Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Legal Assistant Faces Eviction While Son Battles Leukemia

When I read about Vanessa Gonzalez' plight in the Sun Sentinel, I remembered a favorite quote from a paralegal I profiled here recently, "If we threw all our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back."

Gonzalez had to quit her job as a legal assistant in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to care for her three-year old son, Jose, who is frequently hospitalized while he battles Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, now currently in remission. She told the Sun Sentinel, "I can't leave him alone. He's my life. He's my job."

Then earlier this year, Gonzalez came home from the hospital to find an eviction notice on the door of the home that she and her estranged husband had been renting since 2009. Like many other tenants in this recessionary economy, Gonzalez was a helpless victim of foreclosure, after the landlord stopped making the mortgage payments.

Paralegal Careers: Be a Pension Detective

I think Ellen Levy, a paralegal employed by a federally funded program, Western States Pension Assistance Project (WSPAP), a project of Legal Services of Northern California and California Senior Hotline, has a pretty cool job. She helps track down lost retirement and pension plans, which make all the difference in the world to retirees living on fixed incomes.

Levy and her supervising attorney, Justin Freeborn, were interviewed for a feature article, "Pension detectives help pin down retirement benefits."  Freeborn told the Sacramento Bee that the job requires digging up "Social Security records, company pension documents, work histories, tax records and even the anniversary pin from a union."

Levy's contributions to the agency's success stories are shared at the WSPAP website, including her sleuthing to help a 68-year old woman living on Social Security, who was unable to track down what she thought was a Teamsters pension:

The Paralegal Voice: Ethics and Professionalism within the Paralegal Profession

The latest edition of The Paralegal Voice, "Ethics and Professionalism within the Paralegal Profession," co-hosted by Vicki Voisin and me, is now available at Legal Talk Network.

In this episode, we welcome paralegal Camille Stell, Director of Client Services at Lawyers Mutual, who provides ethics tips for paralegals, talks about how  paralegals can assist attorneys in the area of client communications, and discusses what paralegals can do every day to maintain the highest level of professionalism.

Also in this episode:

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Fictional Paralegal and Amateur Sleuth Odelia Patience Grey Is Back!

For those of you that love Odelia Patience Grey as much as I do, you'll be excited to hear that she's entangled in a new mystery in Twice as Dead, Sue Ann Jaffarian's latest novel in the series.

Sue Ann, a full-time corporate paralegal in Los Angeles, blogs at Babble n' Blog, and was an insightful and entertaining guest on the November 2010 Paralegal Voice podcast, "Talking Murder and Mayhem with Sue Ann Jaffarian: Paralegal & Fiction Writer."

TV's Newest Paralegal Is a Bad Ass Wrapped in a Really Pretty Package

She's an ex-con, too, but don't worry that her supervising attorneys are setting a bad precedent by not running a background check. They represented her in her criminal case.

Check out this trailer for TNT's upcoming legal dramedy, Franklin & Bash, featuring the two assistant characters, Pindar and Carmen, and let me know what you think of TV's newest fictional paralegal:

Carmen Phillips (played by Dana Davis), a former con artist and grifter, "goes undercover and gets information that other people can't get."  I can't help but wonder if there will be some epic ethics fails in this series. On the plus side, when her attorneys need something, Carmen already knows they need it and has it ready to go, definitely a useful talent when working for lawyers.

Near the end of the trailer, Carmen asks Pindar if he thinks there's a lot of law firms that would hire ex-cons.

Anybody want to answer the question?

Paralegal's Resume Is So Outstanding She Can Wear Flip-Flops to Job Interviews

I figured I would catch your attention with this headline, but honestly, I'm positive that all of you would roll your eyes if you attended a presentation on professionalism, and the presenter told you not to wear flip-flops to job interviews.

I mean, all paralegals and paralegal wannabes know not to do that, right?


Not right. In "Don't Wear Flip-Flops to the Interview," the Wall Street Journal reports that a woman applying for a paralegal position did do the unimaginable:

Today's Quote: Proud to Be a Paralegal

"I have a great team. Everyone is so sharp. Sometimes, people don't realize they're working with a paralegal. They think they're working with a lawyer." ~ Attorney Robert Nagle (AZ Central.com)

Major props to Phoenix, Arizona lawyer Robert Nagle, the founder and senior partner of Nagle Law Group, for recognizing his staff's contributions to his success when he was recently interviewed for a feature article, "Small law firm shines in down economy."

