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The FALDP Docket -- Florida Association of Legal Document Preparers Monthly Newsletter
July 15, 2014
Members & Friends:

Florida Association of Legal Document Preparers

The FALDP Docket

Volume 04; Issue 7
July 2014


Members and Friends


This free newsletter is published every month for the benefit of FALDP members, legal document preparers, and friends.


Announcements


Conference Update

Fifth Annual FALDP Conference ~ Members Only

(If you're not a member yet - there's still time to join.)

Get Set ...

Conference Update - A lot has changed in a month. Since our last newsletter we have engaged not one but two additional guest speakers for this year's conference. Palm Beach Attorney Jennifer Milne will share her insights about - Pro Se Empowerment; The Thing that Keeps Attorneys Up at Night. Ms. Milne who offers unbundled legal services for family law matters has unique perspectives to share. Her participation in our conference promises to entertain, enlighten, and inform. She has graciously offered to provide phone consultations to customers of FALDP members at a discounted rate. Please call or email for details. (Rest assured, there are no referral fees or fee sharing involved).

Last month we announced that we had contacted the Seventh Judicial Circuit Speaker's Bureau to see if there may be a speaker available for our conference. We are thrilled to announce that Judge John Alexander has agreed to speak. Judge Alexander is the Administrative Judge for the Seventh Circuit who oversees all family court judges within the circuit.

Bios of all three guest speakers - Judge John Alexander, Attorney Jennifer Milne, and Author Frank S. Adamo are on our Conference Info Page. The Fifth Annual FALDP Conference will be held this September 13 in Daytona Beach, Florida at the Fountain Beach Resort - DB. Information about our Fifth Annual Conference has been updated. We are continuing to update as plans continue to solidify. Our conference will be held on September 13 in Daytona Beach, at the Fountain Beach Resort. The conference fee is $75. and we are once again offering specials which include the conference fee. Lunch is included at no charge. Accommodations at the resort start at only $49 per night. Once you pay the conference fee or complete the registration form you'll receive the promo code for your discounted accommodation rate. If you don't see the promo code, can't find it, lost it, or forgot it -- call or email - 800-515-0496 - staff@faldp.org.

Conference details are posted on our site as well. We expect to have plenty of space this year so that each attendee can bring a guest. So please bring a prospective member, your spouse, a friend, or a family member. If you can get away and come to Daytona Beach for a few days -- come on! September in Daytona Beach is off season. After Labor Day and before any events, and early enough to still be beach weather.


Conference Agenda


9:00 - Ruth Tick, Director - Introduce the Day; FALDP Mission;
Break
10:00 - Guest Speaker - Frank S. Adamo, author and motivational speaker -“Discover the 3 Top Secrets to Smartly Achieve your Goals,” - followed by discussion
11:00 - Guest Speaker - Circuit Court Judge John Alexander, Seventh Circuit Administrative Judge who oversees family court judge in the Seventh Judicial Circuit ~ "What Florida family law judges want pro se litigants to know."
12:00 - Lunch - provided by FALDP at no charge
1:00 - Ruth Tick - Guided Discussion - "Serving the Under Served -- Finding your Niche in the Marketplace
2:00 - Guest Speaker - Jennifer Milne, Esquire "Pro Se Empowerment ... The Thing That Keeps Attorneys Up at Night"
Break
3:00 - Ruth Tick - A Look Ahead - New Developments, Opportunities, and Courses
4:00 - Awards, Prizes and Giveaways
  • FALDP Trivia
  • Business Card Drawing
  • Who traveled the farthest prize.
  • Member of the year award.

    • Conference Fee $75

      (Conference Fee Only)


      Amazing Summer Specials


      1. Conference fee and membership fee included with any three course bundle or greater. Mix and match the courses you want to take to maximize your savings. Tuition for the three course bundle is $459. with automatic savings on the price for each course. With this Amazing Summer Special - save even more. You save the $75. conference fee + the $75. membership fee and also save on the courses. And, no worries, if you are a current member who has already renewed, we'll refund the membership fee you already paid.

      For more information about the Course Bundles please visit our course bundles page.

