If you are contemplating starting to provide services to the public , you may be required to register as a Legal Document Assistant, per Business & Professions (“B&P”) Code section 6400, et seq, if the services are legal in nature.
Specifically, the following persons should register as a Legal Document Assistant:
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“. B&P section 6400(c)(1).
What types of services constitute “Self-Help Service”? (B&P Code section 6400(d)(1 through 4)):
(1) “Completing legal documents”
(2) “providing published factual information that has been written or approved by an attorney, pertaining to legal procedures . . . to assist the person in representing himself or herself. This service in and of itself, shall not require registration as a legal document assistant.
(3) “making published legal documents available to a” consumer.(4) “Filing and serving legal forms and documents”
What are some of the basic qualifications to register?
Per the Business & Professions Code, individuals with a paralegal background certificate/paralegal education working with the general public, who are representing themselves in legal matters, need to register. However, you do not have to register if you are merely providing secretarial services, or those exempted under B&P Code section 6401, et seq. Read section 6401 for a complete list of exempted persons (such as a government employee, attorney, etc.).
However, as B&P section 6401.5 states:
“This chapter does not sanction, authorize, or encourage the practice of law by nonlawyers. Registration under this chapter, or an exemption from registration, does not immunize any person from prosecution or liability pursuant to Section 6125, 6126, 6126.5, or 6127.” (UPL – Unauthorized Practice of Law).
See section B&P Code section 6415, which details the consequences for a “person who engages in acts of a [LDA] or unlawful detainer assistant, to comply with any of the requirements . . .”
Note: This blog is for informational purposes only, it is not to be construed as giving legal advice. Please seek the advice of an attorney to determine if your specific situation requires that you register as an LDA.