Sunday, July 31, 2011

Can You Really Upskill Yourself?

Yes, you really can.

When I first saw the word upskill in another one of those generic and a wee bit silly articles about why you should leave your dead-end secretarial job to become a paralegal, I thought for a minute it read, "...it may be time to up and kill yourself."

False alarm, there. Upskill, people, upskill. Build your vocabulary by using this brand new (and weird) word in at least 10 sentences today, but don't be surprised if someone calls the police.

Besides the weird career jargon, I hate these kinds of articles, especially when they're geared to newbies thinking about spending a lot of money to get a paralegal education and attempt to enter the profession in a down economy.

I wish, instead of over-hyping (it's slang but fits right in with upskill) the excitement of the job, these articles emphasized the amount of sometimes tedious analytical and detail work required.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Motivational Poster that Gets Real

There's nothin' like a motivational cliche to get you through a hellish period at work, usually the weeks preceding a trial. You can really pump yourself up for those 60-plus hour weeks by reminding yourself you're shooting for the moon, and even if you miss, you'll land among the stars.

Just kidding. I've always hated motivational posters, and loved Dwight Schrute:


What usually gets me through those weeks is focusing on the size of my overtime check, and having some good laughs (and a glass of wine when I get home). If you need a good laugh, check out more Dwight memes at "Dwight Schrute Knows Best."

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Paralegal Profile: Tracy Hendrix

Tracy Hendrix
Job Title: Paralegal

Employer:  Taylor, Warren & Weidner, P.A.; Pensacola, FL

Years of Paralegal Experience:  23

Education/Degrees:  AS in Legal Assisting (1995); CLA (1995); CLAS (1999); Florida Registered Paralegal (2008)

Specialty Areas:  Civil Litigation/Trial - Personal Injury, Medical Malpractice, Insurance Disputes, Contract Disputes

Career Highlight:   Each time a client expresses their gratitude for a job well done.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

10 Risk Management Strategies for Paralegals

Camille Stell
By Camille Stell, CLAS

  1. Develop standard procedures for dealing with clients from intake to settlement, and beware of the client who is always looking for a deviation from protocol.
  2. Document your conversations with difficult clients, especially your reasonable efforts in response to unreasonable requests.
  3. Develop clear boundaries and define realistic expectations, including your availability to deal with crisis, return phone calls, and schedule meetings.
  4. Use form letters, but tailor them to the situation to establish boundaries and define scope of representation.
  5. Avoid UPL - do not take your knowledge of the law and apply it to your client's situation in order to provide legal advice.
  6. Don't provide clients with any expectations of "winning" their case, either by discussing dollar amounts or assuring them that they have a "great" or "good" case.
  7. Don't answer legal questions or provide legal advice, even if a client tries to bully you, or if you feel empathy for the client.
  8. Do let the attorney know when legal advice has been requested and that you've told the client that the attorney must return the phone call to answer their specific question.
  9. Don't allow yourself to create a situation with a difficult client that you know you should avoid, but then do it anyway to appease the client.
  10. Don't speculate on matters with clients.
________________

Camille is the Director of Client Services for Lawyers Mutual, http://www.lawyersmutualnc.com/. She has over 20 years of legal experience, and has worked for law firms as a paralegal, legal recruiter, and business developer. She has a regular column in Carolina Paralegal News, and is a very popular speaker. She was also a guest on a recent Paralegal Voice podcast.

Monday, July 25, 2011

New Paralegal Voice Podcast: "Paralegal 101: How to Launch Your Paralegal Career"

The latest edition of The Paralegal Voice, Paralegal 101: How to Launch Your Paralegal Career,” co-hosted by Vicki Voisin and me, is now available at Legal Talk Network.
Are you thinking about becoming a paralegal, or are you already working toward a paralegal degree? On this edition of The Paralegal Voice, Vicki and I address the most frequently asked questions from people interested in becoming paralegals. We talk about the realities of the profession, including assessing the traits paralegals need to succeed, working in a legal environment, and preparing for and finding that first job. We also discuss the importance of networking, education and training, and share our personal experiences and paths to becoming paralegals.
Also in this episode:

  1. How Lynne and Vicki started their paralegal careers
  2. Personality types that fit the paralegal profession
  3. Skills needed to succeed as a paralegal
  4. Pros and cons of working as a paralegal
  5. Staying on top of the legal support staff job market
  6. A paralegal certificate vs. voluntary paralegal certification
  7. Researching paralegal degree programs
  8. Gaining experience and networking
  9. Vicki and Lynne’s practice and social media tips

Social Media 101: Can't Think of Anything to Post on Your Facebook Status?

