Legal Document Assistants
CALDA’s Spring Seminar will be in the beautiful Napa Valley. Our special guest will be Kerry Spence, who is the newest addition to CALDA’s Advisory Council.
Date: Saturday, 4/27/2013
Location: Napa Elks Lodge #832, 2840 Soscal Avenue, Napa, CA 94558
Cost: $80 now. $100 after April 13.
9:00a.m. to 10:30a.m.
Elder Financial Abuse and Estate Planning Practice: Judge Joyce Cram (retired)
ESTATE PLANNING AND FAMILY LAW ISSUES FOR SAME SEX COUPLES: Domestic Partner and Same Sex Couples: BJ Fadem, Esq.
12:15p.m.to 1:15p.m. LUNCH, with Keynote Address
KERRY SPENCE, LDA will present Mindful Connection: A New Vision for the Client/LDA Relationship.
1:15p.m. to 2:30p.m.
FAMILY LAW: Default Judgments: Carla Sprugasci, Santa Clara County Court
2:45p.m. to 3:45p.m.
DEEDS, DEEDS, DEEDS: CALDA President Ian Duncan
More information on the classes is on the registration form: http://www.calda.org/Files/CALDA_2013_NAPA_SEMINAR.pdf
CALDA is working hard to make the 2013 conference unforgettable! We will be offering MCLE approved workshops. This will be your opportunity to explore new subject matters, get up to date information as to what is happening with the legislative concerning our profession. Plus, you will have the opportunity to network with other LDA’s building new relationships, catching up with old friends and sharing your accomplishments and challenges with others who understand your challenges and experiences.
This year we will present a payment plan so that attending the conference will be more accessible for you. This is your avenue to keep up with the latest news and seek out topics you may be considering adding to your business. Take advantage of the opportunity.
Don’t even entertain not coming; it is an investment in your business. So get ready and save the date.
More information coming soon!
Stay connected to the CALDA website at www.calda.org
On Wednesday, March 6, I attended the regular meeting of the State Bar Board of Trustees along with Carol Ludlow and Terri O’Connor from CALDA, and Kerry Spence from CELA (Cost Effective Legal Access). CAPA (California Alliance of Paralegal Associations) was also represented at the meeting. The Bar voted to authorize one of its committees to study the creation of the “Limited License Legal Technician”, which would be authorized to dispense limited forms of legal advice.
I attended in order to represent CALDA and to provide public comment on this proposal. As we already knew would be the case, nothing was actually implemented on Wednesday’s meeting, as the action taken at this meeting was only to authorize the study of this concept. However I believe it’s extremely important that CALDA is represented each and every time the State Bar discusses this proposal. They were actually rather surprised to see us, I’m somewhat tickled to say,and I think that our comments helped set the tone for the discussion and debate that will surely ensue.
As I’ve reported before, you can be assured that CALDA will follow these developments closely and will participate vigorously in the coming proceedings. I have attached a follow-up letter to this email that summarizes the comments I made at the meeting.
LETTER SENT TO PATRICK KELLY – February 2013
President, State Bar of California
Wilson Elser LLP
555 South Flower Street, #2900
Los Angeles, CA 90071
February 1, 2013
I am the President of the California Association of Legal Document Assistants (CALDA), which is a statewide professional association of Legal Document Assistants (LDAs). LDAs have practiced under Business and Professions Code Section 6400 et seq. since the law was enacted in 2000, and their primary mission is to assist a person who is representing himself or herself in a legal matter. This organization was formerly known as CAIP, the California Association of Independent Paralegals.
CALDA’s mission is providing continuing educational opportunities to its members, and advancing access to justice for all Californians. Past CALDA seminars and conferences have featured a number of prominent family law judicial officers, attorneys, and other court staff including Justice Butz, Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District, who is very familiar with and understands the importance of our profession. We also have two bench officers on our advisory board, Judge Juhas (also from the Elkins Implementation Task Force) from Los Angeles County, and Commissioner Vogl from Orange County.
