Monday, October 31, 2011

Paralegal Career Dressing: Tuesday's Deal Is Zen Red at Target

This dress also comes in black, but this shade of red looks modern and beautiful (and how many articles of black clothing can one paralegal own?), offering plenty of re-mixing opportunities for the office.

P.S. This is what happens when you hit publish instead of post options to schedule a Tuesday post for Tuesday morning. But it'll probably be the second Monday this week anyway...

Mossimo Women's TRS V-Neck Dress ~ $29.99 (Target)

A Plaintive Paralegal Tweet: Happy Halloween. Whatevs.


You notice how I know the difference between plaintive and plaintiff? Side benefit of studying vocabulary for the CLA exam ;P

There better be some serious leftover bonbons tomorrow...

Paralegal Career Dressing: My "Sofa" Dress

A couple of years ago, I bought this sheath dress to wear to one of our firm's partners David Pishko's induction as president of the North Carolina Advocates for Justice. Unfortunately, I didn't get to go to the ceremony, due to a conflict with the youngest kiddo's annual dance recital. At first, I thought the dress was only appropriate for fancy receptions, but then grabbed it out of the back of my closet and started wearing it to work.

I was attracted to the dress because of the deep eggplant color, the empire waist, the pleats around the neckline - and the fact that the fabric feels exactly like sofa upholstery. Weird, huh? But it's fully lined and really comfortable. I wore it last Thursday, because I had a social event after work, friends' wine store opening.

Taylor sheath dress (Ross ~ @$20); WD-NY cardigan (Ross @$12); Colin Stuart Shoes (thrifted); Ring (gift)
One of our super-stylish associates gave me this very cool ring for Christmas.

This paralegal has short, stubby nails; manicures are wasted on me :)
Do you own a piece of clothing made with unusual fabric that is a beloved part of your working wardrobe?

Paralegal Career Dressing: Monday's Deal Makes Me Purr

Lovin' these fun little pumps from Payless. I'd style them with dresses, skirts, slacks, and trouser jeans.


Kennedy Kitten Heel ~ $24.99 (Payless)
Pardon the pun, but where do you stand on heels for work? Love 'em? Hate 'em?

Practical Paralegalism's Recommended Reading this Week

Paralegal in a panda hat.
One of the many reasons I blog for paralegals and legal staffers by any other name is to share information they may find helpful for professional development (or simply entertaining during a fast-paced week). Once a week I share links to a half dozen or so articles focusing on legal news, practice tips, technology and career dressing - plus a good laugh or two.

I also share the daily minutia of a paralegal and working mom at Practical Paralegalism's Facebook page and via my Twitter feed, @ExpertParalegal.

My motion was granted!

Here's this week's links:

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Paralegal Busted by GPS Tracker

Tiny little GPS Tracker via eCrater
I love my GPS navigator, but I've attended enough CLE sessions given by forensic specialists to know those babies contain a lot of data about your speeds and locations that can seriously rat you out in the wrong situation. It's even worse when you have a GPS tracker attached to your vehicle without your knowledge, as an Illinois paralegal has discovered.

The Chicago Daily Herald reports that Jovan Gilbert was arrested and charged with possession to deliver a controlled substance after investigators received an anonymous tip and placed a GPS tracking device on her car. She allegedly drove to Chicago and picked up crack cocaine.

What's even sadder about this story is that Gilbert, "recently promoted to lead paralegal for a mortgage firm in Lake Zurich," has prior arrests for battery, deceptive practices, and driving with a revoked license. The Daily Herald article doesn't say whether she received convictions after these arrests, but you still have to wonder if her employer did a background check before hiring and then promoting her.

Source:  Chicago Daily Herald

Paralegal Featured on MTV's "True Life: I'm Occupying Wall Street"

MTV News announced last week that the November 5 episode of "True Life: I'm Occupying Wall Street" will follow four protesters at the Zuccotti Park location in Manhattan, including Jen, "an experienced protester who struggles to strike a balance between organizing a successful anti-Afghanistan war demonstration and keeping her job as a paralegal."

You can get a sneak peak of the episode at MTV's website. I know I'll be recording this episode.

