CALDA clear logo
In This Issue
President's Message
Secretary's Election Report
Save the Date!
Vice President's Message
Membership Report
Judge Juhas's Presentation at October Conference

 Fundraising Committee 


For more information or to apply for a position, please contact  

Carl Knoll 


Quick Links
Follow us on Facebook
Facebook logo small
About Us

The California Association of Legal Document Assistants was established in August 1986, and was formerly known as "California Association of Independent Paralegals" (CAIP). CALDA is the premiere organization for legal document assistant professionals.

Become a Member 

Interested in joining CALDA or have questions about how to become a Legal Document Assistant?  



Tracey Booth, Administrative Coordinator



Jeri Blatt,  

Membership Chair
Phone: 650-574-2087

Join Our List
Join Our Mailing List

December 2011 

From Carl Knoll, CALDA President

Dear CALDA Members,


CALDA's existence is approaching a Quarter Century in's hard to believe.   We have come far in those years; from being vilified for simply helping give people legal access to having a law enacted which legitimized the LDA
Carl Knoll, President
profession.  In comparison to the beginning of the legal industry by the Ancient Greeks and Romans, the modern legal self-help moment is in its infancy.  Is there any doubt that the LDA professionis here to stay and growing?  Not in my mind.


As the new President, the major goals I have for CALDA is to continue providing education and excellent standards in the LDA profession.  By growing our membership and improving our standing within the legal community, a CALDA LDA will be synonymous with a qualified and competent LDA.  CALDA is not a policing organization, but we are working toward LDAs to have a minimum educational, ethical and quality standard.  In just about every profession, there are good and bad actors; same holds true for LDAs-my goal is for CALDA LDAs to set the bar.


CALDAs Board of Directors is currently working on developing a Strategic Plan to help better plan and execute our growth.  Many hours have already been spent and many more will be invested.  We are a diverse organization that would love to hear from our members, prospective members and other legal and non-legal professionals alike to add to the discussion and our resolve in setting the, ethics, education.


Carl Knoll, President





ONTARIO, California; October 14, 2011 −


California Association of Legal Document Assistants today announced election results for its 2012-2014 executive committee, as well as for four directors.   


Elected for two-year terms

Carl Knoll from We Help You Legal in Paso Robles was elected President, and  

Carol Ludlow from Legal Document Services located in Cupertino was elected Treasurer. 

Jenny Barei, Secretary

CALDA members also elected the following directors:

Elected for two-year terms:  

Jeri Blatt from Legal Documents Plus in Foster City

China Long from Long's Court Forms & Bankruptcy Service in Temecula,  

Nancy Newlin from Colusa Legal Support Services in Colusa
 Maureen McCready from Business Affairs in Arcata.


CALDA is excited about their new Board and thanks all members for their participation and member input.     


You can read bios of all the Board members at CALDA's webpage here: Board Member Biographies 


Jenny Barei

CALDA Secretary 




SAVE THE DATE! -- MARCH 24, 2012, Foster City

CALDA Seminar Series: Spring Seminar

  • Saturday, March 24, 2012
  • Hosted by CALDA's Bay Area Chapter
  • Foster City, California

Dear Members,


The CALDA Bay Area Chapter is hosting a seminar this spring in Foster City (which is on the San Francisco Peninsula at the foot of the San Mateo Bridge).


Four 90-minute classes will be presented. More information, including an agenda with details on the classes and instructors will be forthcoming.


We hope to see you there!




Bay Area Chapter Seminar Committee

(Marcel Neumann, Jeri Blatt, Janet Greenhow, and Ian Duncan)



Ian Duncan, Vice President

Dear Members,


The CALDA Board is committed to improving and expanding what CALDA has to offer its members.  I wanted to let you know about a couple projects we've been working on since the Conference.


BAY AREA SEMINAR:      Keeping with our commitment to provide educational opportunities for our members, the Bay Area Chapter will be holding a "Seminar" of four 90 minute classes in Foster City on March 24.  I am happy to report that Al McLeod, LDA (Hayward) has just confirmed that he will be teaching a class on Answering Civil Lawsuits.  Keep an eye on CALDA's Facebook page for further updates on the Seminar as they come.


