Charging for freelance work - suggestions?

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Ohio paralegal in Warren, Ohio

86 months ago

I've been unofficially doing freelance paralegal work for various attorneys for about a year since getting my degree. I specialize in researching issues and writing reports for the attorneys, briefs to the courts, motions, etc. I have generally "wowed" every attorney who has used me.

In my area, most lawyers and law firms hire a full-time secretary, but don't have the resources to also hire a full-time paralegal to do the things I do. Whenever they need services like mine, they contract out. So, with the encouragement of a local defense attorney and prosecutor, I am considering filing an LLC and advertising myself.

My problem is: What should I charge?

I don't want to rip myself off, but I also don't want to seem audacious on accident. I want to have a fair price that attorneys won't bristle at, but also make enough to live on.

So, paralegals: What do you feel comfortable charging?
And, attorneys: What do you feel comfortable being charged?

Any and all advice is appreciated. Thank you!

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

86 months ago

Ohio paralegal in Warren, Ohio said: I've been unofficially doing freelance paralegal work for various attorneys for about a year since getting my degree. I specialize in researching issues and writing reports for the attorneys, briefs to the courts, motions, etc. I have generally "wowed" every attorney who has used me.

So, with the encouragement of a local defense attorney and prosecutor, I am considering filing an LLC and advertising myself.

My problem is: What should I charge?

I don't want to rip myself off, but I also don't want to seem audacious on accident. I want to have a fair price that attorneys won't bristle at, but also make enough to live on.

So, paralegals: What do you feel comfortable charging?
And, attorneys: What do you feel comfortable being charged?

Any and all advice is appreciated. Thank you!

THis is reply to post 12 days ago:

FIrst Ohio, I want to congratulate you on your "research project." I am a retired Paralegal of 10 years.

As to what to charge: Not really knowing what the going price is for this service- I would say maybe $35.00 a search.

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

86 months ago

Ohio paralegal in Warren, Ohio said: I've been unofficially doing freelance paralegal work for various attorneys for about a year since getting my degree. I specialize in researching issues and writing reports for the attorneys, briefs to the courts, motions, etc. I have generally "wowed" every attorney who has used me.

So, with the encouragement of a local defense attorney and prosecutor, I am considering filing an LLC and advertising myself.

My problem is: What should I charge?

I don't want to rip myself off, but I also don't want to seem audacious on accident. I want to have a fair price that attorneys won't bristle at, but also make enough to live on.

So, paralegals: What do you feel comfortable charging?
And, attorneys: What do you feel comfortable being charged?

Any and all advice is appreciated. Thank you!

THis is reply to post 12 days ago:

FIrst Ohio, I want to congratulate you on your "research project." I am a retired Paralegal of 10 years.

As to what to charge: Not really knowing what the going price is for this service- I would say maybe $35.00 a search.

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clg in Atlanta, Georgia

84 months ago

Kudos to you Ohio Paralegal! I must concur with kmm in Delaware $35 an hour. You want to be able to pull your business in therefore the key here is how you should charge first then what you should charge. I think you should start out at $35.00 per hour but on one time short assignments/cases and $30 per hour for the long term assignments/cases. You are probably asking why charge this way...well we know that legal work in general is based on time and the longer attorneys work on a case the more money they charge clients. As a paralegal your time is very valuable and you are a commodity to attorneys plus if the attorney knows that you are charging less for long term assignment the more jobs you will be offered thus supply and demand. Let the firm know that you normally charge $35 per hour but on longer assignment you charge $30 per hour. Note: any additional indepth legal research should be an additional charge of $10.00 per hour. I hope this gives you an idea of how you should charge. By the way if you need help with any paralegal work let me know. I have a paralegal degree with seven years experience. I am a stay at home mom and have the time and could use the extra money. My email address is legalee1@yahoo.com.

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mcdrennan@earthlink.net in Baltimore, Maryland

82 months ago

Congratulations and thanks. I googled "freelance paralegal work" thinking nothing but head hunters would show up. I am in taking a second bachelor degree program for paralegal studies. I have an MSW and hope to create a niche for myself in Divorce Mediation in my home office. At the same time, I would like to work with Personal Representatives who need to have help getting through the process of probate. I would have given my eye teeth to have had someone's professional guidance to consult with me after my father died. I was going through the grieving process AND going from wrong place to wrong place to get his estate settled. Does anyone else know what the legal parameters are for doing this kind of work--not legal advice, just walking the P.R. through the of estate administration with a supervising attorney in Estates for myself. Any comments or opinions?

