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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.

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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

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CALDA CONFERENCE: October 25 - 27, 2013  


by China Long, CALDA Conference Chair



CALDA is working hard to make the 2013 conference unforgettable!  We will be offering MCLE approved workshops.  This will be your opportunity to explore new subject matters, get up to date information as to what is happening with the legislation concerning our profession.

Click on the Conference Page to find the registration form and agenda.  It's all there -- sign up today!  

You will have the opportunity to network with other LDA's building new relationships, catching up with old friends and sharing your accomplishments and challenges with others who understand your challenges and experiences.


The full Conference Agenda appears below. 

by Marcel Neumann, Nominations and Elections Chair
Marcel Nuemann
Please make your nominations for CALDA's open officer and director positions and return your form to Marcel Neumann.  Marcel's contact information is on the Nominations form, which you can find at this link:Nominations Form.


If you are not planning on attending the election, complete a proxy form so that you can appoint someone to vote on your behalf.  We need a quorum at the Annual General Meeting, so it is very important that you return your proxy if you can't attend.  Return the proxy to Marcel Neumann. Find the proxy by clicking this link: Proxy Form.


Please remember that we need your Proxy vote to have the quorum necessary for the elections, and also to conduct the business of the Association.  I have received a few, but we need yours, so please do it today. 

Judge Michael Levanas and Judge Daniel Murphy

This year, CALDA is proud to present for the first time, two of Los Angeles County Superior Court Judges, who will speak on the procedures of probate court and the most common errors they tend to see in probate documents. This is a workshop you do not want to miss! Visit CALDA's registration page for registration information and hotel room reservation.

by Ian M. Duncan, CALDA President
Ian Duncan board photo  

Dear Members,


Over the last several months, CALDA's Legislative Committee tracked and provided comment on several bills which made their way through the Legislature. Here is an update on those bills and their status.


AB 888 (Dickinson-D) will enhance the State Bar's ability to prosecute the unauthorized practice of law in civil court. Its apparent targets are foreclosure scammers perpetrated by disbarred attorneys, out-of-state attorneys, and other shady characters who attempt to take advantage of homeowners in distress. The bill is also designed to be a tool for prosecuting notarios who take advantage of immigrants, especially with the possibility of immigration reform happening.

Our longtime adviser Richard Lubetzsky advised us that the Bar could use this new authority to harm LDAs. The Bar is able to take its attorneys' fees when it prevails in one of these lawsuits. The law also imposes fines under the Unfair Business Practices law, which would have originally been payable to the State Bar. This could have provided a perverse incentive for them to pursue these claims, which would be bad for LDAs. Even in a frivolous action, the LDA would not be able to recover his or her own defense costs, which would be potentially very high.


As a result of Richard's advice and at his urging, CALDA opposed AB 888. I attended the Assembly Judiciary Committee hearing on the matter and provided comment. After that hearing in May I called on you to provide letters to the Assemblyman voicing your concerns over the legislation. I appeared on the Pat Thurston Show on KGO Radio and was interviewed regarding our position on the proposed law. Finally, I and several other CALDA Board members met with the chiefs of staff for Senators Walters, Leno, and Anderson in June and attended the Senate Judiciary committee hearing on the bill.


Our efforts yielded results. Because of these efforts and your letters and support, the author agreed to the following changes: (1) The fines generated by the law will not be available for the State Bar's operating budget; instead, the fines will be used only for assisting consumers who have been harmed by UPL scams.  This will ensure that this new power does not become a profit center for the Bar, which would have encouraged them to pursue unmeritorious claims. (2) Intent language was placed into the statute stating that the purpose of the bill is to stop foreclosure scams and notarios; and (3) Assemblyman Dickinson wrote a letter to the Legislative Journal (meaning it will be a part of the legislative history) to clarify his intent that the law is not intended to harm LDAs.


As a result of the changes made to the bill, CALDA withdrew its opposition to AB 888. Thank you for sending in your letters and taking time out of your business schedules to pay attention to this. Thanks especially to the members of the June "roadshow" who went to Sacramento with me, namely Carl Knoll, Carol Ludlow, Connie Crockett, and Terri O'Connor.


It's important to realize that the bill had a lot of support because of the merits of its stated purpose. The bill passed both houses with the changes I described above and Governor Brown is expected to sign it.


AB 477 (Chau-D) will make Notaries mandated reporters of elder abuse. CALDA partnered with the National Notary Association in providing the author with several suggested revisions, most of which the author incorporated into the final bill. Most notably, the notary will be able to take attorney's fees incurred in any action against the notary as a result of the report. Harm to the notary is unlikely in the first place, as the report of elder abuse is completely confidential; however we and the NNA felt that the attorney's fees provision was an important piece that needed to be in the law.


CALDA supported this bill, and I was very impressed with the responsiveness of Assemblyman Chau's office to our suggested changes. His staff person called me and we had a rather in-depth discussion on the bill and our suggested revisions. The bill passed both houses of the Legislature and is on its way to Governor Brown.


