What is the Difference Between a California Divorce Paralegal and a Legal Document Assistant?
It is easy for people outside the legal profession to confuse the roles of paralegals and legal document assistants. To make matters even more confusing, paralegals sometimes describe themselves as “legal assistants,” which is somewhat misleading. Most California divorce paralegals and some legal secretaries hold certificates in paralegal studies, which means that they have considerable knowledge of legal matters. Their education allows them them to work for a law firm and assist lawyers. One of their duties is preparing legal documents in less complex cases, such as relatively amicable divorces among couples of modest means. Under California law, a California divorce paralegal can only prepare legal documents in the context of their employment at the law firm. In other words, you cannot hire a California divorce paralegal; you must hire the divorce attorney. Even if the task is simple enough that the paralegal does not need any help from the lawyer, the lawyer must at least read the document before giving it to the client. That means that you pay for the time the lawyer spent reading and approving the document, plus the time the paralegal spent writing it.
In order to make routine legal processes more affordable and to make it easier for people to represent themselves in various legal processes, the State of California passed California State Senate Bill SB1761, which created the profession of legal document assistant. Legal document assistants are also required to meet strict educational requirements just like a paralegal. However, unlike California divorce paralegals, legal document assistants do not work for law firms and are able to be directly hired by the consumer. Their job is to prepare court documents for people who do not have lawyers and do not want to hire lawyers. Therefore, the prices legal document assistants charge are much lower than the rates charged b law firms for their California divorce paralegals.
Have a Legal Document Assistant, Not a California Divorce Paralegal, Prepare Your Divorce Documents
A non-attorney legal document assistant is just what you need for your divorce case. As mentioned above, if you ever did directly hire a California divorce paralegal, the paralegal would be in violation of California law and subject to prosecution by the District Attorney’s office. On the other hand, you can legally hire a divorce legal document assistant for inexpensive help with your divorce documentation. Contact A People’s Choice to avoid paying a lawyer for a paralegal’s work. Call us today at 800-747-2780.
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