What is the Difference Between LDAs and a Paralegals?

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    Did you know lawyers aren’t the only legal professionals out there? Whether you’ve been served by surprise or have been working toward the courtroom for some time, the legal paperwork can be complex and confusing. Legal document assistants (LDAs) and paralegals are additional resources you can draw upon to make your legal paperwork a breeze. But how do you know which can help you in your unique situation?

    What Are Paralegals?

    If you’ve watched any type of daytime legal drama on TV within the past ten years, you’ve probably heard the term “paralegal” thrown around. Sounds important, for sure, but these mediums rarely explain a paralegal’s duties accurately or at all.

    The American Bar Association states paralegals are individuals who “perform specifically delegated substantive legal work for which a lawyer is responsible.”  Attorneys take ownership of a paralegal’s work and must supervise paralegals in their duties. In short, paralegals assist attorneys with legal legwork – whether that is preparing legal documents, organizing evidence and arguments for trial, or meeting with clients. In fact, paralegals often do most or all the case work for simple legal matters. These duties, especially as they relate to legal documents, can sometimes overlap with an LDA’s position.

    California has very strict regulations detailing who may be called a paralegal, although the term is quite widespread and LDAs are often confused for paralegals. However similar their duties can sometimes be, though, the entities paralegals serve are often a giveaway for whether someone is an LDA or paralegal. Paralegals work internally for organizations such as law firms, companies, or agencies. They never work with the public in this position.