SB 391 (DeSaulnier-D), if passed, will impose additional fees on property transfers to support affordable housing programs (essentially to replace the funding lost when the redevelopment districts were abolished). This bill will add an additional $75 fee to every recordable instrument that does not involve transfer tax (i.e. interspousal deeds, trust transfer deeds, affidavits of death, deeds, of trust, and many others).


Many of our members prepare these instruments and their clients would be directly impacted by this new fee, which we find to be exorbitant. We believe that funding these programs on the backs of other low-income Californians such as the elderly and the disabled simply shifts the burden and taxes from one group of poor people to help another.


The exclusion of documents bearing transfer tax is especially confusing - and our suggestion to the Senator is that his new law should impose a much more modest fee on all recordable instruments to support these programs, which would be much less burdensome (but would result in the funding he is seeking for affordable housing programs).


The bill is stalled in the Assembly Appropriations Committee at the moment and will be taken back up in January.


SB 1098 (Gray-D) is a new one. This bill is a "gut and amend" - in other words, the original purpose of this bill was entirely different, and its entire contents were deleted and replaced with a different purpose (on September 10).


This bill appears to be intended to completely legitimize the business practices of online legal form completion websites such as LegalZoom by stating that their activities: (1) do not constitute the practice of law, and (2) do not constitute the activities of a legal document assistant. Interesting, eh?


CALDA hasn't yet taken a position on this bill, which is delayed until at least January, when it must make its way through a couple key committees before it can proceed. We'll keep our eye on this one.


Legal Technicians 

We are also tracking the State Bar's limited licensing proposal.  We offered an in-depth position for the Bar to consider. There is no proposal yet on the table from the Bar yet, but as soon as there is you can be sure we'll inform you. 


Thank you again for all your support. 



Comm. Richard Vogl
Commissioner Richard Vogl (ret)

Friday, October 25, 2013 

7:30 - 8:30a         

Continental breakfast - held in CALDA's conference room

Full complimentary breakfast for hotel guests





8:45 - 9:00a         

Welcome & Introduction by CALDA's President, Ian Duncan, LDA


9:00 - 10:00a

Workshop 1 - Deeds (1.0 MCLE) - Debra Burton, LDA


Workshop 2 - Our Family Wizard - Brian Altman shared child custody program


10:00 - 10:15a



10:15a - 12:15p - Plenary Session 

Workshop 3 - Marketing Your Business Joe Von Gerichten, Dione Moser & Jason DeArmond

they will be speaking on how to effectively grow your business by marketing, use creative tools for success and utilize the Internet


12:15 - 1:30p       



1:30 - 2:45p         

Workshop 4 - Beginner's Family Law (1.0 MCLE)  Lois Isenberg, LDA


Workshop 5 - Advanced Family Law (1.5 MCLE)  Gloria S. Aranda, Esq.


2:45 - 3:00p



3:00 - 4:30p         

Workshop 6 - The Hague Convention: International jurisdiction & process serving (1.0 MCLE)

B.J. Fadem, Esq.


Workshop 7 - Stepparent Adoptions & Terminating Parental Rights (1.5)  

Helen Bellamy, J.D., LDA




5:30 - 6:30p         

Meet & Greet (finger foods will be served)

FOR ALL REGISTERED HOTEL GUESTS everyday, the hotel will provide complimentary drinks and snacks in the lobby




7:30 - 8:30a

Continental breakfast - held in CALDA's conference room Full complimentary breakfast for hotel guests  





9:00 - 10:20a

Workshop 8 - KEYNOTE SPEAKERS Judge Michael I. Levanas & Judge Daniel S. Murphy

from the Los Angeles Superior Court, Probate Department. They will discuss the procedures of probate court, limited scope representation, short sales, petitions for insolvency and the most common errors they see in various probate documents (1.0 MCLE)  


10:20 - 10:45a     



10:45a - 12:00p

Workshop 9 - Social Security Administration (1.5 MCLE)  Diana Wade, Disability Advocate


Workshop 10 - How to Prepare a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy  (1.5 MCLE) - Christopher J. Langley, Esq.


12:00n - 1:30p    



1:30 - 2:45p

Workshop 11 - Writing a Successful Declaration (1.0 MCLE) Comm. Richard G. Vogl, Ret.


2:45 - 3:00p         



3:00 - 4:30p         

Workshop 12 - Operating a Successful LDA Business by Kerry Spence, LDA


Workshop 13 - Estate Planning (1.5 MCLE)  

Dennis Fox, owner of the estate planning program, FORE Trust Software  

He will be speaking on how to prepare estate planning documents


6:30 - 9:00p         






7:30 - 8:30a

Continental breakfast - held in CALDA's conference room
Full complimentary breakfast for hotel guests







9:00 - 11:00a       

Workshop 14 - UPL (2.5 MCLE) - Richard Lubetzky, Esq.


11:00 - 11:15a    BREAK / NETWORKING


11:15a - 12:15p

Workshop 15 - Limited Licensed Legal Technician - Ian Duncan, CALDA President - Ian will be speaking to us about the status of the Bar's limited license proposal and how it may affect Legal Document Assistants - Questions & Answers session