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According to California Business and Professional Code §6400(c)(1), a Legal Document Assistant (LDA) is any person who provides, or assists in providing, or offers to provide, or offers to assist in providing, for compensation, any self-help service to a member of the public who is representing himself or herself in a legal matter, or who holds himself or herself out as someone who offers that service or has that authority. 

SB1418 authorizes an LDA to provide clients with help in the preparation of court papers and legal forms for filing with the California courts. This law authorizes non-lawyers to prepare and file legal documents for people doing their own legal tasks.  

An LDA may distribute to their customers legal materials that have been published or approved by a lawyer, prepare legal documents under the direction of their customers, and file legal documents in the appropriate courts. An LDA is not a lawyer. By law, an LDA cannot give you legal advice or represent you in the courts in any matter. If you need to consult with an attorney, we will be able to provide you with a referral.

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NRS Chapter 240A governs the registration and conduct of persons who provide document preparation services. A document preparation service is not an attorney and therefore cannot give legal advice and cannot represent a client in a legal matter.  The law provides consumers protections and remedies for violations of conduct by a document preparation service.  

A document preparation service is a person who, for compensation and under the direction of a client, provides assistance in certain legal matters and is required to be registered with the Nevada Secretary of State.

The definition includes, without limitation:

Preparing or completing any pleading, application or other document for the client; 

Translating an answer to a question posed in such a document; 

Securing any supporting document, such as a birth certificate, required in connection with the legal matter; 

Submitting a completed document on behalf of the client to a court or administrative agency;

Preparing or assisting in the preparation of all or substantially all of a federal or state tax return or claim for a tax refund, including a tax return preparer who holds a current Annual Filing Season Program Record of Completion issued by the Internal Revenue Service, except an enrolled agent authorized to practice before the Internal Revenue Service is not required to register, unless they also provide other document preparation services that require registration;

A paralegal who performs one or more of the actions described unless the paralegal works under the direction and supervision of an attorney authorized to practice law in this State;

A bankruptcy petition preparer as defined by section 110 of the United States Bankruptcy Code, 11 U.S.C. § 110; or

Any person who holds himself or herself out as a person who provides such services.

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