Working with an LDA

A Legal Document Assistant, commonly referred to as an LDA, is a legal professional who assists self-represented client to prepare legal documents at the client’s specific direction.


Galen R. Hammond (LDA Reg. #372, Los Angeles County, California, Expires 9/19/2024), has been a Legal Document Assistant since 2008, providing an affordable alternative to expensive lawyers’ fees for straight-forward legal document preparation. Graduating with Highest Honors, Galen received his Associate of Arts Degree from Cerritos Community College Paralegal Program (an American Bar Association-approved paralegal program) in May 2006. He is also a California Notary Public, and is a member in good standing and former Director of CALDA (California Association of Legal Document Assistants).

“I am not an attorney. I can only provide self-help services at your specific direction.”

What is a Legal Document Assistant (LDA)?

Formerly known as independent paralegals, Legal Document Assistants (LDAs) are not lawyers; they are non-lawyers who are licensed to assist self-help litigants with the prepara­tion of legal documents.

    How to Work with a Legal Document Assistant (LDA)?

    Collaborating with an LDA requires understanding that the legal system is a complex process that requires patience. The Legal Document Assistant helps clients as they navigate the process set by the courts for their case.

    1. Clients provide instructions for their filing needs and what information they need to be included.
    2.  The LDA will create a draft then present the draft documents for review.
    3. Clients correct or approve the draft.
    4. After the LDA has made the final revisions if any, the client signs.
    5. The printed document is submitted to the court for filing. 
    6. In many cases, there are additional costs (such as, court filing fees, recorder fees, newspaper publication fees, etc.) which the client will be responsible for paying directly to the third parties.
    The best way to use LDA services is in conjunction with legal advice from a limited scope lawyer, a consulting attorney, or with the guidance of the court’s own self-help services. In addition, most LDA’s have access to legal information that has been written or approved by an attorney…Be sure to ask your LDA for more information!

    What Types of Services Legal Document Assistants (LDAs) Cannot Perform?

    Legal Document Assistants (LDAs) are not able to represent clients in court, cannot offer legal advice, and cannot select legal forms. Only attorneys can give legal advice.

    As such, we will not and cannot engage in any practice of law. Thus, we cannot offer any kind of advice, explanation, opinions, or recommendations regarding the choice of forms.

    It can be difficult for clients to determine what legal advice is, which leads them to ask legal questions without fully comprehending their implications, thus potentially placing the LDA in a legally compromising situation.

      Legal Questions Typically Include the Following:

      • What you should do?
      • What options do you have?
      • If a certain law or procedure is applicable to your case;
      • What is legally required of you?
      • What are the other party’s legal obligations?
      • Any explanation of your rights or the law

      These topics must be discussed with an attorney.