Back to Back Issues Page
The FALDP Docket -- Florida Association of Legal Document Preparers Monthly Newsletter
January 15, 2020

Florida Association of Legal Document Preparers

The FALDP Docket

Volume 10 Issue 1; January 2020


This is our monthly newsletter. We publish this for the benefit of FALDP members, legal document preparers, and friends. Published monthly since May, 2010

Announcements

Annual Membership Drive

Learn more and register to join on our Membership page.

Whiteboard Video Animations

We are extending our special for our whiteboard video animations, into the New Year! Our videos are through Monarch Web Strategies, a division of Horizon Research Network LLC Please consider our New Year special, available now through February 15. (Your video does not need to be completed by February 15, but you need to commit to the process by then to take advantage of this discount).

  

New Year special prices for story board/ whiteboard animations. Up to eight panels, including graphics, your branding, and music - all for only $199. for FALDP members; $250. for non-members.
* Our New Year special cannot be combined with any other specials or promotion.

Check out the videos on our FALDP on YouTube channel to get an idea of the possibilities. And don't forget to subscribe!


You Signed! We reached our Goal!

Best Practices Guidelines

As you may know, the ABA published guidelines for legal document preparers in August 2019. And, although they had some great ideas and the guidelines were not overly restrictive, we believe they were not exactly on point. Because of that, we created our own proposed FALDP Best Practices Guidelines and in the future, will expect everyone to be respect the guidelines and strive to follow them as closely as possible. For that reason, we're requesting your input now, while they are proposed guidelines. We'll leave the comment period open through February 2020. Our intention is to send our FALDP Guidelines to the Florida Bar, the Florida Supreme Court, and the Federal Trade Commission and state that these are the guidelines we agree to follow. Speak your mind.  FALDP Members are invited to comment in our Members Only area on our site. Others can send an email to staff@faldp.org. Soon we'll have a public page on our site with a comment forum. And we may extend the comment period further.


Following is the proposed Best Practices posted in the Members Only area on our site:

Definition of the Florida Association of Legal Document Preparers (FALDP)


FALDP is a voluntary trade association made up of nonlawyer legal document preparers. Members are required to meet or exceed the standards outlined on the FALDP website (FALDP.org) in order to be eligible for membership.

Definition of Legal Document Preparer (LDP).

FALDP member LDPs are all nonlawyers preparing various types of documents for consumers and pro se litigants, including but not limited to family law, bankruptcy, immigration, civil, and post-conviction criminal. Member LDPs assist pro se litigants and consumers by preparing documents, providing information, and explaining to the consumer their next procedural steps,

FALDP Guidelines:

1. LDPs should provide their customers with clear, plain language instructions as to how to execute their forms and instructions for the customer's next steps.

2. Any notifications to be provided pursuant to these Guidelines should be understandable to the average person. Such notifications should be prominent, written in plain language, and delivered by the LDP in ways customers are reasonably likely to see, hear, or encounter. The term “notify” as used in these Guidelines, refers to notifications that conform to these Guidelines.

3. LDPs should post notifications in their advertising, online and in print, stating, at minimum, that they are not attorneys and do not provide legal advice or representation. 4. The forms that LDPs prepare for their customers should be valid in the intended jurisdiction to the best of the LDPs knowledge. LDPs may limit their warranties to “as is” warranties.

5. LDPs should keep their forms up-to-date.

6. LDPs are not to hold themselves out as if they are attorneys; and refrain from using any business name that might imply that the LDP is an attorney or practicing law. Business names such as “XYZ Legal Services”, “XYZ and Associates”, or any other name that might confuse consumers.

Consumer Protection

7. LDPs should notify customers of the terms and conditions of their relationship with the LDP; and customers should have actively manifest their assent (by clicking on an “accept” button, or signing a document to assent) to those terms and conditions.

8. LDPs should notify customers of all the ways (if any) they intend to use and share customers' information with third parties in keeping with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of 2018.

