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AB-1698 Legal assistants.(2001-2002)

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AB1698:v94#DOCUMENT

Assembly Bill No. 1698
CHAPTER 1018

An act to repeal and add Chapter 5.5 (commencing with Section 6400) of Division 3 of the Business and Professions Code, relating to legal assistants.

[ Filed with Secretary of State  September 28, 2002. Approved by Governor  September 28, 2002. ]

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1698, Committee on Judiciary. Legal assistants.
Existing law defines and regulates the activities of a legal document assistant and unlawful detainer assistant. Existing law requires a legal document assistant or unlawful detainer assistant to register in the county in which his or her principal place of business is located and restricts the type of information that he or she may provide for compensation. Existing law exempts from this regulation certain persons, including immigration consultants, registered process servers, and providers of services that are regulated by federal law. Existing law prescribes minimum qualifications to register as a legal document assistant or unlawful detainer assistant.
Existing law requires an applicant for registration as a legal document assistant or unlawful detainer assistant to be denied if, among other things, the applicant has suffered certain criminal convictions. Existing law requires each county to maintain a register of legal document assistants and unlawful detainer assistants. Existing law proscribes certain fraudulent conduct by a legal document assistant or unlawful detainer assistant. Existing law makes a violation of certain of its provisions by a legal document assistant or unlawful detainer assistant a misdemeanor.
Existing law provides for the repeal of these provisions on January 1, 2003, or the date the Director of the Department of Consumer Affairs suspends those requirements, whichever first occurs.
This bill instead would make these requirements operative indefinitely. By extending indefinitely the definition of a crime and the registration of legal document assistants duties and unlawful detainer assistants applicable to counties, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program. The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Chapter 5.5 (commencing with Section 6400) of Division 3 of the Business and Professions Code is repealed.

SEC. 2.

 Chapter 5.5 (commencing with Section 6400) is added to Division 3 of the Business and Professions Code, to read:
CHAPTER  5.5. Legal Document Assistants and Unlawful Detainer Assistants
Article  1. General Provisions

6400.
 (a) “Unlawful detainer assistant” means any individual who for compensation renders assistance or advice in the prosecution or defense of an unlawful detainer claim or action, including any bankruptcy petition that may affect the unlawful detainer claim or action.
(b) “Unlawful detainer claim” means a proceeding, filing, or action affecting rights or liabilities of any person that arises under Chapter 4 (commencing with Section 1159) of Title 3 of Part 3 of the Code of Civil Procedure and that contemplates an adjudication by a court.
(c) “Legal document assistant” means:
(1) Any person who is not exempted under Section 6401 and who provides, or assists in providing, or offers to provide, or offers to assist in providing, for compensation, any self-help service to a member of the public who is representing himself or herself in a legal matter, or who holds himself or herself out as someone who offers that service or has that authority. This paragraph does not apply to any individual whose assistance consists merely of secretarial or receptionist services.
(2) A corporation, partnership, association, or other entity that employs or contracts with any person not exempted under Section 6401 who, as part of his or her responsibilities, provides, or assists in providing, or offers to provide, or offers to assist in providing, for compensation, any self-help service to a member of the public who is representing himself or herself in a legal matter or holds himself or herself out as someone who offers that service or has that authority. This paragraph does not apply to an individual whose assistance consists merely of secretarial or receptionist services.
(d) “Self-help service” means all of the following:
(1) Completing legal documents in a ministerial manner, selected by a person who is representing himself or herself in a legal matter, by typing or otherwise completing the documents at the person’s specific direction.
(2) Providing general published factual information that has been written or approved by an attorney, pertaining to legal procedures, rights, or obligations to a person who is representing himself or herself in a legal matter, to assist the person in representing himself or herself. This service in and of itself, shall not require registration as a legal document assistant.
(3) Making published legal documents available to a person who is representing himself or herself in a legal matter.
(4) Filing and serving legal forms and documents at the specific direction of a person who is representing himself or herself in a legal matter.
(e) “Compensation” means money, property, or anything else of value.
(f) A legal document assistant, including any legal document assistant employed by a partnership or corporation, may not provide any self-help service for compensation, unless the legal document assistant is registered in the county in which his or her principal place of business is located and in any other county in which he or she performs acts for which registration is required.
(g) A legal document assistant may not provide any kind of advice, explanation, opinion, or recommendation to a consumer about possible legal rights, remedies, defenses, options, selection of forms, or strategies. A legal document assistant shall complete documents only in the manner prescribed by paragraph (1) of subdivision (d).

