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The monthly edition of the FALDP Docket comes to your email box every month, mid-month. We fill it with news that affects Florida legal document preparers; form changes and updates; announcements; and special features. Members can submit announcements to be published in the next edition. There is no charge for our newsletter, and we invite pro se litigants, document preparers who have not yet joined, and any interested party to subscribe.
We have published this newsletter since May 2010, you can find back issues in our archives.
At some point, many people through choice or necessity realize they must represent themselves in a legal matter. Whether the realization is based on finances or personality, individuals who decide to represent themselves, may also need help with preparing the necessary forms; legal information; and navigating the court process. Consumers often find that legal document preparation, in which they can successfully help themselves.
Ideally, the individual has researched the issue at hand, whether he is pursuing his rights; defending himself against another’s claim; or dealing with a family law issue. Consumers who find that they can handle their own legal matters, are likely to feel empowered and in control. Although the services of a legal document preparer are not a complete substitute for an attorney, sometimes that is all a consumer needs to assert his rights.
Low Income - One group is made up of individuals who do not have the money to hire an attorney, and would be completely shut out of the legal system if they do not handle their dispute themselves.
These individuals are often surprised and delighted to discover that a single readily available form may waive filing fees in their civil action.
Sophisticated Consumers - The second group is made up of more sophisticated consumers who know their legal rights; have the finances to pay an attorney; but choose to handle their own affairs.
Many individuals in the second group have often spent large sums on their legal matters in the past, and have come to the conclusion that they may not have received the benefit of money spent.
Moderate Income - A third group, often overlooked, falls in between. These are individuals who are ready and willing to prepare their own documents, or have them prepared by someone, but may also need legal advice.
This group may not be able to easily afford attorney’s fees, but also do not qualify for Legal Aid or indigent status.
Legal document preparers assist self-represented consumers - pro se litigants - by preparing documents for court filing. Document preparers are prohibited from offering legal advice or representing a consumer in court. Membership in our association - The Florida Association of Legal Document Preparers - includes retired attorneys, attorneys from other states and countries who are not Florida Bar Members, document preparers with experience or academic training or credentials, and document preparers with experience working under the supervision of an attorney. Florida legal document preparers do not refer to themselves as paralegals because, by definition, a paralegal works under the supervision of an attorney, and document preparers do not.
We, the members of the Florida Association of Legal Document Preparers, deeply believe that it is the right of all American consumers to have access to the legal system, regardless of income or education. It is our mission to deliver well researched legal information to consumers.
The FALDP mission embodies our quest and our goals. We offer legal information; and document preparation assistance. We hope that by educating consumers about their legal rights -- we will have done our part to give others hope.
The FALDP mission is a journey. We have only begun, there is much to do. We hope that the confidence gained through education and knowledge will empower consumers, so they may have a fighting chance to enforce or pursue their rights in a court of law.