Tuesday, June 30, 2009

NCAJ gives legal assistants a vote on board

By Guy Loranger, Staff Writer, North Carolina Lawyers Weekly

The N.C. Advocates for Justice (NCAJ) has voted to give its legal assistants division a vote on its board of governors.

During the NCAJ's annual convention last week at Sunset Beach, members voted overwhelmingly to also allow legal assistants to join the organization with "verification" from an NCAJ member attorney, rather than "sponsorship," and to allow LAD members to hold non-executive committee chairs in other divisions.

The membership vote came after the relevant changes to the NCAJ's bylaws were approved by its membership committee in December 2008 and by its board of governors in January.

According to NCAJ officials, no other similar organization in the country has granted its legal assistants such voting rights and membership privileges.

"It's just another example of the support and dedication that the attorneys have given our section and the support that they have given us in all we do," said Rhonda Rodenbough, a Winston-Salem paralegal, 18-year NCAJ member and current chair of the LAD.

With 554 members, the LAD is the third-largest section in the NCAJ, trailing only the criminal defense and auto torts sections.

Prior to last week's vote, the LAD chair had a seat on the board of governors but no voting power.

Although the LAD was formed in 1983, the topic of paralegal voting did not really surface until the NCAJ decided to change its name from the N.C. Academy of Trial Lawyers last year, said the LAD's immediate past chair, Karen Parrish of Greensboro.

"They looked at the bylaws and revisited the idea that the chair didn't have a vote," said Parrish, an NCAJ member since 1992. "I can't say enough how much everybody has been open to it."

Dick Taylor, the NCAJ's chief executive officer, told North Carolina Lawyers Weekly earlier this year that giving the LAD chair a vote appeared to be "completely non-controversial" among its members.

"The board thought that these people are valuable, and their point of view is valuable, and they ought to vote and participate."

The new voting and membership rights will give LAD members "a broader base for how we can be involved in the Advocates for Justice as a whole," Rodenbough said.

She also hopes that the NCAJ's move will spur the state's other legal organizations to afford greater privileges to its legal assistant members.

Last year, for instance, the N.C. Bar Association voted down a proposal for its paralegal division to have a vote on its board of governors that, if approved, would have been a first for the country's bar associations.

The NCBA did, however, open up access for paralegals to participate on its executive committee and the audit and finance committee.

"I'm hoping it will encourage them to say, 'We need to see the worth in our paralegals as well. We need to really think about what they do for us on a daily basis, and about what they do for our clients,'" Rodenbough said.

Editor's note: Staff writer Diana Smith contributed to this report.

Re-printed with permission © 2009 Lawyers Weekly Inc., All Rights Reserved.

Paralegal in U.S. Attorney’s Office Suspended

Michigan paralegal Wendolyn Greene (formerly Johnson), an employee in the special prosecutions unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Michigan, has been suspended. The Detroit News is reporting that she is suspected of leaking information to Detroit political consultant Sam Riddle, when he became embroiled in the Synagro Technologies Inc. bribery scandal last year.
The Synagro investigation is part of a wide-ranging and long-running investigation of City Hall corruption, including bribes paid in connection with contracts at the Cobo Center and payments made to business consultant Bernard N. Kilpatrick, the father of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.
As a result of the investigation, Monica Conyers, former Detroit City Council President Pro-Tem, resigned on Monday, after pleading guilty on Friday to accepting bribes from Synagro Technologies "in exchange for her vote on a $47 million sludge hauling deal." Riddle was a former top aide to Conyers, and has not been charged to date in connection with the scandal.

Riddle’s attorney admits that he was friends with Greene but did not address allegations that she shared information with him regarding the ongoing federal investigation while they were dating. Greene told the Detroit News via telephone that she does not work for the U.S. Attorney’s Office but a spokesperson for the office says that she remains employed.

The investigation of the allegations against Greene is being conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Grand Rapids.

New York Paralegal Brings Her Greyhound to Work

“Bring your dog to work day” sounds like a great employee motivational treat to me, but New York paralegal Karen Coots, employed by attorney Frank Como in Waverly, gets to bring her Greyhound Star to work every day.

Star is very laid back in the office, Coots said, and she added that Como doesn’t mind having her around, as Como used to have a Black Lab named Molly that came into the office with him.

Coots adopted Star from Keystone Greyhounds. Star isn’t the only “legal hound” in the area. Coots’ friend Debby Moore adopted two Greyhounds and coincidentally gave them legal names: Legal Lawyer and Motion to Strike.

The Daily Review article doesn’t say what Moore’s dogs’ nicknames are, but I can see my neighbors’ faces now if I were outside hollering at the top of my lungs for my dogs, “LEGAL LAWYER! MOTION TO STRIKE! MOTION TO STRIKE!”

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Using Social Media: Today It Takes a Village to Succeed in the Paralegal Profession

Most of us are familiar with the African proverb, “It takes a whole village to raise a child.” The phrase brings to mind a large and generous network of people, not just parents, but relatives, teachers, neighbors and mentors, working together to produce healthy, happy children who grow up to be productive members of our community – and go on to guide the village’s next generation of children.

Today it takes a village to succeed as a paralegal. The legal field has changed radically from even the practices we were familiar with five years ago. The ways that firms manage documents, exchange information, advertise for clients and hire new employees are evolving at a pace faster than the speed of light. Paralegals, including new paralegal graduates, are expected to stay abreast of the latest technological, practice, marketing and hiring trends.

That’s why paralegals need to turn to their own village, their co-workers, colleagues, mentors and experts in the legal field. But how do we reach out to them and ask questions, especially if we work full-time, raise families and even try to squeeze more education into our crowded schedules? We aren’t going to get mentored while eating lunch at our desk every day – or are we?

Using social media (simply defined as internet tools for sharing information) is key to enjoying the support of our village, and to giving support in return. Social media is key to building a network of legal and related professionals who know what is happening now, and who are smart enough to forecast the future of the legal field. Social media is absolutely key to surviving in a recessionary economy where many of our peers are losing their jobs at record rates, even the ones who thought they were safe.

I’m going to paraphrase some career advice that has been circulating on Twitter recently, “You need to build your network BEFORE you actually need it.” It’s too easy to sit in our offices, comfortable in our expertise with the current firm technology, comfortable with getting clients from the same familiar sources, and maybe too comfortable that after a decade or more of working for the same employer that we’ll never need to look for another job. This is the kind of complacency that can leave us without a job, struggling to learn new skills, and not only redundant, but non-competitive.

Our village is the key to our evolution as paralegal professionals. Our village has many open doors and many hospitable and knowledgeable members sharing information every day in numerous places on the Internet, including blogs, social networking sites, listservs and forums. For paralegals interested in growing their own networks and resources, here are a few of the basic types of social media that you should explore and use regularly.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a free professional networking site. It’s an essential online resource to publish your professional credentials and to build your professional network. Most career experts recommend creating and maintaining a LinkedIn profile, especially if you are seeking new employment, career and networking opportunities.

There are many LinkedIn Groups for legal professionals, including those especially for paralegals. They offer opportunities to not only increase your network of contacts, but to participate in discussions started by members of the group, or to start discussions of your own.

Twitter

Another free social and professional networking site, Twitter is an invaluable tool for greatly expanding your professional network, and for keeping up with “real-time” news and technology updates. Twitterers are limited to 140-character updates, which means news, information, questions and answers are delivered rapid-fire and continuously.

