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The FALDP Docket -- Florida Association of Legal Document Preparers Monthly Newsletter
July 15, 2015
Members & Friends:

Florida Association of Legal Document Preparers

The FALDP Docket

Volume 5 - Issue 7 - 2015
July 2015


Members and Friends


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


Announcements


Sixth Annual Conference

The Sixth Annual FALDP Conference is scheduled for Saturday September 19 in Daytona Beach, Florida at the Fountain Beach Resort. The accommodations cost $59 per night for best ocean view; and $49 per night for ocean view. The conference registration form is on the site. Once you register for the conference you'll receive the discount codes for accommodations and a conference confirmation. The conference fee is $75; new membership [or renewing members] with conference fee is $130.

CONFERENCE AGENDA


9:00 - Ruth Tick, Director - Introduce the Day; - Legal Access for pro se litigants
Morning Break
10:00 - Guest Speaker - Lars Gilberts, United Way, Statewide ALICE Director. How document preparers can help pro se litigants have a voice, and improve access to their legal system. Discussion.
11:00 - Guest Speaker - Ken Diaz, www.florida-court-forms.net, internet entrepreneur, web developer, LDP - Build an online business - NOT just a website.
12:00 - Lunch - provided by FALDP at no charge 1:00 - Ruth Tick - FALDP LDP Certification - Why you need it, and how to become certified.
2:00 - Guest Speaker - Ketty Rodriguez, Easy Tramites Corp - Hispanic Outreach Coordinator. Coordinating referrals to other Spanish speakers and assisting other members with Spanish translation.
 Break
3:00 - Guest Speaker - Chere' Mask, pro se litigant, educator, activist - Challenges she has faced in trying to achieve a simple legal goal pro se.
4:00 - Awards, Prizes and Giveaways
FALDP Trivia

Business card drawing
Who traveled the farthest prize.
Member of the year award.
And more!
Prizes and giveaways include T-Shirts, Tote Bags, mouse pads, and Pro Se Self-Help Guides.
Conference Fee
If you pay here, don't forget to go on the Conference Page and submit the Conference Registration form. Learn more about the conference on the Conference Info Page and Annual Conference Page. Information is updated frequently - so please check back for more detailed information as we get closer to the conference date. (September 19). This year's conference promises to be the best ever!


Membership Renewal ~ we don't want to lose you...

On June 1 and through July members renew for the regular membership fee of $75. No one is dropped from the membership roster for nonpayment until the end of July. On August 1, we delete the information from anyone who has not renewed.

Membership Renewal - $75.
If you plan to pay for your membership and conference fee together during August, you can do so, but please let us know when you will pay. Otherwise, you will have to go to the extra trouble of re-posting your information into the Member Directory.


FALDP LDP Certification

The page explaining the basics of certification is already on the site - visit: FALDP Certification
The main purpose of the certification process is to elevate the standards in our industry. We hope to encourage greater credibility for our members. FALDP members having chosen to be members and also becoming certified as legal document preparers will show the world that each of you is serious about your profession and invested in doing the best possible job for your customers.

FALDP members who seek certification must demonstrate knowledge of and mastery of basic skills including:

  • Understanding of legal terminology;
  • Understanding of civil process and procedure;
  • Understanding of the rules surrounding the unauthorized practice of law;
  • Understanding of business ethics; and customer service;
  • Above average proficiency in written and spoken English.
  • Members may demonstrate their knowledge and mastery of the information and skills by passing a written test; passing an oral test; and submitting written essay(s).


    In addition to demonstrating mastery of basic knowledge and skills members must also demonstrate knowledge and mastery of at least one focus area. At this time we recognize the following three focus areas:

  • Family law document preparation;
  • Immigration document preparation;
  • Bankruptcy petition preparation.


  • Members can demonstrate mastery and knowledge of a focus area by passing a written test; or submitting an original essay discussing an important aspect of their chosen focus area.

    In addition to completing the requirements for the Basic Skills and Knowledge component; and the Focus Area component; certification requires ten CEUs per year. There are multiple ways to fulfill the CEU requirement:

  • Completing online FALDP courses; [each course is assigned a CEU value of 1-4]
  • Participation in FALDP webinars; [each webinar is valued at 1 CEU]
  • Attendance at the Annual FALDP Conference; [ attendance is valued at 5 CEUs
  • Submitting essays suitable for FALDP site content or guest blog; [CEU value varies depending on length, suitability, and complexity]
  • FALDP Ambassador activities [CEU value varies]
  • Locating, preparing, providing, and sharing form templates for other FALDP members general use;[CEU value varies]
  • Mentoring other FALDP members [1 CEU per hour]
  • Related outreach and educational participation outside of FALDP [CEU value to be determined on case by case basis]
  • Related outreach and educational participation within FALDP for the benefit of other members, which could include course creation; translations; and other activities which a member may propose.


  • There is no cost to FALDP Certification at this time. Exams will be free and online. Study materials will be made available in October/ November. Exams will be available in February/ March.