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Jane Do Girl in Milton, Florida

82 months ago

McDrennan:

You'll need to check your State's Probate statute to see if the PR is required to have attorney representation to administer an estate. In FL, a PR must have attorney representation; however, I've been told that in TN they do not. You will also need to check your State's Unlicensed Practice of Law (UPL) Statute to see if you would be allowed to provide those kinds of services directly to the public. In FL, you certainly would not, as 'walking someone through estate administration' is in fact giving legal advice. Telling a client what form of an estate they'll need to open, what forms they'll need to submit, etc., is all giving legal advice. The only way you could possibly help and NOT run afoul of UPL, is to simply type the information the client gives you into the forms without making any commentary whether it was correct, etc.

Also, I can't imagine an attorney agreeing to 'supervise' a freelance paralegal, i.e. aiding the unlicensed practice of law, when the clients are not his. Probate is a very technical process, full of pitfalls for even a novice attorney. As a consumer, I certainly wouldn't go to a freelance paralegal to guide me through this process, especially one without previous verifiable experience working for a Probate attorney.

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clg in Atlanta, Georgia

82 months ago

Hey, Baltimore, I am not quite sure how things are done in Maryland but here in Georgia they will not allow you to assist at all. I was not giving legal advice, in any way. I tried to just assist in document preparation and the Georgia Bar was ready to burn me at the stake. The best way to approach that type of process is to have a supervising attorney in it with you.

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Lori in Los Angeles, California

81 months ago

Does any one know the going rate for freelancing in a city that has a higher cost of living such as Los Angeles?

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dvinwsdm in Wilmington, North Carolina

81 months ago

Congrats, its always a blessing to be able to start your own business and be successful.

I would probably charge a flat rate for certain items and jobs given by the Lawyer. I am considering freelancing and charging a flat rate may be beneficial espeically if you know how quickly or time consuming the task may take.

Can you give me any advise or suggesting on how to advertise or seek out work.

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C'est moi in Atlanta, Georgia

75 months ago

Before you decide on the dollar amount to charge for your services, an analysis of your fixed overhead costs is in order:
(1)the amount of time spent on a particular task
(2)cost of travel (if required)
(3)cost of internet service
(4)costof utilities (electricity, telephone/fax-- if used)
(5)website creation/maintenance
(6)advertising/marketing (if any)

Since you'll be forming a business entity, you'll have to register your company (or corporation) with the secretary of state and renew annually to keep your entity in good standing with the state. Plus you'll probably need a business license from your city/town. Also, unless you have health coverage from another source, you'll be responsible for that as well.

Please do all of the required due diligence so that your business can be legal and profitable. Perhaps you can work with a CPA or attorney who can advise you.

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Janelle in Nashville, Tennessee

74 months ago

As a freelancing paralegal (in TN) is it necessary to register this business with the Secretary of State? I was told as long as we file a form three times a year stating how much you've made, etc. you don't need to register. Also, have any freelance paralegals had any conflict problems?

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andoverboro in Newton, New Jersey

74 months ago

I would love to know how to freelance my skills. How does someone freelance in New Jersey.

Any thoughts or suggestions is appreciated!!

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joseph-in-10k-lakes in Saint Paul, Minnesota

73 months ago

-Hello-

I'm also thinking about doing freelance paralegal services in Minnesota. I have two questions: Can you be employed by a state government branch ("judicial") and do freelance work for individuals and firms? If so, will a conflict of interest exist?

Any thoughts/comments are welcomed!

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Jacob in Rantoul, Illinois

72 months ago

I am interested in doing freelance Public Relations work, what do I need to legally do this? Licenses...etc. thank you.

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Cynthia in Denver, Colorado

72 months ago

Joseph (in soon-to-be brrrr Minnesota): I am currently freelancing after some years as a law clerk/judicial assistant with a low-vision trial judge in the State of Colorado. I recall that the judicial department of my state had fairly strict guidelines for "moonlighting" outside of my capacity with them. I also know that the judge's mantle of authority could be tarnished if, say, I were to do something that the cannon of ethics prohibited HIM from doing on the grounds of the appearance of impropriety. It really makes sense that employees of the judiciary stay away from outside freelancing probably. I don't know that this will help...but there you have it. Best of luck!