That's not always a bad thing. But it's worse if you constantly post what you had for dinner.

I stumbled upon generatus, http://www.generatus.com/, which claims to be a social networking status generator, "ideal for the imaginatively challenged."

I know. Sometimes I can't think of a thing to post. So I don't. Novel idea, huh?

I tested generatus to see if it could overcome my occasional status writer's block. I filled in my name and gender, and then hit the generator button to see my results. Most of them were pretty idiotic (perhaps not unlike my real status updates) but a few were surprisingly kinda accurate, like:

Paralegal Career Dressing: Wanted One Cardi Sunny Side Up

I was looking for something to wear to work the other day, and was struck by the fact that it was high summer outside, hot enough to fry eggs on a sidewalk, but still winter in my office. I get around the problem of how to wear sleeveless dresses and blouses to work when it's freezing inside and boiling outside, usually by pairing them with cardigans.

But sometimes I get sick of the same old neutral black or tan sweaters. White makes me look ghostlier than I already do, and yellow usually makes me look jaundiced. That is, until I saw this pale yellow cardigan at Banana Republic, Home of the Most Awesome Cardis for Work, and fell deeply in love with it, viewing it as the perfect business casual accessory for several thrifted sundresses I've bought recently.

Cropped Cardigan

When I saw it in the store, I thought, "No way am I gonna shell out $50 for a cardigan to go with a $12 thrifted dress," but an online summer sale (40% off with code BRSUMMER) brings the price down considerably, and I can't find anything else even close to this terrific pale yellow at anywhere close to this price. Throw in a non-iron mini stripe shirt on sale for $10.79, and I get free shipping, too.

So, coming right up, one sunny side up cardi.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Heart-Stopping Error Message

Brooks, a paralegal right here in North Carolina, rose to my "make your own error message" challenge and shared this beaut with us:


This is actually a great reminder of how important it is to have an infallible tickler system in place, so you don't have to scream the whole time you're posting your resume online.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Paralegal Profile: Jane Gill

Jane Gill
Job Title:  Paralegal

Employer:  Muirhead, Gaylor, Steves & Waskom, LLP; Sarasota, FL

Years of Paralegal Experience:  I began working in a law office at age 17 when I graduated from high school. I became a NALA-certified paralegal at the age of 50!

Education/Degrees:  Paralegal courses at State College of Florida

Specialty Areas:  Estate Planning and Probate

Career Highlights: I guess it would have to be the upcoming article in Paralegal Today, and hitting your site, too!!! WOW!

Future Professional Goal: I will be going into semi-retirement January 1, 2012 - then I can write to my heart's content!

Paralegal Practice Tip: Being a paralegal is a lot like being a waiter or waitress - polish your people skills and your grammar.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Paralegal Office Challenge: Decorate THIS

You know how it is. You've got that great paralegal job, with your own office and business cards. You are living the glamorous life of a legal support staffer, and all your friends are jealous (well, mebbe not so much), and then someone decides your office is the perfect location for THIS:

Photo submitted by "A Paralegal in Need of Trading Spaces"
No, it is not a fully-stocked mini-refrigerator, or a safe to keep your co-workers' mitts off your Girl Scout cookies.

It's an overgrown server case. Look on the bright side. It might have some room to store extra cookies.

Not being much of a decorator myself, if it were in my office, I would constantly be stifling the urge to cover it with bumper stickers, or maybe cool Chalkboard Contact Paper.

Thanks, Paralegal in Need of Trading Spaces, for sharing your space!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Legal Staffer Dilemma: Too Nice or Just Part of the Job?

Office Wife or Multi-Tasker?
Raise your hand if you've ever run a personal errand for your supervising attorney. Did you do it just to be nice - or because you wanted to keep your job?

