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  • Writer's pictureBradley Ball

Understanding the Difference Between an LDA and a Lawyer

Going through a legal process is never an easy task. First, after taking time to consider the legal action that you’re about to take, you must find and decide on a lawyer you want to hire,. When you think about legal fees and the cost of retaining a lawyer, you might decide to either represent yourself in court or at least do most of the legwork yourself.

However, no matter the action, the legal paperwork that should be completed and filed can be measured in tall stacks of paper. So, in those cases where the paperwork is just too much for you, it is up to a Legal Document Assistant (LDA) to step up and assist with guidance, organization, and filling out all necessary legal forms.

Who is a Legal Document Assistant?

A Legal Document Assistant is a professional authorized, licensed, and bonded, to prepare legal documents for a designated client but only at their direction. What this means is that an LDA can assist the client in handling their legal paperwork, usually at fraction of an attorney's price.

Rather than taking the time to read and learn about legal processes and their adequate forms, hiring a Legal Document Assistant will provide worthy assistance with various routine legal tasks, like typing and filing paperwork for divorces, wills, bankruptcies, etc. In other words, an LDA knows exactly which forms need to be filed and how to fill them out properly using the information you provide.

On the other hand, LDAs are forbidden to practice law or represent clients in mediation or court. Thus, you can be sure they will not have suggestions on possible actions related to the case. Although some LDAs may work with a law firm where an attorney is available for advice, for the most part, they will just work on your forms and ensure that they’re properly filed at the courthouse.

Who is a Lawyer?

Conversely, a lawyer, also known as an attorney, counselor, or legal counsel, is a licensed professional with the aim to represent and advise others in legal matters. Every lawyer has two duties: to maintain and defend the law and to protect their client’s rights. For proper coverage of these duties, your lawyer must have a firm grasp of his or her legal specialty and also be a great communicator.

Depending on the state the lawyer is in, specific requirements and standards must be fulfilled. By default, some of the core elements that separate lawyers from LDAs include having graduated from an accredited law school (after obtaining a bachelor’s degree) and passing the state bar exam. Additionally, they undergo a character and fitness review, take an oath, and only then are they eligible to hold a license granted by their state’s supreme court.

Similarities Between an LDA and a Lawyer

LDAs and lawyers may have similar responsibilities, but each professional, as mentioned, has a distinct educational background and training. While both professionals can work on your legal documents, LDAs can provide a thorough result, usually at a lesser cost. As their focus is already set on documents, their attention to detail and legal knowledge will return a higher ROI, plus it will usually be cheaper compared to the lawyer's retainer fee.

Key Difference Between an LDA and a Lawyer

Although Legal Document Assistants are quite familiar with the law and specific legal requirements needed for various court documents, as they aren't attorneys, they are not allowed to offer legal advice to their clients or offer court representation. Their primary focus is working with legal paperwork and answering some questions for their clients.

While LDAs have not completed the intensive schooling needed to become lawyers, obtaining their services will still save time that would be spent on all the necessary paperwork. Plus, you may save thousands of dollars in the process. With the main focus geared toward making your life as a client less stressful, for many occasions, such as mapping out your will, just hiring the LDA can be more than enough.

The Difference is Visible

Overall, for routine paperwork, legal requirements, and relieving your stress, hiring a qualified Legal Document Assistant will provide a cheaper alternative compared to hiring a lawyer. And with a same-day turnaround emergency service available, Monday Morning Trust is ready to be of assistance.

From affordable trust packages to be able to work out details on the phone, Monday Morning Trust is always ready to provide top-quality legal assistance and give you back some of your time. But solving your paperwork is not everything we offer. We can help with drafting your will, a special needs trust, or even a living trust package. All you need to do is provide all your information, and we will guide you every step of the way.

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