A legal document assistant (LDA, also known as "document technician," "legal document preparer," "legal technician," "online legal document provider" or "legal document clerk") in the United States is a non-lawyer who is authorized to assist with the preparation of legal instruments. Unlike a paralegal, legal document assistants do not work under the supervision of an attorney.
The prevalence of LDAs is an American phenomenon created in response to the more strict licensing laws for attorneys elsewhere in the world. The job was created by using the doctrine of pro se to enable someone to help another prepare a legal document. In all U.S. states except for Louisiana and Puerto Rico, only an attorney can advise and draft a legal document for another party. With the self-help pro se concept and stock legal forms, the Legal Document Preparer profession was born.
The role of a Legal Document Assistant varies significantly across legal jurisdictions, and therefore can be treated here in only the most general terms. Some acts performed by Legal Document Assistants may be lawful in one jurisdiction and prohibited in other jurisdictions.
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