LDA vs Paralegal

Paralegal verses Legal Document Assistant (LDA)

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When filing for divorce in San Jose, should you chose a paralegal or an LDA to prepare your paperwork and how do you even know the difference. The word paralegal sounds so official so a lot of people think “paralegal” when they look for an alternative for their divorce in San Jose and the Bay Area.

What’s the difference between a Paralegal and a Legal Document Assistant (LDA)?

A Paralegal either contracts with or is employed by an attorney, law firm, corporation, governmental agency, or other entity, and performs substantial legal work under the direction and supervision of an active member of the State Bar of California.

A Legal Document Assistant (LDA) is someone who is authorized to prepare legal documents for a client, at the direction of the client. In other words, an LDA is there to assist the client with handling their legal paperwork without the cost of an attorney.  LDA’s cannot give legal advice or represent someone in court.

LDAs often have the same educational background as a paralegal but in addition they are REQUIRED by law to be registered and bonded in the county in which they have their principal place of business.  Some LDA’s are also Paralegals and vice versa, but only if they meet the requirements of both professions.

Who should I use to help prepare my legal documents for my divorce in San Jose?

While an LDA cannot legally advise clients, they can be a very valuable resource for your legal matter.  Most legal forms are very confusing and if filled out incorrectly these forms can delay your case.  If you find an LDA who is professional and has the experience, they can help you avoid these mistakes and make sure that every detail on a form is accounted for. We have had countless clients tell us that trying to do the paperwork on their own, without the assistance of a service like ours, put them back months and ended up costing them more in the long run than had they just come to us from the beginning.

A paralegal cannot work under the direction of a client and a paralegal is not registered and bonded.

Find the professionals!

The LDA’s in our office located in San Jose CA are also paralegals.  Over the past years, they have both worked under the direction of an attorney in addition to working at the direction of our clients.  We feel that this makes our team very well rounded with regard to their experience and level of professionalism.  And again while we cannot legally advise, we are very experienced with document preparation in the areas of family law and divorce in San Jose and other local counties.

A paralegal alone (meaning they are not an LDA as well) is prohibited from performing services for members of the public (non-attorneys).