Legal Research is Usually the First Thing That Gets Skimped Out On
Nothing Here is Intended as Legal Advice
to Draft Law and Motion
Engage & Persuade Using Trial Theme/Story
Excellent Demographics for Opportunity
Most Felonies Can Never Be Expunged
Trial Theme and Story Presentation
Paralegals use their legal skills and education to organize documents into a usable format for attorneys by setting up and maintaining files organized by litigation sub-categories of pleadings, discovery, legal research and correspondence. Scanning and photocopying documents and organizing into digital files is an art and a science. Faxing and emailing is integral to a law firm’s practice. Propounding and responding to discovery involves factual findings, database interface and client liaison for effective special interrogatories, requests for production of documents and requests for admissions. Drafting clear, concise correspondence from an experienced paralegals perspective views every letter or document created as a possible motion exhibit. Depositions involve handling expert witnesses, exhibits and law firm calendaring. Find and retain expert witnesses and assist with drafting doctor, forensic accountants and engineer declarations. Drafting motions requires online and law library legal research, pulling relevant documents as exhibits and drafting law and motion by applying legal authority to facts in order to persuade the court. Filing pleadings at court and serving the opposing parties. A paralegal is a law firm’s ground level legal advocate. Act as liaison between internal departments. Trial preparation, presentations, voir dire and jury instructions. Sit at the counsel table and take notes on witness testimony and jury reactions. Paralegals are professional problem solvers who gain valuable real-life working legal experience by working hard alongside experienced attorneys during all phases of litigation practice and procedure from pre-trial, post-trial and the appellate process. The main tool of paralegals is the laptop computer as a portal to the world of fast-paced information gathering, processing and management. Paralegals are self-motivated life-long learners who thrive on change and challenge. Great paralegals learn how to think and act like great attorneys. Information is power and a paralegals job duty number one is to apply statutes, codes and case law to evidence to create compelling persuassion.
Retaining a contract paralegal for discovery and trial preparation is an economical way to staff the digital law firm of today. The Los Angeles paralegal market offers both contract paralegals and paralegals looking for regular permanent positions, so why not “test drive” a contract before you hire? You can also try out a paralegal on a temporary to permanent basis using a legal placement agency. If you are only going to trial once every three years you don’t need an expensive trial exhibit software program or a big-budget animation from a digital production house. You need a seasoned trial paralegal who can give your closing the human touch by putting your exhibits on the courtroom overhead projector. Juries want to be treated warmly, not bored and murdered with PowerPoint bullets of needless exhibits that do nothing to emotionally engage them with your information.
How do you know if you will really like that new paralegal you want to hire? How do you know if your new hire is going to be the right person for your office or just another big hit to your unemployment insurance or next year’s disability claim? Will your new hire be able to learn new procedures, technology and facts on the spot without caving in?
Litigation is difficult for the hardiest of litigation support staff even under normal conditions. What will happen when that case you thought was going to settle unexpectedly goes out to trial? Who will step in to take on the extra work of joint exhibit lists and jury instructions?
I have just finished working on a federal trial with a celebrity attorney from the O.J. Simpson murder trial who let proposed jury instructions on employee safe harbor go to the very last day of trial. The entire courtroom gets irritated if counsel is slow with procedure.
I have sat at the counsel table for a Los Angeles Superior Court trial in Santa Monica and two U.S. District Court Trials, one in Riverside and a Medicare Fraud trial at the Roybal Center in Downtown LA.
Divorce paralegal or legal document assistants (LDA’s) are bonded for approximately $500 every two-years by a surety company and then registered for another two years by the County of Los Angeles for approximately another $213.00. I will post you with the exact amount next week when I go to Norwalk, California to renew my LDA permit with my UCLA Extension Paralegal Certificate. I will try and shoot some YouTube video when I am renewing my LDA registration in Norwalk, CA.
A good divorce paralegal keeps notes on the filing idiosyncrasies of the LA Superior Court Clerks. Paralegal divorce stipulation and orders, marital agreements, court forms and other documents can be legally filled out with assistance from a LDA. Legal document assistants such as “We The People” mostly do family law court forms such as the FL-165 Declaration for Default or Uncontested Divorce, FL-182 Divorce Checklist and other forms that the consumer chooses herself.
The LDA cannot select which divorce forms to use or give advice about what the correct divorce package contains. The non-attorney divorce client must learn about divorce law on the Internet and then inform the LDA which court forms are required pursuant to the Family Law form FL-182.
Divorce paralegals should be really good with client contact and turning around an unhappy customer. One question many sales managers will ask on a job interview is how you turned about an unsatisfied customer. I just responded that most customers are unsatisfied because what they need to find is a connection with what can be real in their immediate lives, such as the infinite small still voice of God. Divorce paralegals should be people persons who enjoy helping people who are in emotional and financial turmoil and despair.
My own divorce was a tremendously healing and transformational experience. I took two years to be alone and ponder the spiritual and eternal aspects of my divorce. I stayed single for two years before I dated after my divorce.
QDRO paralegals are actually referred by family law attorneys. Many times I have had clients tell me that their attorney told them to use a QDRO paralegal when it got closer to retirement age. Ethical attorneys tell their clients to use a paralegal or legal document assistant because a qualified domestic relations order is easy to produce.
Your QDRO paralegal will need a copy of your judgment of dissolution of marriage and the attachments. The attachments to the judgment will refer to the QDRO, who pays for the QDRO, and other important details. The paralegal also needs the name of your ex-spouse’s employer. If you have the appropriate sample QDRO language or a template that is fine you can provide that to your paralegal. However it it the QDRO paralegal’s job to locate and obtain the correct QDRO language to use for your final final divorce paperwork. The QDRO is where you get your last paychecks from your California divorce.
Here at Paralegal Los Angeles we try to be the lowest price QDRO paralegal on the Internet today. If you actually find any legal document assistant preparing post-nuptual pension paperwork for less than $250 please let us know. Our flat fee covers little extras like sending a second letter politely reminding your former partner to please sign the QDRO paperwork.
The qualified domestic relations order is signed by you, your ex-spouse and an officer of the court, usually a Los Angeles Superior Court judge.
Then the law is in our favor and it is fairly easy to get your money without your ex’spouse’s signature. However, it will cost you another $250 for my fee to prepare a package to send to court. When the court sees my letters to your ex-spouse requesting them to sign the paperwork the court will usually then sign off on your QDRO. In other words if your ex-spouse refuses to sign the QDRO all you have to do is show the court that you tried. You tried to execute the QDRO as stated in your divorce judgment and attachments.
Professionals who prepare QDRO’s do not have to be ex-judges, attorneys or even paralegals. A good litigation secretary or legal document assistant can prepare your qualified domestic relations order. Why pay a judge $300 when all you need is a LDA for $250?
Dean McAdams is a litigation paralegal in West LA. He is not an attorney and does not give legal advice.