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It is important to make enough copies of each document you produce for

every non-court document you are to prepare.
There must be one for each party to the agreement, one for the office files,
and if this is the first time you are typing or encoding on the computer this
kind of document, one copy for your personal forms file.
On your copy, note the margin settings, tab settings, and other specific
typing or encoding instructions. This will serve as a useful guide for you
should you again be asked to type or computerize similar document. It will
also be used as a guide for the other legal office assistant who will be
assigned in your law office in the future.



Many of the documents you will prepare are so important and so complex
that your lawyer will ask you to prepare a rough draft for his or her review
before you can begin to type the final copy.
This does not necessarily mean that the lawyer wants to check the accuracy
of your transcription, although he will be concerned with accuracy of every
document that your produce.
The lawyer may want to make absolutely certain that he or she has phrased
the document in exactly the right manner and that everything is correct.
At times, you will be asked to proofread documents to make certain that they
are accurate.
Proofreading is a very important task of a legal office assistant before the
final copy is reproduced for the signature of the lawyer.



To be legally binding, documents must bear the signatures of the parties

named in the document.
The signatures of the parties named in the document are found on the
following pages:
o Last page of the document in the signature lines
o At the left side of all the pages of the documents except the last page.
When documents are properly signed, they are said to be executed.
And documents are legally enforceable only after theyve been signed and


Execution generally requires a final paragraph in the document known as the

testimonium clause.
The contract of sale which is shown below closes with the testimonium

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties hereto have signed this agreement

the day and year first above written.
o Some lawyers prefer to start his clause with IN TESTIMONY
When the testimonium clause serves two purposes:
o It states that the date indicated on the document is the date it is to be
o It also names the parties who will sign the document on the liens
provided below the clause for the execution of the document.
Once you have learned how the lawyer wants this clause to be worded, you
can add it to documents without his dictating it or specifically telling you to
include it.


Following the testimonium clause are the typed rules for the signatures.
o These are generally typed beginning at the center of the page or
slightly to the right center, and they extend to the right margin.
o Below each rule is usually typed the designation of the signing party,
such as party of the first part or seller and party of the second
part of buyer.
In an employment contract, the parties may be designated employer and
Some lawyers prefer simply to type the name of the parties below the
signature lines.
If the person signing in an officer of a corporation, the title he holds may be
used in place of his name or may follow his name.
An officer must always sign for a corporation, and the signature line is
preceded by the name of the corporation he or she represents.


IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties hereto have hereunto set their hands this
____ day of ______, ______.

Sometimes the testimonium clause contains the words hands and seal.
If it does, then the signature lines are followed by the letters L.S. at the right
margin. The abbreviation stands for the Latin phrase locus sigilli which
means the place of the seal.

This custom and wording go back to a very old practice in which the
signer, to prove that the signature was his own, imprinted the seal
from his ring into soft, heated wax after he signed a document.
Today the sealing of an instrument with the words hand and seal in the
testimonium clause and the letter L.S. after the signature lines have
legal implications regarding the enforceability of the agreement.


IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties hereto have their hands and seals this
_____ day of _________, ______.
_________________________________ L.S.
_________________________________ L.S.

You will learn when an instrument must be sealed. At first, however, you must
rely on the lawyer to instruct you in this matter.
Strictly speaking, sealed agreements are known as covenant rather than to
agree to their terms.
However, in practice the terms covenant and agree are usually used


IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties hereto have the day and year above
written caused these presents to be executed in their behalf and in their corporate
names respectively by their proper offices hereunto duly authorized and their
respective corporate seals hereto attached by like authority.
[Corporate seal affixed here]
Corporate Secretary
[Corproate seal affixed here]

by _____________________________

Corporate Secretary

Documents signed by an individual on behalf of a corporation often actually

do bear a seal, known as the corporate seal.
When a corporation is formally organized. It has a corporate seal.
This is a small piece of solid steel equipment, which either imprints into a
sheet of paper or stamps on that paper he corporations official name, state,
and year or incorporation.
The seal is placed beside he signature line on which the corporate officer
Below the space left for the seal is typed the word ATTEST, and below that
is a rule for he signature of he officer of the corporation who certifies the
validity of the signature and to the right of the officer to sign on behalf of the



The signature liens on any legal paper must never appear alone on the last
page of the document. This is because it would be too easy for an
unscrupulous person to substitute pages of the document that precede the
Therefore, at least the last two lines of the document, other than the
testimonium clause, should be carried over the page on which the parties will
This rule regarding placement of signature lines often causes a problem for
the one preparing the legal document.
You may find that she does not have enough room for the testimonium clause
and the signature lines on pages on which terms of the agreement are stated.
To resolve this problem, most offices devise a procedure whereby extra space
is left on the next-to-last page of the document so that at least two lines of
the document will appear on the last page.
A common device which is used in some law offices is the ruling in ink of a
large Z to cover the blank page.


