Hi, this is Carla Navarro: owner of Legal Form Solution legal document assistants in San Diego California.
If you are watching this video, you are probably curious about the differences between an attorney, a paralegal and a legal document assistant and might be wondering how each one can help you with your legal needs.
Let’s start with who or what an attorney is.
In the United States, someone who graduated from law school, took and passed their state bar exam is a licensed attorney or lawyer. An attorney is the only professional that is allowed to give you legal advice, decide legal strategies and represent you in court. Generally, people hire an attorney for legal advice and representation in a legal matter, and, depending on the case, the attorney will charge a retainer fee, or charge hourly for all the services provided. These attorney fees can add up fairly quickly when a case gets complicated.
A paralegal is someone who is also educated and trained in legal matters and procedures who performs specific work under the supervision of an attorney. As opposed to attorneys, paralegals can’t offer legal advice, represent clients in court, accept new clients or set legal fees. However, a paralegal may offer legal information and explain legal procedures to a general audience. Since the paralegal is traditionally employed by an attorney, their fees are included with the service provided to the client.
A Legal Document Assistant or LDA, is an experienced professional who is trained in legal matters and procedures and is registered and bonded in their county to assist individuals in preparing legal documents. Legal Document Assistants are not attorneys, so they cannot offer legal advice; select the forms or decide what information should go in them; interpret documents; or represent individuals in court.They can help complete, file and serve court forms and help individuals avoid pitfalls and make sure that every important detail is accounted for. LDAs may also supply information written or approved by attorneys to help consumers make an informed decision. LDAs set their own fees and will generally have a flat fee schedule.
If your legal matter requires legal advice or representation in court, then your best bet is to seek legal advice with an attorney.
However, if you know what you want and need guidance on forms and court procedures, hiring a Legal Document Assistant is what you might need.