9. LDPs should notify customers that the information customers provide is not covered by attorney client privilege or work product protection.

10. LDPs should make reasonable efforts to prevent the inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure of or unauthorized access to customer information. In the event of a significant data incident or breach the LDP should use reasonable remedial and notification efforts and otherwise comply with applicable data security rules, guidelines, or best practices.

11. LDPs should notify customers: (a) how long they intend to keep and maintain customer information provided to them; (b) how long the LDP will keep and maintain a completed form; and (c) how long the LDP will allow customers to request corrections or minor revisions to their documents without imposing a new or additional charge.

12. LDPs should not charge excessive fees for their services.

Dispute Resolution

13. LDPs should notify their customers of their legal name, address and email address to which customers can direct any complaints of concerns about the LDPs services.

14. LDPs should provide a forum convenient to the customer for resolution of any dispute. LDPs should offer inexpensive, efficient and effective dispute resolution, either in court, arbitration, or mediation, including without limitation local ADR or court proceedings, online dispute resolution or similar means. LDP should not unreasonably delay the resolution of disputes with customers. LDPs should make clear that the customer may be required to pay for or share in any costs of dispute resolution.


Recommendations

15. LDPs should notify their customers that their services are not a substitute for the services of a lawyer, and that customers may benefit from the services of a lawyer if their dispute is complex or important rights are at risk.

16. LDPs should not advertise or describe their services in a manner that suggests their services are a substitute for legal advice or representation.

17. LDPs should adhere to Florida Bar Rule 10.2 which states: (b) Paralegal or Legal Assistant “... It constitutes the unlicensed practice of law for a person who does not meet the definition of paralegal or legal assistant to use the title paralegal, legal assistant, or other similar term in offering to provide or in providing services directly to the public.”

18. LDPs are not to use the titles “Esquire”, “JD”, or “juris doctor”.

19. LDPs should adhere to Florida Bar Rule 10.2.2 (a) Supreme Court Approved Forms. “ ...It shall not constitute the unlicensed practice of law for a nonlawyer to engage in limited oral communication to assist a self-represented person in the completion of blanks on a Supreme Court Approved Form. In assisting in the completion of the form, oral communication by nonlawyers is restricted to those communications reasonably necessary to elicit factual information to complete the blanks on the form and inform the self-represented person how to file the form ..”20. LDPs should adhere to Florida Bar Rule 10.2.2 (b) Forms Which Have Not Been Approved by the Supreme Court of Florida.

(1) It shall not constitute the unlicensed practice of law for a nonlawyer to engage in a secretarial service, typing forms for self-represented persons by copying information given in writing by the self-represented person into the blanks on the form. The nonlawyer must transcribe the information exactly as provided in writing by the self-represented person without addition, deletion, correction, or editorial comment. The nonlawyer may not engage in oral communication with the self-represented person to discuss the form or assist the self represented person in completing the form. (2) It shall constitute the unlicensed practice of law for a nonlawyer to give legal advice, to give advice on remedies or courses of action, or to draft a legal document for a particular self-represented person. It also constitutes the unlicensed practice of law for a nonlawyer to offer to provide legal services directly to the public.

21. LDPs should adhere to the best of their ability and knowledge, rules about the unauthorized practice of law which exist only in case law, and are not part of the Florida Bar Rules. These are: (1) the prohibition of using the phrase “free consultation” in their advertising; (2) refraining from preparing forms for Medicaid Planning; (3) refraining from preparing a Personal Services Contract for Medicaid Planning. Only attorneys and financial advisors may assist consumers with Medicaid Planning.


Feature Article:

Sales, marketing, ostriches, & zebras

Marketing and sales are a pair of complex beasts, like ostriches and zebras. These wild animals enjoy a true symbiotic relationship – just like marketing and sales. Although each could survive on its own, they are both more powerful and safer together. Neither zebras nor ostriches are fast runners, at least not fast enough to avoid common predators, so they must always be on the alert for danger. Zebras have great eye sight, ostriches have a keen sense of smell, so they group together for mutual protection.