But one of our ethical responsibilities as paralegals is to make sure no one mistakes us for lawyers. Our supervising attorneys should make it clear we are not lawyers from the onset of a case, by introducing us to clients and explaining our role. Giving clients our business cards identifying us as paralegals or legal assistants, as well as reminding them we are not lawyers when we can tell they might be getting confused, will also help avoid misunderstandings.

Occasionally, you'll interact with a client who won't be sure of your role, no matter what you do. One client called me "Lady Lawyer" every single time she met me, to which I immediately replied every single time, "I am not a lawyer." 

I wonder what a "Proud to be a Paralegal" t-shirt would look like with a suit and heels?

Add pearls or a tie.

Source:  AZ Central.com; ABA Standing Committee on Paralegals

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Better Thingamabobber

So the last time I posted about a thing-Bob that I want, someone kindly and possibly pointedly commented that it's "Thingama-Bobs," and then not wanting to be ticketed by The Grammar Police, I perhaps too over zealously replied that it could also be a "thingamabob, or thingamabobber, or thingie, or even things Bob has that I don't even know what they are or why the heck I want them so dang bad."

I know, girl, learn to take some constructive criticism. It's right at the top of my to-do list.

But my awesome friend, Patti, paralegal extraordinaire and blogger at Patti's Paralegal Page, did me one better, and posted a link on my Facebook page to a more improved thing Bob has that I definitely want, complete with coffee warmer:

Seriously, if you want to talk tech, this is a USB Gizmo, and it will hold a 30-lb sandwich.
Patti also recently "broke down" and bought an iPad, which is extremely awesome for killing zombies in your front yard, and hurling birds that don't seem as much angry as crazed at insanely annoying pigs. Oh, and it's also a wee technological miracle, useful for so many business purposes in a wonderful paperless world, like viewing PDF documents and creating content on-the-go.

Source:  TechFemina

When the Girls Are Not Welcome in Court

This look is nice but a NOPE for court.
While trying to come up with a catchy lead into this post, all I could think of was bad - and mostly offensive - puns, so I'm going to skip cute, and just express my sympathy for the poor Illinois paralegal whose allegedly generous physical attributes are the basis of a motion in limine to remove her from plaintiff's counsel's table during a small claims trial scheduled for next month.

Defense counsel wants the "large breasted woman" sitting next to plaintiff's counsel banished to the spectators' gallery, formally kvetching to the Court that there is no evidence she has any legal training or legal background, and that her presence is just a lowbrow ploy to distract the jury from the proceedings.

What are the proceedings about? Believe it or not, an alleged piece of crap 2005 Cadillac purchased from defendant Exotic Motors, which no one cares about anymore, because now the dispute over "the girls" is a hot ticket national news item.

Friday, May 20, 2011

TGIF: Where Can I Get Me One of these Thing-Bobs?

You know I love a good gadget, so when I saw this one, I was like, "Where the heck have you been all my life?" and "Gosh, a grilled cheese sandwich would be tasty right now."

I'd make this a little bigger for an ergonomic keyboard, and include a USB coffee mug warmer.

I sure could have used this thing-Bob my first day on the job at my current firm in 1994, when I really made quite the first impression by dropping a full can of Dr. Pepper on my keyboard. Fortunately, the office manager plucked another one from the gadget graveyard in the supply room, plugged it in, and here I am almost 17 years later.

Happy Friday, y'all!

Source: make your mood better

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Robert Half Legal's New Survey Says Bonuses Coming Back in Vogue

But the survey summary says, "Seventy percent of lawyers polled said their law firms or corporate legal departments plan to award their associates pay raises and bonuses..."

I bet the paralegals would appreciate a li'l heads up on what they can expect, too.

The good news is that compensation for legal professionals appears to be improving, after "years of staff reductions and salary freezes..." And Charles Volkert, the executive director of Robert Half Legal, and one of the first guests on the monthly Legal Talk Network podcast, The Paralegal Voice, encourages employers to take other steps as well to keep valued staff members, including offering educational opportunities, providing challenging assignments, and publicly praising employees' contributions.

I hope the paralegals and other legal support staffers are included in the pay raises and bonus plans of the employers polled. Are you seeing - or even better, experiencing -  improving compensation trends in your neck of the woods?