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B.King in Colorado Springs, Colorado

72 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: You know the old rule about even the appearance of a conflict raising a bar.....I would use that concept as a guide. If I were you, I wouldn't even think about taking on freelance work. You never know if the individuals or firms could eventually be parties to cases in your courts.

This is why you would specifically ask who the parties are to the case that you are presently working on so you do not run into what is commonly called a "Conflict of Interest Issue." This way if the other party does happen to ask you about your services and you conclude that they are the other party to a "Cause of Action," then you can politely tell them that you are currently providing what ever kind of service to the first party. I hope this makes sense because I too am a Paralegal here in Colorado Springs and are you currently LLC just to cover your Liability?

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B.King in Colorado Springs, Colorado

72 months ago

I am sorry, I thought you were a "Freelance Paralegal," I must have misunderstood, but you are right, if that were the case then of course I would do the same thing and I am not completely sure if this state allows for this type of thing. But I know with the shape of the economy, people have had to resort to using Paralegals for Document Preparation and so forth to avoid the high Attorney's Fees. Becoming a "Freelance Paralegal would seem to be a lucritive idea if it could be done because I know that a lot of us would prosper from it. Right now, I cannot even get any work doing strictly work from an Attorney, which I would give my right arm for at this point because these days are tight, so in other words out of work due to downsizing and so forth. Maybe you have some suggestions on this area, I would sure welcome it.

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Cynthia in Denver, Colorado

72 months ago

I feel for you, B.King. Numerous folks in the northern area are facing the same dilemma. As a freelancer, I have had to adjust my thinking on standard "in the box" employment. For example, we are sort of trained to think that we have to have employer subsidized health insurance. I am finding this to not be true at all. Sure, if you don't work that day, you don't get paid. But the freedom is the quid pro quo. As to finding the work, I am always fighting that battle. In fact, I will sometimes spend an entire day doing only that. I rely on my previous associations with attorneys, and I am currently attempting to "break into" the Denver metro area. I get numerous phone calls from paralegals, wanting work. I am working on an angle for that here in Colorado. Currently, I just piecemeal work that I find from various "freelancing" sites like sologig, ifreelance, craigslist....others, the names of which I cannot currently recall. I personally think the wave of the future is to freelance.

B.King in Colorado Springs, Colorado said: I am sorry, I thought you were a "Freelance Paralegal," I must have misunderstood, but you are right, if that were the case then of course I would do the same thing and I am not completely sure if this state allows for this type of thing. But I know with the shape of the economy, people have had to resort to using Paralegals for Document Preparation and so forth to avoid the high Attorney's Fees. Becoming a "Freelance Paralegal would seem to be a lucritive idea if it could be done because I know that a lot of us would prosper from it. Right now, I cannot even get any work doing strictly work from an Attorney, which I would give my right arm for at this point because these days are tight, so in other words out of work due to downsizing and so forth. Maybe you have some suggestions on this area, I would sure welcome it.

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B.King in Colorado Springs, Colorado

72 months ago

I have even looked on The American Bar Associations web site and have seen one job but it is in a field that I have very little training in so I would probably not get it. I would rathyer see that go to someone with more experience in that area. As for Freelance work, I think this is something that is a probable position in the very near future and I really think the Bar needs to start looking at this angle a lot closer than what they have in the past because their are a lot of people with training in specialized areas that would be helpful to the public and to Attorneys that really cannot afford a Full-Time Paralegal in the Office but can better afford someone that is contracted at a set rate with a Paralegal, so I really think that someone needs to really stand up and make these people see that aspect.

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B.King in Colorado Springs, Colorado

72 months ago

I understand all of this and have a lot of experience talking with Attorneys and Judges for quite a long time now. I realize that there are politics involved in anything you do in this day and age and I am marketable and could give a better bid to Attorneys than most people and I am not trying to boast or anything else. I have talents that could be used in this workforce should the Bar Association and those on Capital Hill loosen their restrictions a bit.

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Cynthia in Denver, Colorado

72 months ago

It isn't a federal issue or a legislative issue though, B.King. I mean, there is nothing on the Hill to stop you. Just go do it. I think it is more of an education issue to the private practitioners but really, this kind of freelancing happens all the time in big cities.....and more so now with the economy faltering. The UPL ethical standards are in place of course, but if you freelance with a firm or a single attorney, then you are not practicing law within the meaning of the ABA standard. It's really a win-win thing to do...if you have the temperament to sell yourself as "Displace Legal Pro" says.