Source:  Yahoo News

Today's Quote: Paralegal and Lawyers Are Not Us vs.Them

...The successful legal practice requires a team approach between lawyers, paralegals, other staff and clients. The team dynamic is a powerful tool to serve clients and market the practice to potential new clients. No firm or lawyer should ever think of paralegals and staff in terms of “them,” as opposed to the lawyers’ “we.” Inclusiveness of paralegals as key team players will produce better results for all, increase productivity and therefore profitability of the firm. - Excerpt from "Leveraging the value of paralegals" (Wisconsin Law Journal)

Practical Paralegalism loves, loves, loves this quote. When it comes to paralegals and lawyers, there should be no "us" vs. "them." Both kinds of legal professionals are key parts of the legal team.

Source: Wisconsin Law Journal

Saturday, October 29, 2011

One-Dish Recipes for Busy Paralegals: Lynne's Company Casserole

It's hard to find time to cook in my family, with a full-time paralegal job and an extremely busy teenager who doesn't drive yet. Once in a while, I used to run into a local eatery after work and pick up our favorite "Company Casserole," but I realized I could probably make a larger casserole at home for less money - and get more meals out of it.

Lynne's Company Casserole first time out - but add tweaks below!

So I googled the key ingredients of this delicious casserole, i.e. I knew it had sour cream, egg noodles, beef, and tomato sauce in it, and found Marcia's Company Casserole at allrecipes.com. I baked it last week, and recommend tweaking it as follows to make it Lynne's Company Casserole:
  • Substitute your own fave tomato sauce, store-bought or homemade, for the two 8-oz cans of tomato sauce. Go crazy! Otherwise, the recipe as is can be a little bland; I ended up spicing up the sauce mixture quite a bit during the cooking process.
  • Add a few more ounces of egg noodles - they are YUMMY!
  • During the last five minutes of cooking, top with mozzarella cheese.
It is an awesome and rich dish - wonderful to have ready after a long day at the law office or corporate legal department.

I'd like to make "One-Dish Recipes for Busy Paralegals" a regular Saturday post at Practical Paralegalism. Got a great one-dish (including crock pot) recipe to share? Email it to me at lynne.devenny@gmail.com - I would love a picture, too, so snap it and share it the next time you make it!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Paralegal Career Dressing: Friday's Deal Is an Essential Cardigan

You guys aren't commenting so much on my Paralegal Career Dressing posts, but you are telling me via email and Twitter that you love them, especially the real cheap reasonably priced clothes I share. And the recurring comment is, "I love Corporette, but I can't afford any of the clothes!"

Me, too! I have to thank Corporette for starting me down the career fashion blogger road. I, too, love the clothes and conservative styling for legal environments, but can afford almost none of the items shared every week, which started me looking for other career fashion bloggers that offer terrific, but less expensive, alternatives for conservative offices, and then lead to dipping my toes in the career fashion blogosphere by occasionally sharing fashion deals in legal staffers' price range.

So I'm going to try to share some daily deals (maybe not every day, because I have a life, too, including recently joining an adult orchestra) on clothes that work for paralegals and legal staffers' clothing budget.

Today it's this great cardigan on sale from JCPenney. It's a beautiful neutral color, and I love the styling with the dark blouse, dark slacks (a uniform for many of us), and skinny belt. It's worth buying a few inexpensive belts (Kohls, Ross, local thrift store) to jazz up your cardigan styling.

Essential Worthington Cardigan - $17.99 (JCPenney)

See a deal on a great piece of essential career clothing for law offices and legal departments? Send me the link at lynne.devenny@gmail.com, and I'll share it with Practical Paralegalism's readers.

TGIF: You Know You've Thought It on Your Super-Paralegal Days

When my husband shared this pic on his Facebook page, I laughed and thought, "Man, what paralegal hasn't thought this if she had an awesome day, and used her paralegal super-powers to save the day, rising to a last-minute crisis, solving a problem that had everyone else stumped, finding the smoking gun in a case, or politely and diplomatically putting a pain-in-the-rear-end adversarial party in his place?"

Plus, you all know I have a weakness for all things canine :)


You are all fabulous!