A law firm receptionist wrote the Wall Street Journal for career advice, asking how she should handle a "high-powered" attorney's requests that she pick up his dry-cleaning - and his kids from camp - while his wife is out of town. (Never mind the part about babysitting them until the end of the day. I know, I can hear some of my readers' quips about what "babysitting" in a law office entails right now.)

The Wall Street Journal career columnist actually answered the receptionist's letter (how cool is that), suggesting she could help her long-term career plans by being less of a doormat and having "a candid conversation with the boss and [setting] some boundaries."

Actually she called the attorney's requests "outrageous" and said, "...he's clearly taking advantage of you...Stop it!"

Practical Paralegalism's Recommended Reading This Week

I blog for paralegals, legal assistants, legal secretaries, legal staffers, paralegal students and instructors - and the attorneys that want to get to know us better. I try to share information my readers might find helpful for professional development, or just plain entertaining if they need a laugh during a hectic work week. Once a week (or less often 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 information I find interesting at Practical Paralegalism's Facebook page and via my Twitter feed, @ExpertParalegal.

I planted sunshiny yellow petunias to greet me at the front door when I get home from work.
Here's this week's links:

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Today's Quote: A Paralegal Career for Casey Anthony?

Casey Anthony
"She's been exposed to the criminal justice system and I think that might be a pursuit of hers. Whether it's a paralegal or an advocate for social justice issues, I don't know." ~ Attorney Ann Finnell discusses Casey Anthony's possible career plans with People Magazine.

It's kind of depressing to read that someone convicted of lying to police in regard to the death of her daughter thinks a paralegal career is a good option.

Source:  People

Friday, July 15, 2011

Excel 2007: Use AutoSum Button to Easily Add a Column of Numbers

For those new to Excel or who rarely use it, but sometimes need to quickly add a column of numbers, such as expenses, the AutoSum button makes this virtually a one-step process.

Tip: Make sure your column of numbers has no blank spaces (although you can simply drag the box to include an entire column if there are blank spaces, and it will still add all of them correctly).

Highlight, i.e. click on, the cell immediately below the last number in the column.

Click the AutoSum button in the upper right hand corner of your Excel spreadsheet. Then hit enter, and the column total will appear.

You can also use the AutoSum to calculate the average, min, max, or count of the column, simply by opening the drop down menu on the AutoSum button, and selecting the calculation you need.

___________________________
Our firm has lots of new computers, new software, and software updates (although I laughed when I saw WordPerfect 2002 still in my list of programs), and because we have separate teams working in multiple specialty areas, we don't always use the same features or software. I have been assigned the job of providing weekly "tech tips" - or finding a co-worker to share one. Not only do I save, organize and email the tips via my Evernote, http://www.evernote.com/, account, but I thought I'd share some of them here. I'd also love to share yours!

We're also experiencing an iPad user explosion here. Are any of your firms experiencing the same?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Paralegal Sues Facebook Friend for Infliction of Emotional Distress

Facebook doesn't just have ethics pitfalls for legal professionals - it has emotional pitfalls, too, just like it does for everyone else.

According to the Tri City Herald, an unemployed Michigan paralegal, Cheryl Gray, is suing her former Facebook friend for "misrepresentation, promissory estoppel, defamation of character and intentional infliction of emotional distress" and is asking for $8,386.88 in damages, after what she believed was a blossoming online romantic relationship suddenly went sour.

The Tri City feature article contains all the details about the short online relationship, but to make a very long and likely not uncommon Facebook story short, Gray met a man while playing Mafia Wars, started chatting with him privately, and then spent over $900 buying gifts for him and planning a week-long trip to his hometown to meet him, even purchasing tickets for them to attend the opening Mariners' home game.

But a week before the trip, the man indicated he'd very recently met someone else, although Gray was welcome to visit as planned, but just as "my friend."