6401.
 This chapter does not apply to any person engaged in any of the following occupations, provided that the person does not also perform the duties of a legal document assistant in addition to those occupations:
(a) Any government employee who is acting in the course of his or her employment.
(b) A member of the State Bar of California, or his or her employee, paralegal, or agent, or an independent contractor while acting on behalf of a member of the State Bar.
(c) Any employee of a nonprofit, tax-exempt corporation who either assists clients free of charge or is supervised by a member of the State Bar of California who has malpractice insurance.
(d) A licensed real estate broker or licensed real estate salesperson, as defined in Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 10130) of Part 1 of Division 4, who acts pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 10131 on an unlawful detainer claim as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 6400, and who is a party to the unlawful detainer action.
(e) An immigration consultant, as defined in Chapter 19.5 (commencing with Section 22441) of Division 8.
(f) A person registered as a process server under Chapter 16 (commencing with Section 22350) or a person registered as a professional photocopier under Chapter 20 (commencing with Section 22450) of Division 8.
(g) A person who provides services relative to the preparation of security instruments or conveyance documents as an integral part of the provision of title or escrow service.
(h) A person who provides services that are regulated by federal law.
(i) A person who is employed by, and provides services to, a supervised financial institution, holding company, subsidiary, or affiliate.

6401.5.
 This chapter does not sanction, authorize, or encourage the practice of law by nonlawyers. Registration under this chapter, or an exemption from registration, does not immunize any person from prosecution or liability pursuant to Section 6125, 6126, 6126.5, or 6127.

6401.6.
 A legal document assistant may not provide service to a client who requires assistance that exceeds the definition of self-help service in subdivision (d) of Section 6400, and shall inform the client that the client requires the services of an attorney.

Article  2. Registration Procedures

6402.
 A legal document assistant or unlawful detainer assistant shall be registered pursuant to this chapter by the county clerk in the county in which his or her principal place of business is located (deemed primary registration), and in any other county in which he or she performs acts for which registration is required (deemed secondary registration). Any registration in a county, other than the county of the person’s place of business, shall state the person’s principal place of business and provide proof that the registrant has satisfied the bonding requirement of Section 6405. No person who has been disbarred or suspended from the practice of law pursuant to Article 6 (commencing with Section 6100) of Chapter 4 may, during the period of any disbarment or suspension, register as a legal document assistant or unlawful detainer assistant. The Department of Consumer Affairs shall develop the application required to be completed by a person for purposes of registration as a legal document assistant. The application shall specify the types of proof that the applicant shall provide to the county clerk in order to demonstrate the qualifications and requirements of Section 6402.1.

6402.1.
 To be eligible to apply for registration under this chapter as a legal document assistant, the applicant shall possess at least one of the following:
(a) A high school diploma or general equivalency diploma, and either a minimum of two years of law-related experience under the supervision of a licensed attorney, or a minimum of two years experience, prior to January 1, 1999, providing self-help service.
(b) A baccalaureate degree in any field and either a minimum of one year of law-related experience under the supervision of a licensed attorney, or a minimum of one year of experience, prior to January 1, 1999, providing self-help service.
(c) A certificate of completion from a paralegal program that is institutionally accredited but not approved by the American Bar Association, that requires successful completion of a minimum of 24 semester units, or the equivalent, in legal specialization courses.
(d) A certificate of completion from a paralegal program approved by the American Bar Association.

