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state bar of california proposal to regulate the lda profession 

memo to calda membership, submitted may 17, 2022

TO: CALDA Membership

FROM: CALDA Board of Directors


DATE: May 17, 2022

The provisions of the California Business & Professions Code Section 6400 et seq. created our profession effective January 1, 2000.  Since then, its continued existence has been subject to a so-called “Sunset” provision requiring that new legislation be submitted and passed into law for additional periods, typically four years.  This process has been more or less “automatic” … until now.

The current enabling law will expire next year on December 31, 2023.  CALDA’s Board of Directors decided to not wait until the last possible date to submit a new bill, and submitted AB 1916 on February 9, 2022, rather than nearly a year later. This bill proposed a five-year extension.  

After 22 years of effectively and economically serving the needs of self-represented clients by LDAs, CALDA’s Board was met with a non-negotiable requirement by the Assembly Judiciary Committee that all things LDA be placed under the control of the State Bar of California.  

The thrust of this demand was the belief (with no evidence actually produced) by the State Bar and the Assembly Judiciary Committee that LDAs are essentially “unregulated” and that continuing in this manner would present substantial risks to consumers seeking our self-help legal document services.

This no-compromise position did not become absolutely clear until after many hours of collaboration by CALDA board members and CALDA legal Counsel Richard Lubetzky, as well as multiple meetings with representatives of both the State Bar and the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

Since the specific provisions of exactly what the modified LDA legislation would look like under the aegis of the State Bar did not become clear until just a few days before the bill was due to be reported out of the committee (or not), the Board of Directors decided to withdraw the bill at this time.

While the Board will continue to meet with the State Bar on what the specifics of such a program would look like, we are not optimistic at this point that the State Bar will be easily convinced to relent on the fundamental premise that LDAs should be under their domain.

The following are some of the main features of the State Bar proposal to date:

  • 1.      Transfer of all regulation of LDAs from the CA Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) to the State Bar of California

  • 2.      Revised and additional disclosures and registration procedures

  • 3.      Fingerprinting and background check required for registration

  • 4.      Completely revised procedure for disciplinary sanctions, fines, etc.

  • 5.      LDA client contract modifications

For more details on the proposal from the State Bar of California, please refer to the following linked memo. Special thanks to Elizabeth Olvera for providing her excellent summary and analysis: EO memo

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