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Cynthia in Denver, Colorado

72 months ago

See, those things do not inhibit me totally. I've been dealing with them as an entrepreneur for many moons. But not everyone wants those issues...they would rather an employer take care of all that. For me, the benefit of being my own 'boss' outweighs these things ....by far.

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B.King in Colorado Springs, Colorado

72 months ago

I totally agree with you by far;there are so many people working from the comforts of their own home these days and making ends meet for the first time in their lifetime and enjoying the luxury of making their own hours, so that would be an advantage. Plus the fact that I am already set up on my own private healthcare is another plus. If I could find an Attorney that would be willing to give things a shot like that here but unfortunately, that is like pulling teeth. I have tried that approach with many of them and they simply have other ideas in mind and choose to do their own work, which granted saves them money but less time in court and working later hours away from the family, so I think in a way, they are putting a huge risk up for themselves which could be avoided if they would simply loosen their ties a little and that is coming from a respect point because I have seen these Lawyers at work in the courthouse going from courtroom to courtroom and not having much free time for themselves, it just seems crazy if you ask me. I have worked in both the Criminal and Civil Aspects of the Law and have seen quite a bit about how this system works and what judges really look at. I have had experiences with Judges in Teller County where I was paid some very nice compliments for the work I produced and I appreciate that but yet, having sparse work does not pay my bills.

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B.King in Colorado Springs, Colorado

72 months ago

You know, I agree with Mr. Pro on one aspect like what you were saying in your posting but at the same time, I know what the Bar has had to say about it and I know where the majority of the decision starts and this seems to be The House Of Representatives from the posting that I was able to see on their website. If that is true, the only way I see changing anything is to go through the local Congressman or Senator, if they are willing to hear you out on the issue and right now, that is a big if because the Healthcare Reform is taking great priority over anything else and that is fine but as you and I both know, there are many issues out there that need attention, but I guess all in good time. It is a big vertue to those who wait patiently in this day and age.

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B.King in Colorado Springs, Colorado

72 months ago

I totally agree again with you on all sides of this issue and I think you have provided great insite into a huge issue that has been on the tables many times over the years. I was looking on some websites last night dealing with "Freelance Work" and I noticed that this sort of thing is going on all over the U.S and in huge cities with the faltering economy and will continue to grow according to the ABA at 10% per year. Now, that speaks volumes to me as I am sure it does with you unlike "Displaced Legal Pro," and I think that like I have stated before Cynthia, if I could find just one that would be willing to work in this capacity but for some reason, this city seems to be afraid of taking that kind of jump and I really look at it like there is more behind it than what meets the eye, but I am no where near someone in their shoes, so I simply go with the flow and continue to hope for good things, if you follow me here. I have really enjoyed your knowledge and respect over this entire thing, you will go far in life.

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B.King in Colorado Springs, Colorado

72 months ago

Very True if this is the way you would like to look at it, we all have our own insite into things as I am sure you do. It is a free country, so please feel free to provide insite as you wish.

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B.King in Colorado Springs, Colorado

72 months ago

Thank you for the correction, I am a bit under the weather, so bare with me today, I am usually more attentive to spelling, grammar, etc. I appreciate you saying good luck and to you, the same.

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Cynthia in Denver, Colorado

72 months ago

I would be lying if I led anyone to believe that I do not miss the "security" of a "real job." I am a single parent, so the necessities are not optional for sure. But I just think freelancing is an option and DLP does too, it sounds like. But I miss my corporate health care, my office with a view, my mahogany desk, and my paid days off for sure! My goal is to get all that back.....in my own way. :) Have a great weekend folks!

B.King in Colorado Springs, Colorado said: Thank you for the correction, I am a bit under the weather, so bare with me today, I am usually more attentive to spelling, grammar, etc. I appreciate you saying good luck and to you, the same.

