Can I hire a Paralegal to prepare my legal documents?
Updated: Sep 8, 2022
The short and simple answer is, "No." Each state has its own laws and regulations relating to unauthorized practice of law. In the state of Arizona, a paralegal, by definition, is "a person qualified by education and training who performs substantive legal work requiring a sufficient knowledge of and expertise in legal concepts and procedures, who is supervised by an active member of the State Bar of Arizona, and for whom an active member of the state bar is responsible, unless otherwise authorized by supreme court rule."
In layman's terms, a paralegal cannot legally assist anyone except an attorney or member of the state bar (e.g., a Judge or Commissioner). This regulation, unfortunately, has not stopped unqualified paralegals from misleadingly marketing themselves as professionals who may assist the general public with legal matters.
We often come across paralegals who deceive the public into believing they are qualified to provide legal services without the supervision of an attorney, or they fabricate an attorney's role in their work. Any time a paralegal is providing services to someone, the attorney who is supervising such paralegal should have a written retention agreement between the attorney and the client (not the paralegal and the client). If you have contracted with a paralegal and did not obtain a written agreement from the attorney who is supervising him/her, you may have a valid claim to make with the State Bar against the paralegal (and possibly the attorney too).
Now, this does not mean you have to hire an attorney for all legal matters. In Arizona, there are two types of non-attorney legal professionals who are licensed and regulated by the Arizona Supreme Court to provide low-cost legal services without the supervision of an attorney: Legal Paraprofessionals and Legal Document Preparers.
A Legal Document Preparer is someone who is licensed to prepare legal documents, but cannot give legal advice or represent clients in a courtroom. A Legal Paraprofessional is someone who is licensed to prepare legal documents, provide limited legal advice, and represent clients; however, such representation is limited to family law, civil litigation, criminal law, and administrative law. A Legal Paraprofessional or Legal Document Preparer should never refer to him/herself as a "Paralegal" unless he/she is supervised by an attorney.
Glover Court Solutions & Estate Planning ("GCSEP") is a licensed Legal Document Preparer entity, which means that in addition to being qualified to prepare legal documents without the supervision of an attorney, we are also licensed to train and supervise other non-attorneys in providing these services.
GCSEP was founded on the principle of providing low-cost legal services to the public. We understand that not everyone can afford to pay an attorney $300-$500 per hour. But that should not prevent individuals from obtaining quality legal services that render results. We specialize in fulfilling the needs of the legal community at an affordable cost. We offer legal document preparation, estate planning, deed and title support, process server and notary public services, loan closings, trial/courtroom preparation, and private investigations – just to name a few!
If you find yourself in a situation where you believe you may need legal assistance, contact Glover Court Solutions & Estate Planning to discuss your options. We are happy to offer FREE, no obligation consultations, case evaluations, and reviews of your current estate plans, and while, we cannot give legal advice, we can provide general legal information to help you navigate your legal matter(s). We also network with dozens of qualified attorneys throughout the Valley whom we would be happy to refer you to in the unlikely event we are unable to help.