Source:  PRNewswire

The Google Alternative: Old Man Search

I know none of my wonderfully solicitous readers would ever trick an elderly computer newbie into using Twitter for Google searches...would you? No, not you guys, even if your elderly pop's "Google searches" merrily bobbed by in a public Twitter stream, to amuse over 70,000 followers to date, and possibly land you a book deal.

Luckily, you don't have to go to these lengths to amuse yourself, because Norman N., or @oldmansearch on Twitter, is a self-described 81-year dad, and his son has thoughtfully taught him how to use the Internet - and that awesome Google search engine, Twitter.

No, Twitter newbies, forget what you just read! Twitter can be an excellent social media learning tool, but it is not a Google search engine, because well, you already have Google.

But Norman is using it to satisfy his curiosity in all kinds of areas, wondering what does email cost and what the maximum age is for adult education. And of course, seeking the answer to that age-old question:

If Norman is real, then his son needs to 'fess up, or at least use some of the proceeds from his potential book deal to buy him an iPad.

Source:  Gizmodo

Paralegal Profile: Tammy Edwards

Tammy Edwards
Name: Tammy Edwards

Job Title: N.C. Certified Paralegal

Employer:  Bell, Davis & Pitt, P.A., Winston-Salem, NC

Years of Paralegal Experience:  The number is too high to remember! LOL. Seriously, I was working for an attorney in his basement when I was in high school! I suppose that means 34 years.

Education/Degrees:  I went to college for one year, and quit to get married at the age of 19.

Specialty Areas: Civil Litigation, Collections, Construction Law

Career Highlight: Obtaining my paralegal certification in 2007

Future Goals You're Working Toward:  To be a better person - always - and of course to be better at my job. You're never too old to learn.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Paralegal Practice Tips

In case you don't tweet, or Facebook, this is the valuable information you're missing from me:

But then I also create very informative paralegal coffee mugs that say:

Practical Paralegalism Paralegal Gifts

The problem being that everyone knows where mine is...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

New Paralegal Association Formed in Florida to Create CLE Opportunities

If you can't easily get to your closest paralegal association, then maybe creating one that is more accessible is a creative solution, especially with gas prices in the $4 per gallon range. That's just what the new First Coast Chapter of the Paralegal Association of Florida, located in Jacksonville, did.

The Jacksonville Daily Record reports that the economy and the rising costs of CLE were a significant factor in the group's formation:

Monday, May 16, 2011

Today's Quote: Sample Paralegal Elevator Pitch

I have been a paralegal for 15 years. I have considerable research and social media skills that I would like to direct toward helping a cause I’m passionate about. I’ve been an active volunteer for several local social service and civic organizations and have a broad network of contacts in the metro area. The development position at your agency is a good fit for my experience and interests.
~ Excerpt from "To get a job, apply yourself" (Kansas City Star)

In "To get a job, apply yourself," Kansas City Star career columnist Diane Stafford reminds job seekers to let everyone in their personal and professional networks know they're looking for work, as well as have a perfect resume and a list of excellent references.

Stafford also recommends having a 30-second elevator pitch ready to go, like the example above for an experienced paralegal.

It's not a bad idea for any of us to be able to describe our professional selves in 30 seconds (or less), whether we're job-searching, or helping to market our employer's business.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Practical Paralegalism's Recommended Reading This Week

Can't be a ninja this week? Get a ninja USB drive!
It's been a busy weekend. Yesterday, I had the pleasure of speaking to the Guilford Paralegal Association about mobile technology and ethics at the 5th Annual Spring Seminar, which included a packed house and great door prizes. Also, I got to hear Giovanni Masucci of National Digital Forensics, Inc. lecture about the dangers of using social media, as well as see his collection of cool flash drives.

On Thursday, I attended the North Carolina Bar Association Paralegal Division Council meeting, and was thrilled to see at least four iPads in use by attendees. I used the GoodReader app to view the extensive agenda on my iPad and save some serious paper. I know if I had to answer that age-old interview question, "If you were trapped alone on a desert island and could only have one item, what would it be," I'd answer, "My iPad, duh." (And not just because I could use it as a plate, too.)

This weekend I also tackled the challenge of living with only one closet, which I'll share with you in a different post.

Here's this week's links: 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Paralegal Career Dressing: How to Wear Snakeskin to Work

I'm a fairly conservative dresser, and I'm pretty short, so I tend to avoid any kind of print that could get me mistaken for a sofa, drapes, or the target of an African hunting safari. But I did recently buy a $8.99 snake print blouse at Ross, and wore it to work with a black pencil skirt from Target. Honestly, I felt fierce (although I guess I could have confused that feeling with menopause). If you're feeling the desire to buy something a little edgier than usual, I highly recommend slithering a snake print item into your working wardrobe (but nothing that will get you a memo from The Wardrobe Police).