Have a great weekend, and thank you so much for reading and supporting Practical Paralegalism!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Paralegal Career Dressing: Styling Jada's Jewels

I've seen some of my fave career fashion bloggers, including The New Professional and Employed Panache, review jewelry from Jada's Jewels. This new business is very cool, because each day an email with daily deals on different kinds of very reasonably priced and affordable jewelry appears in your inbox.

Of course, I've been blogging about career dressing for a while, but only worked up the courage to take actual pictures of myself on a regular basis in the last few weeks. I even got added to The Citizen Rosebud's "The +40 Blog Roll" yesterday; I encourage those of my readers of a certain age to check some of these bloggers out.

So far, I'm not flooded with fashion items to review myself, but I did want to review Jada's Jewels before recommending that friends and family sign up. When I saw this multi-strand necklace called "Bubbling with Fun" with matching earrings for $16.75 (shipping is free), I bought it to jazz up my wardrobe and see what's up!

Bottom line, I love the necklace and matching earrings. The matte finish is perfect for work, and the necklace is a nice weight, not too heavy, but definitely not so light that it feels cheap. I don't even usually wear necklaces with v-neck tees, but this one is a great fit.

Necklace (Jada's Jewels); Pencil skirt (Ross @$16); Tahari tee (Marshalls @$8); Sweater (Overstock, I think, oh, why can't I remember?); Booties (Ross @$16); Tights (Walmart); Ring (Tuesday Morning)

This sweater is very versatile.

These booties are really, really comfortable, take it from a clumsy person.

I really adore this necklace.

It IS bubbling with fun!

No sweater, because seriously, 40+ women get overheated easily ;P

 This ring is just plain fun.

I'm pretty sure nobody's knuckles look good close up.
Want to try Jada's Jewels? Send your email address to lynne.devenny@gmail.com, and I'll send you an invite, or go to http://www.jadasjewels.com/invitation/8345 to sign up (that's probably easier!). Yes, I do get a little credit towards more jewelry if you make a purchase, but that means more reviews, and you guys know I don't make money from blogging...yet :D

**No services, compensation, or goods were received in exchange for this review.***

Reader Question: How Do I Find a Good Paralegal School?

What are some good paralegal schools, and what are their requirements - is there a central forum where I can find this information? ~ Seeking a Good Paralegal Program

Practical Paralegalism's Answer:

The ABA-approved paralegal program directory is always a good place to start when thinking about enrolling in a paralegal program, http://apps.americanbar.org/legalservices/paralegals/directory/allprograms.html. Then you can check out individual program websites for their admission requirements.

If you don't have an ABA-approved paralegal program within driving distance, look for reputable two or four-year degree programs in your area whose graduates do well in the local job market. Talk to other legal professionals about the best programs in your area. Ask school admissions officers about their job placement rates, and see if you can track down some graduates of the program, maybe even via LinkedIn, http://www.linkedin.com/, to ask about their experiences with the school.

Readers, any other suggestions for locating a good paralegal program?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Paralegal Career Dressing: Is that Dress Really Too Good for Work?

You know the dress (or suit or jacket), the one that hangs in your closet, never worn, because it's "for a special occasion," the one that you spent a lot a little bit more money than you usually spend, that's "too good for work."

This is that dress for me, a Calvin Klein dress from Macy's career wear department I'd normally never be able to afford, except that it was on sale, and the Guilford County Paralegal Association gave me a Macy's gift card for presenting a session on ethics and today's technology at their annual seminar. (Shout out to GPA! I would have done the session, even without a gift card!)

I saw it, loved it, twirled around the dressing room in it a ridiculous number of times, and then hung it in my closet. Without wearing it once. For four months.

Why?

Because I was saving it for a special occasion that matched its original price tag. But I didn't get invited to a single wedding (thank you, Jaysus!), cocktail party (darn it), or any event at all that I thought merited this dress. I didn't even get to go to court with anybody.

Then I started worrying I might die before I ever got to wear it. Which just seemed wrong. So I'm not saving it any more.

I'm probably being upstaged by The Corginator, right? Calvin Klein dress (Macy's w/ gift card); Banana Republic cropped cardigan (on sale); Nine West heels (Ross); Necklace from boutique in Chapel Hill
When I say "necklace from a boutique in Chapel Hill," that means I can't remember the name of the great jewelry store right across the street from UNC-Chapel Hill, and am obsessing over whether I have early onset Alzheimer's.

