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The FALDP Docket -- Florida Association of Legal Document Preparers Monthly Newsletter
August 17, 2016
Members & Friends:

Florida Association of Legal Document Preparers

The FALDP Docket

Volume 6 - Issue 8 - 2016
August 2016


Members and Friends


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


Announcements


Conference 2016 - 7th Annual Conference

Get Set!!!!!!!!!!!

We're pleased to be returning to the Fountain Beach Resort - DB for our Seventh Annual FALDP Conference. Set for September 24, 2016 - All Day Saturday. Accommodation rates for attendees at the Fountain Beach Resort is only $59 or $69 per night. You will receive the accommodation discount codes after registering for the conference and submitting payment for the conference fee.

... The Day After ... this year, the day after the conference, Sunday 8/25, we're encouraging attendees to join us for breakfast/ brunch at Crabby Joes on the Sun Glow Pier. It's a nice family friendly atmosphere, very much a Florida feeling type place, tasty inexpensive breakfast, and a great view. Crabby Joe's is a straight shot south on A1A from the Fountain Beach Resort, just south of Dunlawton. Located at 3701 South Atlantic Ave., Daytona Beach. So, if you're staying over on Saturday or local to the area, please plan on joining us for the day after breakfast.

Conference + Membership = $170

Conference Fee + Membership

Pay For Conference Only - $95

If you have already renewed your membership, or are a new member with no need to renew, you can pay for the conference by itself. The conference fee is $95. If you are paying here for the conference only, please go to our conference page and also register for the conference. This helps us keep track of how many seats we have available, when to stop allowing attendees to bring a guest for free, and helps us know how much to order for lunch. You can pay for that here.

Conference Fee Only - $95 -



Conference Agenda

  • 9:00 Ruth Tick, Introduce the Day - The BIG QUESTION FOR THE DAY: How can the Florida Bar investigate the unauthorized practice of law when the "practice of law" has never been defined?

  • 10:00 Chardo Richardson, President of Central Florida ACLU - "UPL - The Big Picture" - What do teeth whitening technicians and legal document preparers have in common? Is the Florida Bar's stance on unauthorized practice of law damaging to consumers?

  • 11:00 Sheila Smith - "My Journey ... Fighting Allegations of UPL" - Although Sheila did nothing wrong, it was several months before the Florida Bar's UPL investigation was finally dismissed. Sheila was required to completely change her website to eradicate the word "legal" throughout, and also to change her business name.

  • 12:00 Lunch - Provided by FALDP - Subs, sodas, wraps, waters, snacks

  • 1:00 Ruth Tick - "UPL Investigations - Techniques and Procedure" Exactly what will trigger an investigation?Why is there an investigation when no one complained? How can I tell if I'm being shopped? How can I avoid an investigation in the first place?

  • 2:00 Howard Alterman, Esquire "UPL - Do's, Don't's and Surviving a UPL Investigation"  Steps to take after receiving the letter from the Florida Bar. Is it time to hire a lawyer? Can they really subpoena all my documents? What if I refuse to comply?

  • 3:00 Ruth Tick - "Overview of UPL Cases" From Rosemary Furman and Serena Dunn in the 1980s to Nancy Grant in the early 2000s to present day UPL investigations. Ruth invites members to share their UPL story.


  • 4:00 Ruth Tick - Wrap Up, Awards, Prizes, Giveaways - Prizes and giveaways include Tote Bags, mouse pads, and Pro Se Self-Help Guides. We give prizes for:

    *Member of the Year - submit your nominations now
    *Road Warrior - who traveled farthest to attend our conference
    *Business Card Drawing
    *FALDP Trivia - answer questions about FALDP history and benefits to win a prize


    Conference/ Course Specials

    1. ANY three course or more bundle includes the conference fee - receive a 20% discount on each course AND the $95 conference fee is waived. Available for new or current members. Potential savings up to $256!

    Learn more about our course bundles

    here. Another savings option is:

    2. Any three courses for a flat rate - $499. purchased by September 20, 2016. Also includes the $95. conference fee. Available to new and current members. [$95 membership fee also included] Potential savings up to $556!

    3. Or choose a Turn Key Business Bundle. Conference fee waived with purchase of a Turn Key Business Bundle through September 23! Save $95. Our Turn Key Business Bundles always include the FALDP Membership fee, two online courses, and a custom website - all for only $499. Potential savings up to $533!


    Webinar - 8/27

    Avoiding the Perils, Pitfalls, and Prosecution of UPL - [8/27 @ 11:00 EST] This webinar was last held on January 16th. We discuss how to avoid the perils, pitfalls, and persecutions of unfounded UPL accusations. AND what to do if you are investigated. As this is the subject of our upcoming 7th Annual Conference and has been identified as a major barrier to our business success, we urge all members to attend if possible. We are also offering a special conference rebate to webinar attendees who register for the conference between 8/27 and 9/24.

    You also may be able to receive a full rebate for your conference fee even if you have already registered and paid.

    Members should have received an invitation by now. If you are an FALDP member and have not received an invitation, after checking your spam box, please contact us so that we can resend.


    The Justice Gap - the ABA preaches to the choir

    A recent article by Lisa Needham, "A Quick Look at the ABA’s Report on the Future of Legal Services" (8/9/16) published on www.lawyerist.com made the following statement.

    "The access to justice gap remains enormous. Legal aid organizations are overtaxed, pro bono representation can’t meet the need, and other initiatives have fallen far short".