Petite Cobra Print Ruffle Shell $39.99 ~ I don't normally like to include clothing that isn't available in all sizes, but I'm including this LOFT blouse, which would be great for the office paired with a cardi and dress slacks, because it's almost sold out, which means I'm not crazy to infer that folks dig their snake prints this season. (And it's still available in my size, which is very important.) 

Or you could try a beautiful snake print scarf if you want to make less of a commitment to the look, and also retain the option of abandoning it the minute any co-workers look at you askance.

Paralegal's Alleged Dating Relationship Leads to Perjury Charge

The U.S. District Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts issued a press release on May 11, 2011, stating that Massachusetts paralegal Melanie Abbruzzese has been charged with perjury and obstruction of justice, arising out of an alleged dating relationship with a federal postal inspector.

Abbruzzese was employed by Denner Pelligrino, LLP, a Boston-based law firm, and is accused of having a personal relationship with the postal inspector, while he was helping to prosecute the firm's client in a criminal matter. She is also charged with lying about the nature of the relationship while under oath, per the USDOJ press release:

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Does a Legal Assistant Got to Do What a Man's Got to Do?

Especially when he's in a courtroom, working as a legal assistant for his brother, a defense attorney?

The Monitor reports that Richard Alvarez, now an administrative assistant for the Hildago County Judge in Edinburg, Texas, was found guilty of a misdemeanor assault charge, arising out of a 2007 courtroom brawl caught on videotape. He was sentenced to two years of probation, 50 hours of community service, and a $500 fine. His conviction won't affect his employment with the county, and his defense counsel says he plans to appeal the jury verdict.

According to The Monitor, a court hearing over child custody got physical when Alvarez threw a punch and placed his hands on the neck of another man involved in the dispute. Alvarez says he was defending his brother after the man became aggressive towards him, but at some point the man's mother got involved, grabbing Alvarez, and ripping his shirt and tie.

You Gotta Great Pair o' Legs

This headline from TC Palm is kind of a stand-alone piece:

Source:  TCPalm

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Practical Paralegalism's Recommended Reading This Week

But will I look fat wearing this?

Happy Mother's Day to all of Practical Paralegalism's hard-working mommy readers. With no further ado, here's this week's recommended links for everything from technology to legal humor to career dressing - and even a little something for The Grammar Police.

ABC News did a piece recommending gadgets for Mother's Day gifts, including this Scottevest Women's Trench coat, which includes 18 pockets (lipstick, handwarmer, change, ear buds, water bottle, keys, iPad, pockets ad infinitum) for pretty much all of your techie stuff. This coat could eliminate the need for a carry-on when you travel by air, but I'm thinkin' you might have to work out a lot to wear it. Available in four colors, this wearable waterproof wonder is $150.

Need a stylish, yet ridiculously comfortable pair of heels for the office? I call Aerosoles "dress sneakers", and bought this pair below in bronze from Steinmart last year. Strangers ask me where I bought them when I wear them, and I tried unsuccessfully to find a link to share with you. Now Kohl's is offering this ultra-comfortable slingback in beige (thanks, WorkChic!):

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Paralegal Career Dressing: Select LOFT Cardigans Only $25

You can do a lot with a nice cardigan, especially in air-conditioned offices. LOFT has a couple of its classic styles on sale for only $25 each (sale ends tomorrow), including this cheerful cardi:

Soft Yellow 3/4 Sleeve Cardigan ~ $25 (Sale)
LOFT is also offering an additional 30% off (no code needed) on select sale items, including this chic tee:

Woven Panel Tee ~ $29.99 (Extra 30% Off Taken at Checkout)

I think I'll be wandering into our local LOFT store later today to check out the Mother's Day deals.