The rooster and I are about to perform a flamenco dance.


Stepping out of my usual conservative comfort zone with a floral pop of color.
Honestly, every day is a special occasion. Enjoy your clothes - no matter how much they cost.

Have you got an article of clothing in your closet that's "too good" to wear to work - but really isn't?

Legal Professional Profile: Pamela Starr, CEO & Paralegal Extraordinaire

Pamela Starr
Job Title: CEO/Paralegal Extraordinaire

Employer: StarrParalegals, LLC

Years of Paralegal Experience: 20 many

Education/Degrees: BA - University of Texas at Austin; Paralegal Certificate - Southwestern Paralegal Institute, Houston; Post-Baccalaureate - University of Houston / Kennesaw State University; Master of Science of Law - Thomas Jefferson School of Law (2012)

Specialty Areas: Bankruptcy & Creditors’ Rights, Restructuring, UCC, CM/ECF Filing

Career Highlight: There have been several - all relatively recent. I was named as a 2011 Paralegal Superstar by ParalegalGateway; nominated as a 2011 Georgia Paralegal Superstar by the Georgia Association of Paralegals; and was the Spotlight featured professional in the December 2010 edition of Bankruptcy Professional (BankruptcyData.com)

Future Professional Goal: To help other paralegals realize their full potential whether in law firms or on their own.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Today's Quote: A Lawyer Joke

A legal staffer is still gonna have to change it.
Normally, I don't share these, or tell them at work ('cause oddly the lawyers get a li'l huffy), but since this one allegedly came from a legal assistant who had been in the legal industry longer than the lawyer who shared the joke has been alive (although she couldn't escape without a crack about her age), I'm obligated:

How many lawyers does it take to change a light bulb?
Fifty-four. Eight to argue, one to get a continuance, one to object, one to demur, two to research precedents, one to dictate a letter, one to stipulate, five to turn in their time cards, one to depose, one to write interrogatories, two to settle, one to order a secretary to change the bulb, and twenty-eight to bill for professional services. 

Source:  Patch.com (See the rest of the lawyer jokes here. Why aren't my bosses laughing?)

Paralegal Career Dressing: I Love My Wrinkles!

And I earned every single one of them fair and square.

Seriously, the weather is weird here right now, chilly in the morning, but in the mid-70s during the day. I'd like to continue my summer trend of no pantyhose, but I'm so cold in the morning that I could really pull nice, warm tights right up to my ears.

Still, the days are warm enough that I wanted to wear one of my Talbots linen skirts one more time. They feel like luxury to me somehow, fully lined, pockets, heavy, and swingy. I know you're thinking, "Linen! Are YOU ironing?" Silly reader, you know how lazy I am. I'm fluffing them in the dryer, and then wrinkling the second I zip them up.

Talbots skirt (@$25 clearance); Banana Republic no-iron shirt (@$11 clearance); Candies Mary Janes (Kohls clearance 2009); Belt (Ross); Tights (Walmart)

I don't know why I started laughing, but I look less like someone that's not real comfortable having her picture taken.


My, what big fluffy hair and real wrinkles I have :) It is clear I do not have Photoshop...Maybe I need it?
Fave earrings from a boutique in Chapel Hill. Obviously, they're mostly blue-ish, but wow, look what the flash did!
What do you do when the weather is both chilly and warm? Stick with bare legs, or head for the tights and pantyhose?

A Paralegal's Perspective on Law Firm vs. In-house Work Environments

Kathryn Gordon
By Kathryn Gordon
Kathryn's response in The Paralegal Society's LinkedIn Group to last week's reader question, "Is It Better to be a Law Firm or Corporate Paralegal," was so great, I asked her if she would mind if I shared it as a guest post:

* * *

Let’s face it, attorneys are going to be the same in-house as they are at a law firm. There also is not a difference in the volume of work a paralegal receives in-house vs. being at a firm. If you work at a large law firm or work in a large in-house legal department, you would have the same responsibility level and work load at either position. The same is true of a small firm or small legal department.