Practical Paralegalism's Recommended Reading This Week

I blog for paralegals, legal assistants, legal secretaries, legal staffers, paralegal students and instructors - and the attorneys that want to get to know us better. I try to share information my readers might find helpful for professional development, or to be honest, to have a much-needed laugh during a hectic week working for lawyers. Once a week (or less often 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 information I find interesting at Practical Paralegalism's Facebook page, where I'm celebrating the 600th Like with a drawing for a Practical Paralegalism coffee mug (thanks, all y'all!), and via my Twitter stream (@ExpertParalegal).

I made my first mini-garden! Of course, there is a dog in it.

Here's this week's links:

Thursday, July 7, 2011

6 Online Resources for Family Law Paralegals

by Jennifer E. Arnold, CP, NCCP

    1. http://www.zillow.com and http://www.cyberhomes.com/ (home values section) – Do you ever need to get a rough value of a home for equitable distribution purposes and don’t have the time for a market analysis or appraisal?  These websites are for you.  The values obtained from these websites are about as reliable as the property tax valuations, but they are a great starting point in the early stages of a case. 
    2. http://www.nada.com/ and http://www.kbb.com/ - Almost every family law case involves automobiles and valuing them.  These websites can provide trade-in values for the family vehicles.  Be sure to obtain the trade-in values from these websites right at the date of separation or you will have to obtain the NADA book from the library to get the value on a previous date.  Your supervising attorney can let you know the admissibility of these print outs for evidence purposes.
    3. http://www.moneychimp.com/features/tax_brackets.htm - Calculation of alimony and “grossing up” that amount to account for taxes often requires knowing a party’s tax bracket.  This website will provide an estimated tax bracket based on the data you enter for the tax year, filing status and income.  It is almost like having your own pocket CPA!
    4. http://www.dfas.mil/dfas/militarymembers/payentitlements/militarypaytables.html - The Defense Finance and Accounting Service provides the military pay tables for all military personnel.  You should pull the pay tables for any case where a military member is a party.  The Retired Military and Annuitants section of this website also offers valuable information on how military pensions are structured and how survivor benefits are handled.  Impress your supervising attorney by providing this information!
    5. http://www.hcch.net/index_en.php?act=conventions.text&cid=131 – This Hague Conference website has valuable information on the Convention On The International Recovery Of Child Support And Other Forms Of Family Maintenance.  Whether it is international child abduction or enforcing child support orders in foreign countries, this is the place to start your research.  Closely follow your review of the HCCH website with http://travel.state.gov/abduction/abduction_580.html which provides valuable information on travel including passports, Hague Countries and child abduction.
    6. http://www.socialsecurity.gov/retire2/divspouse.htm - With the rise in long term marriages ending, there is also a rise in elderly clients close to, or already in, their retirement years.  The social security website provides information for spouses who may be entitled to their own benefits or to derivative benefits from their spouse’s social security.  The website provides a retirement calculator and other valuable information.
    ____________________
    Jennifer Arnold, CP, NCCP, is a family law paralegal with Conrad, Trosch & Kemmy, P.A. in Charlotte, NC. She is past vice-chair of the North Carolina Bar Association Paralegal Division, and is currently serving her second term as a Paralegal Division Council member.

    Paralegal Profile: Jeffrey A. Ahonen

    Jeffrey
    Job Titles:  A) Paralegal Program Chair; B) Paralegal

    Employers: A) Globe University, Eau Claire, WI; B) McKenzie & Talaska, P.C., Bessemer, MI

    Years of Paralegal Experience:  16

    Education/Degrees: Bachelor's and Master's degrees

    Specialty Areas:  Criminal Defense, Civil Litigation

    Career Highlight:  Becoming a paralegal educator, and having the opportunity to give back to the profession what it has given to me.

    Future Goals You're Working Toward:  Master's degree in Legal Studies

    Paralegal Practice Tip:  Use the jury instructions as a guideline for developing the case investigation plan, in order to ensure the gathering of relevant and effective evidence.

    Wednesday, July 6, 2011

    Paralegal Technology Skills: How Can I Learn Concordance?

    Sarah Youngers
    by Sarah A. Youngers, CCST, ACP

    If you have looked for a paralegal position recently, chances are you have seen many ads requesting “knowledge of Concordance.”  Law Firms and In-House Legal Departments are requiring this knowledge of paralegals more than ever.  Have you ever heard of Concordance?  Have you ever seen it in action?  Have you wondered why it may be important to law firms?  Have you ever wondered how it can help you land a job?  This article will clue you into the what, why and how of the basics of Concordance.

