney.
• If you already have decided on a course of action, but are uncertain about how to fill out the paperwork, you may need your own personal LDA. If you recently bought a legal self-help book, an LDA may be especially helpful in helping you finish and file your legal paperwork.
What is the advantage of hiring an LDA?
• LDAs provide a low-cost alterative to hiring an attorney for routine paperwork.
• In many cases, one visit will usually be sufficient for you to be able to handle most matters.
• LDAs will provide you with top-quality legal typing assistance.