What do you think about this article? Rate it using the stars above and let us know what you think in the comments below.
Julie Marie Jefferson owns and runs Freedom Rings Document Preparation Services, which is based in Sarasota, FL. She is a legal document preparer who specializes in bankruptcy, family law, divorce, living trust and will, incorporation, name changes, paternity, immigration, green card/citizenship and other services. Julie is also a Florida Notary Public. She has ten years experience as a legal document preparer, and seven of those years have been devoted to successfully running her business in the Sunshine State.
Prior to owning her company in 2006, Julie served as manager for three years for a Legal Document Preparation Service that was part of a national legal document franchise. Out of one hundred and fifty stores nationwide, she successfully kept her store ranking in the top ten in sales for each month. Julie never dropped out of the top twenty-five ranking. She applied the same work ethic when she opened Freedom Rings. With several years experience in the legal document preparation field, Julie considers assisting others with their legal documents to be her life's work since she takes great pleasure in helping others.
Julie was born in Detroit, MI, and raised in Sarasota, FL. She earned her B.A. in Legal Studies from the University of Central Florida. Julie has been married for twelve years and has one child. Her husband is the bookkeeper/handyman for Freedom Rings.
When Julie isn't working, she enjoys playing her guitar and singing. Her favorite "current" artist that she admires, and even works up some of her songs on her guitar, is "Grace Potter and the Nocturnals." She is a frequent visitor of El Adobe Mexican and American Restaurant and Walt's Fish Market and Restaurant. Julie's favorite book is Colleen McCullough's The Thorn Birds. Her most recent read that spoke to her is Naomi Wolf's The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot, as the book's message emphasizes why citizens must be ardent protectors of our inherent freedoms, freedoms which if we are not careful, may insidiously be taken away from us.
Julie's Successful Business and Tips for Legal Document Preparers
Does Julie have a most memorable educational experience? She said her most memorable educational experience was her first two years at Brevard College in Brevard, North Carolina. Although Julie transferred to the University of Central Florida, she had a wonderful experience at Brevard because of the beautiful national forest, mountains, and surrounding areas.
Why did she decide to become a legal document preparer? Julie explained that she wanted to be a journalist, but her mom told her they were overworked and underpaid. Her mom suggested the paralegal field. Julie served as a paralegal for attorneys before she had her child. She then served as manager for three years for a legal document preparation service before establishing Freedom Rings.
What is the number one reason why people get a divorce? "Couples grow apart. It's not about adultery or abandonment. Couples tell me they realize they are better friends than husband and wives."
The businesswoman discussed the best part about her job. "My clients are genuinely grateful, not only for my generously low typing fees, but for my service and accessibility." Julie pointed out that her clients thank her for her services by sending her gift cards and flowers.
She also discussed why she appreciates working for herself. "I have a lot of liberty and flexibility in my schedule, but I keep my regular business hours for my customers."
What is the legal document preparer known for professionally? "I am known as the bankruptcy/divorce lady. I am also known for my accessibility and friendly service."
When asked what she thinks about the legal document preparer field in Florida, Julie noted that the Florida Bar investigates and sues legal document preparers who are not giving legal advice. "The investigations and lawsuits intimidates legal document preparers and pushes them out of business. People need our services." Julie continued to say that legal document preparers need an organization that recognizes them as part of the legal process, and that they provide affordable service to individuals.
Since Julie has ten years of experience as a legal document preparer, many readers may be wondering what advice she has for new legal staff members. "A) Learn your unauthorized practice of laws/rules in the state you reside in. B) Check out your state's website to see if you can fill out family law forms for free. C) Contact you state bar rules and see how they apply to you business."
What advice would the businesswoman give to students who are thinking about becoming a legal document preparer? "If Floridians want to work under the radar, I would suggest one consider working as a paralegal. If they have thick skin, I would suggest one consider working as a legal document preparer. Before they consider the position, students should talk to legal document preparers and visit The Florida Association of Legal Document Preparers (FALDP) website to lean about limitations."
Does Julie have an opinion of Florida's legal market? "The market is wide open for legal document preparers. There is room for people to get into the field, but be aware that the Florida Bar investigates non-attorneys. Legal document preparers should learn the difference between giving general information and giving legal advice."
Where does she see herself in five years? Julie will continue to serve her clients in her Freedom Rings office, but she plans on serving customers on-line as well.
If Julie weren't a legal document preparer, what would she be doing? She would be a singer/songwriter as she continues to work on her music in her spare time, most weekends, when not working; she even wrote a "Freedom Rings Jingle" and has toyed with the idea of using it in her next Freedom Rings TV commercial. Julie added, "I would also be a writer, journalist, or broadcaster like Katie Couric."
Why does she find her position rewarding? "I get to help people in a meaningful way."
Admiring Ruth Tick, Non-Profit Organizations, Downside to Her Position and Goals
Julie admires Ruth Tick, who started and is a member of the Florida Association of Legal Document Preparation. Ruth is also the founder of Florida Legal Forms. Julie respects Ruth for writing about the field of Doc Preparation and more specifically, that she writes about the problem of lagging court access in our country on her blog, "Legal Sunshine," and is a proponent getting the word out about this alternative of using the non-lawyer and representing oneself "pro se."
Is she involved with any non-profit organizations? Julie was a member of the American Business Woman Association.
Is there a downside to her position? "I don't think so."
Does the Floridian have goals? "Professionally, I would like to reorganize my business online and onsite. Personally, I am working on my music. I also plan on writing a book about my father who was a hydroplane driver. He broke world records and won national titles in the 1960's and 1970's.
What to Expect When Working with Julie
"My name is Charlie and recently I had to go through the unpleasant task of filing chapter 7 bankruptcy. I noticed Ms. Jefferson's TV ad and set up an appointment with her. Not only did she save me hundreds of dollars in legal fees, but her knowledge and consideration of my personal case helped me tremendously in getting through this ordeal. I found Ms. Jefferson to be courteous, considerate and understanding of my situation. I would have no problem recommending her to anyone who needs assistance in bankruptcy proceedings. I'm sure her knowledge is just as extensive in wills, deeds, and other matters that she can help you with."
Jason T. Alexander acknowledged:
"Recently I had the misfortune of going through a divorce, with two children involved. I realized this was going to be a stressful situation as we had little money for large legal bills. However, after doing some research on the Internet I learned that if the divorce is uncontested I could file the paperwork myself. After looking at some of the paperwork I realized that this was going to be a massive undertaking.
It was at this time that I came across Freedom Rings on the Internet. For a small fee, Julie leads you through the process of completing the mountain of paperwork and preparing it in court-ready format. She is knowledgeable, professional, and compassionate in guiding you through each step. I would recommend Freedom Rings to anyone in a similar situation. Why pay thousands of dollars when Julie can process the uncontested documents for a nominal fee? Freedom Rings was able to take a lot of the stress out of the divorce so I could focus on my kids and my job."
"I went to Freedom Rings to have my divorce paperwork prepared. I found Julie Jefferson to be very professional and very personable. As a result, Julie will prepare any and all of my legal documents in the future."
*** Julie Marie Jefferson is not an attorney and can't give legal advice. ***
I was incredibly happy with the site. I thought it was very easy to use; had significantly more postings than any other site (or combination of sites); and provided a lot of useful information. (the number, and caliber, of job postings). Exactly what I was looking for – I have 5 years’ experience and was looking for a lateral move or an in-house position, and that’s exactly what I found!