    What is Concordance®?

    Concordance® is a document management software that can handle large volumes of paperwork, emails, and even PowerPoint presentations.  It will itemize everything in a nice table, which looks a little bit like an Excel Spreadsheet.  If you have hard copies, you can scan the documents onto a computer server and with a little bit of technology magic (and typing), you can click on a line item in the table, and that hard document will appear in a separate window.  Concordance is used primarily in litigation matters.

    In the table window, you can sort the dates of documents and items in chronological order, or you can sort the last names of individuals in alphabetical order.  In the document window, you can highlight the document image with key information, bates label a batch of documents, and can do any redactions of confidential/privileged items.

    More Stuff to Do on the Computer When You Are Supposed to Be Working: LOLCat Translator

    I love lolcat language even though I have a bachelor's degree in English, and most of my way more intelligent friends think it's stoopid.

    But this is how our fluffy four-leggeds would talk if they could. Right?

    A little hammah time at work can be a great stress reliever.

    So even if it's not right, it was still way cool to stumble upon the site "learn to speak lolcat: the lolcat translator" at http://speaklolcat.com/. You can try it yourself, but I translated the following commonly used paralegal phrases (by me at least), and am wondering if a line of coffee mugs is in order:

    Me:  This interrogatory is 17 lines long. My objection: What was the question again?
    lolcat: Dis interrogatory iz 17 linez long. Mah objecshun: Wut wuz teh queshun again? [I think this will be well-received by opposing counsel in lolcat language.]

    Me:  If you had mentioned this yesterday, it would have gotten done on time.
    lolcat: If U had menshund dis yesterdai, it wud have gotten dun on tiem.

    Me: Who's been in my secret chocolate stash?
    lolcat: Hoos been in mah seekret chawklit stash?

    That last one is definitely my fave. Chawklit. Heh-heh.

    Tuesday, July 5, 2011

    The Paralegal Voice: What Paralegals Need to Know about "The Cloud"

    The latest edition of The Paralegal Voice, What Paralegals Need to Know about “The Cloud," co-hosted by Vicki Voisin and me, is now available at Legal Talk Network.
    In this episode, we welcome Tom Mighell, legal technology expert and senior consultant with Contoural, Inc., author of the new book, iPad in One Hour for Lawyers, and Chair-Elect of the ABA Law Practice Management Section, to discuss what every paralegal needs to know about “The Cloud.” Tom talks about how cloud-based services can improve the efficiency of a law practice, what paralegals should consider when evaluating cloud-based services for their firms, and how legal staffers can use the iPad to assist lawyers.
    Also in this episode:
    1. The definition of “The Cloud”
    2. Cloud-based non-legal and legal services
    3. Cloud-based file storage, including Dropbox
    4. Tom’s favorite business and legal iPad apps
    5. Vicki and Lynne share practice and social media tips.
    Internet resources included in this episode:
    Tom’s iPad4Lawyers blog, http://ipad4lawyers.squarespace.com/
    Tom’s inter alia blog, http://www.inter-alia.net/
    Stephanie Kimbro’s Virtual Law Practice blog, http://virtuallawpractice.org/
    VistaPrint (for inexpensive business cards), http://www.vistaprint.com/
    Google Me on the Web (on your Google dashboard), http://www.google.com/support/accounts/bin/answer.py?answer=1181793

    Business & Legal iPad apps recommended by Tom:
    The Paralegal Voice also thanks its sponsor: NALA...The Association of Paralegals and Legal Assistants.
    Please share the links to this episode of The Paralegal Voice with your friends and colleagues. If you have a request for a future show, or a question for us, you are welcome to contact us at TheParalegalVoice@gmail.com.
    Also, you can make sure you never miss a podcast by subscribing to any Legal Talk Network show, including The Paralegal Voice, by using the RSS Feed links or iTunes links at http://legaltalknetwork.com/rss-feeds/.

    Reader Question: Is this Paralegal Certificate Program Right for Me?