6403.
 (a) The application for registration of a natural person shall contain all of the following statements about the applicant:
(1) Name, age, address, and telephone number.
(2) Whether he or she has been convicted of a felony, or of a misdemeanor under Section 6126 or 6127, or found liable under Section 6126.5.
(3) Whether he or she has been held liable in a civil action by final judgment or entry of a stipulated judgment, if the action alleged fraud, the use of an untrue or misleading representation, or the use of an unfair, unlawful, or deceptive business practice.
(4) Whether he or she has ever been convicted of a misdemeanor violation of this chapter.
(5) Whether he or she has had a civil judgment entered against him or her in an action arising out of the applicant’s negligent, reckless, or willful failure to properly perform his or her obligation as a legal document assistant or unlawful detainer assistant.
(6) Whether he or she has had a registration revoked pursuant to Section 6413.
(7) Whether this is a primary or secondary registration. If it is a secondary registration, the county in which the primary registration is filed.
(b) The application for registration of a natural person shall be accompanied by the display of personal identification, such as a California driver’s license, birth certificate, or other identification acceptable to the county clerk to adequately determine the identity of the applicant.
(c) The application for registration of a partnership or corporation shall contain all of the following statements about the applicant:
(1) The names, ages, addresses, and telephone numbers of the general partners or officers.
(2) Whether the general partners or officers have ever been convicted of a felony, or a misdemeanor under Section 6126 or 6127 or found liable under Section 6126.5.
(3) Whether the general partners or officers have ever been held liable in a civil action by final judgment or entry of a stipulated judgment, if the action alleged fraud, the use of an untrue or misleading representation, or the use of an unfair, unlawful, or deceptive business practice.
(4) Whether the general partners or officers have ever been convicted of a misdemeanor violation of this chapter.
(5) Whether the general partners or officers have had a civil judgment entered against them in an action arising out of a negligent, reckless, or willful failure to properly perform the obligations of a legal document assistant or unlawful detainer assistant.
(6) Whether the general partners or officers have ever had a registration revoked pursuant to Section 6413.
(7) Whether this is a primary or secondary registration. If it is a secondary registration, the county in which the primary registration is filed.
(d) The applications made under this section shall be made under penalty of perjury.

6404.
 An applicant shall pay a fee of one hundred seventy-five dollars ($175) to the county clerk at the time he or she files an application for initial registration, including a primary or secondary registration, or renewal of registration. An additional fee of ten dollars ($10) shall be paid to the county clerk for each additional identification card.

6405.
 (a) (1) An application for a certificate of registration by an individual shall be accompanied by a bond of twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) executed by a corporate surety qualified to do business in this state and conditioned upon compliance with this chapter. The total aggregate liability on the bond shall be limited to twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000). An application for secondary registration shall meet all of the requirements of this subdivision, except that in place of posting another original bond or cash deposit, the applicant shall include a certified copy of the bond or cash deposit posted in the county in which the applicant filed the primary registration.
(2) An application for a certificate of registration by a partnership or corporation shall be accompanied by a bond executed by a corporate surety qualified to do business in this state and conditioned upon compliance with this chapter in the following amount, based on the total number of legal document assistants and unlawful detainer assistants employed by the partnership or corporation:
(A) Twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) for one to four assistants.
(B) Fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) for five to nine assistants.
(C) One hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) for 10 or more assistants. An application for a certificate of registration by a person employed by a partnership or corporation shall be accompanied by a bond of twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) only if the partnership or corporation has not posted a bond in the amount required by this subdivision. An application for secondary registration shall meet all of the requirements of this subdivision, except that in place of posting another original bond or cash deposit, the applicant shall include a certified copy of the bond or cash deposit posted in the county in which the applicant filed the primary registration.
(3) If a partnership or corporation increases the number of assistants it employs above the number stated in its application for a certificate of registration, the partnership or corporation shall promptly increase the bond to the applicable amount in subparagraphs (B) or (C) of paragraph (2) based on the actual number of assistants it employs, and shall promptly submit the increased bond to the county clerk. The partnership or corporation shall promptly send a certified copy of the increased bond to the county clerk in any county of secondary registration.
(4) The bond may be terminated pursuant to Section 995.440 of, and Article 13 (commencing with Section 996.310) of Chapter 2 of Title 14 of Part 2 of, the Code of Civil Procedure.
(b) The county clerk shall, upon filing of the bond, deliver the bond forthwith to the county recorder for recording. The recording fee specified in Section 27361 of the Government Code shall be paid by the registrant. The fee may be paid to the county clerk who shall transmit it to the recorder.
(c) The fee for filing, canceling, revoking, or withdrawing the bond is seven dollars ($7).
(d) The county recorder shall record the bond and any notice of cancellation, revocation, or withdrawal of the bond, and shall thereafter mail the instrument, unless specified to the contrary, to the person named in the instrument and, if no person is named, to the party leaving it for recording. The recording fee specified in Section 27361 of the Government Code for notice of cancellation, revocation, or withdrawal of the bond shall be paid to the county clerk, who shall transmit it to the county recorder.
(e) In lieu of the bond required by subdivision (a), a registrant may deposit the amount required by subdivision (a) in cash with the county clerk.
(f) If the certificate is revoked, the bond or cash deposit shall be returned to the bonding party or depositor subject to subdivision (g) and the right of a person to recover against the bond or cash deposit under Section 6412.
(g) The county clerk may retain a cash deposit until the expiration of three years from the date the registrant has ceased to do business, or three years from the expiration or revocation date of the registration, in order to ensure there are no outstanding claims against the deposit. A judge may order the return of the deposit prior to the expiration of three years upon evidence satisfactory to the judge that there are no outstanding claims against the deposit.
(h) The bond required by this section shall be in favor of the State of California for the benefit of any person who is damaged as a result of the violation of this chapter or by the fraud, dishonesty, or incompetency of an individual, partnership, or corporation registered under this chapter. The bond required by this section shall also indicate the name of the county in which it will be filed.