    We Need Your Pro Se Stories

    United Way ALICE Report and Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice:


    Most of you received the email we sent requesting pro se stories from your customers. The request is also posted on the Member's Corner - Unique Opportunity for Document Preparers - and the text of that request is here as well:

    Dear Document Preparers,

    The Florida Supreme Court Access to Justice Commission has requested that the United Way reach out to Florida residents to gather their stories about pro se litigants. The United Way has in turn reached out to FALDP to help meet the request. We need your customers' stories - successes and failures. Do you know a pro se litigant whose access to the legal system was hindered by not having an attorney? Do you know a pro se litigant who succeeded without any help from anyone? Do you know a pro se litigant who succeeded in their case with the help of a document preparer?

    We need specific stories with contact information. Consumers will have control over how their contact information and name are used.

     

    Paraphrased from the Supreme Court's request:

    "How will we use the information people share with us? First, we might use the bare facts, without names, in outreach materials explaining the needs the Commission is addressing. Second, we would write stories about the cases or shoot videos. Third, we might provide the names and phone numbers to reporters who are interested in doing stories about improving access to civil justice. Of course, we would do nothing without the permission of each and every person we talk to.

    But first we need to find some people willing to talk to us."

    Please send your stories to staff@faldp.org - this is huge, the Supreme Court is listening.

    On July 15 I sent several pro se stories to the United Way and to the Supreme Court. Along with the pro se stories, I sent the following as a cover email:

    I have attached a file with a few brief pro se stories. All are from or about Florida pro se litigants who have agreed to speak with someone from the Supreme Court about their experiences. Most of them are quite eager to speak with anyone who might listen and care.

    As the Director of the Florida Association of Legal Document Preparers, www.faldp.org - I have asked member document preparers to ask their customers for their stories as well. Some of my members have expressed reluctance to share or assist because they are afraid they could be accused of the unauthorized practice of law (UPL). Many consumers do not distinguish well between "legal advice" and "legal Information". Engaging in UPL is a third degree felony. Providing legal information is customer service. Preparing documents is what we do.

    Document preparers' very real fears of unfounded UPL investigations is yet another barrier for pro se litigants' access to the legal system.

    For me, the possible benefits for pro se litigants in sharing these stories outweighs the risks. Please let me know if these are the type of stories you want, I have many more not yet compiled.

    Best Regards,
    Ruth Tick
    Director FALDP
    800-515-0496

    Summertime & Conference Specials

    Members in good standing can attend the Sixth Annual Conference September 19 and we'll waive the conference fee when you purchase any of our Course Bundles during July.,br>

    The Early Renewal for annual membership payment period ended on May 31, but you can still save money by combining your renewal fee with the conference fee which combined are only $130. Saving you $20!

    AND

    Purchase any course bundle of three or more courses, and your conference fee and membership fee are waived!

    AND

    The Conference Fee is waived with purchase of a Turn Key Bundle Classic. Visit the Turn Key Page to learn more.


    Virtual Providers

    The Virtual Provider designation is an upgrade to your membership. For just $30 annually your information and services can be displayed in 66 of the 67 Florida counties. We exclude Miami-Dade because of their local form requirement, and the difficulty in serving consumers virtually there. If your business model includes assisting consumers over the phone and over the internet, advertising your services as a virtual provider will expand your reach and increase your income. Become a Virtual Provider here.

    Family Law Leads

    After a brief hiatus, the family law leads are again displayed on our site menu under Document Preparers' Resources. We are now able to provide geographic specific family law leads to our members, with the caveat that geographic specific leads (whether by county or counties) will not come to you as quickly as would statewide leads.

    Reminder - Affiliate Courses

    We have a new contact person for the Affiliate Courses - these are the Co-Parenting Course; the Florida Fun Traffic School; and the Teen Driving Course. The Co-Parenting Course is required throughout Florida for all divorcing parents; and all couples who were never married, have a child together, and are now separating (Petition to Determine Paternity and Related Relief). This course is fully DCF approved, and since your customers are required to take the course anyway, you may as well earn a commission. The Florida Fun Traffic School and the Teen Driving Course are approved by the Florida DHSMV. The Florida Fun Traffic School is the course that people take so that points will not appear against their license. The Teen Driving Course is required for all first time teen drivers seeking a learner's permit. Complete the respective forms linked on the Affiliate Page and be sure to enter FALDP as your referrer. Then contact Maria Valadez at 888-662-6352 so that she can issue you your tracking link. You'll receive money in your mailbox for each completed course referral, payments are sent out by check quarterly.

    You can copy and paste the banners displayed on the Consumer Courses Page to place on your site or use in your advertising. We also have other size banners if you prefer a smaller graphic.

    NOTE: If you are unable to reach the contact person for the online courses - please let us know by emailing staff@faldp.org


    Member's Announcements & Contributions


    Have something to share?


    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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