It's rather important to note that this seminar does NOT replace the Annual Conference, which will be held this year in Northern California in October.  The upcoming "Seminar" is intended to allow members more educational and networking opportunities throughout the year, in addition to the Conference.  Think of it as a bonus, and we hope to see you at both! 


IMPROVING AND UPDATING BROCHURES:          The Brochures and Questionnaires are a very tangible benefit of membership that many members use every single day.  Imagine if each and every one of us had to "recreate the wheel", as the saying goes, and create our own customized ways of providing our customers with attorney-approved information (and thus be in compliance with the B&P Code), and to collect our customer's information.  And then get them approved by our own attorneys!  It would just simply not be possible for many LDAs to operate without them.  The Board is committed to keeping these materials updated.  To that end, we have begun a project updating them and ensuring they meet the quality standards our members expect.  We also intend to create new ones as needed in order to fill any holes in the lineup.  Expect some progress on this by the springtime.


Finally, I would like to announce that Judge Juhas, keynote speaker from our 2011 Conference, has accepted a position on our advisory board.  Read all about the Judge's presentation in Connie Crockett's article below. 


Happy Holidays, everyone!


Ian Duncan

CALDA Vice President 




Jeri Blatt, Membership Chair

Dear Members,


Last month I met with our Membership Administrator, Tracey Booth, to discuss our goals for increasing membership. It will be a major effort and we hope to have as much support as possible from all members to achieve this goal. As of November 2011, we had 195 total members; 165 of which are voting members; 16 sustaining members; 12 student members and 2 lifetime members. That is up from 187 total members in September 2011 - up 8 members in two months. Not bad, but we are hoping to do better. In fact, we are hoping by our next conference (and with your help) to increase our membership to 300.


As a result of our meeting, Tracey will send out a letter (after the holidays) to all those LDAs who are not yet CALDA members, and to those who call themselves "paralegals" but are not registered and bonded or do not practice under the supervision of an attorney. There are still many of them out there. The letter outlines the benefits of becoming a CALDA member and offering them one month free access to the Forums - to give them a taste of what they are missing by not joining CALDA!


You, our members, can also help. We all know someone in our area who is a potential CALDA member but still has not crossed over for one reason or another. If we can each enlist one new member by our next conference, October 2012, we will have surpassed our goal. If you know someone in your area who is not a CALDA member but you don't feel comfortable inviting them to become a member, let me or Tracey know.   We are committed to putting CALDA on the map!


Our newest members from August to November are:

Ian G. Benyard

Susan Clardy

Frank Donnelly

Apple Feng

Christina Hernandez

Tonya Krueger

Marybel Marquez

Samantha Morrison

Loc Tan Nguyen

George Pinedo

Patricia Powell

Bryan Schurter


Welcome to all of you! We look forward to meeting all of you at our next conference. In the meantime, let us get to know you through the Forums. Our members are always there to help you with any questions. Whether you are a new LDA or a long time LDA, CALDA is your resource for valuable information.


Jeri Blatt

Membership Chairperson 

Connie CrockettDear Members,

At the 2011 CALDA Conference in Ontario, our keynote speaker, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Mark Juhas, (also a member of the Elkins Implementation Task Force) presented a wonderful power point review of statistical facts about our courts, and future changes resulting from the Elkins Family Law Task Force (EFLTF). Did you know that 70% to 80% of litigants are self represented (SRLs) and there are only 175 full time employed judicial officers instead of the 449 needed, based on population? There are approximately 460,000 new family law filings.  On an average, family law attorneys charge $300 an hour and require a $5,000 retainer. The courts all suffered a 30% budget cut and legal service agencies are underfunded as well. Based on the Trust and Confidence Survey taken, SRL's want to be heard, respected, to understand, and to be treated fairly.

            The EFLTF was comprised of 38 members who took 2 years attending countless phone conferences and meetings and created 117 recommendations, based on more comments received in this process than any previous Judicial Council efforts.  It was recommended that the Family Law Rules should be revised to be more comprehensive and provide greater statewide uniformity in family law procedures. State Rules will be redone from top to bottom with come significant changes, to be discussed by the Judicial Council in February 2012.