6406.
 (a) If granted, a certificate of registration shall be effective for a period of two years, until the date the bond expires, or until the total number of legal document assistants and unlawful detainer assistants employed by a partnership or corporation exceeds the number allowed for the amount of the bond in effect, whichever occurs first. Thereafter, a registrant shall file a new certificate of registration or a renewal of the certificate of registration and pay the fee required by Section 6404, and increase the amount of the bond if required to comply with subdivision (a) of Section 6405. A certificate of registration that is currently effective may be renewed up to 60 days prior to its expiration date and the effective date of the renewal shall be the date the current registration expires. The renewal shall be effective for a period of two years from the effective date or until the expiration date of the bond, or until the total number of legal document assistants and unlawful detainer assistants employed by a partnership or corporation exceeds the number allowed for the dollar amount of the bond in effect, whichever occurs first.
(b) Except as provided in subdivisions (d) to (f), inclusive, an applicant shall be denied registration or renewal of registration if the applicant has been any of the following:
(1) Convicted of a felony, or of a misdemeanor under Section 6126 or 6127, or found liable under Section 6126.5.
(2) Held liable in a civil action by final judgment or entry of a stipulated judgment, if the action alleged fraud, or the use of an untrue or misleading representation, or the use of an unfair, unlawful, or deceptive business practice.
(3) Convicted of a misdemeanor violation of this chapter.
(4) Had a civil judgment entered against him or her in an action arising out of the applicant’s negligent, reckless, or willful failure to properly perform his or her obligation as a legal document assistant or unlawful detainer assistant.
(5) Had his or her registration revoked pursuant to Section 6413.
(c) If the county clerk finds that the applicant has failed to demonstrate having met the requisite requirements of Section 6402 or 6402.1, or that any of the paragraphs of subdivision (b) apply, the county clerk, within three business days of submission of the application and fee, shall return the application and fee to the applicant with a notice to the applicant indicating the reason for the denial and the method of appeal.
(d) The denial of an application may be appealed by the applicant by submitting, to the director, the following:
(1) The completed application and notice from the county clerk specifying the reasons for the denial of the application.
(2) A copy of any final judgment or order that resulted from any conviction or civil judgment listed on the application.
(3) Any relevant information the applicant wishes to include for the record.
(e) The director shall order the applicant’s certificate of registration to be granted if the director determines that the issuance of a certificate of registration is not likely to expose consumers to a significant risk of harm based on a review of the application and any other information relating to the applicant’s unlawful act or unfair practice described in paragraphs (1) to (5), inclusive, of subdivision (b). The director shall order the applicant’s certificate of registration to be denied if the director determines that issuance of a certificate of registration is likely to expose consumers to a significant risk of harm based on a review of the application and any other information relating to the applicant’s unlawful act or unfair practice described in paragraphs (1) to (5), inclusive, of subdivision (b). The director shall send to the applicant and the county clerk a written decision listing the reasons registration shall be granted or denied within 30 days of the submission of the matter.
(f) If the director orders that the certificate of registration be granted, the applicant may resubmit the application, with the appropriate application fee and the written decision of the director. The county clerk shall grant the certificate of registration to the applicant within three business days of being supplied this information.