    I came across your Facebook page and wanted to speak with you. I currently hold a bachelor's degree, and am interested in going into the paralegal field and have researched a lot of paralegal certificate programs. I have found some that are ABA-approved and many non-ABA approved. Unfortunately I do not have the finances to invest in an expensive course as some of the community colleges are charging around 10 grand for their programs. I have found one that is non-ABA approved, but would allow me to sit for the NALA exam after the course is completed. The price is a bit more affordable for a 6-month program. I am wondering if you would recommend this. Also, I may have located an internship with a legal aid society for the fall.  ~ MA Paralegal Education Seeker

    Practical Paralegalism's Response

    Thanks for contacting me. I know how challenging it is to pursue further education on a budget, especially if you already have student loan debt. If you read my blog, I do discuss paralegal career paths fairly often, and have had some recent reader questions posted about transitioning to the paralegal field.

    To be honest, I can't recommend most paralegal programs, simply because I'm not familiar with them. I do recommend that people start with the programs listed in ABA-approved directory, http://apps.americanbar.org/legalservices/paralegals/directory/allprograms.html, but absolutely understand that's not always an option.

    A Little LinkedIn Humor

    People think LinkedIn is for serious professional networking only, but your cool contacts occasionally show off their sense of humor, too, as in this exchange, based on a status I posted to both Twitter and LinkedIn:

    One o' my homies LinkedIn contacts, Chicago paralegal Eric Curtis, promptly quipped, "Did you eat the Little Debbie or the iPad?"

    Leave teeth marks in my Precious iPhat? <gasp>

    But Eric does have a point as to the lack of clarity in my 140-character Twitter status.

    This is a productivity enhancer, just like the iPad.
    Ya'll know I ate that mushy Swiss Crack Cake Roll.

    Retired Paralegal Makes Goap

    What do you do when you've worked for 30 years as a paralegal and have "had it" with the profession?

    You retire, buy a pair of goats, and start a new business Goap & Etc., using goat milk to make soap and cheese, like former paralegal Shay Robertson, of Fountain, Florida, did.

    This story caught my eye in no small part because I've wanted a pygmy goat my entire life, but they are definitely on the don't list for the homeowners association where I live.

    Robertson wanted to raise a single goat, too, but couldn't buy just the one. She said she had to purchase a pair of does, because, "Daisy was hollering. I couldn't leave her."

    Goats are pretty darned cute; Robertson shares a video of two spring kids, Ellie and Lamar, playing at her YouTube channel:


    If you're in the Dothan, Alabama area on Saturday mornings, you can visit Robertson's stall at the Poplar Head Farmers Market. You can also follow her on Twitter at @Goap_Etc.

    Source:  Dothan Eagle

    Monday, July 4, 2011

    Paralegal Gets Three-Year Federal Prison Term for Redirecting Firm Funds

    Let's add "redirecting" to that list of fancy verbs that really means stealing money that doesn't belong to you.

    Honestly, it's sad to be commenting about a paralegal going to jail after working for more than a decade for an Atlanta real estate firm as a closing paralegal and database manager.

    Also, in these news accounts of paralegals gone bad, we almost never get the individuals' motivation for destroying their own careers and credibility, and risking the loss of their freedom. Maybe it's simple greed, or maybe it's mounting medical bills - but does it matter? No doubt it's mistaking accessible business bank accounts for easy money.

    The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that Ola Suzanne Stowers plead guilty in April 2011 to bank fraud and aggravated identity theft charges, and was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Atlanta last week to three years in federal prison.

    Texas Supreme Court Reverses Firm's Disqualification for Paralegal's Work on Case at Two Firms

    If you had worked for less than seven hours on a case involving complex corporate litigation, would you remember that case after starting work almost four years later at a different firm? 

    Texas paralegal Clyde Williams didn't recall the 6.8 hours he had billed in 2005, in a multi-suit corporate battle while working for one firm, Godwin Pappas Langley Ronquillo, LLP (Godwin Pappas), which represented one of the parties,Trans-Global.