      2. Conference fee and membership fee - only $125. This special was originally only offered to new members, but we are extending this special to renewing members as well - for only a little big longer. This special remains available for new members at least until the end of July. Renewing members can take advantage of this offer only through Wednesday, July 16.

      Conference Fee + Membership $125


      High Tech - High Touch


      The Internet of Everything is an eventuality. It's going to happen. Eventually everything will be interconnected via the internet. Our phones, our cars, our entertainment, our social network, our livelihoods -- all online now for many of us. Over time, more and more things will be interconnected via the internet. Most of us have some sort of smart phone, even me now, although I swear my phone is not all that smart. Coming soon, and probably already available are smart refrigerators that tell you when your food is past its use by date, when you need to buy more milk, and how much electricity you're using. Google Glass puts people online all the time, looking through their personal window to the world. Soon we'll have washing machines that automatically purchase soap as needed, and tooth brushes that monitor how you brush. Wireless cities, smart watches, locator chips in our animals, and coming eventually ID chips implanted at birth. We're not there yet, thank goodness!

      I expect that the new ability for pro se litigants to e-file is going to be slow to catch on. I'm not sure that people want to do that, or are going to be very comfortable doing so. I set up an account for myself just to see. I didn't like giving the court my e-mail address and thereby agreeing to accept court documents via email. What if I were locked out of my email account, what if my email account was stolen, what if I forgot to ever check my email, what if my computer died and I had no access. What if?

      An important premise in John Naisbitt's landmark book, "MegaTrends" which was written way back in the 1980's is: as the use of technology increases (high tech); a counter balancing demand for humanness also increases (high touch). Philosophy, yoga, spirituality, religion, organic gardening, recycling, the green movement, politics, home cooking, pleasure, flavor, love, hate, beauty, healing, story telling, listening, dreaming, and empathy. Empathy.

      Empathy is my point. Technology has no empathy. Never will. I believe that the life blood of our business is empathy. We listen. We listen to our customers' stories. No one else will listen. Many times no one has ever listened to their tales of struggling through the court system. It is our humanness that our customers want and need. Many of them could fill out the forms themselves, but they prefer not to. They want to ask someone questions about procedure - the what happens next questions - the where do I file questions - and the how long will it take questions. Yes, we can absolutely write that out, display it on our site, and we do. And we can also have customers complete their information, fill in the blanks on a website and automate the form completion process, quickly, efficiently, with no one on one communication. But then they have no one to ask, and no one who will listen.

      High technology is here to stay, and the possibilities of its uses will ever increase. It is our job to pick and choose which technologies we choose to embrace. Which technologies add value to our lives, and which diminish our humanness.


      E-Filing Webinar on 7/12 - Report

      Pro se litigants can now e-file their cases throughout Florida. This is a new development as of June 21, 2014. On July 12, FALDP hosted a webinar on that subject. We watched the informational video posted on the Pinellas Clerk of Court site, presented a power point, and had a lively discussion. If any member who was not able to attend would like the follow up hand-outs, please contact us and we'll send them.

      We discussed:

    • Legal document preparers may train their customers about how to use the e-filing system.
    • Pro se litigants are not required to e-file. As a service, legal document preparers may want to allow their customers to file from their office so that the ldp can assist; or in situations where the consumer does not have a computer or online access.
    • The system allows someone to file on behalf of another. We do not believe that this means that legal document preparers should file for their customers. The analogy is that even though my car can go 100 mph, doesn't mean I should.
    • Credit card surcharge vs convenience fee. I researched this question after the webinar. It is illegal in Florida to charge a surcharge for using a credit card. But, it is legal to charge a convenience fee. So what's the difference? A surcharge is an extra charge added for using a credit card - period. The charge is added for no reason in particular, just because they can. A convenience fee is when there is an alternate way to pay, and the payor is using a credit card for his own convenience. Since it is not mandatory for pro se litigants to e-file, filing online and using a credit card is a convenience. So the convenience fee is allowed. There is a 3% convenience fee added for credit card payments; and a $3.00 convenience fee added for debit cards.
    • System only accepts pdf files. Do pro se litigants know how to convert to or create documents in pdf? I doubt it. Remember - where there is change, there is opportunity.