6407.
 (a) The county clerk shall maintain a register of legal document assistants, and a register of unlawful detainer assistants, assign a unique number to each legal document assistant, or unlawful detainer assistant, and issue an identification card to each one. Additional cards for employees of legal document assistants or unlawful detainer assistants shall be issued upon the payment of ten dollars ($10) for each card. Upon renewal of registration, the same number shall be assigned, provided there is no lapse in the period of registration.
(b) The identification card shall be a card 31/2 by 21/4 inches, and shall contain at the top, the title “Legal Document Assistant” or “Unlawful Detainer Assistant,” as appropriate, followed by the registrant’s name, address, registration number, date of expiration, and county of registration. It shall also contain a photograph of the registrant in the lower left corner. The front of the card, above the title, shall also contain the following statement in 12-point boldface type: “This person is not a lawyer.” The front of the card, at the bottom, shall also contain the following statement in 12-point boldface type: “The county clerk has not evaluated this person’s knowledge, experience, or services.”

Article  3. Conduct of Business and Prohibited Acts

6408.
 The registrant’s name, business address, telephone number, registration number, expiration date of the registration, and county of registration shall appear in any solicitation or advertisement, and on any papers or documents prepared or used by the registrant, including, but not limited to, contracts, letterhead, business cards, correspondence, documents, forms, claims, petitions, checks, receipts, money orders, and pleadings.

6408.5.
 (a) All advertisements or solicitations published, distributed, or broadcast offering legal document assistant or unlawful detainer assistant services shall include the following statement: “I am not an attorney. I can only provide self help services at your specific direction.” This subdivision does not apply to classified or “yellow pages” listings in a telephone or business directory of three lines or less that state only the name, address, and telephone number of the legal document assistant or unlawful detainer assistant.
(b) If the advertisement or solicitation is in a language other than English, the statement required by subdivision (a) shall be in the same language as the advertisement or solicitation.

6409.
 No legal document assistant or unlawful detainer assistant shall retain in his or her possession original documents of a client. A legal document assistant or an unlawful detainer assistant shall immediately return all of a client’s original documents to the client in any one or more of the following circumstances:
(a) If the client so requests at any time.
(b) If the written contract required by Section 6410 is not executed or is rescinded, canceled, or voided for any reason.
(c) If the services described pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) of Section 6410 have been completed.

6410.
 (a) Every legal document assistant or unlawful detainer assistant who enters into a contract or agreement with a client to provide services shall, prior to providing any services, provide the client with a written contract, the contents of which shall be prescribed by regulations adopted by the Department of Consumer Affairs.
(b) The written contract shall include all of the following provisions:
(1) The services to be performed.
(2) The costs of the services to be performed.
(3) There shall be printed on the face of the contract in 12-point boldface type a statement that the legal document assistant or unlawful detainer assistant is not an attorney and may not perform the legal services that an attorney performs.
(4) The contract shall contain a statement in 12-point boldface type that the county clerk has not evaluated or approved the registrant’s knowledge or experience, or the quality of the registrant’s services.
(5) The contract shall contain a statement in 12-point boldface type that the consumer may obtain information regarding free or low-cost representation through a local bar association or legal aid foundation and that the consumer may contact local law enforcement, a district attorney, or a legal aid foundation if the consumer believes that he or she has been a victim of fraud, the unauthorized practice of law, or any other injury.
(6) The contract shall contain a statement in 12-point boldface type that a legal document assistant or unlawful detainer assistant is not permitted to engage in the practice of law, including providing any kind of advice, explanation, opinion, or recommendation to a consumer about possible legal rights, remedies, defenses, options, selection of forms, or strategies.
(c) The contract shall be written both in English and in any other language comprehended by the client and principally used in any oral sales presentation or negotiation leading to execution of the contract. The legal document assistant or the unlawful detainer assistant is responsible for translating the contract into the language principally used in any oral sales presentation or negotiation leading to the execution of the contract.
(d) Failure of a legal document assistant or unlawful detainer assistant to comply with subdivisions (a), (b), and (c) shall make the contract or agreement for services voidable at the option of the client. Upon the voiding of the contract, the legal document assistant or unlawful detainer assistant shall immediately return in full any fees paid by the client.
(e) In addition to any other right to rescind, the client shall have the right to rescind the contract within 24 hours of the signing of the contract. The client may cancel the contract by giving the legal document assistant or the unlawful detainer assistant any written statement to the effect that the contract is canceled. If the client gives notice of cancellation by mail addressed to the legal document assistant or unlawful detainer assistant, with first-class postage prepaid, cancellation is effective upon the date indicated on the postmark. Upon the voiding or rescinding of the contract or agreement for services, the legal document assistant or unlawful detainer assistant shall immediately return to the client any fees paid by the client, except fees for services that were actually, necessarily, and reasonably performed on the client’s behalf by the legal document assistant or unlawful detainer assistant with the client’s knowing and express written consent. The requirements of this subdivision shall be conspicuously set forth in the written contract.

