Thursday, February 5, 2009

How to Register as a California Legal Document Assistant (LDA)

ALDAP is regularly contacted by paralegals who wish to become legal document assistants. After many of these calls and several hours of explanations, I thought it prudent to publish the frequently requested information so it is readily available to everyone. The following information is current as of the date of publication. However, it is always sensible to contact your local County Clerk to determine if there are any additional requirements for registration as an LDA.


HOW TO OBTAIN REGISTRATION AS A CALIFORNIA LEGAL DOCUMENT ASSISTANT

  1. Locate and memorize in its entirety California Business and Professions Code sections 6400-6415. Understanding and compliance with the laws governing LDAs is of the foremost import in creating your business practices model.
  2. Determine the appropriate form of business entity for your practice.
  3. Review the County Clerk’s website for LDA information and processes for your particular county(ies). Obtain the appropriate application for registration as a California LDA – (Corporation, Partnership, or Individual).
  4. Contact an insurance company that offers LDA bonds. Complete the application process and obtain your original bond. Only one bond is required. You do not need to obtain an additional bond to register in additional counties (“secondary registration”).
  5. Deliver in person to the Office of the County Clerk the following items: ID photo (as directed), completed LDA registration application, original bond, education credentials, including paralegal certificate, and required fees for application and fees for recording of the bond. (I also brought a copy of the B & P Code section 6400, et seq. and I was certainly glad I did. When I first registered, LDA registration was not a common occurrence for the clerks. The clerk was confused and I was saved a second visit by bringing my own resource.)

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

All of the LDA's I spoke with offer help in multiple counties, but California Business and Professions Code § 6400(f) states they can only provide assistance in the county they are registered in.

I have also seen work by a few LDA's who do not put their information and registration number on a client's paperwork.

Who would we report these LDA's to when they violate of the rules governing their work?

Suzanne Ervine said...

Actually, § 6400(f) requires secondary registration “in any other county in which he or she performs acts…” I would urge all LDAs to take a close look at where they are “performing acts,” and whether those acts are being performed in such a way that might trigger the requirement of secondary registration in any particular county.

At this time, there is no state agency or governing body charged with regulating the activities of LDAs, like there is with other professions. Violations are investigated or prosecuted by district attorneys on a county-by-county basis.