Not only is there a wonderful community of paralegals already utilizing Twitter, but there are many other kinds of legal professionals providing extremely informative content (I like to call it “great Tweet”), including attorneys, marketers, legal nurse consultants, virtual assistants, legal publications and legal groups.

Blogs

Successful legal professionals have strong writing skills, and many of them apply those skills to now essential legal blogs that provide up-to-the-minute information regarding the law, specialty areas and technology. Identify those blogs that are most helpful to your current practice and future goals, and then spend a few minutes a week reading current posts – a fast and free form of continuing education (Twitter has brought amazing blogs to my attention that I would otherwise never have known about).

Two excellent legal blog directories are ABA Journal’s Blawg Directory and USLaw.com Law Blog Directory.

Listservs

In addition to participating in your state and local legal association listservs (if available), consider joining one or more of the national paralegal listservs, including:

LAT-Forum (Hosted by Legal Assistant Today)
Paralegal Gateway (Yahoo Group)
Paralegals (Yahoo Group)

Don’t be intimidated by the frequent postings; you can always receive posts in a weekly digest form or direct listserv posts to a folder to read later.

Benefits of listservs include the opportunity to engage in longer virtual conversations with paralegals all over the country and to quickly get answers to questions, especially in the areas of legal research, technology and career-building.

Use social media to be a part of our village, a group of amazing, knowledgeable and generous legal professionals committed to the success and enrichment of the paralegal profession. The best part is, you can enjoy the benefits while eating your lunch at your desk.

Attorney Requests Increased Restitution from Former Paralegal

Pennsylvania attorney Jeff Connelly, a victim of embezzlement by his former paralegal, has requested that the Erie County Court of Common Pleas increase the amount of her $300.00 per month court-ordered restitution payment.

In April 2005, Kelly Mitchell (formerly Little), pled no contest to two counts of theft from Connelly’s firm and agreed to re-pay approximately $74,000.00 stolen over a three-year period. Connelly was not insured for the losses. (Mitchell was also sentenced to seven to twenty-three months in prison and agreed to repay an additional $12,000.00 taken from local attorney J. Gregory Moore as part of her plea.)

Mitchell was ordered to pursue additional income to re-pay Connelly, and since the initial order, probation officials have periodically increased her payment to the present $300.00 per month. While she is current in her payments, she still owes Connelly over $63,000.00 and her debt is not subject to interest.

Connelly wants Mitchell to get another job so that she can increase her payments. Defendants are typically required by the local probation department to pay 7.5 percent of their net income as restitution, but court records do not indicate that Mitchell’s current earnings at her husband’s beverage wholesaler business have been verified.

Connelly’s request may affect the way local courts order restitution in other cases. Judge Michael E. Dunlavey is reviewing the county’s restitution’s guidelines with his fellow judges to determine if changes are warranted. Judge Dunlavey said after the hearing, "We can't allow a criminal debtor to determine whether they are going to repay a legitimate debt on their own terms.”

I hope that Judge Dunlavey orders a review of Mitchell’s current income and increases her restitution payments if the facts support it. I don’t think that ordering her to get a part-time job, barring any extenuating medical or family circumstances, is unreasonable, given the methodical theft she admitted to while working for several attorneys.

If Mitchell is in a position to accelerate her payments, she should be ordered to do so. After all, Connelly is still paying the price for her crime, including the loss of his clients’ trust and an obligation to make things right with them, whether she returns the funds or not.

Do you think it’s reasonable to order Mitchell to get a part-time job to increase her restitution payments?

Paralegal News Clips


■The following students graduated this spring with degrees in paralegal studies from Ivy Tech Community College in Richmond, Indiana: Amber Gallagher, Tricia Lee-Ellen Agnew, Jamie D. Minton, Jacob Jay Stephens, Deborah Lynn Westcott, and Diane M. Galey. (Palladium-Item)

■The NALS of Lansing 2009 Legal Professional of the Year Award was awarded to Heidi Hopper. She is employed by Dickinson Wright PLLC, as a legal secretary where she works in the practice areas of municipal bond, tax law and insurance regulatory. She is also familiar with matters dealing with real estate law and corporate litigation.

Hopper is a graduate of Okemos High School and Lansing Community College, where she received two associate degrees - general and applied arts. She passed the Accredited Legal Secretary exam in March 2006, which is offered through NALS, and holds a real estate license, which she keeps current through continuing education each year. (Lansing State Journal)
Christina Barber and Michelle Hooker, members of the Tompkins Cortland Community College Class of 2009, received the Looseleaf Publishing Company Paralegal Awards. Sponsored by Looseleaf Law Publications, the award honors students who have shown outstanding dedication and enthusiasm in attaining a paralegal law degree.

Debra Chase-Wegner, another member of Tompkins Cortland Community College Class of 2009, received the West Publishing Company Award. The award, sponsored by West Publishing, recognizes outstanding scholastic achievement in paralegal studies. (Ithaca Journal)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Paralegal Posting of the Week: Disney Needs an Entertainment Paralegal

How many of you wanted to grow up to be a Disney princess, and are still secretly crushed that it never happened? Working for Disney in New York might go a long way toward easing your disappointment.

Our Legal Department is looking for a Paralegal to assist the Attorneys in our New York office. This role entails a combination of contract administration in addition to the day to day responsibilities of a Paralegal. This position will report directly to the Senior Vice President of Business and Legal Affairs and will partner with two other attorneys to oversee contract administration and draft and negotiate various agreements. The ideal candidate is a professional with keen attention to detail, a service-oriented attitude and a strong work ethic.



Responsibilities include, but not limited to:
-Maintain calendaring of all action dates /deadlines and create reminder notices.
-Generate monthly summary for management and project executives.
-Assist Legal team in researching and preparing chain of title reviews.
-Prepare and draft relevant term sheets and contracts relating to confidential disclosures and content acquisitions.
-Contract Preparation and Negotiation: talent agreements, including amendments to numerous agreements, such as rights, writers and directors, various recording contracts for stock and amateur business.
-Work with internal and external contacts to obtain and track the use of name/logo, location agreements in addition to the use of photos clearances for range of entertainment content.
-Research and advise, under supervision of counsel, regarding vendor/production/venue insurance compliance and product licensing.
Martindale.com

Requirements for this job are:

Degree: Bachelor’s and/or Paralegal Certificate
Experience: Experience within the entertainment industry. Theatre experience is a plus.
Software: Not stated.
Skills: Strong drafting, negotiating, writing and computer skills; the ability to problem solve in a business-friendly, creative manner;
Other: Must be willing to take "ownership" of projects and think proactively. The right candidate will have the ability to work independently, manage projects, analyze situations and identify potential solutions with the willingness to assist in whatever is needed to complete the task.

Which Disney princess are you? I took the Disney princess quiz at http://www.brainfall.com/quizzes/which-disney-princess-are-you/ and I’m Belle, which is exactly right, because I always had a thing for The Beast.