            The EFLTF also focused on streamlining family law forms and procedures, and says that all JC forms should be clear and easy to complete, and should be translated into multiple languages. Further, local forms should not be in conflict with statewide JC forms. Summary dissolution and other procedures for uncontested cases should be simplified. There should be efficient, uniform statewide procedures to process default and uncontested judgments, to make it easier for litigants and to reduce workload of court staff in processing them.  Additional changes will be as follows:

                        1)         If an SRL is seeking attorneys fees, look for a JC form that contains the language required to apply for these fees, beginning January 1, 2012 per AB 939 (see bill at ELKINS).  Judge Juhas says this is likely to take full effect on 1/1/13. (Proposed Judicial Council forms FL-319 and FL-158.)

                        2)         California Rule of Court 5.83 (effective 1/1/12) re Family Centered Case Resolution Plan and proposed Judicial Council forms FL-172 and FL-174 and FC 2450 and 2451 (which provides judicial assistance and management to the parties with focus on early resolution.)

                        3)         California Rule of Court 5.92 (effective 1/1/12) does away with Notice of Motion and order to Show Cause forms, replacing them with a Request for Order, proposed Judicial Council form FL-300. This does not affect anything under the Domestic Violence Prevention Act.

                        4)         California Rule of Court 5.118 (effective 7/1/11) limits the number of pages of one's declaration to 10 with a 5 page limit on a reply.  A Court may allow otherwise upon good cause and there are exceptions for expert witnesses as well.

                        5)         California Rule of Court 5.119 (effective 1/1/11 and 7/1/11) FC 217 regarding live testimony at hearings. [Note, if the SRL wants to present live testimony at their hearing, they must file and serve a witness list with a description of testimony prior to the hearing (proposed JC form FL-321, FC 217 (c)]

                        6)          Minor's Counsel: (effective 1/1/11) FC 3151, Rule change for Rule 5.242(j), proposed JC form FL-321 and FL-323 (order appointing counsel for a child).

                        7)         Minor's input: FC 3043, proposed Rule 5.250 children are not required to participate or precluded from doing so. The court must balance protecting the child and has a duty to consider the child's wishes and probative value of child's input.

                        8)         Post Judgment service by mail FC 215 will require address verification (proposed JC form FL-334).)

                        9)         Same Sex marriage and/or Registered Domestic partners: FL-103 dissolve either/or both at the same time, FL-123 Response.  SB 651 "This bill would authorize a judgment for dissolution, nullity, or legal separation of a marriage between persons of the same sex to be entered if the marriage was entered in California and neither party to the marriage resides in a jurisdiction that will dissolve the marriage."

                        10)       Summary Dissolution: (marriage and RDP) 5 years from DOM to DOS, no minor children, $38,000 assets, $6,000 debt, court will automatically enter the Judgment.  See FL-810 info booklet.

                        11)       Default Judgment: California Rule of Court 5.405, Judicial Council form FL-182 lists the required forms, Rule 5.407 says court may review and advise how to correct forms; Rule 5.409 a default hearing will case by case discretionary on court or party, cannot be mandatory.

                        12)       Proof of Service by posting or publication: make statewide process publication per CCP 415.50 and 413.30, California Court Rule 5.72, proposed JC form FL-980, 982 and 985.

                        13)       New info sheets including FL-313 re counseling; FL-314 re: child custody mediation; May do a stipulated judgment in a Domestic Violence or Paternity case (DV-180 and CRC rule 5.380.)

            For those who received class materials, there were several pages of material regarding the Elkins' recommendations, the Family Code changes, proposed judicial council forms and far more detail about all of these changes. 

            After his class, I overheard someone say they could have listened to Judge Juhas all day, even after two days of attending conference classes! Everyone around me concurred, he was a great speaker with a wealth of information.  Judge Juhas stayed around to watch the Unlawful Practice of Law class with CALDA attorney Richard Lubetzky with role playing by CALDA advisor Steven Elias, Esq., and his lovely wife, Catherine Jermany Elias (our CALDA "Mother".)  Judge Juhas told me that he was very glad he stayed and very impressed with the seriousness in which CALDA approached the subject of UPL. He was very pleased to make our acquaintance and looks forward to an on-going relationship with our group. On behalf of CALDA, I thank him very much for taking so much time to prepare this presentation, and for taking his Sunday away from his family, to be with us!

Connie Crockett
2011 Annual Conference Chairperson