The Number One Reason Not to Hire a Paralegal Instead of an Attorney
Paralegal services cannot practice law. Due to the fact they may have been trained to fill out legal forms, does not and cannot replace an attorney. Why, because even before an attorney fills out the paperwork, he or she reviews the case and form a strategy. What is the importance of this? Once certain answers to crucial questions are filed, the party is committed to those answers. Once committed to an answer where the legal ramifications werenít explained, can have lifelong consequences.
There is a long list of court rules, case laws and code sections dealing with every aspect of family law that is constantly changing. For example, a marriage of ten years is considered long term and there is a possibility of spousal support for life. So when a spouse puts down the marriage was for nine years six months, this could affect a spouse receiving a life support judgment. However an attorney knowing the law would know how to deal with this issue based on the current changes in statues and the newest case law. There is current case law dealing with length of marriage exceptions to the ten year rule.
Sometimes divorces start out friendly until one of the parties wants something changed that they both had agreed on. Then that party decides to hire an attorney who knows the law and the other party is left hanging there. Filing the papers beforehand may leave one of the partiesí venerable.
Common sense tells you, if someone has to be licensed to give you advice, there is a reason for it. Would you go to a medical doctor to have surgery, or his clerk who knows how to fill out the medical insurance forms?
The reason I am writing this article is because I have had people come into my office, who had hired one of these many services. In one case, the legal service botched up the paperwork so much, neither I nor the three other attorneys she spoke to, felt comfortable taking over the case. One woman paid $2500 for a service to fill out paperwork. Had she hired an attorney, she would have been advised on the best way to legally proceed on her case, have the paperwork completed and the cost would have been less than half that fee.
One paralegal service has a quote ďIf you donít know your rights, you donít have anyĒ. This is true. Having a paralegal, who canít legally advise you on your rights? You had them but you lost them.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Cherie L. Brenner
Cherie L. Brenner has been practicing criminal and family law for over twenty years. ms. Brenner has been certified through Harvard Law School's negotiation program and UC-Hastings Law School in trial advocacy. Ms. Brenner has a masterís degree in psychology and teaches law at a local university. She is a published author and continues to inform and update the public on the law.
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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.