The judicial branch is struggling with massive funding cuts, yet it is also mandated by the court around the Elkins decision to assist self-represented litigants through the maze of family law forms and procedures. LDAs seem especially positioned to assist with this crisis of access. LDAs are trained in the preparation of legal documents, and CALDA members in particular are subject to continuing educational requirements to enhance and update their skills. In particular, CALDA members are required to earn MCLE credits every year on the topic of Unauthorized Practice of Law. In compliance with laws limiting an LDA’s ability to give legal advice to clients, CALDA has created an attorney referral program wherein attorneys are available to facilitate answers to legal question for CALDA member clients. Further, if any such consultation proves the matter to be in need of further attorney participation, the referral can be made at that time.
I would like to begin a dialog with the State Bar regarding working together to further enhance legal access for Californians. Working together, our organizations can look at existing laws and procedures regarding self- represented litigants, how we are currently serving them, and what we can do to better serve them.
In particular, I observed a recent Daily Journal article describing that the State Bar is studying creating a program similar to those recently enacted in Arizona and Washington. This is an especially exciting proposal, as many in our organization believe that changes are needed in existing law in order to modernize the self-help industry and to better protect consumers. As LDAs comprise the workforce, I am very eager to work with the Bar on studying such a concept.
Working in conjunction with the State Bar, I firmly believe that we can create a program for California that enhances legal access for all while protecting the important rights of consumers.
I am eager to speak with you regarding these matters. You may reach me at (510) 452-2320, or at email@example.com.
Ian M. Duncan
President, California Association of Legal Documents
By Elizabeth Fleischer
CALDA Fundraising Chair
The annual conference held at the Hyatt in Sacramento was a great success in the fundraising department!! We had several vendors whose services ranged from Forms software (Bob Kehn From Essential Forms) and bankruptcy counseling (Lisa Greenfield from Consumer Bankruptcy Counseling) to Attorneys (Paula Grohs from Forensicworx) who is now a part of the newly formed Elias Referral Network. And we had Clifford Wiens from Pennbrook Insurance, who provides LDA bonds among other insurance products. They showcased their products and services to all in attendance and were able to make some great contacts. Also at the fundraising table, there were many products for sale that went like hotcakes!! And what a great success that was!!
And that is not all, those items sold among others to be added, will now be put on the CALDA website for sale!! Those in attendance at the conference got first pick, and now our items will be available to those who could not make it to the annual conference this year. Our items will also be showcased at the upcoming Legal Secretaries Incorporated (LSI) conference at our vendor table at their conference.
If anyone has any ideas for vendors and/or other products we could sell for upcoming seminars and conferences, please do not hesitate to contact me.
By Debra I. Hollis
Professional Standards Chairperson
I was lucky enough to be able to attend the annual conference in Sacramento October 19-21. What a great conference! We had Judges, attorneys, Court specialists and fellow CALDA members as speakers. I managed to attend most of the classes while still helping with registration, among other things.
The classes gave us ideas on how to make our business grow. We were told what judgment clerks at the Court look for. We listened to family law from an attorney’s perspective, learned estate planning for domestic partners and so much more.
Marty Omoto was our keynote speaker and he was very enthusiastic and had great ideas to help our profession. Lois Isenberg talked to us about the history of LDAs, which was so interesting. I have always had so much admiration and respect for those who “fought the fight” so that we could have the right to do what we do today, but even more so now after hearing an account of those tough times from Lois. Thank you Lois!
Connie Crockett put together a very moving video honoring Steve Elias, which brought most of us to tears. He and Catherine were missed so very much at the conference this year. It just wasn’t the same without them.
Richard Lubetzky’s class on Sunday morning was certainly eye opening. He had a young lady come speak to us about her battle when she was accused of UPL. Nothing like hearing it first hand to make you come home and review what you do, to be sure that doesn’t happen to you. And who can forget our president, Ian Duncan role-playing with Terri McCracken, one of the attorneys on our advisory board, as well as one of the speakers, about the right and wrong way to talk with our customers. Terri’s portrayal of a customer was hilarious!
Commissioner Oleon, from Alameda County closed our conference with a very entertaining, interesting and helpful class. He spoke at our Spring Seminar this past year in Foster City and we all loved him. After that seminar he graciously offered to come to the conference and speak. We are so grateful for people like him, who are so supportive of LDAs. I know I haven’t mentioned all of the classes or speakers, but they were all INCREDIBLE!
