• imperfections of the california legal system

The Imperfections of the California Legal System

If you are reading this article you probably have had, at one point, to deal with the California legal system. Your experience might have been very brief, or may have taken years. You may have had a very positive experience or, on the other hand, may have been frustrated and annoyed with the judicial process you had to struggle through. Unfortunately there are imperfections with our California legal system. Read on for some important tips that will help you learn ways to successfully navigate the California legal system and keep your sanity.

Having worked in the legal field for over 36 years, I have seen it all. For this reason, I suppose I have become somewhat “accepting” of the daily imperfections we face with our legal system. Usually at least once a day, one of our staff members has to deal with the aftermath of an imperfect court system or incompetent or sloppy court clerk. Unfortunately, our office often receives the brunt of the client’s frustration when these imperfections affect their case.

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“I used A People’s Choice choice for an adoption, which was well worth the money! A People’s Choice responded to emails and questions right away. I noticed there were a few typos on 2 documents they sent over and when I brought it to their attention, they were fixed in a matter of minutes. If you’re on the fence about choosing them for your legal needs, please do, you won’t be disappointed! ” Erica P.
“A People’s Choice helped us throughout our entire year-long probate making the process very easy and manageable while at the same time saving us thousands of dollars in lawyer’s fees. Not only were they extremely friendly and fast to respond to our questions but they made the process simple enough that we hardly ever had to contact the courthouse directly and we even had a hearing done without an appearance. Would highly recommend A People’s Choice to anyone!”Alexi V.
“Divorce is usually never pleasant but A People’s Choice made it much easier than it would have been if we tried to do the divorce paperwork on our own. Their staff was very quick to respond to us and they always took the time to answer all of our questions thoroughly, in addition to quickly. I would highly recommend them for handling divorce paperwork.” Susan Z.
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So Many Stories…

Having worked in the California legal system for such a long time, we could share countless crazy, unbelievable stories that make our job difficult and frustrating on a regular basis.  Clerks have returned documents to us requesting “missing paperwork” that is right there in front of their eyes. Clerks have rejected documents based on some obscure reason, our office complies with their request, and then they reject them a second time because they want them revised back to the way they were originally presented! Courts have set hearings too early (even though we asked them not to) so there is not enough time to comply with statutory deadlines of service and/or publication.  Courts have lost documents or take months to process documentation because they are short-staffed and under funded. On several occasions we have even had the court clerk stamp the wrong case number on filed documents that were returned to us! (You can imagine the problems caused when the documents had already been sent out for service to the other party.)  All of these things, when they happen, are beyond our control yet make miserable days for our staff when we have to deal with them.  Worst yet is trying to explain these bumps in the road to our clients.

If you find yourself dealing with courts in our California legal system, we hope you will understand that this system is far from perfect. Unfortunately it is the only system we have, and honestly, it is better than most other states! With our California legal system, be aware that every court process has multiple working parts to it. The more hands involved in the process, the more opportunity for problems. If you expect “perfection”, you will only be extremely disappointment and frustrated. Undoubtedly, if there is a “blip” in any of the steps in your legal process, it often will have a cascading effect on other parts of the process. So how do you get through the California legal system without going crazy?

Saving money

If you are using the services of a professional legal document assistant such as A People’s Choice (rather than paying the higher cost of an attorney) be grateful for the amount of money you are saving! If you can focus on the positive, you may be able to generate a strong enough feeling of appreciation to override your feelings of frustration when there is a “hang-up” in the process.

Take Responsibility to Help

Be willing to help if there is a problem in the process. Whether you are dealing with a hired attorney or using the service of a legal document assistant, you can have a positive influence and impact on your case. When a client is dealing with a delay caused by someone outside our office and directly involved in their case, I often tell them “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.” For example, calling the court and bugging the clerk every day on the phone will usually get them to be a bit more proactive in getting the problem resolved.

Be Understanding

Don’t bite off the head of those that are trying to help. When a client hires our services, we become an advocate for the result they are trying to achieve. As a service business, we are truly trying to help you! Keep this in mind when communicating your thoughts and concerns. A positive tone in communication often goes much father than a negative tone. As the founder of A People’s Choice, I can guarantee each staff member gives 110% to every client we serve. If  we hit a “blip” in the road in your case, it can usually be resolved if both sides work together in a positive way.

No One is Perfect

Typographical errors can often be overlooked when creating legal documents. Remember, we are not perfect, nor do we profess to be. You would be surprised at some of the typographical errors we have seen on paperwork prepared by attorneys! For this reason, we always encourage clients to review any paperwork we have prepared, believing that a fresh pair of eyes always helps to catch inadvertent errors. Since legal paperwork is very detailed, there are many opportunities for typographical errors (even on the client’s end during the online interview process which we try to catch too). Accordingly, we have several procedures in place to try to reduce and eliminate typographical errors with documents we prepare. Everyone, however, is subject to making mistakes. The good news is that even in the legal world, most mistakes can be easily corrected.

Conscientious Awareness

Our brains are wired to remember negative things more strongly and in more detail. In addition, the memory of bad events wear off more slowly than good ones. How often have you had a positive experience with a business but never shared it with others? On the flip side, how often have you had a negative experience and shared it with everyone! Therefore, just knowing the pitfalls in the California legal system can help our clients be better psychologically equipped to handle the bumps in the road that might occur in their case. Expecting everything to be perfect all the time will quickly result in disappointment. As sophisticated as our lives are, there is always room for error. Having a healthy and realistic perspective that mistakes can and will happen can keep us from the brink of becoming an unsympathetic and cold society.

A People’s Choice offers low-cost, non-attorney legal document preparation services. We have worked within the California legal system for over 36 years, helping consumers navigate simple to complex legal processes. With our extensive experience, we offer document preparation for most common legal procedures at a fraction of the cost an attorney would charge. Our experienced and helpful staff is here to assist you with your needs and can be reached at 800-747-2780 or contacted through our website.

Get help with your Legal documents today!

A People’s Choice can save you hundreds of dollars by preparing your legal documents instead of an expensive attorney!

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By |2018-01-18T15:46:01+00:00November 25th, 2017|California Courts, Miscellaneous|0 Comments

About the Author:

Sandra M. McCarthy, founder of A People’s Choice Inc., has worked exclusively in the legal field since 1976. She served as the 2004-2005 President of CALDA (California Association of Legal Document Assistants). She obtained a Paralegal Certificate from the University of California, Santa Barbara. During her career in the legal field, she has worked as a freelance paralegal, law office manager and paralegal studies teacher, and has co-authored numerous legal publications and written hundreds of self-help legal articles. As a registered Legal Document Assistant, Sandy is dedicated to providing affordable, low-cost, self-help document preparation services for California consumers in all 58 counties.

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