6410.5.
 (a) It is unlawful for any legal document assistant or unlawful detainer assistant, in the first in-person or telephonic solicitation of a prospective client of legal document or unlawful detainer assistant services, to enter into a contract or agreement for services or accept any compensation unless the legal document assistant or the unlawful detainer assistant states orally, clearly, affirmatively and expressly all of the following, before making any other statement, except statements required by law in telephonic or home solicitations, and a greeting, or asking the prospective client any questions:
(1) The identity of the person making the solicitation.
(2) The trade name of the person represented by the person making the solicitation, if any.
(3) The kind of services being offered for sale.
(4) The statement: “I am not an attorney” and, if the person offering legal document assistant or unlawful detainer assistant services is a partnership or a corporation, or uses a fictitious business name, “[name] is not a law firm. I/we cannot represent you in court, advise you about your legal rights or the law, or select legal forms for you.”
(b) If the first contact between a legal document assistant or an unlawful detainer assistant and a prospective client is initiated by the prospective client, it is unlawful for the legal document assistant or unlawful detainer assistant to enter into a contract or agreement for services or accept any compensation unless the legal document assistant or the unlawful detainer assistant states orally, clearly, affirmatively and expressly, during that first contact, and before offering any contract or agreement for services to the prospective client, the following: “I am not an attorney [and, if the person offering legal document assistant or unlawful detainer assistant services is a partnership or a corporation, or uses a fictitious business name, “[name] is not a law firm.”] [I/We] cannot (1) represent you in court, (2) advise you about your legal rights or the law, or (3) select legal forms for you.” After making this statement, and before offering the prospective client a contract or agreement for services, a legal document assistant or unlawful detainer assistant who has made the statement in accordance with this subsection may ask the prospective client to read the “Notice to Consumer” set forth below, and after allowing the prospective client time to read the notice, may ask the prospective client to sign and date the notice. The notice shall be set forth in black, bold, 14-point type on a separate, white, 81/2 by 11 inch sheet of paper which contains no other print or graphics, and shall be in the following form. The notice shall contain only the appropriate name or other designation from those indicated in brackets below. At the time a prospective client signs the notice and before that prospective client is offered any contract or agreement for signature, the legal document assistant or unlawful detainer assistant shall give the prospective client a clearly legible copy of the signed notice. A legal document assistant or unlawful detainer assistant shall not ask or require a prospective client or a client to sign any other form of acknowledgment regarding this notice.
NOTICE TO CONSUMER

DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING BEFORE YOU READ THIS PAGE
In the first conversation when you contacted
[the unlawful detainer assistant or
the legal document assistant], did [he
or she] explain . . . . . . . . .
_____
[Name of unlawful detainer assistant
or legal document assistant] is not
an attorney.
_____
[Name of corporation or partnership,
if any, that is offering legal document
assistant services or unlawful
detainer assistant services] is not a
law firm.
_____
[He/she/name of the business]
cannot represent you in court.
_____
[He/she/name of the business] cannot
advise you about your legal rights or
the law.
_____
[He/she/name of the business] cannot
select legal forms for you.