Having worked on both sides of the fence, whether you would prefer to work in-house or at a law firm depends on several factors:

(1)   the type of work you want to do;
(2)   the environment that you excel in; and
(3)   the direction you want your career to go. 

When working at a law firm, you have tons of clients and only interact with them on case by case basis. There is good and bad to that type of scenario. The good is if you have a particularly trying client, you can limit your interaction to the duration of the case, or have other clients who may be easier to deal with take the focus off the trying behavior of that client you are trying to avoid.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Do You Have to Be Currently Employed to Get a Paralegal Job?

But do you have to have a job already?
A recent post at jobmouse.com reports that unemployment discrimination continues, with the National Employment Law Project recently revealing a new list of job postings requiring applicants to be currently employed.

In plain language, you can't get some jobs unless you have a job. One of the job listings revealed by NELP included an executive assistant/legal secretary position in California.

In March 2011, I blogged about the introduction of The Fair Employment Act of 2011 (H.R. 1113), and asked my readers to send me any legal staffer want ads they find requiring applicants to be currently employed. So far, no readers have sent ads with that requirement.

Today I did a very quick search of Craigslist and Monster ads for legal staffers, and found only one employer in recent months seeking a currently employed PI Paralegal in Tampa, Florida. (Disclaimer: I definitely could have missed some ads with that language, and again, encourage you to email me any legal staffer postings you find with the "currently employed" requirement.)

I do have a unpleasant theory. Since the introduction of The Fair Employment Act, I suspect that some employers are leaving the "must be currently employed" language out of their want ads, and simply placing the applications of unemployed applicants at the bottom of the pile. After all, what prevents them from doing so?  Even if this practice was prohibited by law, how difficult would it be to police?

Readers, I'd love it if you'd share your thoughts and personal experiences. Do you think that not having a job is a serious obstacle to getting hired for a legal staffer position?

The Legal Assistant's Complete Desk Reference: A Handbook for Paralegals and Assistants

By Ursula Furi-Perry (Chicago, IL: ABA Book Publishing, 2010). 480 pp. $199.95. Order, www.ababooks.org

Book Review by Nick Zales

ABA Web Store
Paralegals, also called legal assistants, provide valuable services to attorneys and clients. Attorneys delegate tasks, some routine and some complex, to paralegals so the attorneys can focus on complex and substantive work. This saves the attorney time and the client money. The range and scope of a paralegal’s duties mirror attorneys’ complex and varied practices. Having a good paralegal is like having another attorney assisting, without the cost and ego problems that can arise when attorneys work together. Ultimately, however, the lawyer is responsible for closely supervising paralegals’ work and ensuring they do not cross the ethical and professional lines of practicing law without a license.

This handbook, by a Massachusetts attorney who teaches paralegal courses, is a welcome reference guide for paralegals and attorneys. Less a traditional book and more a compilation of the author’s best articles, and examples of national models of best practices, the book is a bedrock guide on the scope of what paralegals are, what they do, and most important, what they cannot do: set legal fees, give legal advice, and present cases in court.

One of this book’s best features is its detailed explanation of the legal and ethical constraints on paralegal work. The book comprehensively explains working with attorneys in terms of legal ethics, confidentiality, and conflicts of interest. Part I, A Day in the Life of a Legal Assistant, should be mandatory reading for attorneys and paralegals. It defines the scope and nature of what paralegals are allowed to do. It focuses on a key problem, clients seeking legal advice concerning seemingly simple substantive or procedural issues.

The Paralegal Voice: Exploring Modern Redaction Methods for Paralegals

The latest edition of The Paralegal Voice, “Exploring Modern Redaction Methods for Paralegals co-hosted by Vicki Voisin and me, is now available at Legal Talk Network.
When it comes to redaction and the process of removing confidential information from legal documents, some paralegals still rely on the traditional yet cumbersome method of using a black marker and the copier machine. A new option is growing in popularity: the use of specialized electronic tools like Redact-It, which is specifically built for redaction. On this podcast, Christine Musil, Director of Marketing for Informative Graphics Corporation, joins us to discuss the benefits of this modern face of redaction and how paralegals can get current and step away from their redaction methods of yesterday.
Also in this episode:

