Saturday, August 29, 2009

AB590 - Suggested Revisions

ALDAP has been working with the drafters of AB590 to modify the language of the proposed legislation, for the protection of all self-help legal service providers and the clients we serve.

Regardless of whether those services are provided by a legal document assistant (LDA), unlawful detainer assistant (UDA), attorney, governmental employee, or other individual who is exempt from the LDA registration requirements contained in Business & Professions Code section 6401, ALDAP believes all self-help services that are lawfully performed pursuant to Business and Professions Code section 6400 et seq. should be fully protected under the new legislation.

A copy of ALDAP's correspondence follows:

August 28, 2009

Kevin Baker
Deputy Chief Counsel
Assembly Committee on JudiciaryState of California
1020 N Street, Room 104
Sacramento, California 95814

Re: Recommended revision to AB 590

Dear Mr. Baker:

ALDAP appreciates your quick response to our August 26, 2009 correspondence, wherein we requested that AB 590 be modified to contain exclusionary language pertaining to self-help legal service providers. Your call, made on behalf of the Judiciary Committee to our association, proves that there are legislators who listen to their constituents, and for that we are extremely appreciative.

You advised me that you would be rewriting the provisions of the proposed Business and Professions Code sections 6159.52(b) and 6159.52(c), concerning the provision of legal forms and self-help services, over the weekend and that you would provide proposed amended language for review Monday.

We are in receipt of an email from the California Association of Legal Document Assistants that advises of suggested language apparently sent to you as follows:

“This chapter does not apply to a Legal Document Assistant or Unlawful Detainer Assistant as defined in Section 6400.”

It is our understanding that this language was drafted by Richard Lubetzky, CALDA’s pro bono counsel. Unfortunately, Mr. Lubetzky ‘s recommendation fails to include those otherwise exempt from 6400, and is limiting to those who lawfully provide self-help services as described in Business and Professions Code section 6400(d), but who are exempt from the registration and bonding requirements contained in the remainder of that chapter of the Code.

These exempt individuals are identified in section 6401, and include governmental employees, attorneys, immigration consultants, real estate brokers, and other professionals who provide self-help services to consumers.

ALDAP therefore requests that the language be amended to exclude all self help legal service providers who lawfully perform services pursuant to Business and Professions Code section 6400 et seq., including attorneys providing limited scope representation and governmental employees otherwise exempt from 6400, but who provide self help services. We believe this to be in the best interests of consumers and the judicial system, rather than simply carving out an exception solely for LDAs and UDAs, which could undermine the ability of attorneys to offer limited scope services or for other professionals to effectively assist their clients.

On behalf of ALDAP’s membership, and indeed the entire LDA profession, I thank you and Assemblyman Feuer for your efforts. I look forward to reading the revised language of AB 590, and would like to again extend my offer to assist your efforts to improve consumer protection and access to justice for all. I am looking forward to attending Friday’s session and meeting you.

Very truly yours,

Kathleen Mountjoy, LDA

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