There are certain legal documents that contain an acknowledgement.

An acknowledgement is a statement annexed to a document.
o It says that the person who signed the document is the person
mentioned in the document and that he did in fact sign the document.
The acknowledgement must be signed by an authorized public official
usually notary public.
However, some public officers such as judges, officers of the court, certain
elected public school administrators are authorized to acknowledge

An acknowledgement must always be signed by the authorized public official

and may also be signed by the person who signed the document.


A notary public must be a licensed lawyer in order to qualify to perform

specified functions.
If the license is granted, a fee is paid and the notary is given authority under
official seal, which grants the notary the right to attest to the authenticity of
signature administer oaths, and attest to the fact that the statements in the
document are true.
The notary public has other kinds of authority as well, but those authorized
notary public:
o The lawyer serves as notary public.
o When the lawyer is granted to the notary, the notary public may then
purchase a notarys kit.
o This kit includes the notarys seal, which may be made of metal; or it
may be a rubber stamp.
o The wording on the seal may contain the following:
Includes the number of notarys license.
It also the license and the expiration date of the authority for
notary public.
This information is indicated on the document below the rule for
the lawyers signature.


If a notary is to attest to the validity of the signatures on a document, that

document must include an acknowledgement clause.
o This clause, which generally has standard wording, typed below the
signature liens for the parties.
o It is followed by a rule for the notarys signature and allows space for
affixing the notarys seal.
When a document has been signed in the presence of a notary and the
notary has signed and affixed her seal, the document is then a notarized
The wording of the acknowledgement clause varies slightly from one country
to another, but the intent and the content are basically the same.
The format for the acknowledgement may also vary among countries and
from one office to another. The standard format used is:
o Acknowledgements are usually typed double-spaced, but in some legal
offices they are single-spaced.
You must know the wording and format preferred by the lawyer.
In time, this clause will become so familiar to you that you will be able to
format it from memory, not long after you start working, the lawyer will
expect you to add the acknowledgement clause whenever it is needed

without his instructions. If you are in doubt as to when it is required, ask the
Although, format and wording of acknowledgements vary, they usually
include the following:
o A statement of venue that is, location in which the document is
executed. This is usually boxed with parentheses or colons and is
usually double-spaced, although some courts prefer single-spacing.
A statement of the purpose of the acknowledgement and the capacity of the
signing party or parties.
A testimonium clause to precede the notarys signature in some states.
The signature of the notary with the indication of the location in which is
qualified and the date of expiration of the authority for notary public.
The notarys seal, which is affixed after the document has been signed by the
parties and the notary.
If you are in doubt as to where to type the acknowledgement, a check of the
files will probably indicate official preference.
o Some legal firms want the acknowledgement typed approximately four
lines below the signature lines.
o Other legal firms prefer that it be typed on a separate page.
o Still others use legal printed forms. In these instances, the legal office
assistant or the legal secretary or the notary fills in the appropriate
information before the documents are notarized.
The acknowledgement is then attached to the document.
Sometimes a document is prepared on a printed form.
In this case, the acknowledgement is generally included as a part of the form.
And if the document is to be folded, the acknowledgement may be printed on
one of the folds on the back of the document.


Lawyers are often asked to prepare notarized papers in which the maker,
then known as the affiant, swears under oath to the truth of the statements
they contain.
The sworn statements are known as affidavits.
Unlike acknowledgements, affidavits are documents in themselves.
They may be required for limitless types of situations both non-court or
court matters, such as:
o They may be needed for real estate transactions.
o That a married must sign an affidavit stating that she has not been
known by any other name for the past ten years.
o A man may be accused of having has court judgements against him
when, in truth, they were issued against someone else with the same
name. he would need an affidavit stating these facts.
o You may need to have an affidavit of loss as in the case of lost bank
passbook, and the like.
o People may need affidavits in connection with applications for licenses
or various sorts. They may require affidavits to affirm citizenship,

