What is a Legal Document Assistant?
An LDA is an experienced professional who is authorized under California law to prepare documents for those who choose to represent themselves and prepare their own legal documents. A registered and bonded LDA is specifically authorized to provide legal information, resources and document preparation services to any consumer who is handling his or her own legal matter. An LDA is not an attorney, and cannot offer legal advice or represent a client in court. What an LDA can do is play a critical role in our judicial system, enabling individuals to represent themselves in their own legal matters by ensuring that their paperwork is prepared properly, filed and served consistent with California law and Local Rules of Court.
For the consumer's protection, LDA's are required by law to be registered and to file a bond in the amount of $25,000 in the county where they have their principal place of business. Our LDA's are bonded and registered in both Solano County and Napa County, in accordance with the California Business and Professions Code.
Many LDAs have a paralegal background, and some provide paralegal services to attorneys while also providing LDA services directly to members of the public.
What is a Paralegal?
Legal Document Assistants are sometimes incorrectly referred to as “independent paralegals.” California law restricts the term “paralegal” to those who are employed by an attorney.
Paralegal services may only be provided to a licensed attorney who directs the work and compensates the paralegal; and it is illegal for a paralegal to advertise to the general public, or to provide services and accept compensation from anyone who is not an active member of the California State Bar.
Unlike LDAs, paralegals are not required to be registered or licensed by any governmental authority, and do not post a bond for the consumer’s protection (because they are not permitted to work for consumers).