Tips for Paralegal Students

U.S. News & World Report’s Professors’ Guide recently posted an excellent article, "9 Tips for Community College Students". While all of the tips are helpful to know prior to starting a community college program, the following tips are particularly useful for paralegal students.
Prepare to Be Active. Community college professors often see the class as an occasion to get the students actively involved, rather than treating them as sponges to sop up what the professor is dishing up. Be prepared to participate in discussions, make a presentation, play simulation or role-playing games, design experiments, and in some cases even do community outreach or service programs.
Being an active participant in your classes, college and community activities will not only help you develop your oral communication and presentation skills, as well as your network, but may help you get necessary experience for your resume.
Go see the prof. One of the great things about the community college is the tremendous number of hours the professors are required to sit in their offices to help students: At many schools professors are available, without appointment, for 10 hours and up each week. Take advantage of this one-on-one help before the test, before a paper or assignment, and especially when you feel lost in a course. The profs want to see you do well and are ready to help you do so.

Get to know your professors and establish a professional working relationship with them. Ask intelligent questions about assignments and don’t wait until the last minute to talk to them about making alternate arrangements in the event of family or personal emergencies. For students that graduate with little work experience, the references provided by their instructors will be essential.
Join the community. Community colleges realize that most students are commuters and don’t have the social benefits that they might have at a four-year college. They try to compensate by providing “cohort” programs and “study buddy” programs that will put you in touch with other students taking the same courses. Make full use of these wonderful opportunities to meet students with goals and lives similar to your own, but also others from different socioeconomic backgrounds, from different countries, and with different life experiences. The melting pot that is the community college is one of the great features of American college life: Make sure that even if you don’t melt, you join the stew.

Not only should you try to participate in at least a few regular college activities, but you should seek law-related volunteer opportunities in your community which allow you to expand your professional network and gain experience. These community activities may well assist you in getting that first entry-level paralegal job.

Preparation to work as a paralegal starts as soon as you enroll in a paralegal program. Being active in your college’s activities and in the legal community, as well as establishing good relationships with your professors, are all part of a complete paralegal education.

California Paralegal’s Artist Daughter in Nebraska Foster Home

When I first read this story in the Omaha World-Herald, my initial thought was, “This amazingly talented young girl gets the short end of the stick no matter how this plays out.”

Alice Wang, 12, the daughter of California paralegal Charlotte Wu and visiting Stanford University scholar Suwen Wang, won the North American division of a painting competition sponsored by the United Nations Environment Programme and Bayer Corporation. Her gorgeous abstract painting representing global warming reflects an artistic talent which belies her young age and is currently on display at the Omaha Children’s Museum.

What should have been a celebratory family trip to the exhibit’s opening in Omaha earlier this month turned into a nightmare when both parents were arrested and jailed on charges of hitting their 13-year old son in the car. Both children were immediately placed in a “Bellevue foster home, based on allegations that they are at risk of harm in their parents' care due to inappropriate physical force.”

The chances of Alice Wang attending the United Nations International Youth Conference in South Korea in August, to be recognized as one of the six finalists worldwide and to compete for a $2,000.00 cash prize, appear to be slim. Her parents’ attorneys have moved the court to transfer the case from Nebraska to their state of residency, California, but there’s no set time for an interstate transfer to occur. The children’s Guardian Ad Litem is recommending that the family not be allowed to leave the country.

In a telephone interview with The Omaha World-Herald, Fu said she respected the legal system but has found it very frustrating. She has shipped care packages, including drawing pads, to her daughter.

According to the news story, Alice Wang has entered this contest for six consecutive years and finally won this year, beating 800 other entries. When she attended the regional competition in Washington, D.C. in April 2009, she emphasized the environmental message of her painting: "Because if they can see it from children's eyes, then maybe they can see that it's really serious that we really want to stop global warming. If we don't, then our world will become really polluted."

That this young girl’s artistic achievement and talent has been overshadowed by alleged family dysfunction is truly a shame. For now, her voice in the court system is her court-appointed Guardian Ad Litem, but I wonder if her next painting will say what she cannot.

Paralegal Shares Summer Reading Tips for Kids

Virginia paralegal and fiction editor of The Internet Review of Books Julie McGuire is like most moms. She wants to keep her kids reading when school's out, even if her kids are leaning toward the definition of "vacation" as a reading-free zone.

But Julie's got some summer reading tips that will keep our kids begging for books:

  • Keep it simple. Maybe you're the type to read the classics while the rest of us are delighting in trashy romance novels at the beach. Don't expect your kids to have the same sense of refinement. Graphic novels, comic books, and magazines count.
  • Keep it social. Find a book with a movie tie-in. Plan a family night to discuss the differences. Let the kids pick out some snacks, and maybe even allow them to put their feet up on the furniture.
  • Keep it competitive. Kids love to win things. Many local libraries have pretty nice prizes-I've read about iPods and even laptops. Give prizes of your own.
  • Keep it predictable. Kids may complain about routine, but most crave it. Set a daily reading time, or a weekly date at a local bookstore. Whatever the routine, stick to it. Kids like stability.
  • Keep it handy. Keep piles of the latest must-reads in strategic locations. No need to point it out. The splashy covers will eventually catch their eyes.

Paralegal Dog Walker Reverses Buffalo Blight

First, let me just say I’m jealous. Paralegal Julie Padak works for Buffalo, New York attorney Francis Letro, who brings his dog Barkley to work. If everyone brought their dogs to work, litigation would be a nicer place. Padak often gets the pleasure of getting out of the office for a ramble with a friendly dog.

But the deteriorating downtown parks near the waterfront where Padak walked Barkley were no treat to visit. The littered streets featured broken glass and graffiti-covered walls, and this “key stretch” of Buffalo was not only no place to walk a cherished dog, but an embarrassing blight which led right to the waterfront, including “the spanking-new Erie Canal Harbor”.

Padak decided to do something about the problem and contacted local business owners, developers, the city forestry department and the city anti-graffiti program, spurring them on to clean up the mess.

And they did.

AmeriCorps volunteers, sent by the city, mowed grass and cleaned up trash. Graffiti was painted over. City workers killed weeds with herbicide and power-washed the underside of roadway off-ramps that crisscross the site. Buffalo Place lent a Bobcat and promised to bring planters. Coming soon are lights for the trees and new plantings.

Buffalo News


I hope that attorney Letro appreciates the can-do community organizer he has in his paralegal. I bet Barkley does.


“I am just a peon, a paralegal at a law office who picked up the phone,” Padak said. “That this could happen, it’s refreshing.”

Julie, you are not a peon. You’re a paragon, and you're refreshing.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Nancy W. Kappes (Paralegal) T-shirts

"Nancy W. Kappes (Paralegal) Effin' Rocks" might turn out to be the best-selling t-shirt in the history of paralegal merchandise - if there was such a t-shirt. (Warning: If expletives offend you, don't read any further because they form the basis of Nancy's sentence structure.)

Who is Nancy W. Kappes? I don't know, but I'm hoping one of you will tell me. Even better, I'm hoping Nancy will tell me.

If I don't know her, why is she getting a feature post on a paralegal blog? I'm writing about Nancy because she's a minor Internet celebrity with a growing and enthusiastic fan base, thanks to Jenny Lawson, a columnist for The Houston Chronicle and "the Bloggess" at http://www.bloggess.com/. Jenny occasionally posts wildly popular excerpts from emails she receives from Nancy W. Kappes (Paralegal), including "Nancy W. Kappes is the greatest letter writer ever" and her most recent post "Letters from Nancy," which is how I joined both Jenny and Nancy's mutual fan club.