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B.King in Colorado Springs, Colorado

72 months ago

I can perfectly understand your position on what you stated. With the present economy the way it is, it makes it very difficult to make ends meet. Most live Paycheck to Paycheck these days and even then are still going into debt to proportions that recovering is almost impossible for most. I think personally that eventually, the restrictions will have to be lifted to allow people like us that have been to school for our specialties to handle more of the Documen Preparation for everyday people but recommend that they have the work reviewed by a Licensed Attorney in all due respect to the Attorneys and Client Protection especially if these Clients are going to represent themselves in a Court of Law, which from my research into this aspect, the "Pro Sey," Area is growing rapidly even in the large cities like what you and I live in. So, hopefully, someone will eventually work on getting some sort of Legislation going to change things within the Law, which I will not violate. I like to stay on the good side of the Law, but I do enjoy doing research and learning even more than what was taught in school, so hopefully this will pay-off one day soon.

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B.King in Colorado Springs, Colorado

72 months ago

Allow me to say one thing respectfully if I may. Do you happen to know what Misrepresentation is?" If you do not know I suggest you go look it up in Black's Law Dictionary. In addition, look of Defamation in the same book. Plus there is another word that goes in conjunction with both and is called Libel.lus you are sadly mistaken my friend, there are Document Preparation Companies in Colorado Springs as we speak, so guess again, do not speak unless you know fact because it might just lead you to trouble. You are running real close my friend to legal issues of your own.

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Unemployed Property Manager in West Palm Beach, Florida

72 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: As you know, B. King, Colorado is conservative and resistant to change. So don't hold your breath too long about Colorado legislating nonlawyer document preparers. The legislature will enact a legal document preparer law only if the public wants it - not because individuals wanting to be legal document preparers want it. Write your state representatives and state senators.

As far as I know, California is the only state that has legalized nonlawyer legal documents preparers. Google "California Business and Professions Code Section 6400" if you want to read that state's code section. Indeed's software won't let me post a direct link.

HEY DISPLACED@@ I SEE YOU ARE A MODERATER NOW@@@@@@@@@@@ WOW LTNS. I am working and won't be for long!! My job is up on the chopping block. Business is bad in this industry and they are cutting back as much as possible. What have you been up to? I keep in touch with BCC, but I hardly get online here any more. You know how it is a girl has to do what a girl has to do!!!!!!!!!!! You still telling "them" how it is? lol.. Go right to the heart of things like you always do!! How is the Mrs. Displaced doing?

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mary in Tampa, Florida

72 months ago

B.King in Colorado Springs, Colorado said: Allow me to say one thing respectfully if I may. Do you happen to know what Misrepresentation is?" If you do not know I suggest you go look it up in Black's Law Dictionary. In addition, look of Defamation in the same book. Plus there is another word that goes in conjunction with both and is called Libel.lus you are sadly mistaken my friend, there are Document Preparation Companies in Colorado Springs as we speak, so guess again, do not speak unless you know fact because it might just lead you to trouble. You are running real close my friend to legal issues of your own.

Out of curiosity, how does a legal document center work?
Paralegal needs to work under the direction of an attorney, or be supervised by an attorney. A paralegal cannot represent - or assist - individuals. Preparing legal documents fits into the category of assisting. Sounds to me like it's a form of practicing law without a license - as any client is taking legal guidance from a paralegal.

Years ago, in the early 80's a few of those document companies sprung up in Tampa - and got shut down real fast.

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

72 months ago

B.King in Colorado Springs, Colorado said: Allow me to say one thing respectfully if I may. Do you happen to know what Misrepresentation is?" If you do not know I suggest you go look it up in Black's Law Dictionary. In addition, look of Defamation in the same book. Plus there is another word that goes in conjunction with both and is called Libel.lus you are sadly mistaken my friend, there are Document Preparation Companies in Colorado Springs as we speak, so guess again, do not speak unless you know fact because it might just lead you to trouble. You are running real close my friend to legal issues of your own.

WIth all due respect...identify what you are....lawyer???

Second....give an example of what the "mispresentation" is on the forum...If you cannot do that...you got nodda. Just hot air!!!

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B.King in Colorado Springs, Colorado

72 months ago

Wrong, but since you know it all, go to the web and look for yourself or look in the Yellow Pages

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mary in Tampa, Florida

72 months ago

My understanding of how it really works in California is a person comes in and says what he/she wants to accomplish. The legal document assistant hands that person a list of documents. The assistant explains that he/she is not an attorney, but that an attorney prepared the list and recommends those documents. Then the assistant asks the person if he/she wants the assistant to type up the documents. The legal document assistant functions as as a scrivener.