Saturday LOL: The Catch-Hell Cover Letter

When I saw "The Catch-All Cover Letter" written by a graduating Cornell senior, I thought I'd hit job application pay dirt for my readers. Which I kind of did, but only if you need a good belly laugh. For the newbies out there, read it, but don't copy it. Repeat: don't copy it just because it has a darned good summary of those essential Microsoft Office and newfangled social media skills desired by legal employers:

...I will therefore spend the next few hundred words explaining how my involvement in the Monopoly Club has prepared me for this position as a(n) [consultant/ research assistant/ paralegal/ office bitch/ barista/ dishwasher]. I also managed to successfully communicate the answers to a Chemistry test to my roommate last year, which has helped to sharpen my leadership skills, not to mention my ability to work as part of a team. I am also, like every other member of my generation, computer literate and proficient in Microsoft Word, Office, PowerPoint, Excel, Publisher, Access, Astonisher, Productivity Suite and Impresser, not to mention Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Photoshop and Spider Solitaire.

My favorite plug from the letter is, "...I am smart, hard working and genuinely interested in maintaining gainful employment, so I will try really hard not to fuck it up."

Great line, but you still can't use it in your cover letter.

Source:  The Cornell Daily Sun

Friday, May 6, 2011

TGIF: The Good Old Days Re-Visited (Not)

When I talk about technology and the ways legal professionals can keep up with it (follow law practice and technology blogs, and use a RSS feed reader), I like to talk about how much it has changed since I started working in the legal field in 1986.

For you young whippersnappers that have no idea what you're looking at, you used to have to use these to find peeps, back in the days when most of us had landlines:

If you were the lowly legal staffer on the totem pole, you were also in charge of recycling the old ones - from all over the office.

Good times. Not so much.

Hope your weekend is full of good times!

Source:  http://tinyurl.com/356gxhj

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Paralegal Profile: Tara Wilder, Associate Director, NC Board of Paralegal Certification

Job Title:  Assistant Director to the Board of Paralegal Certification

EmployerNC State Bar, Raleigh, NC

Years of Paralegal Experience:  17 (Okay, that is starting to sound old, but so did my initial and now annual celebration of my 39th birthday recently!)

Education/Degrees:  BA from NC State University (1994); Paralegal Certificate from Meredith College (1999)

Specialty Areas:  Plaintiff Civil Litigation, and now five years of Paralegal Certification Administration

Career Highlight:  I feel like my entire career has been a highlight. I am very honored to have worked with esteemed supervising lawyers, in addition to being involved in the certification process of NC paralegals.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Working Girl Wednesday: I Go to an Anthropologie Store

And Practically Have to Brawl for a Shopping Bag

So last weekend, I generously help my oldest daughter, The Graduate Student in costume construction, celebrate her 26th birthday. Which means escaping The Teens and vacuuming for the day, and pretty much consists of two chicks running around a college town, eating a lot and shopping. Good times, you betcha.

You'd Think I've Never Been to an Anthropologie Store

When The Graduate Student says she wants dessert from The Cheesecake Factory, I am on board like fleas on a raccoon, because we don't have The Cheesecake Factory here.

When she adds there is an Anthropologie store on the way, I go all country mouse in the big city, and squeal, "OMG, we have got to go, because that stuff is all over the fashion blogs, only I've never seen a real live person under 30 wearing it."

How to Become a Paralegal Manager

By Chris Jacobson

Paralegals are not written about or spoken about as famously (or infamously) as attorneys, but there's no doubt that law offices would come to a grinding halt without the support of these skilled professionals. Being a paralegal is a great job - in fact, it was ranked as one of the 20 best jobs in the U.S. by CNN.Money; the money is decent, the work hours are not crazy or too long, and you're relatively free of stress when compared to most other jobs. And if you're looking to climb up the professional ladder, you could choose to become a paralegal manager.

A paralegal manager is the liaison between the management of a law firm or corporate legal department and its paralegals. Their responsibilities include recruiting and training new employees, general administrative tasks, planning and scheduling seminars and other improvement programs for legal assistants, preparing and submitting performance reviews, planning projects and assigning members to teams, and overseeing daily operations of the paralegal team in the law firm.

If you want to become a paralegal manager, here's what it takes to become one:

The Golden Rule for Using Social Media Successfully

Source:  Unknown

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Legal Assistant Shares Mental Health Struggles to Help Others

It takes an incredible amount of courage to step forward and tell the world - and your co-workers - that you once suffered from depression so disabling that you were unable to work and had to undergo electroconvulsive therapy. But Michigan legal assistant Angela Krikke is doing it so that others will know it's okay to talk about mental illness and to ask for help.

The Grand Rapids Press reports that Krikke's struggle with a debilitating level of depression started in 2006, after her son was born. Her own mother ended up caring for Krikke and her young son, while she suffered from paranoia and delusions, endured several hospitalizations, and tried intense courses of drug therapy that made her tired and weak.

