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The FALDP Docket -- Florida Association of Legal Document Preparers Monthly Newsletter
January 16, 2012

Florida Association of Legal Document Preparers

The FALDP Docket

Volume 3; Issue 1
January, 2012

Let's Make 2012 the BEST Year Ever!

Membership Drive - for NEW Members

For the month of January we are accepting new Premium Members at a pro-rated fee -- only $32.50. This offer is also available to former members who allowed their memberships to lapse and want to join again. This offer is not for existing/ current members. All memberships renew on June 1. Later this year we will be offering discounted renewals for members who refer other legal document preparers to us. Details will be announced.

Webinar Schedule for 2012

Please note, the new Winter 2012 Webinar Schedule is posted on our site:

  • February - The Business of Legal Document Preparation - Structure, Marketing, Best Practices
    The date is set for Saturday, February 18 at 12:00 Noon EST. Invitations will be automatically sent out to all members. If you do not receive an invitation by the first week of February, please email us to request one.

  • March - Bankruptcy - Chapter 7

  • April - UPL Summit - Quarterly Update

  • May - Family Law - Modifications

    As always the UPL Summit is no charge, and is strictly for members and invited guests of FALDP -- it is not open to the public. Premium Members may attend at no charge; $10 charge for Basic Members.

    Online Courses

    An Introductory course - Introduction to Florida Legal Document Preparation for preparing family law documents in Florida, and Preparing Florida Divorce Documents are open for registration.

    Registration is open for the Intro course, and the Divorce course. The courses are geared toward legal document preparers who are new to the industry; new to Florida; or legal document preparers who want to expand their knowledge base. For LDP's new to the industry, or new to Florida, the Intro course is a requirement and a prerequisite for enrollment in the Dissolution of Marriage course.

    Your Feedback is Always Appreciated
    If you have completed either of our courses and have suggestions we would love to hear from you. We need to know how we're doing. Too difficult? Too easy?

    UPL Assignment

    One of our prospective members, Gabriela Martin, has graciously given her permission to print her course assignment about the Unauthorized Practice of Law in this newsletter:

    The unauthorized practice of law in Florida is a criminally prosecutable charge. UPL was created to protect the public from various impostors, posing as lawyers and/or as other legal professionals. UPL allows the victims of such individuals to pursue a valid legal recourse.
    Legal document preparers in Florida need to be aware of the various, and sometimes very specific, rules of the Florida Bar to avoid possible UPL investigation and/or prosecution. UPL in Florida is considered 3rd felony with fines as high as $5,000. No harm to a customer is necessary for the Florida Bar to start an investigation of an individual accused of UPL.
    A legal document preparer in Florida prepares legal documents for customers based on their specific directions. The preparer can provide general information, direct the customers to information, check forms for things such as misspellings, consistency, completeness and typographical errors.

    However, any legal documents preparer can be charged with the UPL if he/she:
  • Does not disclose to customers he/she is a nonlawyer
  • Works as a legal document preparer but uses the title of a paralegal or a legal assistant
  • Gives legal advice to customers
  • Drafts document/s/ for customers
  • Offers legal advice to customers
  • Uses the word “legal” in an advertisement, on a website or in a company name in a way that is unclear, confusing and gives the public a false idea about the company.
  • Claims he/she can represent a customer in court
  • Selects legal forms/documents for customers

  • Ms. Martin has a strong grasp of the subject, and she's only just begun. Impressive.

    Our Growing Library - 30% Rebates for Members

    Please visit our Online Bookstore to familiarize yourself with our offerings. Until further notice, we are once again offering rebates to members. Any of the titles, print or ebooks qualify for the rebate. You must request the rebate via email, and forward your paid invoice along with your request.

    FALDP Self-Help Guides

  • Florida Family Adoption
  • Modifying Florida Child Support
  • You've Been Sued!
  • Child Support Petition Answer Book

    Member Spotlight

    ~~~~~~~~Common Sense Documents~~~~~~~~

    Charles Figueroa, owner of Common Sense Documents, started his business because he wanted the independence of working for himself. After working briefly for a Florida attorney, he decided that he never wanted to work as a paralegal again. Prior to working for that Florida attorney, he worked in Puerto Rico as a law office assistant, doing general work such as probate, family law, and powers of attorney. Figueroa told me: "I don't like the term paralegal, they have to work under the supervision of an attorney. I like the title, independent document preparer, I think I'm going to start using that".

    The bulk of Figueroa's work is translation - at 75%; %15 is notary business; and for now only 10% is preparing legal documents as most members do. He says he is really just breaking into the legal document preparation business now, starting with preparing Florida divorce documents.

    He says that the translation work is the most interesting to him, and also the most lucrative. He does translation for immigration, courts, and other documents that need to be translated from Spanish to English, such as car titles, leases, etc.

    Figueroa also enjoys the notary side of his business. He thinks people need to understand the value of notary work. He takes on difficult types of notarizations, and is happy to do the research and keep abreast of the laws pertaining to his duties.

    Figueroa says: "If you're 60 or older I'll marry you for free. I do it as a service to promote marriage".

    Meet the Members

    The “Meet the Members” page on our site is in progress. If we don't have a photo of you please send one so that we can post it next to your information. We can also post your business card if you like. I recently learned that the suggestion for this page came from none other than my assistant/ LDP, Julian Beyer. The

    Meet the Members page is coming along beautifully. The Member Directory was not set up to accommodate pictures or graphics -- and this is.

    Sell Benefits NOT Features

    Anyone who has worked as a sales professional is familiar with that phrase - sell benefits not features. It took me years of selling to have any idea what those sales managers kept harping about. I happen to be a natural salesperson. Really, it's in my nature. I am one of those people that gets a thrill out of a successful sale.

    But what in the world does it mean? Sell benefits not features. How can you sell a benefit anyway? You can't see it, touch it, smell it.

    The simplest way to nail down a benefit, is to ask yourself, what's in it for me? (Or more importantly, what's in it for the customer)? A benefit is the satisfaction of a selfish motivation.

    Think about why you bought the car you bought, or the TV, or the house, or any other purchase that you've made. What was your real motivation for choosing that one, over all the others?

    Did you really buy your car because it was a great deal and cheap on gas? Or did you buy it because it made you feel good, because you thought you'd look great driving it around town, and it projects the image you'd like to create? And did you really need the 42 inch HD Plasma TV? No, you probably didn't need it, and still don't need it, and since those TV's didn't exist 10 years ago, you lived fine without it until them, so why must you have that one now? Because it makes you feel good. Maybe it makes you feel prosperous, or you enjoy being the envy of your friends, or even independent, because you saved your money and bought exactly what you wanted. And when you buy a house, you're not buying bricks or sticks, you're buying comfort, security, shelter, family, -- a home.

    When a customer hires you for legal document preparation, what does he buy? Does he buy a stack of papers? Write me and let me know what you think. There's a prize waiting for the person with the best answer.

    FALDP Contact Information:
    Main number – (941)237-0951
    Email –

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