This is the point in the article when I'm supposed to quote something from one of Nancy's emails, only I can't because if I take out the expletives there'll only be two or three incomprehensible helping verbs left, and I'm still hoping that someone from The ABA Journal will call me one day and beg me to be its intrepid paralegal reporter.

Jenny's readers love them some Nancy, and it's easy to see why, because I've become obsessed with her myself. Like Kathy Griffin, she says the things we know we're all thinking, but are too polite (or afraid of losing our jobs) to say. She's an Everywoman that curses like a sailor, except with great style and only where really necessary to convey her sentiments, which is almost always.

I'm trying to learn everything I can about Nancy (I hope that doesn't sound too stalkerish and I haven't, like, started a fan website yet, mainly because I don't have the technological savvy) but here are some of the things I know that make me crave more Nancy:

Nancy's raised her kids and hasn't the slightest interest in your droolers.
Like many of us working stiffs, she's had to eat "Helper" (Hamburger Helper minus the protein).
She says "blog" is that noise she makes when she throws up.
She signed an email to Jenny with "Paralegal, Who Please Fer Chrissakes, Don't Make Me File A Pro Hac Vice Motion or Anything that Has to Do With the Courts Because I am Totally Phoning In."
She admits to snorting Diet Coke through her nose while laughing hysterically.
I think Nancy invented morphine suppositories.

Is Nancy real? Jenny says so, and I want to believe Jenny, because she seems like someone I'd enjoy making a fool out of myself with at my bachelorette party, or maybe traveling cross country in a bus singing ABBA tunes in sequins and feathers, like in that gem of an Aussie drag queen movie, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

Plus, Pipl.com says Nancy W. Kappes, mid-50s, resides in Indianapolis, and there's a corroborative review from a 2007 Rage Against The Machine concert which says grandmother-to-be Nancy W. Kappes traveled from Indianapolis with her daughter (the non-pregnant one at the time) and loved the concert so much that she said the band better never break up or she'd "Come back and haunt the you-know-what out of you! And it won't be pretty!" I'm sure someone cleaned up the quote for publication purposes, but it definitely sounds like something Nancy would say.

I'd ask Jenny for a quote for this post, but her website is pretty clear about the unlikelihood of a response to an email query.

So I'll leave you with a comment from Daisy, one of Nancy's many fans, "I am totally on board for some Nancy W. Kappes (Paralegal) T-shirts! Plus since we’re in the same state, I might run into her while wearing it and she can yell at me for not being her. And that? Would be so awesome!"

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Robert Half Legal’s New White Paper: Law Offices Face New Challenges

Robert Half Legal, a staffing service for legal professionals, has released a new white paper, Delivering Value-Added Legal Services in Challenging Times, summarizing research results from the firm's ninth annual Future Law Office project.

Key findings include:
  • Demand for legal services is growing in practice areas such as bankruptcy, litigation, intellectual property and environmental law.
  • Experienced attorneys with a book of business are finding new employment opportunities, but recent law school graduates and generalists are encountering a competitive market.
  • Many law firms face steep revenue goals, prompting them to rethink client service methods.
  • Alternative billing practices are gaining wider acceptance as clients ask for more flexible arrangements from their law firms.
  • Corporate legal departments are limiting spending on outside counsel to the most strategic areas and reassessing the allocation of legal work.
  • Increasingly, corporate legal departments are using project professionals to manage rising workloads and meet demand for their legal services.
The Future Law Office site includes a section entitled “Clients’ Wish Lists”, which indicates that clients want better communication, as well as alternate billing arrangements (a topic that is frequently discussed in the Twitter legal community).

Paralegals are key to effective client communication. They form close relationships with clients and are often in a position to respond immediately to clients’ questions, especially if the lawyer is unavailable.

After working in the legal field for more than 20 years, I’ve heard many clients repeatedly say that they want the following from their lawyers and staff:
  • Someone to take the time to listen to their concerns
  • A helpful response within 24 hours of their email, voice mail or telephone call
  • Ongoing feedback regarding the status of their most immediate or emergent legal problems

To obtain a free copy of the white paper, contact the Robert Half Legal office in your area by calling 800.870.8367.

Legal Nurse Consultant Profile: Abbie Citron RN BSN CLNC

Job Title: Certified Legal Nurse Consultant

Employer: Owner of Citron & Associates Legal Nurse Consulting, Los Angeles, CA

Years of Legal Nurse Consultant Experience: 2+ Years

Specialty Areas: Medical Malpractice, Personal Injury, Product Liability (Really, any type of law where health or injury is involved)

Career Highlight: Using my many years of bedside nursing experience to build a successful legal nurse consulting practice.

Practice tip for paralegals working with LNCs: There are many legal nurses out there. Look for organized, reliable, professional legal nurses that produce the type of work product you will be proud to give your attorneys.

Favorite Internet Resource: This is hard, I have so many…….

MD Consult http://www.mdconsult.com/
National Institutes of Health PubMed http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/
U.S. Food and Drug Administration http://www.fda.gov/

Fun Fact: I was a competitive horseback rider for many years, racing poles and barrels. I ride a unicycle!

Professional Bio Links:

http://www.abbiecitron.com/
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/abbie-citron/9/8a0/8a8
http://www.legalnurse.com/member/index.php
http://www.aalnc.org/
http://www.thejerklnc.com/

_____________________________

In addition to posting paralegal profiles, I am going to start sharing profiles for other kinds of legal professionals, especially those that frequently work with paralegals. Abbie is one of a great group of legal nurse consultants using Twitter. Not only are they an excellent source of medico-legal news, but they can also be helpful with nationwide referrals, as I found out this week when I used Twitter to help an attorney locate a nurse case manager in the Washington D.C. area.

Paralegal News Clips

■ Attorney Jim Smith has been appointed as the interim coordinator for Arizona Western College’s paralegal programs. Smith helped start the program two and a half years ago and stated, “"There are a lot of jobs in the profession that are not necessarily attorney. The paralegal program creates a path into the legal profession without having to pass the state bar exam." (Yuma Sun)

■ Texan Turea Simpson, a senior paralegal with Houston-based law firm Hughes Watters Askanase L.L.P., has formed the Houston Association of Bankruptcy Paralegals (HABP).

Simpson explained that she established the HABP because she saw a strong need and desire among Houston bankruptcy paralegals for continuing education and for face-to-face communication.

“Hughes Watters Askanase often sent me to bankruptcy seminars geared toward attorneys, but not paralegals. It came to me during one of these seminars that bankruptcy paralegals do not have our own events or workshops that help us continue our education which in turn enables us to be more successful at our jobs. Because bankruptcy paralegals work with paralegals at other firms on a daily basis, the opportunity to meet colleagues face-to-face is especially important.”

Earthtimes

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Washington Paralegal Charged with Assault During Flight

Sherilee “Leesa” Van Zandt, a paralegal employed by the City of Spokane, has been charged in Spokane County District Court with assaulting an Alaska Airlines flight attendant “in a drunken, profanity-laced tirade.

Police say that Van Zandt claimed to be a city prosecutor when they tried to calm her.

She’ll continue her job helping with civil cases as the criminal case proceeds, said City Attorney Howard Delaney.

“It’s really unrelated to her job and it was off duty, so I’m not really doing anything at this point until we see how it turns out,” Delaney said.