But I agree with you, Mary. Legal document preparation comes too close to my comfort level to UPL. Others may feel differently.

WOW - DPL - handing someone a list of documents and telling someone these are the documents suggested by the attorney - that surely sounds like giving legal advice. No attorney would even give a document to a lay person without explaining it first - and the explaining fits into the category of giving legal advice.

BKING - If you get into this situation, you are really looking for trouble. You could get arrested and charged with practicing law without a license.

But you should like one of those people who doesn't want anyone's opinion but your own.

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B.King in Colorado Springs, Colorado

72 months ago

Ok, that is about enough; If you two cannot read te differences in Laws between here and California then there is something wrong. Number two, do not be so quick to claim that I am doing anything at this point because I am not. Believe me, I know what the Laws state and what they do not state. I have more experience than both of you combined so careful about claiming that I am doing anything, that is almost as bad as accusing someone of something while innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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mary in Tampa, Florida

72 months ago

I was a court reporter back in 1981 for ten years, then a legal assistant - for insurance defense big time attorneys (not PI). I also have a BS in Business Administration and a Paralegal Degree.

I will take a look at the laws in Colorado. I can tell you Florida is about as laidback as it gets. It doesn't even require any certification to be a court reporter.

Why are you posting here, if you don't want our comments? I'm not accusing you. I really don't care what you do.
In today's economy, I'm all for paying your bills -whether it be in providing sex or providing legal documents.

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mary in Tampa, Florida

72 months ago

I did just go to the Colorado Statutes. It has no category for Paralegal or Legal Assistant.

It does have a category for practicing law without a license.

Girl, here's a scenario. You open shop. Give people documents. They file documents with Clerk, go to court. Judge or attorney says, "These are all wrong? Where did you get these?" Person said, "Well, I got them from that legal center over on Court Street. I talked to a paralegal and everything." Judge says, "You didn't talk to an attorney?" Person said, "No. She's a paralegal. She told me these are the documents used by attorneys."

Judge and attorney are LAUGHING. (If you haven't ever heard them laughing, you haven't been around long enough). Judge says to Clerk: "Call the State Attorney and have them send in an assistant DA RIGHT NOW. ADA gets there. More chatting. ADA sends a staff member to YOUR SHOP. You provide them with documents. Staff member takes them to ADA. ADA gets with Court.
From there it's all downhill. You could either get a certified letter advising you to stop practicing law without a license, or police could come get you, then you get charged ---

cont.

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mary in Tampa, Florida

72 months ago

cont

If you are on the forum, and you are asking US how much to charge, then you don't what the heil you're doing, you have very little legal knowledge and you have zero knowledge about attorney billing or paralegal billing.

You may see those shops set up around town - but I bet they haven't been there for long. If they gave, most likely there is an attorney in the background running shop.

There is NO PARALEGAL ANYWHERE handing out documents to people and saying this is what attorneys suggest - not in any state in the United States.

Do you really think attorneys would allow such an operation? Do you really think the American Courts would allow such an operation? Do you really think state legislators, senators (who are lawyers) would allow such an operation?

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mary in Tampa, Florida

72 months ago

Here is EXACTLY what you need. It speaks for itself.

www.cobar.org/repository/LPM%20Dept/OARCIssuesInvolvUPL.9.17.08.pdf?ID=3042

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kmm in Wilmington, DE in Wilmington, Delaware

72 months ago

B.King in Colorado Springs, Colorado said: I have even looked on The American Bar Associations web site and have seen one job but it is in a field that I have very little training in so I would probably not get it. I would rathyer see that go to someone with more experience in that area. As for Freelance work, I think this is something that is a probable position in the very near future and I really think the Bar needs to start looking at this angle a lot closer than what they have in the past because their are a lot of people with training in specialized areas that would be helpful to the public...., so I really think that someone needs to really stand up and make these people see that aspect.

Perhaps you are saying that a lot of people with small legal issues...that require legal paperwork...but...these people cannot afford an attorney....and LEGAL AID does not handle this type of legal work....That these people would be greatly helped.......if trained Paralegals with experience specific to the issue....were allowed to do so on a FREELANCE basis....They would not be giving legal advice....they would help them fill out the right documents with answers given by the person in need...the client per se..

It does fall into a "grey" area....as to wording of the answers...or information on the documents..being "legal advice...