Now successfully managing her depression and working full-time as a legal assistant again, Krikke is sharing her story as part of The Grand Rapids Press mental health series, Changing Our Minds. She urges anyone struggling with mental illness to seek assistance, and to persist until they find the right combination of treatment:

Make Your Own Error Message

In yet another installment of "I'm sure ya'll have nothing better to do than play on the computer," I stumbled upon this cool website, "Make your own Error Message." Good clean fun, plus whose heart hasn't stopped for just a sec (or more) when those awesome error messages appear on your computer screen?

Since I just did a CLE about mobile and digital security and ethics, including the importance of double-checking the intended recipients and attachments before hitting "send" in work emails (not bad advice for personal emails, too), I think this would be a helpful error message:

Got a great error message perfect for the daily trials and tribulations of your garden-variety paralegal? I'd love to share yours at Practical Paralegalism.

Website:  http://atom.smasher.org/error/

Monday, May 2, 2011

Legal Secretary Remembered for Love of Animals and Unique Sense of Humor

Some people are just really special. You know the ones - the ones with the great sense of humor who make everyone around them feel better. Legal secretary Priscilla "Prissy" Long Freedle, who died last month in North Carolina, but spent most of her career working in West Palm Beach, Florida, sounds like she was one of those people. You can tell from her obituary that she'll be greatly missed:

Throughout her life she held onto her special gentle spirit and her unique sense of humor. She had a special love in her heart for all animals, and her dream was to be able to provide a safe, loving haven for abused and neglected animals. Her favorite song was “Carolina Girls,” which she loved to sing to her beloved cat of 18 years, Sophie Jean. She was sweet, funny and fun-loving until the end of her life.

I love that song, too, and think Sophie Jean is an awesome name for a cat. 

Source:  Lexington Dispatch

Today's Quote: Those Magical Paperful Days

For 15 months before I started law school in 1995, I enjoyed my most rewarding professional experience while working as a paralegal in the Supreme Court and appellate litigation section of Sidley Austin (“Sidley”). I don’t think most paralegals would describe their jobs in such terms, but my time at the firm was truly special. How could I have bested working with extraordinary attorneys on five Supreme Court cases—United States v. Lopez, BMW v. Gore, Missouri v. Jenkins, Romer v. Evans, and U.S. Term Limits v. Thornton—that I would study during my very first semester Constitutional Law class?

My job was far from glamorous. I edited, cite-checked, and made sure that all briefs conformed to the infamous Bluebook, the standard style manual for legal citation. I loved it and learned. ~ Ben Kerschberg re-visits those golden WordPerfect days  in "Remembering The Magic of Supreme Court Briefs Before Technology Took Over" (Forbes)

This article is a great read for those of you, like me, who still remember and love WordPerfect (although I became much more accepting of Word in its 2007 incarnation), and once upon a time found satisfaction in taking an entire morning to photocopy and FedEx briefs. "My arms would tire," recalls Kerschberg.

My arms love PDF files.

Source:  Forbes

Related Post: My Assignment: To List the Benefits of Less Paper in Our Law Firm

Celebrating Legal Support Professional's Day in Oklahoma

Congratulations to hard-working Oklahoma legal support staffers, who have earned their very own state day of recognition today, May 2. Legal Support Professional's Day was declared by official proclamation of Governor Mary Fallin:

Dewey F. Bartlett, Jr., the mayor of Tulsa, also issued a proclamation declaring today as "Legal Support Professional's Day," recognizing the "integral role" we play "within the workings of our judicial system."

Many thanks to Oklahoma paralegal Carl H. Morrison, II, PP, AACP, for sharing this wonderful news with Practical Paralegalism. If you're an Oklahoma legal support staffer, I hope you'll comment at this post, and let the rest of us know how you celebrated your new day!

Welcome to Monday

Here's hopin' that none of you (or me) end up looking like this today:

You know that Practical Paralegalism thinks every legal professional needs a dog. For more funny pics of this great breed comin' right atcha, see "Basset Hounds Running" (BuzzFeed).

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Practical Paralegalism's Recommended Reading This Week

I want this USB Flash Drive brooch. Oh. My.
I blog for paralegals, legal assistants, legal secretaries, legal staffers, paralegal students and instructors, as well as the attorneys who want to get to know us better. My goal is to share information they may find helpful for professional development - or a much needed laugh during a hectic week working for lawyers. Once a week (or every other week when Life Happens) I share links to a half dozen or so articles focusing on legal news and humor, practice tips and professionalism, and technology. I also share links of interest at Practical Paralegalism's Facebook page, and via my Twitter stream (@ExpertParalegal).