Van Zandt apparently left quite an impression on witnesses, who seem to have provided extensive details about her behavior to the police, including allegations that she was drinking while traveling with a small child and tampered with a crew member’s lunch.

See The Spokesman Review

Ex-Attorney Working as Paralegal Charged with Theft

Former Ohio attorney Barry Brickley has been charged in Richland County Common Pleas Court with theft, forgery and receiving stolen property, due to allegedly writing $10,555.00 worth of checks to himself while working as a paralegal for local attorney Randy Fry.

According to Richland County District Attorney Brent Robinson, the status of Brickley’s law license is undetermined – as are Brickley’s current whereabouts.

In 2004, The Ohio Judicial System reported that Brickley’s license to practice law was suspended indefinitely in December 2002, and that four of his former clients were awarded $2,350.00 from the Clients' Security Fund of Ohio “due to his failure to provide legal services requested.” Another client was reimbursed $4,874.95 for the same reason.

Brickley’s disciplinary action cites personal misfortune and alcoholism as mitigating factors for his misconduct, which included mishandling 15 cases, and resulted in his suspension.

Do you think that suspended and/or disbarred attorneys should be allowed to work as paralegals?

UPDATE: Fugitive former Mansfield attorney arrested in Georgia

California Legal Assistant's Award-Winning Ribs

Rosie Hamilton is a member of Tehama County CattleWomen.

She has been a legal assistant at McGlynn, McGlynn & Bottke Attorneys at Law for 15 years.

She and husband Fred have a beef cattle ranch in Vina, where son Mike is the irrigator.

Their daughter Jamie is studying to be a LVN in Fortuna.

The 1988 National Beef Cook-Off grand prize winner was Oriental Short Rib Barbecue.

Oriental Short Rib Barbecue

4 pounds beef rib shortribs, trimmed of excess fat and cut crosswise no more than 3/8 to 1/2 inch thick.

Each rib piece should contain 3 crosscut rib bones.

Marinade:


2/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/2 cup each, soy sauce and water
1/4 cup dark sesame oil
2 1/2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, crushed
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine sliced green onions, soy sauce, water, sesame oil, brown sugar, sesame seeds, garlic, ginger, red and black pepper; reserve 1/2 cup marinade.

Place beef ribs and marinade in plastic bag, turning to coat.

Close bag securely and marinate in refrigerator 4- 6 hours, turning occasionally.

Remove ribs from marinade.

Place ribs on grid over medium coals.

To test, about 4 inches above coals for medium with 4 second hand count.

Grill for 5 to 6 minutes, turn ribs over; brush with reserved marinade.

Cover and continue cooking 5 to 6 minutes or until desired degree of doneness.

Preparation time: 15 minutes. Marinating time 4 to 6 hours. Cooking time 10 to 12 minutes.

Daily News

Monday, June 22, 2009

Paralegal News Clips

■Florida resident Ana Vazquez received a Certificate in Paralegal Studies from the University of Miami in June 2009. Within a few weeks of graduation, she obtained her first paralegal position at a criminal defense firm in Fort Lauderdale.

■Anthony J. Iannini, a litigation paralegal in Saul Ewing LLP's Wilmington office and an adjunct professor at the Widener University Law Center's Legal Education Institute, has received the Outstanding Faculty of the Year Award from the university. Iannini, a graduate of the New Jersey Institute of Technology and Delaware Technical & Community College, has more than nine years of experience as a paralegal. He is the vice president of the Delaware Paralegal Association and is the only paralegal member of the Delaware Supreme Court E-Filing Committee. He is both an American Alliance Certified Paralegal as well as a Delaware Certified Paralegal. He just completed his first full year at Widener, teaching aspiring paralegals Legal Research & Writing and Civil Practice/Litigation. The award, decided by graduating students, is given to a professor who consistently goes above and beyond for his or her students.

The News Journal

■North Carolina librarian Julie Quetel has been accepted to the paralegal program at Meredith College in Raleigh. She currently works for the Internet Public Library and has a master's degree in library & information science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

“I have chosen to pursue a career in the paralegal field because I am interested in the management of information as it relates to the law. The law touches nearly every aspect of our lives and the practice of it is an information intensive endeavor,” says Quetel.

“I have realized throughout my work and education that I enjoy being challenged. The law and the paralegal profession are constantly evolving and require a proactive approach to keeping current. It is through a passion for knowledge that a complex and demanding field such as paralegalism must be approached. I am convinced that a career as a paralegal will allow me to put into practice my enthusiasm for information management.”

“Cyber Graves”: Give Your Executor Your Facebook Password

When I came across the article, “Cyber graveyards a growing problem for legal professionals”, I realized I had never given the question much thought, but what happens to our Facebook (and other social media profiles) when we’re no longer in the land of the living?

CYBER graves are presenting a growing problem for legal professionals who urge people to leave their social network passwords with their executors in case they die.

Social networking sites like Facebook and Bebo are immortalising customers by leaving thousands of deceased sites online.

It’s hard enough to imagine the cursing my executor and heirs will be doing while going through my messy closets and drawers, much less trying to find and close my social media sites – unless I leave a list of sites and passwords.

Would I want my executor to access my Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles? Yes, I would, because I’d want my virtual friends and colleagues to know that I was no longer actually in the world (or at least why I was rudely ignoring their tweets).

But I like the idea of leaving my Facebook profile as a “memorial site”. After all, I’ve chosen cremation, so there won’t be a tangible tombstone memorializing me with a pithy saying such as “Here Lies a Practical Paralegal” or to steal the epitaph from Betty Davis' gravestone, "She did it the hard way".

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Paralegal Picture: Best Quotes for the Week Ending 06/21/09

I did several posts on stress-eating this week, which seems to be a hot issue in the news.


"I should just put them down on the seat and sit on them. That's where they're going to go — on my behind. I eat them because it makes me feel better." ~ California paralegal Leslie Fuller admits that she’s having trouble sticking to her grocery list and is stress-eating, throwing candy in her cart instead. (The Associated Press)


Another legal assistant isn’t stressing over candy but she is concentrating on celebrating the humble zucchini and feeling a little panicky about the upcoming zucchini festival she’s organizing with the blessing of her community.


"It's an inexpensive way to spend time with the family ... a chance to get out and participate.” ~ California legal assistant Elaine Rutkowski, the organizer of Anderson’s Zucchini Festival 2009, encourages zucchini growers to come and compete in various contests, including best recipes, bake-offs and relay races. (Redding.com)


And then there’s the more radical community activist route, where you share your vegetables with your fellow citizens, whether they ask for them or not.


"When you have beautiful things, it affects you in a positive way. When you have ugly things, well, it affects you in a negative way." ~ Iowa legal assistant Olenka Gadzik beautifies her city’s urban landscape by planting flowers and vegetables in public spaces on her lunch hour. (Quad City Times)

Finally, a paralegal re-discovers the joy of dance in her life and finds that the arts enrich the practice of law very well.


“So, as some of my followers may know (what? I have followers?!), I have started taking ballet classes again, allowing ballet and dance back into my life after almost 4 months off. It was physically painful to go back. Now, the pain has gone and my body has accepted the fact that I am dancing again, and my soul is singing. As I dance, I can’t help but smile. It is great to just move, and feel pretty, or whatever the music demands of me. To jump and turn and push myself. It’s amazing.” ~ California paralegal Kristina Duncan blogs about balancing a legal career and her love of dance at Paralegal Associates.

