Frequently Asked Questions

1. I can't afford an attorney. What CAN a Legal Document Assistant (LDA) do for me?
An LDA is an experienced professional who is authorized to prepare legal documents for his/her clients at the client's specific direction. Because even the best legal self-help books can be overwhelming, an LDA can provide invaluable assistance with routine legal tasks such as preparing many types of legal pleadings/documents, filing documents with the Court and arranging service.

2. What CAN'T a Legal Document Assistant(LDA) do for me?
An LDA is not an attorney. By law, he/she cannot give you legal advice or represent you in court. Over the years, we have developed close working relationships with many reputable attorneys in the Central Valley. If at any point during your matter you feel you require the additional assistance of an attorney, we would be happy to provide you with a few referrals.

3. How much will I save using self-help services instead of an attorney?
The amount of savings can vary greatly depending on your individual circumstances. It is not uncommon for an attorney to charge and upfront retainer of $5,000 or more and bill against that deposit at $250-350 per hour for their time and $150+ an hour for their staff. This can add up fast!

In most cases, we charge a much lower refundable deposit of $400-900, depending on the type of matter and its complexity, and bill against that amount at $85 per hour. If you are looking for a simple document, we may quote you a flat rate for that service. This can amount to hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in savings.

It is important to note that, unless you qualify for a Fee Waiver, there are some fees that neither an attorney nor a Legal Document Assistant (LDA) can control. These can be found by reviewing the State-Wide Court Fee Schedule.

As our way of giving back to those who protect and serve the community, we are happy to offer a 20% discount on legal document preparation services to active/retired military, law enforcement, firefighters and EMTs. Some restrictions may apply.

Please contact our office for elibility and to schedule your free consultation.

4. Is a Paralegal the same thing as a Legal Document Assistant (LDA)?
No. Although the public, and even many legal professionals, use the terms interchangeably, there are differences. A paralegal is a legal professional who works under the supervision of an attorney, while an LDA provides his/her clients with self-help services at their direction.

At Central Valley Self-Help, Inc., we offer both LDA services and contract paralegal services.


Central Valley Self-Help, Inc. made a difficult time a little less stressful. I received excellent service and acquired all the correct documents completed accurately, in a timely manner. I highly recommend this service for anyone needing legal assistance.
Jim W.