In this post, we describe, “What is the difference between a paralegal, and registered and bonded Legal Document assistant”.
Since the late 1970’s, paralegals, formerly known as Independent Paralegals, have played a vital role in the legal industry by providing legal services to others.
Around the year 2000, a law was passed (codified in BPC 6400, et seq.) that allowed paralegals to provide services directly to the public, for compensation for filling out documents, in a ministerial manner.
In 2003, a new law (BP.C. 6450, et seq.) was passed that said that only paralegals who worked under the supervision of an attorney were allowed to use the term “Paralegal”.
A registered and legal document assistant is authorized to prepare legal forms for customers, for compensation, as long as they are only filling out the forms with the information provided by the customer.
The legal document assistant cannot provide legal advice or select the forms to be used in a process or proceeding.
Each LDA is registered with the county where they do business, and has filed a bond.
The main difference between paralegals and legal document assistants are that LDAs are business-minded people that interact directly with the customer, without attorney supervision, and can file documents with the court.
Both the paralegal and the LDA need to meet certain number of MCLE requirements.