The food at the Hyatt Sacramento was amazing! The staff couldn’t have been nicer. And the rooms were beautiful. Networking with others, putting faces to those we talk to or see on the forum was great! So many fellow board members worked very hard to make sure that the conference came off without a hitch.
I hope after reading this article, everyone will be so excited that we will all start now saving our money, in hopes of attending the next conference, being held October 25-27, 2013. We have already begun the planning. Be sure to keep an eye on our website for information.
This past weekend, CALDA had a great conference, held in Sacramento. Wonderful speakers, good food and networking made the weekend exciting. Our newly installed board is excited about the coming year. Board meetings are open to the membership and have been scheduled for the following dates and locations:
January 19, 2013 in Hayward
April 27, 2013 in Hayward
August 17, 2013 in Ontario
October 24, 2013 (Southern California; exact location to be determined)
To see more pictures, visit our Facebook page.
This year, CALDA offered three scholarships to the annual conference being held in Sacramento in October. As chairperson of the committee to select recipients of those scholarships, I asked Maureen McCready and Carol Ludlow to join me in reviewing all essays submitted.
We received several essays. They were all so well written and a couple of them were very inspiring. Each one was deserving of a scholarship. But alas, we could only choose three. We want to thank each of you who submitted an essay.
It is my pleasure to announce the recipients of this year’s scholarships:
Susan C. Volpe, recipient of the “Thomas F. Manning, Jr.” scholarship
Malaika Best, recipient of the “Kathy Ricci” scholarship
Krystynne Kemp, recipient of the “Catherine Elias” scholarship
Congratulations to each one of you. Be sure to register for the conference. We are looking forward to meeting you there and putting faces to the essays that we read.
See you in Sacramento!
Debra I. Hollis
Professional Standards Chairperson
CALDA Legislative Chair
With the annual CALDA conference just a couple of weeks away I am reminded of the first CALDA conference I attended which took place at Asilomar in 2010. A veteran in the paralegal field, but new to the LDA profession, I was seeking a better understanding of what services an LDA may offer to the public and how to do so without crossing the line of legality. While this is definitely an on-going learning process for me, the availability of information regarding the profession and the level of support in the form of camaraderie and pertinent class content offered was pivotal to my resolve to develop my LDA business. I felt that I had I caught a glimpse of the heart and soul of CALDA, and the opportunity that exists in the profession. Since that first conference I am a believer and have made a commitment to attend every conference and seminar I can reasonably make it to.
One of the members of the Bay Area Chapter recently shared with me the benefits she has enjoyed as a result of attending their monthly chapter meetings. She said that she didn’t know how anyone could succeed in this business without that kind of on-going support. This, because, even though it is not currently a legal requirement for LDAs to provide proof of continuing education to renew our registrations every two years, it is on us to stay abreast of procedure, law and forms changes, and trends relative to how we may offer services to the public. The CALDA annual conference is an excellent means to keep those skills up and to accrue MCLE in the process.
It’s an extraordinary gift to be a part of this community. I am grateful and look forward to a weekend of LDA immersion on October 19 – 21. See you there!
B J Fadem received a B.S. degree in Molecular Biology from San Jose State University and 1 year of Medical School at U.C. Davis. He shifted gears and returned to San Jose SU for a B.S. degree in Administration of Justice. B J attended law school at Golden Gate University School of Law in San Francisco. B J started out as a musician and entertainer, and worked as a certified physician’s assistant, insurance investigator and police officer, to help finance his education. B J began practicing law in California in 1985; working for large and medium law firms. From 1985 until 1991, B J practiced insurance defense litigation, general civil litigation, criminal defense, business litigation, corporate litigation and transactions, family law, estate planning, and real estate litigation. In August of 1991 he formed The Law Offices of B J Fadem & Associates, APC. In 1999 B J was certified by the California State Bar as a Specialist in Family Law. Active in both the Santa Clara County Bar Association and State Bar of California, B J currently holds a position on the Board of Legal Specialization for the State Bar of California as well as chairperson for the Domestic Partners Committee of the Santa Clara County Bar Association. B J is also an active member of the Education Committee, Conference of Delegates, RegionalStanding Committee, Family Law Executive Committee, and Minors’ Counsel Committee of Santa Clara County.