It does seem that a Paralegal could be of great assistance, doing things they have performed on the job ....same job duties for people who cannot afford an attorney.

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kmm in Wilmington, DE in Wilmington, Delaware

72 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: You remember that gal from California on the other discussion who wanted to be a legal document preparer, don't you, Mary? We addressed the issue ad nauseam.

DPL and Mary...Remember the gal from California...legal secretary I believe...she had a LEGAL DOCument Business....under CA rules and regs..it was allowed...for specific ares of law...She really like it...she stopped doing it because the pay was low.. it helped people who could not afford attorneys and Legal Aid did not do that type of work.

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kmm in Wilmington, DE in Wilmington, Delaware

72 months ago

B.King in Colorado Springs, Colorado said: I have never seen anyone like you; go away

Who are you referring to???

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kmm in Wilmington, DE in Wilmington, Delaware

72 months ago

B.King in Colorado Springs, Colorado said: Ok, that is about enough; If you two cannot read te differences in Laws between here and California then there is something wrong. Number two, do not be so quick to claim that I am doing anything at this point because I am not. Believe me, I know what the Laws state and what they do not state. I have more experience than both of you combined so careful about claiming that I am doing anything, that is almost as bad as accusing someone of something while innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Fair comment.

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kmm in Wilmington, DE in Wilmington, Delaware

72 months ago

mary in Tampa, Florida said: I did just go to the Colorado Statutes. It has no category for Paralegal or Legal Assistant.

It does have a category for practicing law without a license.

Girl, here's a scenario. You open shop. Give people documents. They file documents with Clerk, go to court. Judge or attorney says, "These are all wrong? Where did you get these?" Person said, "Well, I got them from that legal center over on Court Street. I talked to a paralegal and everything." Judge says, "You didn't talk to an attorney?" Person said, "No. She's a paralegal. She told me these are the documents used by attorneys."

Judge and attorney are LAUGHING. (If you haven't ever heard them laughing, you haven't been around long enough). Judge says to Clerk: "Call the State Attorney and have them send in an assistant DA RIGHT NOW. ADA gets there. More chatting. ADA sends a staff member to YOUR SHOP. You provide them with documents. Staff member takes them to ADA. ADA gets with Court.
From there it's all downhill. You could either get a certified letter advising you to stop practicing law without a license, or police could come get you, then you get charged ---

cont.

Very well done...lol...

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AMM in Pinellas Park, Florida

72 months ago

There is one problem with the scenario of helping people fill out the forms, here in Florida, it can be considered UPL. Several years ago, there were a lot of ads for paralegals assisting with divorces, the FL bar shut them down for UPL. If you are involved in a Family Law matter here in Florida, and you fill out the papers with the assistance of a non-lawyer that person who assisted you has to file a non-lawyer affidavit in the action and also has to be identified on the bottom of the pleadings you are filing. It's a very slipper slope. Just my $.02

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AMM in Pinellas Park, Florida

72 months ago

*slippery slope (correction)

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mary in Tampa, Florida

72 months ago

So how come I don't have a job???!!! I must not be impressive enough at interviews!! (Young, cute and perky).

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mary in Tampa, Florida

72 months ago

Girl, we're only trying to save you from regret, from making a decision you regret.

If you truly feel you can open shop without any legal problems, then do so. Do it from home. Advertise on craigslist.

A major problem you will have, providing people with legal forms, you need to have some expertise in that department of law - such as family law, divorce law, probate, even helping in traffic court.

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kmm in Wilmington, DE in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania

72 months ago

AMM in Pinellas Park, Florida said: There is one problem with the scenario of helping people fill out the forms, here in Florida, it can be considered UPL. Several years ago, there were a lot of ads for paralegals assisting with divorces, the FL bar shut them down for UPL. If you are involved in a Family Law matter here in Florida, and you fill out the papers with the assistance of a non-lawyer that person who assisted you has to file a non-lawyer affidavit in the action and also has to be identified on the bottom of the pleadings you are filing. It's a very slipper slope. Just my $.02

Agreed....If doing legal reseach work..freelance..you get the assignment from the attorny, thus attorney supervised......

Except for California...filling our forms, etc..is not allowed..

Although, many experienced paralegals, who have experience in these specific forms, etc..would be helpful to those not able to afford attorney...

It will get the para in trouble...the GREY AREA!!!!

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