Legal Document Assistant Code of Ethics
and Professional Responsibility
ALDAP strongly urges every legal document preparer to abide by the canons
of the below Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility.
Definitions: A Legal Document Assistant (LDA) is a non-attorney,
qualified by experience and education, who is authorized to provide self-help
legal services to a consumer who is representing himself or herself in
a legal matter. A Paralegal is authorized by law only to perform
substantive legal work for a licensed attorney, law firm or in-house legal
department. Paralegals are not permitted to provide
services directly to members of the public.
The canons below were adopted by the Alliance of Legal Document Assistant
Professionals, Inc. to protect consumers and serve as a guide to aid LDAs,
paralegals and the public in the delivery of professional legal document
preparation and self-help legal services.
A Legal Document Assistant shall strictly comply with all laws* governing
the practices of non-attorney legal service providers, and shall closely
follow the accepted standards of legal ethics and general principles of
A Legal Document Assistant shall achieve and maintain a high level of
competence through continuing education and training with respect to professional
responsibility, legal ethics, and court rules, forms and procedures.
A Legal Document Assistant shall maintain a high level of personal and
professional integrity and conduct.
A Legal Document Assistant shall serve the public interests by delivering
quality legal document preparation services that satisfy all requirements
of the California Business & Professions Code and any rules and regulations
established by the courts or any administrative agency.
A Legal Document Assistant shall preserve all confidential information
provided by the client or acquired from other sources, to the extent the
law permits, before, during and after the course of the professional relationship.
An LDA may reveal confidential information only after full disclosure
and with the client's written consent; or when required by a law or court
A Legal Document Assistant shall not engage in the unauthorized practice
of law, and shall refrain from providing legal recommendations, suggesting
remedies, selecting forms or applying the law to the facts of a client’s
A Legal Document Assistant shall disclose his or her status as a non-attorney,
self-help legal service provider at the outset of any LDA-client relationship.
A Legal Document Assistant shall act prudently in determining whether
the client's needs exceed the definition of “self-help services”
as set forth in Business & Professions Code § 6400(d); and if such
a determination is made, the LDA shall immediately inform the client that
he or she requires the services of an attorney.
A Legal Document Assistant shall avoid impropriety and the appearance
of impropriety, and shall not engage in any conduct that would adversely
affect his or her fitness to practice, including, but not limited to,
the following: the unauthorized practice of law, violence, dishonesty,
and/or abuse of a professional position or public office.
A Legal Document Assistant shall support and participate in efforts to
improve consumer protection, access to justice, the judicial system, and
the LDA and paralegal professions.
*Such laws include, but are not limited to the California Business
& Professions Code chapters regarding legal document assistants (§
6400 et seq.) paralegals (§
6450 et seq.), and the unlawful practice of law (§
6125 et seq.); the California Code of Regulations (16
CCR § 3950); the federal statutes regarding non-attorney bankruptcy
petition preparers (11
US Code § 110); and the California State Bar’s Rules
of Professional Conduct.