_____
Choose one:
_____
Yes, [he/she] explained.
_____
No, [he/she] did not explain.
_____
Date:
_____
Signature:
_____

6411.
 It is unlawful for any person engaged in the business or acting in the capacity of a legal document assistant or unlawful detainer assistant to do any of the following:
(a) Make false or misleading statements to the consumer concerning the subject matter, legal issues, or self-help service being provided by the legal document assistant or unlawful detainer assistant.
(b) Make any guarantee or promise to a client or prospective client, unless the guarantee or promise is in writing and the legal document assistant or unlawful detainer assistant has a reasonable factual basis for making the guarantee or promise.
(c) Make any statement that the legal document assistant or unlawful detainer assistant can or will obtain favors or has special influence with a court, or a state or federal agency.
(d) Provide assistance or advice which constitutes the unlawful practice of law pursuant to Section 6125, 6126, or 6127.
(e) Engage in the unauthorized practice of law, including, but not limited to, giving any kind of advice, explanation, opinion, or recommendation to a consumer about possible legal rights, remedies, defenses, options, selection of forms, or strategies. A legal document assistant shall complete documents only in the manner prescribed by subdivision (d) of Section 6400.
(f) Use in the person’s business name or advertising the words “legal aid,” “legal services,” or any similar term that has the capacity, tendency, or likelihood to mislead members of the public about that person’s status as a nonprofit corporation or governmentally supported organization offering legal services without charge to indigent people, or employing members of the State Bar to provide those services.

6412.
 (a) Any owner or manager of residential or commercial rental property, tenant, or other person who is awarded damages in any action or proceeding for injuries caused by the acts of a registrant while in the performance of his or her duties as a legal document assistant or unlawful detainer assistant may recover damages from the bond or cash deposit required by Section 6405.
(b) If there has been a recovery against a bond or cash deposit under subdivision (a) and the registration has not been revoked pursuant to Section 6413, the registrant shall file a new bond or deposit an additional amount of cash within 30 days to reinstate the bond or cash deposit to the amount required by Section 6405. If the registrant does not file a bond, or deposit this amount within 30 days, his or her certificate of registration shall be revoked.

6412.1.
 (a) Any person injured by the unlawful act of a legal document assistant or unlawful detainer assistant shall retain all rights and remedies cognizable under law. The penalties, relief, and remedies provided in this chapter are not exclusive, and do not affect any other penalties, relief, and remedies provided by law.
(b) Any person injured by a violation of this chapter by a legal document assistant or unlawful detainer assistant may file a complaint and seek redress in any superior court for injunctive relief, restitution, and damages. Attorney’s fees shall be awarded to the prevailing plaintiff. A claim under this chapter may be maintained in small claims court, if the claim and relief sought are within the small claims court’s jurisdiction.

6412.5.
 A legal document assistant or an unlawful detainer assistant may neither seek nor obtain a client’s waiver of any of the provisions of this chapter. Any waiver of the provisions of this chapter is contrary to public policy, and is void and unenforceable.

6413.
 The county clerk shall revoke the registration of a legal document assistant or unlawful detainer assistant upon receipt of an official document or record stating that the registrant has been found guilty of the unauthorized practice of law pursuant to Section 6125, 6126, or 6127, has been found guilty of a misdemeanor violation of this chapter, has been found liable under Section 6126.5, or that a civil judgment has been entered against the registrant in an action arising out of the registrant’s negligent, reckless, or willful failure to properly perform his or her obligation as a legal document assistant or unlawful detainer assistant. The county clerk shall be given notice of the disposition in any court action by the city attorney, district attorney, or plaintiff, as applicable. A registrant whose registration is revoked pursuant to this section may reapply for registration three years after the revocation.

6414.
 A registrant whose certificate is revoked shall be entitled to challenge the decision in a court of competent jurisdiction.

6415.
 A failure, by a person who engages in acts of a legal document assistant or unlawful detainer assistant, to comply with any of the requirements of Section 6401.6, 6402, 6408, or 6410, subdivision (a), (b), or (c) of Section 6411, or Section 6412.5 is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) or more than two thousand dollars ($2,000), as to each client with respect to whom a violation occurs, or imprisonment for not more than one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment. Payment of restitution to a client shall take precedence over payment of a fine.

SEC. 3.

 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.