Sales and marketing can occur without the other, but survival is tenuous. There are few things more frustrating than to put time and effort into bringing your service to market, but not being able to make sales. A sale can happen out of the blue, but without knowing how to do it again, you're left happily scratching your head.

Never, never, never, underestimate the importance of the famous cliché – SELL BENEFITS NOT FEATURES. If you don't know what in the world that means, and you're in business – find out.

Here are a few things I discovered about marketing to men or women:

Are you marketing to women? Here are some psychological triggers or WHY a woman would buy from you, that you can use in your marketing to increase conversions:

  • To belong or be relevant
  • To be right or not wrong
  • To fulfill one of the four basic needs: Relationship, wealth, happiness, spirituality
  • To have security
  • For memories or loyalty


  • If you want to make advertise to men in their 50’s, what emotional marketing strategies would you use?

    If you said “scare them senseless,” you would be right. Marketing to men in their 50’s is best done by frightening them, because they feel so responsible for their families.
    How about marketing to men in their 20/30’s?
    You would use the emotional branding strategy of shaming them into buying your product. Peer-pressure is very strong with this group, and that can be used to really make your brand more than just a service or product.

    As you can see, emotional branding can be used in just about every situation where you are marketing to men or women, so get out there and figure out what motivates your customers. But remember, if you’re not solving a problem or showing your audience “what’s in it for them” then you’re losing their interest straight away.


    New Logo Display Guidelines

    Display the FALDP logo

    FALDP logo: As of our conference in October 2018 we decided that all members who have a website are required to display the FALDP logo on their sites. We are making a special marketing effort to distinguish FALDP members from document preparers who are not FALDP members. The goal is to show the world that FALDP members are the best possible choice for document preparation.

    New FALDP logo display guidelines:

    For some time we've considered upgrading the FALDP logo display requirements. One of the main reasons is to give consumers a bit more understanding of what we are, rather than a logo with no explanation. We will create a short video similar to the ones shown here for each member. We intend to start with existing members who have a website, and/ or are active on social media; and new members. The idea is to replace the static logo with the short video. Once we create the logo video, we'll send you the embed code and the share link. Since the logo video is on your site or your social media, we don't intend to include your contact information as that will already be displayed. Here are a couple of examples: You Tube video logo - fcf and You Tube video logo - ftp

    We don't want to make this cumbersome for anyone. If you need help adding this to your site, please let us know, we'll help you find a low cost solution.

    We're rolling out our new video logos for FALDP members. These are to be used on members' websites, online advertising, and in social media. The video logos provide a bit more information about our association, instead of a static FALDP logo with no explanation. Static FALDP logos are still available to be used in your print advertising such as business cards and newspaper ads.

    FALDP Members – to request your video logo, please send your logo image (if you have one) and your coverage area to FALDP2010@gmail.com . Coverage areas can include your county, your three couties on the Member Directory, or all of Florida. If you prepare documents outside of Florida, we may be able to include that as well with a phrase like – Also Serving the Entire U.S. for a certain type of service. Remember, we are a Florida trade association and will not mention other states or locations, unless we first mention Florida.


    Parenting Course Affiliate Opportunity

    Our Parenting Course Affiliate Program is here. All FALDP members who refer divorcing/ separating parents to our FALDP endorsed Parenting Course can participate. No need to sign up. Consumers pay $29.99 or $14.99 for low income and indigent. Referrers receive $3.00 for every full pay referral, and $1.50 for low income/ indigent referral. When consumers enroll in the course, have your customers enter your name as the referring party, and keep track of who you referred. Send us an invoice by the 10th of the month for all referrals in the previous month, and we'll send you your affiliate compensation. We can send payment through Google Pay or Paypal only. And, remember it is up to you to send us an invoice or request for payment. Simple?


