What's the Difference between an LDA or Paralegal?

There are even some attorneys who don't know what Legal Document Assistants are, and finding out can keep you informed on which one can assist you in your divorce.

By Michael J. Rojas Jr.
December 30, 2012
CA FAQ/Divorce Process

I was in court today and I was talking with an attorney who did not know what an LDA was. In fact, most people do not know the difference between a legal document assistant or paralegal. Many clients need to have the main difference between the two explained to them. The distinction is simple: only a legal document assistant can work directly for you, the consumer. He or she must have a current bond and be registered with the county in where they work. Legal document assistants can help you with an array of litigation support.

A paralegal, on the other hand, also known as a legal assistant, is a professional who is qualified by education, and or training, to assist lawyers in providing legal services or litigation support. In California, paralegals are regulated by California Business and Professions Code section 6450. The law prohibits a paralegal from working independently for consumers. Instead, a paralegal must be employed by or have a contract with an attorney.


  • Cannot set or accept fees from a consumer
  • Cannot independently prepare documents for consumers
  • Cannot represent you in court
  • Cannot give you legal advice
  • Cannot work as LDAs unless meeting the requirements of being bonded and registered

Legal Document Assistants:

  • Cannot represent you in court
  • Cannot give you legal advice

Legal Document Assistants CAN:

  • Help Pro Per Litigants
  • Assist clients representing themselves
  • Prepare File and Serve Motions
  • Litigation Support
  • Legal Research

Michael J. Rojas Jr. is a Los Angeles Paralegal with over 13 years experience as a litigation paralegal. He is the founder of Los Angeles Legales.

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December 30, 2012
Categories:  FAQs

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