      • Reminder ...


        Members Photo Gallery is a work in progress, linked below the google map on the Membership Directory. If your picture isn't there or if you have an updated photo, please send it. A passport style portrait is best, but we can crop if you need us to. Member's photos will be linked to the member's mini-page on our site.

        Don't forget to renew your virtual provider listing ... Virtual Providers is a new page on the left side navigation column. The informational page for virtual providers, (how to become a virtual provider) was receiving so much traffic, we thought we'd better make a separate page for consumers. The Virtual Provider designation is an upgrade to your membership, and only costs $30 per year. Your virtual provider listing appears in 66 of Florida's 67 counties. (We omit Miami-Dade.)


        Members Corner


        We have rebuilt our Members Corner page, and it is now ready for your content. It is password protected, password is members. The tab to reach the Members Corner page is on the right hand navigation bar under Document Preparers Resources. We realize that not all of our newsletter subscribers are members, but we invite document preparers who have not yet joined to participate also. We know some of you just aren't quite ready to jump in and start your own document preparation business. If you need help with a project, research, expertise, etc., this is the place to ask another member. If you offering similar services to other members, likewise this is the place to let others know. If you're looking for extra work, or if you need help - don't suffer in silence, let others know. Please visit our Members Corner page. Post your questions, share your thoughts, offer help, and ask others for the assistance you need. This is your page. In the interests of transparency, our Members Corner is no longer password protected.

        Membership Increase for New Members



        On June 1, 2014, annual membership for new members increased to $75. This change does not affect existing members at all. Earlier this month, we sent out email invoices to all of our members who did not renew early. We have not raised membership fees since we founded the Florida Association of Legal Document Preparers in 2010 -- although our services, site traffic, and resources have increased substantially. Our site is now averaging over 500 hits per day!.


        Turn Key Business Bundles


        Can't find a job? Create one. America was founded by small business owners. Small businesses continue to dominate.

        We now offer three different Turn Key Business bundles. Any of them is still only $499. And each of them offers slightly different business tools.

        Turn Key Classic
        The Turn Key Class is our tried and true bundle of business services and products to help you get started in your own document preparation business. This business bundle is a great fit for document preparers with limited experience who need help with business basics, training, and a professional website.
        Turn Key Basic

        The Turn Key Basic Bundle is geared towards document preparers who have some document preparation experience as a paralegal or academic training. The Basic Bundle focuses on the business side of document preparation.
        Turn Key Pro

        The Turn Key Pro Business bundle helps you take your business to the next level. We include two courses so that document preparers can expand services and create new income streams.

        staff@faldp.org or 800-515-0496


        Ask the Members


        We invite members, document preparers, and friends to answer the questions posted on our "Ask the Members" page. Please answer the question in a way that might provide valuable information to whomever is looking for similar information. Include a source for your information, such as a case or statute. Make sure that your answers are more than one line. A paragraph of at least three sentences is good. And, members are invited to include their contact information and website. If you have answered questions that were never posted, it may be because your answer was too short or did not include a source for your information.

        Asked and Answered


        We are in the process of creating a series of Asked and Answered pages which organize the consumer questions and answers by topic. There are hundreds of questions which have been asked and answered in the past four years, and this is our attempt to make the information more accessible for consumers. Too much information or disorganized information is almost as bad as no information.

        Member's Announcements & Contributions


        We accept member's announcements and appreciate your contributions. If you have an announcement about your business, an expansion of services, moving your offices, or winning awards, please send us the information and we'll include it in our newsletter. Your announcement needs to be pertinent to your business, we are unable to include announcements about other trade associations, clubs or groups.

        If you would like to write an article, editorial, opinion piece, or web page please let us know. We are always in need of fresh information and insights.


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        FALDP Contact Information:
        Main number – (941)237-0951
        Toll free - (800)515-0496
        Email – staff@faldp.org

        PLEASE LINK YOUR SITE TO WWW.FALDP.ORG
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