    Reminders

    Business presence in Florida

    Don't forget to renew your Limited Liability Company. Notices went out from the Division of Corporations already. You have until May 1 to renew without penalty.

    Business presence in Florida - Members who are not physically in Florida are required to maintain a business presence in Florida. This means if you are physically located out of state, you must either form a Florida corporation or Florida LLC, or register as a foreign entity.

    Mandatory Course - Avoid UPL!

    Most members have completed this course by now. If you have not yet taken this course, please do so as soon as possible. This is a Members Only course. If you did not purchase this course when you joined, you can register for it inside the Members Only area. Any member who has not taken this course by renewal time, will be required to pay for it a second time. Members who have not completed the course by July 31 may be suspended. Suspension means that your information will be removed from the Member Directory and you'll be required to remove the FALDP logo from yur advertising. Members are required to take this course every year. It is your responsibility to let us know you've completed the course by taking the quiz, completing the essay, and/ or submitting the exit survey. If you have any question as to whether you completed the course - contact us. This course was designed to protect our members from falling into the vast sea of nothingness and confusion, also called a UPL investigation.

    Watch the updated course video: Avoid UPL! Course information

    Ruth Recommends:

    Orlando Pennysaver

    Direct mailed portion includes FIVE 55+ communities in Orlando, homes in Metro West, Conway, Goldenrod, Lee Vista, East Orlando/ Waterford Lakes, Azalea Park, Lake Underhill, Pine Hills & Casselberry.

    Direct mailed & distributed twice a month. (Compare to monthly publications!) Delivered to homes through the USPS and in mailboxes every other Friday.PLUS Your ad will appear in our most recent online issue.

    Visit - Orlando Pennysaver and tell them you saw their information in our newsletter.

    Apache OpenOffice

    OpenOffice is a robust program comparable to Microsoft Word. It is also FREE. You can get it here: open office download

    Foxit PDF Program

    I highly recommend Foxit Reader as a free alternative to Adobe Acrobat. One of the best features (besides that its free) is that the typewriter allows you to type into most PDF documents, even though they're not fillable.

    TSYS - Merchant Account

    I highly recommend TSYS to use for your business merchant account. Compared to Paypal - much less expensive, light years better customer service, and far more convenient. Give me a call, and I'll put you in touch with my account representative. 800-515-0496.

    Parenting Course

    Parental Education and Family Stabilization Course is mandatory for all divorcing couples who have children; and all people seeking a paternity action. The cost is $29.99 and $14.99 for indigent.Here's the link directly to the - Parenting Course

    Private Investigation Services

    Do you or your document preparation customers need help from a Private Investigator: Dan Womack can help with locations for child support, missing spouse, and other services. Dan is a licensed Florida Private Investigator and a former FALDP member. Contact him directly Womack PI Office: (772) 672-4844
    Fax: (772) 672-7130

    Freedom Voice

    I also highly recommend Freedom Voice for your toll free service. I have used Freedom Voice for the past eight years, and have never had an issue with their service. Learn more here - Freedom Voice

    Don't have a site yet? Try Monarch Web Strategies

    Horizon Research Network is one of our associated sites which includes our design services. We build business websites for FALDP members for only $500, which includes your domain name and first month's hosting. And, have you seen our whiteboard videos online?We can create a custom whiteboard video to promote your business. Once built its yours to use in any of your advertising or promotions. Contact us for a custom quote.

    FALDP Private Facebook Group


    About one third of our membership has joined the FALDP private Facebook group. We created it to make it easier to interact with each other. So far, people have given work referrals to one another; asked questions to the group; received help in locating a form; and discussed various issues. If you're working toward FALDP Certification, you earn one CEU just by joining the group. So, what are you waiting for? Look for the private group after going to the official FALDP Facebook page at FALDP,LLC on Facebook.

    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.


    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
    Back to Back Issues Page