Iowa Legal Assistant is a “Guerrilla Gardener”

When we think of gardening as a stress-relieving activity, we usually think of enjoying it on our own property, but legal assistant Olenka Gadzik plants flowers and vegetables on other people’s property in Davenport, Iowa, a form of unsolicited “guerrilla gardening”.


It's her lunch hour and - dressed in her legal assistant outfit that includes slacks, heeled dress shoes and earrings - Gadzik begins digging in the dirt with a trowel, preparing to plant one of several tomato seedlings and pink flowering petunias that she has brought along in a box.

While some of the property owners that receive Gadzik’s additional plantings say they are less than thrilled, they don’t plan to disturb her gardening unless it detracts from their original landscaping.

When Gadzik relocates plants from her own garden, she leaves signs encouraging people to take the vegetables when they are ripe. She also pulls unsightly weeds.

Illicit guerrilla gardening sounds like an outdoorsy and cool stress-relieving lunchtime activity for an environmentally-conscious paralegal that likes the idea of being a modern day Johnny Appleseed. I’m already plotting (no pun intended) where to leave a few radical petunias.


Paralegal Profile: Kristina Duncan, Freelance Paralegal and Law Student-to-Be

Job Title: Freelance/Virtual Paralegal

Employer: Self-employed at Paralegal Associates, San Diego, CA

Years of Paralegal Experience: 2+

Specialty Areas: Civil litigation, personal injury, employment law – learning environmental law

Career Highlight: Starting my freelance business and having it actually take off.

Paralegal Practice Tip: Always have pen and paper handy. You never know when that attorney is going to give you something to do.

Favorite Internet Resource: LAT Listserv, http://www.legalassistanttoday.com/lat-forum/default.htm

Fun Facts: I was a competitive ice skater for six and a half years before turning to ballet. I also was on swim team, played soccer, and coached & trained in gymnastics.

Professional Bio Links:



____________________________________________

Kris is one of the wonderful paralegals I’ve met through Twitter’s legal community. Her Twitter handle is @legalninjakris. Through her blog and Twitter, she generously shares tips, news and musings about finding the right balance of career and creative passion as a legal professional and a dancer. I recommend adding her blog to your favorites.

Kris is absolutely right about having something to write with at all times. On Friday, as I was leaving for the day, I stuck my head in my boss’s door to say good-bye and he suddenly asked me to draft a specialized motion in an unusual civil litigation matter. This is not a motion that will be found in a form book. As he's talking a mile a minute about what he wants it to contain, and I’m standing there in his office doorway, looking rather useless and unprepared with my purse, my car keys and an armful of books, I finally asked him, “Could you please dictate what you just said into a note since I don’t have anything to write with right now?” But I will the next time…even if I am on my way home!

Friday, June 19, 2009

This Paralegal Has a Skeleton in Her Closet

Many of the great professional bloggers recommend that you develop a relationship with your readers by occasionally sharing information about yourself. So I’ve decided to take the plunge and share my deepest, darkest secret.

I have a skeleton in my closet.

Maybe you have a skeleton in your closet, too? Mine’s name is “Budget Bucky”. He was purchased online to be an exhibit for a civil injury trial. Unfortunately, his dreams of being a demonstrative trial exhibit were crushed when the case settled at mediation.

Bucky is fully articulated and provides hours of entertainment. (He even came with extra teeth, which I keep in my desk). I’d like to say that those hours were spent learning the names of all of the bones in the human body, but that would not be true.

Nope, Bucky is the size of an adult and kind of heavy, but that doesn’t keep my coworkers and me from moving him around the office on his rolling stand. We sit him on chairs and couches, dress him in the firm’s marketing caps and vests, and more or less, treat him like a large, unwieldy and rather unattractive paper doll.

Bucky scares people who aren’t expecting to see him just inside the doorway of my office. Heck, sometimes he scares me when I’m not expecting to see him.

My supervising attorney even let Bucky stand in his front office window during the week of Halloween, which didn’t deter Bucky in the slightest from his dreams of being a trial exhibit. But the Monday after Halloween, I found Bucky summarily relegated to the supply closet in my office. He can’t even scare anyone in there.

But Bucky came out of the closet when my boss went to Europe for a month in April. Partly because my boss had left a bag of sweaters in my office, for the clothing closet at my church, including a blue sweater he’s worn almost constantly since 1994. You know how you sometimes associate a particular item of clothing with a person? I couldn’t believe that my boss was giving away “The Blue Sweater”.

The other reason that Bucky came out of the closet was because my boss had gone to Europe without leaving anyone else with the power to sign checks from a separate account for a charity golf tournament. After receiving a continuous stream of panicked telephone calls and emails one Monday morning about a charity golf tourney I knew nothing about until that day, I pulled Bucky out of the closet and dressed him in “The Blue Sweater” with the intent of leaving him in my boss’s chair with the checkbook and a tag that read “Signatory Authority for Charity Golf Tournament”.

But I got completely distracted from my original intent because I found Bucky in the closet, wearing a pair of those gag plastic veined-eyeball glasses. I knew his Halloween had been good, but not that good. So far, he hasn’t said where he got them.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Paralegal Posting of the Week: Work for Petsmart

If you’ve got a passion for pets and are interested in seeking employment with the legal department of a major retailer, Petsmart in Phoenix, Arizona is seeking a Senior Paralegal to work with Senior Legal Counsel on its Human Resources team. The job description indicates that this position will be challenging but offers the right person a variety of interesting job duties.

You may also work directly (and with counsel) to resolve disputes and matters with governmental agencies such as the Department of Labor and similar state agencies, and assist in responding to wage and hour audits initiated by federal or state authorities. Experience gathering data, investigating and working with outside counsel on litigation matters is also important. You will also partner with Human Resource professionals to address and resolve employee relations matters at our retail stores and corporate office. This will require a proven track record of being able to manage multiple requests for assistance and projects, with demonstrated excellence in written and verbal communication, and a strong understanding the importance of data integrity and confidentiality. This position requires high performance under pressure, and an ability to relay and receive information from lawyers and non-lawyers.

Requirements for this job are:

Degree: Bachelor’s
Experience: 5 years of work experience (corporate preferred); advanced understanding of various employment, discrimination and wage and hour laws
Software: Excel, Microsoft Word
Skills: Ability to conduct legal research; strong verbal and written communication skills;
Other: Ability to read, analyze and interpret, personnel data, company policies and procedures, professional journals, technical procedures, legal documents, governmental regulations and case law.

Interested applicants can apply online at the Petsmart job posting.

In case you are thinking of relocating to Phoenix, I checked out the cuisine for you and barely got past the mouth-watering food pictures in "Phoenix: Best Restaurants and Other Places to Eat".

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Free eBook for Electronic Discovery Practitioners

New “Considering Meet and Confer” eBook Available for Electronic Discovery Practitioners

Free eBook Provides Notes, Articles, and References to Help Educate and Support Legal and IT Professionals Considering FRCP Rule 26(f)

LegalTech West 2009 Conference, Booth #120

SALT LAKE CITY--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Orange Legal Technologies, a leading electronic discovery provider of one source litigation, audit, and investigation support services for law firms and corporations seeking insight on electronically stored information, today announced the release of a compilation of notes, articles, and references in the form of a 44-page eBook that provides electronic discovery practitioners – both legal and IT – a general overview of planning considerations and practical application of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(f) “Meet and Confer” requirements.

