LEGISLATION AFFECTING THE LEGAL DOCUMENT ASSISTANT PROFESSION
Most of the laws concerning Legal Document Assistants and Paralegals are set forth in California Business and Professions Code: §6400 through 6456, enacted on January 20, 1998 and amended many times thereafter.For your convenience, we’ve linked to the current California codes for you to read. It would be extremely wise for you to read through these codes as they define what is legal and not legal for LDAs.
California Business and Professions Code:
|CHAPTER 4. ATTORNEYS
| Article 7. Unlawful Practice of Law
|CHAPTER 5.5. LEGAL DOCUMENT ASSISTANTS AND UNLAWFUL DETAINER ASSISTANTS
| Article 1. General Provisions
| Article 2. Registration Procedures
| Article 3. Conduct of Business and Prohibited Acts
|CHAPTER 5.6. PARALEGALS
The following listings are Assembly Bills which have helped to create or modify the Business and Professions Codes above. It is not necessary to read them, as the most current law for LDAs, UDAs, and Paralegals is already listed above. But, if you’re interested in seeing how the law has evolved since 1998, then this is a good resource.
- AB 1761 A subset of B&P section §6450 above
- AB 2810 This modifies section §6402 above
- SB 1927 Another change to the B&P code above
- AB 158 A modification to §6406
- AB 1083 A change to §6450-6451 of the code
- AB 1698 – This defines B&P Code §6400 (Chapter 5.5)
Other Legislation Legal Document Assistants should be aware of:
For any LDAs who handle Child Custody or Visitation Orders, the law has recently changed. Please read the new changes to the California Family Code, section 3048. Beginning on July 1, 2003, NEW FORMS will be issued by the Judicial Counsel, meaning you, as an LDA, must update your paperwork.
Where to RegisterSection 6402 of the Business and Professions Code requires that a legal document assistant register in the county in which his or her principal place of business is located (deemed primary registration), and in any other county in which he or she performs acts for which registration is required (deemed secondary registration). Although the term “performs acts” is not defined by the statute, the term has generally been interpreted in practice to mean that registration is required in every county where the legal document assistant has a business presence. Therefore, a legal document assistant would most likely need to register in every county where he or she maintains an office or sees customers, where the work is actually performed, and where advertising is conducted. In the case of internet advertising, a disclaimer should we included which indicates that you will only provide services in the specific counties that you have registered in, or plan to register in. Prosecutors sometimes determine physical presence by looking to see if you do anything which requires you to physically crossover into another county. Therefore, for example, if you only file documents by mail with a court in another county, you mostly likely will not be found to have a physical presence in that county. The above is provided as general information only, and should not be relied upon as legal advice, as it may not apply to your particular factual situation. It is always best to consult an attorney if you are unsure about how the law may apply to you. CALDA’s attorney specializes in issues related to legal document assistant compliance and the unauthorized practice of law, and you should consider engaging his services when designing your business model. He may be contacted at Richard Lubetzky, Esq., 1875 Century Park East, Suite 600, Los Angeles, CA 90067 (310) 407-5350.