residency, or criminal record, minimum net worth, age, and date of

Often the subject matter is so simple and standardized that the legal office
assistant can prepare the affidavit herself and notarize it with minimal
instruction from the lawyer. The assistant prepares the document and the
lawyer affix his or her signature.
When it is long and very specific, it will be dictated by the lawyer and typed
or encoded on he computer and notarized by the lawyer.
Before an affidavit can be notarized, the notary must swear the signer or the
document by asking him a question, such as:
o Do you solemnly swear that the information contained in this
document is true and correct? if he responds Yes or I do, then may
sign and seal the affidavit.
o Like an acknowledgement, the affidavit always commences with a
statement of venue, boxed.
o Then, the facts are introduced by a short statement to the effect that
the affiant appeared before the notary and stated under oath that the
facts in he document are true.
o Then the information sworn to may be set forth, followed by the
signature of the affiant.

The legal document must bear the notarys signature and the official seal and a
statement that the document was signed in her presence and sworn to under oath.
This section of the affidavit, known as the jurat, also indicates the date when it was

o The jurat is essential to the affidavit

o It may ne included in the notarys seal
If it is not, it is typed above the rule on which the notary signs.
The affidavit should contain all the information necessary to make it a
complete legal document.
At the conclusion of the statement of facts, the secretary must type a rule for
the affiants signature, the jurat, and the notarys signature and must allow
space for the notarys seal.
The signature line is usually allowing four lines below the last line of the
foregoing factual statements.
If there is no sufficient space at the bottom of that page for all the necessary
information, the legal secretary must carry over to the new page at least the
last two lines of the factual statement. She must fill in the bottom of the next
to the last page with a Z. The last page would consist of the last lines of the
document followed by the signature lien and notarization.


The legal office assistant of legal secretary is responsible for seeing that
client documents are correctly typed, executed, and notarized, if necessary.
She also has other responsibilities related to the preparation of these
She must collate papers correctly, back then it its required, conform copies,
and at times record documents with the country recorders office.



After you have prepared the correct number of copies of a document, your
first task is to collate them; this requires that all the originals be assembled,
all first carbons, all second carbons, and so on.
You must make certain that all pages are included and that they are in the
correct order.


Some offices back certain client documents with heavy sheet of paper, often
colored, that is to 1 inch longer than the paper on which the document is
The extra length of the backing sheet is folded over the top, and the pages of
the document are inserted under the fold and stapled about inch from the
These backed documents may be submitted to the clients safety-deposit
One of the folds of the backing sheet is often printed to allow the names of
the parties and date of execution to be filled in.
The name and address of the law firm is also printed on this fold.
All the information on the backing sheet, the secretary must type it on the
proper fold.
This is done before the document is stapled into the backing sheet.
If the document requires an acknowledgement, this may also be printed on
the backing sheet and notarized.


One important responsibility of a legal office assistant is to confirm all copies

of all legal papers so that every carbon copy contains all the information that
is handwritten or stamped on the original.
o This requires that the secretary type onto carbon copies names signed
on originals, dates, and all other notations made on the original after it
was typed.
o Signatures conformed on copies are usually indicated in this manner
on duplicate or carbon copies: /S/ Pedro Alfonso
o The symbol /S/ stands for signed. Sometimes what is used is the
abbreviation Sgd. Which means signed.

It is important that you establish the habit of conforming all copies of

documents as soon as they are executed or when any information is added to
the originals. This is one of your responsibilities that is a must.



Lawyers are frequently called upon to prepare documents that transfer title
to real property or real state or that lease real property.
Real property consists of land and structures, which are permanently
attached to that land, such as houses, garage, and landscaping.
o These are known as appurtenances and are considered part of the
real property.
o Everything that a person owns that is not real property is personal
Obviously, the list of items that constitute personal property is almost
o It includes automobiles, trailers, boats, clothing, household goods,
jewelry, office furnishings, to name only a few.
Philippine laws are much more particular about the manner in which title to
real property is transferred than they are about transfer of title to personal
o example, most real estate transactions are handled under the
guidance of real estate brokers who make use of private companies
that specialize in handling the paper work necessary for legal transfer
of title. These companies are generally known as title companies or
abstract companies.
Law firms who handle transfers of real property, the lawyers are frequently
asked to represent clients in buying or selling real estate. It is, therefore
estate. It is, therefore essential that the legal office assistant familiarizes
oneself with the procedures in a real estate transactions, whether a law firm
or other organization handles real estate transfers, the paper work is much
the same.