“With the increased importance of electronically stored information (ESI) planning prior to pre-scheduling conferences, it appears that electronic discovery practitioners are more than ever interested in pragmatic tools to help them meet FRCP 26(f) requirements,” shared Gregory J. Spicer, Executive Vice President of Orange Legal Technologies.

“With the introduction of our new eBook “Considering Meet and Confer,” it is our hope that electronic discovery professionals will find the eBook useful as a quick reference for defining and understanding critical considerations in relation to ESI, electronic discovery tasks, and meet and confer tasks.”

Organized into five key sections, “Considering Meet and Confer” shares notes, articles, and references around the following areas:

*Understanding Meet and Confer – Drivers, Definitions, Documentation and Dictionary Considerations
*Understanding Electronically Stored Information – Elements, Examination, Experts and Estimation Considerations
*Understanding Electronic Discovery Tasks – Collection, Analytics, Processing, Review and Production Considerations
*Understanding Meet and Confer Tasks – Preparation, Meeting and Follow-up Considerations
*Translating Understanding into Execution – Checklists, Case Law and Additional Reading Considerations

Orange Legal Technologies’ eBook is available for free download from OrangeLT™ @ http://budurl.com/meetandconfer.

Business Wire

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

North Carolina Paralegal Attends Tony Awards

At the 2009 Tony Awards, David Alvarez, one of three Tony-winning Billy Eliots, said upon receiving his trophy, "We have to put these back, though, and they give us, like, a real one."

Susie Grimm, a North Carolina paralegal, was there to experience the real Tony Awards in New York City and saw Billy Elliot, The Musical win the award for Best Musical, with her two children, Dori and Josh. A stroke survivor, the normally "thifty" Grimm decided to make an unforgettable memory for her family.

Getting ready for the show was as big an event as the Awards themselves and included formal gown and tux shopping, as well as hair styling in Greenwich Village and make-up at Saks 5th Avenue for the girls.

Although regular attendees don't walk the red carpet or mingle with the stars, the Grimm family got an unexpected surprise when after the show, they asked a security guard for directions to the restrooms. But instead of the restrooms, they found themselves in a room full of stars.



"I guess we got turned around a little trying to find them, because we opened a door and found ourselves in this room with all the stars milling around," Grimm remembers with a laugh. "The security guard must have let us past to find the restrooms or something. We left, of course, but it was still really cool to see all those stars up close in person."


Incisive Legal Intelligence and IPMA Release 2009 Paralegal Compensation Survey

Incisive Legal Intelligence, a leading source of business intelligence for the legal profession, in partnership with the International Paralegal Management Association (IPMA), today announced the release of the Annual Compensation Survey for Paralegals/Legal Assistants and Managers, 2009 Edition, tracking compensation, billing rates and billable hours for paralegals. More than 250 organizations participated in the survey (180 law firms and 72 law departments), representing a total of 10,613 paralegal positions. The survey has been conducted since 2002. For further information, or to purchase a copy of the survey, visit incisivesurveys.com

The results of this year’s survey included the following.

- Overall, the survey indicated decreases in paralegal billable hours and overtime, but small increases in base salary for the survey period.

- The overall compensation of paralegals in U.S. law firms and corporate law departments decreased slightly when compared to last year’s survey data.

- Paralegals working in law firms received somewhat higher base compensation increases than their law department peers.

- Within law firms, the highest paid paralegals continued to be litigation support/technology managers at a median annual base compensation of $121,012 nationally.

- The average billing rate for most paralegals positions exceeded $175 per hour.

PR-Inside.com

Monday, June 15, 2009

Paralegals Tweet Fast Food Faves for Stress Relief

I know I just wrote a post about handling work stress by walking and bringing your own healthy snacks, but what's a working paralegal to do when faced with a genuine need to hide in her car at lunch with a Sookie Stackhouse novel and the opposite of celery?

So, today I tweeted (for God knows who to see, including hello-is-my-boss-on-Twitter-too?), “Sometimes I deal with the pressures of litigation by sneaking out to Sonic and eating cheese fries alone in my car...pathetic? :)”

Apparently, it’s not so pathetic, judging by the responses of my legal buddies on Twitter.

Kristin Hilton (@Lawgirl55) promptly tweeted, “Oooooh, Sonic has cheese fries!? I'll have to remember that when I am under litigation stress.”

See, Twitter is a public service, and I just welcomed Kristin to the wonderful world of Sonic cheese fries. I didn’t think she was quite ready to hear about Sonic’s chili cheese fries; it requires advanced skills to eat those without wearing them.

Christi Schmidt (@fluffybreeze), a part-time legal assistant, helpfully added, “A Frosty from Wendy's is also good to reduce litigation stress. Go slow to avoid brain freeze! Makes a longer break, too.”

Sometimes your brain just needs to be frozen midday.

“Re: litigation stress don't feel bad, I go to Starbux when I get stressed out and they know me by name,” was the reassurance offered by paralegal Jennifer Taylor (@JenTaylor1015).

Unfortunately, a midday Starbucks only makes me more jittery than I was before I hid in my car for lunch.

Finally, paralegal Karen Jessop (@mrsktj) assured me that, “I sneak out to eat Taco Bell alone in my car...that is way more pathetic! :)”

Whew, I am not alone, because Taco Bell is my other dirty little lunchtime secret.

The common theme here: stress relief food wolfed down in your car by yourself is only really effective if it’s messy and places your business attire at high risk for permanent stains.

Incidentally, Karen has a great Twitter profile which reads, “Rapidly approaching cat lady status while also working on psycho-woman certificate.” This describes exactly how I feel about myself on some days - possibly due to working for litigation lawyers.

Arizona Paralegal Charged with Perjury

Arizona resident Nora Liliana Skinner Reyes, a Paralegal Specialist employed by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, has been indicted in U.S. District Court in Tuscon for allegedly making false statements during an employee security interview.

Reyes allegedly denied that she had been terminated from her part-time employment at Bank of America for misconduct arising out of the theft of bank monies. The allegations also include denying knowledge that she was the subject of a misconduct investigation at Bank of America and providing “false information on a Declaration for Federal Employment document.”

A conviction for False Statements to Government Agents or Agencies carries a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine or both.

Department of Justice Press Release

UPDATE: S. Arizona woman faces 5 years for giving false info

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Practical Paralegalism's Top 50 Twitter Feeds for Paralegals

While there are many, many delightful and knowledgeable Tweeps who tweet especially for legal professionals, there are some who seem to make it their life’s mission to consistently, thoughtfully and succinctly, within the 140-character limit, provide information that paralegals can use, whether it be social media or career tips, the latest legal news, specialty information, practice tips, continuing education opportunities, great blog posts, or simply moments in the daily life of a working paralegal.

Here are Practical Paralegalism’s Top 50 Twitter Feeds for Paralegals (in alphabetical order and no particular ranking):

  1. @ABAJournal: Keep up with the latest legal news stories via the ABA Journal's Twitter feed.

  2. @AbbieCitron: A California legal nurse consultant, Abbie Citron is enthusiastic and supportive of other legal professionals and tweets interesting medical news.

  3. @AlisonDoyle: Alison Doyle is a job search expert, book author and career columnist for About.com. Every day she tweets excellent job search information and links.