    In 2009, he started work as a paralegal at Strasburger & Price, LLP (Strasburger). He disclosed Godwin Pappas as a previous employer. Strasburger's initial conflict check came back clear, as did separate conflicts checks based on two other possible conflicts identified by Williams. Williams also signed the employee handbook and a confidentiality agreement, requiring him to notify his supervising attorney if he became aware he'd previously worked on one of the firm's cases.

    Williams didn't disclose the case involving Trans-Global because he didn't recall it. Later in 2009, he worked approximately 27 hours on the Trans-Global litigation.  He still didn't remember the case, and therefore, did not notify his supervising attorney of the conflict.

    But opposing counsel made the connection, and immediately notified Strasburger of the conflict. In turn, Strasburger instructed Williams not to work any further on the litigation or discuss any information he obtained during his prior employment at Godwin Pappas. Even though Trans-Global's counsel conceded no confidences were shared due to Williams' involvement, Trans-Global still moved to disqualify Strasburger as counsel, and the trial court granted the motion.

    Sunday, July 3, 2011

    IRS Mileage Rate Increased to 55.5 Cents

    For those of you that get reimbursed for your business travel at the IRS mileage rate, this is news you can use. Effective July 1, 2011, the IRS increased the mileage rate by 4.5 cents to 55.5 cents per mile. The rate for the first six months of 2011 is 51 cents.

    With the outrageous cost of gas these days, every little cent counts. 

    Source:  IRS.gov

    Saturday, July 2, 2011

    How I Accidentally Met Erin Brockovich

    On June 18, 2011 I presented my ethics CLE, "Old-Fashioned Ethics in a Newfangled World," at the North Carolina Advocates for Justice (NCAJ), http://www.ncaj.com/, Paralegal Summer Conference in Wilmington, NC.

    It had been a crazy month, and I was mainly focused on getting to Wilmington to give my speech on Saturday morning, and then heading straight from the conference to Topsail Beach to meet my family for vacation.

    The official 2011 NCAJ Annual Convention kicked off Sunday morning, and I wasn't paying much any attention to the events, since the paralegal conference ended on Saturday. I somehow missed even seeing a flyer for the annual convention.

    So while I was dragging my suitcase into the hotel elevator, I was confused by the following conversation:

    Paralegal Career Dressing: Holiday Weekend Sales and Thrift Store Finds

    My husband told me recently that I've been dressing a lot better. This is important, because he normally couldn't tell you what I have on, even if he had a gun to his head. But my fashion-blog reading for working women is really paying off. I'm re-mixing my old clothes and accessories in ways that would have never occurred to me without inspiration from very stylish bloggers much better dressed than me. I've also been inspired to scour thrift stores for amazing deals.

    I'm wearing clothes I would have never bought before, like the deep apricot-colored Gap strapless dress I found at a thrift store in Wilmington a few weeks ago, and paid a whopping $11.88 for (see below). I added a wide belt and wore it to the opening reception at the legal conference I was attending and a fancy restaurant afterwards. A lot of people asked where I got the dress - and for the location of the thrift store (right around the block from the hotel). I plan to wear it to work, with a cardigan or blazer, of course.

    Like many of my readers, I don't have a big clothing budget, but it's hard to resist some of the summer clearance sales and holiday weekend sales, like 40% off everything at Loft. So I picked up a few deals, including a surprising grown-up find, a well-tailored, fully-lined Loft dress with a beautiful A-line skirt, at Plato's Closet where I had taken The Teen. One irresistible feature of the Talbot's full linen skirt is it has pockets (and normally costs $100 which I can't pay for a skirt...or anything...). I couldn't find the exact elasticized turquoise bracelet I bought at Forever 21 online, but they have a wide-selection in-store.

    Patch Pocket Cardi in Cliff Brown 40% off (Loft)


    Linen full skirt $26.45 after final markdowns (Talbots)

    Friday, July 1, 2011

    TGIF: Psycho Cat

    This is a great video by talented Texas singer/songwriter, Terry Mills, a legal assistant employed by Smith, Rose, Finley in San Angelo, for those of you that love cats - or just know someone in serious need of behavior modification.




    Steve Buscemi is a great name for a cat :)

    Hope your 4th celebration is awesome - how neat is it that it falls on a Monday this year?

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