I get asked this question a lot. No, I am not a paralegal, nor am I a legal assistant (both terms used interchangeably). The reason why is that I am not hired, nor supervised by an attorney. This doesn’t make me any less qualified to complete divorce papers though. As stated by the American Bar Association, a paralegal/legal assistant has to be employed by an attorney or firm, they can not work on their own.
When someone hires me to complete their divorce papers or other legal forms, they are hiring me to basically fill in the blanks correctly with the information they have given me. No matter the state that you live in, there are free divorce forms available for downloading. The downside of these free forms is that they are not already completed for you and you have to be able to understand them to be able to fill them out correctly. That is where I come in. I have you fill out the simple information form on my website and then I can take that information and put it on the divorce forms where it goes and make sure that it is entered correctly.
Is what I do considered practicing law?
No it is not. Though I have been accused of that by attorneys and usually it is because I have taken business away from them. I do not give legal advice and I only fill out the forms according to the information that is given to me. I am strictly a document service, or I could even be considered a typing service. I understand the legal jargon associated with legal documents so I am able to take your information and put it on the divorce forms correctly for you.
If I feel that what a person needs is an attorney, I will let that person know immediately. I am not going to complete documents for someone if they truly do need an attorney.