The FALDP Docket
Volume 1; Issue 1
Welcome to all new members. We are all new members because this is a brand new trade association. Many of you may have felt the need for our association for a long time, others may never have considered the idea. Ken Diaz and I formed The Florida Association of Legal Document Preparers, because we both felt the overwhelming need for a trade group designed just for us. There are three main reasons we formed this group.
WELCOME WELCOME WELCOME WELCOME
One of the reasons for forming this Association, is that there is strength in numbers. I have personally been the subject of an investigation by the Florida Bar Association for the Unlicensed Practice of Law. There was not a complaint from a consumer claiming that I had done something wrong. No, instead, the Florida Bar Association targeted my ad on Craigslist, where I had made the mistake of referring to myself as an “Independent Paralegal”. I promised the Bar Association that I would never call myself a paralegal again, and I don’t.
The next reason for forming FALDP is that many of us work alone. We feel that it is helpful for all of us to interact with our colleagues. Sharing information and learning from each other can only help each of us grow professionally. Most legal document preparers are self taught, but even with formal education, we are constantly learning. My academic background is a BA in Legal Studies, and an MS in Criminal Justice, both from UCF. But even with that formal legal education I am always researching updates, procedures, and law changes.
The third reason for forming FALDP is to promote our professional credibility in the marketplace. We want consumers to know that we are dedicated and knowledgeable professionals. We want consumers to know that we care about their access to the legal system, and that we are here to help. We want the Florida Bar Association to know that we are here to stay, and really, truly, and honestly, believe in consumers’ right to enter the legal system, and handle their legal matters themselves.
In Florida you may not refer to yourself as a paralegal, or advertise your services as paralegal services, unless you are under the direct supervision of an attorney. If you are reading this, and you do work directly under the supervision of an attorney, this is not the right trade group for you. Even if you have completed a course of study to become a paralegal you still may not use the term, unless you are working under the direct supervision of an attorney.
YOU ARE NOT A PARALEGAL
So, members, those of you who continue to use the term in your advertising or in your business or website name -- please take it out. This is for your own protection and education. Remember in the FALDP Pledge which you agreed to when you applied for membership, it states that you agree not to use the term paralegal. The Florida Bar owns that term. Use of it in your advertising or elsewhere is a red flag in front of a bull. Learn from my mistake.
...to the First Annual FALDP Convention and Seminar!
October 8, 9, 10
Daytona Beach, Florida
We’re planning to have educational seminars, hands on workshops, and Guest speakers!
Admission for all events is only $100. per member.
10% discount for pre-registration by August 23.
Members are invited to bring along a guest at no extra charge.
We will be holding this event in one of the many
Daytona Beach beachfront hotels.
More convention and seminar details to follow. Look for more
information in your email box and on our site.
Referral database for Premium Members
- upgrade to Premium Membership and receive referrals from our site. Referrals will be based on your areas of expertise and geographic location if the customer needs an in person consultation.
Subject Matter Experts
- distinguish yourself as a subject matter expert by writing articles for our site. You can link back to your own site, retain copyright, and display your byline.
Pro Se Guides and E-Books
- for sale on our site. Soon we will be offering downloadable e-books to help you in your business. We are currently developing several titles that are suitable for both consumers and legal document preparers. We will also be offering an affiliate program for you to sell these e-books on your site and earn a commission.
We want to hear from you. We want to know what you think about any of the issues we’ve posted on our site; and any other issue relevant to legal document preparation.
We Value Your Participation
I have some questions, a completely unscientific poll:
Are you busy? Are you receiving a lot of inquiries for legal document assistance?
What types of requests are you receiving?
Have you noticed an increase or decrease in any particular type of assistance needed?
Do your customers easily understand that you are not an attorney and do not offer legal advice?
What is your specialty? What is your specific area of expertise?
Write us -- we want to hear from you.
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Each issue of the FALDP Docket will include a look at a world or national issue that affects us all. If you would like an issue of concern be included in a future issue please contact us. We’ll either write the article for you or you can submit your own.
The Big Picture
My friend and former student, Kalyn Kraft-Friere is on a personal quest to change a federal law that has been in place since World War II. The law, known as the Feres Doctrine, prevents military personnel on active duty from pursuing legal recourse against a military hospital for wrongful death or injury, even though the cause of death was not combat related.
Kalyn’s brother-in-law, her husband’s younger brother, Ezequiel Friere enlisted in the Marines at age 18; and served two years in Iraq. Even though he saw combat, and watched his buddies die; Ezequiel came home safe and sound without a scratch. He was admitted to the VA Hospital in Portsmouth, Virginia for medical treatment unrelated to combat. He was given too much pain medication. And he died.
If this had happened at a private nonmilitary hospital a suit for malpractice and wrongful death would have quickly followed Ezequiel’s death. But, since he died at a VA hospital and was still on active duty, no such law suit is possible. Kalyn is trying to change that law, and she needs your help.
She is urging everyone who will listen to write their congressman and ask them to help change this archaic and unconscionable law. Her quest has gained momentum, the story has aired on national news; and she has been in contact with officials from Washington.
For more information, to help, or to donate, go to www.saveourmarines.com