    My observations and replies are as follows:

    I have been writing about the justice gap for some time, and it is far more than a "gap". More like a canyon. A gorge. An abyss. Legal aid organizations are overtaxed. For every person helped, another is turned away. The 2009 ABA report on the Justice Gap reported: " Lack of resources, however, continues to be the major factor why LSC-funded programs turn away half of those seeking help. Closing the justice gap will require a multifaceted approach that includes increased funding by federal and state governments, private funders and concerned private parties, and increased pro bono contributions by individual lawyers." Now nearly seven years later, little has changed.

    Pro bono representation can't meet the need. Although, in theory, attorneys are required to provide 20 hours per year in pro bono services, Palm Beach County officially allows attorneys to buy out their pro bono obligation for as little as $350 per year. Many attorneys charge $350 per hour, one hour of time versus 20 hours of work is a simple economic choice. The following is posted on the Palm Beach County Bar Association's website:

    "In Palm Beach County, the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County is the designated agency for administering Florida's Pro Bono Plan. That plan, outlined in Rule 4-6.1, Rules Regulating the Florida Bar, describes lawyers' professional responsibility for pro bono service. The professional responsibility may be discharged by: (1) annually providing at least 20 hours of pro bono legal service to the poor; or (2) making an annual contribution of at least $350 to a legal aid organization."

    Other initiatives have fallen short. Florida's Commission on Access to Justice has been discussing and debating various initiatives for the past year or two with very little actual change or improvement. Florida legal document preparers are, at best, routinely overlooked as part of the solution. And, at worst, routinely intimidated from prospering and growing their businesses due to the Florida Bar's continuous intimidation. More than one FALDP member has closed up shop, specifically because of the threat of unfounded UPL allegations. Until the day we demand that the Florida Bar recognizes that document preparers are here to stay, that we provide a sought after and necessary service, and we do not seek to take work away from attorneys -- we, as business professionals, will remain disenfranchised, vulnerable, and ineffective.

    I now ask FALDP members and all document preparers to stand with me and demand that our right to be let alone be upheld, and let us be free to pursue our livelihood without interference. That our business disenfranchisement be transformed through the gratitude of our satisfied customers. Demand that our vulnerability become our strength in our willingness to assist our customers despite the zealots who would have us fined and imprisoned. And finally affect our customers, our communities, and the world in positive ways by continuing to assist consumers as is their right.

    Let us grasp this moment to empower ourselves so that we can better empower the pro se litigants whom we serve.


    Book Release

    Updated Edition - Family Adoption in Florida

    An updated version of our FALDP Guide, "Family Adoptions in Florida" has been released. It is available as an ebook, and will soon be available on www.lulu.com in a printed edition. Our FALDP Self-Help Guide, includes information about procedure, laws, and forms for adoptions in Florida by Grandparents, Stepparent, and other close relatives. This is an updated version as of August 2016. It is a full 102 pages, with expanded forms section, adoption scenarios, adoption checklist, and more.


    FALDP Document Portal

    We built a site for preparing family law documents automatically - FALDP-Document Portal

    All you do is enter the information once into a questionnaire and the information fills to the fields in all the forms in that packet. So far we have four of the most requested family law packets:

  • Dissolution with No Property and No Children

  • Petition for Paternity and Related Relief

  • Dissolution with Children

  • Supplemental Petition for Modification of Child Custody

  • Supplemental Petition for Modification of Child Support


  • The monthly fee for those who are not members of FALDP - consumers and document preparers alike - is $99 per month unlimited use. There is absolutely no ongoing contract. Access for FALDP members is only $25 per month unlimited use. Whether the user is a consumer and pays $99 and actually only needs one time access; or a non-member document preparer who uses the site multiple times during a month - the benefits are substantial. Any one of these document sets could take hours to prepare manually, but with our Automated Document Portal the forms are completed in minutes. The user can either print the forms immediately or save to their computer. The tools page on that site includes information about using the site; additional stand alone forms; and instructions for the form sets.

    After submitting payment users receive the user name and password for the site. This login information is changed monthly at midnight on the fourth of the month. Access for the month is unlimited.


    Monarch Web Strategies

    Gorilla/ Monarch Web Strategies Marketing Program Gorilla Marketing has evolved into Monarch Web Strategies. For the time being, the services are similar to Gorilla Marketing - ad placement for FALDP members throughout the internet for $50 per month. There is no contract and no set up fee. Monarch places your ad on free classified sites to drive traffic to your website and invite your potential customers to contact you directly for services. In the near future Monarch Web Strategies will expand their services to also include posting your information on geographic specific sites. This service is important for members who have a bricks and mortar storefront, and those who travel to meet with consumers face to face.

    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. If you have not renewed your virtual provider status since May 2016, its time to renew. Virtual provider status runs with membership, the time lines are the same.
    VIRTUAL PROVIDER - ANNUAL FEE $30


    More Updates

    The Google Map on the Member's Directory has been updated. Please check the map to make sure your information is included and correct. You may need to increase the size of the map to see your marker.

    The Password to the Member's Only area has changed. We sent out an email to all members the first week of August with the new password. If you missed the email or didn't receive it, please call or email and we'll be happy to provide it. staff@faldp.org or 800-515-0496

    We added a new page - Conference Archives - linked to our Annual Conference page. And we added a calendar to the page you arrive at when you enter the Document Preparer's doorway on the home page of our site.


    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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