Here's this week's links:

Free eBook for Paralegals: Trial Notebook

The Attorney Case File, a case management system vendor, is offering a new free ebook that working paralegals and paralegal students may find helpful, Trial Notebook. You can download this online resource at no charge at http://www.theattorneycasefile.com.

I've downloaded a copy to my free Dropbox account (dropbox.com) to access via my iPad (first generation but I still love, love, love my Precious iPhat). A quick skim of the contents indicates that this resource has plenty of helpful information, including:

  • Top 10 reasons to create a trial notebook
  • The structure of a trial notebook
  • The appearance of a trial notebook
  • Sample forms, including a Juror Data Sheet, Seating Chart, and Exhibit Schedule
While every legal professional has personal preferences for his or her trial notebook, this free ebook provides an excellent overview of how one is used during trial, as well as some detailed forms. I especially like the Day of Court Checklist, which includes a section for the trial team's courtroom technology, including power cords and batteries.

Source:  Release News

Note:  This is not a paid advertisement. As ya'll may notice, Practical Paralegalism has no sponsors, and refuses to turn on those banner ads for online paralegal programs that I don't know anything about. Any products, software, and/or apps I blog about or share in CLE presentations are because I like them or have heard good things about them from other legal professionals.

Great Professional Resources: Free Paralegal eNewsletters

I know many of you already know Vicki Voisin, The Paralegal Mentor, and co-host of the monthly Legal Talk Network podcast, The Paralegal Voice, and subscribe to her terrific weekly ezine, Paralegal Strategies. If you aren't a subscriber yet, click here to sign up, and also to receive Vicki's free 151 Tips for Your Career Success.

While catching up on my online professional reading, I thought this would be a good time to remind you about two other free e-newsletters written by paralegals for paralegals:

  1. Drescher ProParalegal Newsletter: A terrific monthly offering from California freelance paralegal and blogger at Sonoma Freelance, Daphne Drescher, the April 2011 issue includes information about privilege logs, creating paperless client files, links to recommended reading, and a recipe for French onion soup. You can subscribe here.
  2. The California Litigator: Another California paralegal and blogger, Barbara Haubrich, ACP, CAS, shares very helpful information in her monthly publication. The April 2011 issue has articles about creating a discovery plan, understanding treatment of musculoskeletal injuries, and links to recommended reading. You can subscribe here.
I hope you'll support these hard-working and generous paralegals by subscribing to their newsletters if you haven't already - and spreading the word and subscription links among your friends and colleagues.

Got a recommendation for other free e-newsletters written by paralegals for paralegals that you enjoy? Send me the link, and I'll update the list.

The Paralegal Voice: Paralegals Giving Back

The latest edition of The Paralegal Voice, "Paralegals Giving Back," is now available at Legal Talk Network.

Volunteering can be an uplifting experience for all involved. On this edition of The Paralegal Voice, my co-host Vicki Voisin and I spotlight two paralegals who are "giving back" to the community and volunteering their time to help others in need:  Cindy J. Geib, ACP, PaCP, a Certified Coordinator for Wills for Heroes, and Lee A. Paige, CLA, Senior Paralegal at Parker, Milliken, Clark, O'Hara & Samuelian, and a dedicated volunteer at the Los Angeles Food Bank. They discuss their individual experiences, time management tips, and the impact volunteering has had on their lives.

Page URL:  http://legaltalknetwork.com/podcasts/paralegal-voice/2011/04/paralegals-giving-back/

MP3 Link:   http://legaltalkmedia.com/LTN/PLV/PLV_041911_Volunteering.mp3

Also in this episode:

Litigation Support Today's 2nd Annual Salary Survey - Win an iPod Nano!

Have you subscribed to Litigation Support Today yet? Click here to get your free one-year subscription. The publication is currently gathering information from subscribers to both Litigation Support Today and Paralegal Today (formerly Legal Assistant Today) for its 2nd Annual Salary Survey. Participants will be entered into a raffle for a chance to win an 8 GB iPod nano:

If you'd like to participate, click here for the survey, which took me about 10 minutes to complete (make sure you don't leave any comments blank, even if the answer is "N/A".)