  4. @allykc: Paralegal Allyson Clark is smart, hip and a fun one to follow for the day-to-day tweets of a working legal professional.

  5. @amds007: Lawyer and human rights instructor Alice M. de Sturler is an excellent source of legal news and advocacy information.

  6. @amylibrarian: A librarian at Rasmussen College, Amy Springer works with paralegal students and tweets an interesting variety of news and links.

  7. @AngieDHill: Litigation paralegal Angie Hill does a thorough and thoughtful job of selecting relevant tweets from a variety of Twitter feeds to share.

  8. @barrettdavid: Litigation attorney and social media guru David Barrett’s tweets are an excellent way to stay-up-to-date regarding marketing for lawyers.

  9. @blawgtweets: This is an essential feed for legal blog posts, provided by attorney and social media expert Grant Griffiths.

  10. @BonnieRN: Part of a great group of legal nurse consultants using Twitter, Bonnie Kavanagh tweets medical and technology news.

  11. @Christa_Coir: Freelance paralegal and financial planner Christa Coir tweets interesting legal news and practice tips.

  12. @CathyRibble: Litigation paralegal CathyRibble is a great source of paralegal news, re-tweets of interest and encouragement to fellow paralegals.

  13. @CJMEsquire: Litigation attorney Catherine MacIvor provides a lively twitter stream of interesting news. Plus, she has a wry wit that I enjoy.

  14. @consultdoc: Mark Browne, a physician consultant, tweets the latest healthcare news.

  15. @corporette.com: This list wouldn’t be complete without some great career dressing advice and interesting trend tweets from the folks at Corporette.com.

  16. @DebbieLynnVA: Virtual assistant Debbie Lynn Butler is one of the nicest people on Twitter, and there’s a lot of nice people on Twitter. She tweets helpful information about everything from technology to social media to time management.

  17. @EllenRichter: Legal nurse consultant Ellen Richter is a lovely and engaging Twitterer who tweets medico-legal news, and is the source of my new favorite social media terms, “Twitsisters” and “Linkies”.

  18. @glambert: A law librarian at King & Spaulding, Greg Lambert tweets a great stream of social media, legal news and technology information for legal professionals.

  19. @GrantGriffiths: Attorney and professional blogger Grant Griffiths generously shares his considerable social media expertise.

  20. @halosecretarial: Virtual assistant and blogger Laurie Mapp tweets about technology and the virtual assistant profession.

  21. @injuryboard: A news writer and “official Tweeter” for InjuryBoard.com, Chrissie Cole tweets consumer safety, health and injury news.

  22. @jRobinsonRN: Legal nurse consultant Jennifer Robinson is a great source of legal-medical news and links.

  23. @kevinhouchin: Author and IP attorney Kevin Houchin is a key follow for social media information that legal professionals can use.

  24. @kevinokeefe: A lawyer and CEO of LexBlog, Kevin O’Keefe tweets the latest social media and technology news.

  25. @lawfirmblogger: Legal blog consultant, writer and former paralegal Amy Derby provides legal news, social media and technology tweets.

  26. @lawhumorist: "Humorist at law" and legal commenter Sean Carter tweets about the lighter side of the profession.

  27. @LeeRosen: A gifted blogger, family law attorney Lee Rosen is the best source of news and practice tips in this specialty area.

  28. @LegalNinjaKris: Kristina Duncan, law-student-to-be, shares interesting legal news and insight into the daily ups and downs of a freelance paralegal.

  29. @LegalTypist: Virtual assistant and blogger Andrea Cannavina is an invaluable source of social media, technology and practice tips.

  30. @LexisHub: Lisa McManus, Content Manager for the Lexis Hub New Attorney portal, provides great content for legal professionals via Twitter as well.

  31. @mareenafeehan: Assistant Director of Career Planning at University of San Francisco’s Law School, Marina Feehan tweets a great mix of current legal, career and social media news.

  32. @MargaretAgius: An experienced paralegal, excellent writer and new blogger at The Frugal Paralegal, Margaret Agius shares news of interest to the profession and can always be counted on to provide well-researched information.

  33. @Meg_Power: Corporate paralegal Megan Power provides a mix of interesting news and “day in the life of a paralegal” tweets.

  34. @nikiblack: Attorney Nicole Black is the “It Girl” for social media and lawyers. Plus, she shares daily recipes and pictures of her family’s delicious dinners.

  35. @onlineresume: http://resumebear.com/ is a great source of job search information and news. Plus, almost every Friday, “Bear” calls me a “Dame with a Brain”.

  36. @ParaCoco: Paralegal and blogger at Coconut Unleashed, Andrea Wallace may be the most amusing paralegal on Twitter. I love it when she asks her Tweeps to tweet something to make her laugh, because it usually makes me laugh, too. Her "Word of the Day" is not to be missed.

  37. @ParaGate: Jeannie Johnston, CEO of Paralegal Gateway, tweets current news and is always quick to answer questions and support fellow paralegals.

  38. @ParaSec: A marketing and sales assistant at Parasec, Erin Sierchio tweets news about the paralegal profession and engages in fun banter with other Twittering paralegals.

  39. @probateblogger: Probate attorney Andrew Mayoras tweets practice tips and news in his specialty area.

  40. @problogger: If you’ve got a blog in your heart and Twitter on the brain, professional blogger Darren Rowse is the one to follow. His Twitter profile says it best, “Sometimes I blog about tweeting about blogging and tweet about blogging about twitter.”

  41. @publiclaws: This stream tweets U.S. Public Laws as they are entered into the Federal Register.

  42. @rex7: A 2009 law school graduate, Rex Gradeless blogs and tweets about social media for the legal community.

  43. @RossRunkel: Editor at LawMemo.com and a law professor at Willamette University College of Law, Ross Runkel tweets the latest employment news.

  44. @steigerlaw: Personal injury lawyer Lowell Steiger's Twitter feed is an excellent source of legal and social media news.

  45. @taxgirl: Tax Lawyer Kelly Phillips Erb tweets very witty comments about the day in the life of a working mom.

  46. @TMarieHilton: Virtual assistant Tina Marie Hilton is warm, friendly and a tweeter of interesting news and social media tips.

  47. @TwitterJobSearch: Use it to research paralegal jobs all over the country.

  48. @VickiVoisin: Vicki Voisin, The Paralegal Mentor, and an expert in legal ethics and time management, tweets articles of interest to the paralegal profession and online educational opportunities, and is quick to give support and encouragement. Her daily motivational quote is always an inspiration.

  49. @vpmedical: Victoria Powell shares medical news and comments about working as a legal nurse consultant.

  50. @WCOJustice: Lana Sevold Templeton, a career development counselor for Westwood College Online, has a passion for paralegals and works tirelessly to help people find jobs.

I would be remiss not to include @lilyhill, Roberta “Ro” Frazier, who died unexpectedly earlier this year. Her tweet history can still be viewed at http://m.twitter.com/lilyhill, and there’s plenty of great tips and links to keep you busy for a long time, as well as give you a sense of what a wonderful supporter of the paralegal profession she was – she’s a tough Twitter act to follow.

Twittering legal professionals, if you think there's a great Twitter feed for paralegals that has not been included, please let me know. I'd love to grow this list to the "Top 100 Twitter Feeds for Paralegals".