Santa Clarita Legal Help
As a general matter, only an attorney or lawyer may give specific legal advice, whereas any non-lawyer may recite basic legal information. In fact, any non-lawyer may give advice about any general legal matter – again – so long as it is not specific to the present needs of the recipient. This is known as basic legal information. Let’s be clear with the previous statement, since it has been interpreted this way for decades:
Jane is involved in a lawsuit and is representing herself because she cannot afford a lawyer. Jane asks her friend Joe for advice concerning her legal matter. Joe, wanting to help his friend Jane, offers his own spin on the legal matter that is troubling Jane, based on Joe’s understanding of the issues. Jane, believing Joe to be a smart, logical person, relies on Joe’s comments, suggestions, and beliefs and applies them in her lawsuit. Jane subsequently finds out sometime later that Joe’s comments, suggestions and beliefs were wrong and the other party in her lawsuit wins. Does Jane have a cause of action against Joe for practicing law without a license? While it is illegal for a non-lawyer or unlicensed attorney to offer legal advice or otherwise represent someone other than himself or herself in a court of law, do the comments, suggestions, or beliefs of one person constitute “advice” or “opinion” to the other person relying on that basic legal information?
That’s where legal document assistants step in to assist the public with their ever-growing legal needs. Legal document assistants can provide the following services to the public on a daily basis as follows:
(1) Completing legal documents in a ministerial manner, selected by a person who is representing himself or herself in a legal matter, by typing or otherwise completing the documents at the person’s specific direction.
(2) Providing general published factual information that has been written or approved by an attorney, pertaining to legal procedures, rights, or obligations to a person who is representing himself or herself in a legal matter, to assist the person in representing himself or herself. This service in and of itself, shall not require registration as a legal document assistant.
(3) Making published legal documents available to a person who is representing himself or herself in a legal matter.
(4) Filing and serving legal forms and documents at the specific direction of a person who is representing himself or herself in a legal matter.
(See Business & Professions Code § 6400(d).)