  1. How Redact-It was born
  2. The benefits of using electronic redaction tools
  3. The differences between Adobe Acrobat and Redact-It
  4. Embarrassing examples of sensitive data leaked due to poor redaction
  5. How electronic redaction software prevents snafus
  6. Tips for using electronic redaction software
  7. Vicki’s practice tip and Lynne’s social media tip
Internet resources and links mentioned during the podcast:


The Paralegal Voice also thanks its sponsors: Redact-It, Above All Legal, and 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/.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Practical Paralegalism's Recommended Reading this Week

I blog for paralegals, legal assistants, legal secretaries, legal staffers by any other name, paralegals students and educators - and the attorneys who want to get to know us better. I try to share information they might helpful for professional development, or just 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, professionalism and career dressing, and practice tips and technology.

I also share links of interest, paralegal practice tips, and the daily minutiae of a paralegal and mom to teens and dogs at Practical Paralegalism's Facebook page and via my Twitter feed, @ExpertParalegal.

Ever had the urge to grab the balloons out of the cage at the dollar store, run outside, and set them all free? No? Really? (Taken with my Camera+ iPhone app)
This Week's Links:

Paralegal Career Dressing: Subtle Animal Print Sheath for Work

Still think that animal print is a little too Peeps of Walmart for you? My weekly Shop It To Me alert delivered this beauty of a Calvin Klein sheath dress in my inbox. It's a gorgeous iris/black combination, made out of a comfortable knit, has a modern asymmetrical neckline, cap sleeves, and a belted natural waist. It's a little more than I normally spend on a dress, but if I see it next season at a Marshalls or Ross Dress for Less, it's definitely going home with Mama!

Nordstrom ~ $69.90 (initially $118)

Missing Nevada Paralegal Found Alive

When I read that Las Vegas paralegal Roxanne Lawrence had abruptly gone missing from her office on Friday morning, October 14, 2011, I was deeply concerned for her, and prayed for a good outcome. Her family circulated hundreds of fliers in their search for her.

Although police said no foul play was obvious, Lawrence did not have a car, her cell phone, or any cash with her, nor did she access any of her bank accounts. Because she suffered from depression and had a history of domestic problems, her sister was concerned that she might be having a mental health crisis.

So I am excited to see that Lawrence was located on Friday, October 21. No reason for her mysterious disappearance has been disclosed, but the fact that she's been found is cause for celebration.

Lawrence owns a business, MREA Paralegal, with her husband in the Arville area. According to the MREA Paralegal website, the business handles limited family law, business, and civil matters.

Sources:  KTNV.com

Today's Quote: ABA Approved Paralegal Degrees Still Favored

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that few of the one thousand paralegal programs receive ABA approval but that having an American Bar Association-approved paralegal qualification was still going to better serve paralegals

The outlook for paralegals was also bright, according to the BLS, as reported by ABA Approved Paralegals
in terms of future employment than having a non-paralegal approved school.

via LawFuel.com
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is still projecting employment of paralegals to grow 28 percent through 2018. But the reality is that many new graduates are having trouble locating jobs if they don't have any legal or transferable experience, and some legal staffers are still experiencing down-sizing, or cutbacks in their hours and compensation due to the tough economy.

To find an ABA-approved school in your area, check the Directory of ABA Approved Paralegal Education Programs.

For more information about paralegals, see the ABA's Standing Committee on Paralegals.

Do any of you live in areas where there are no ABA-approved paralegal programs within reasonable driving distance?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Paralegal Career Dressing: Have Safety Pin, Will Travel

Friday was a half day at work, with perhaps three peeps (or maybe two and a half if you count me) scheduled to be at the office. It was also chilly, so it was time for me to get mummified wrapped up.

Dear Hubby took me to lunch, and the waitress asked me I was wearing one of those new one-loop scarves. I replied that I was wearing an old scarf with a handy-dandy safety pin in back to create the one-loop scarf effect, and she was impressed, but she also said, "You can buy them like that, you know."

I know.


Scarf (gift); Calvin Klein Jeans Blouse (Steinmart clearance @$10); Elle Jeans (Kohl's clearance @$10); Saks Fifth Avenue flats ($50)
I did spend more than I usually do on these flats (normally $150 and I can't find them online) at the Saks outlet; I wish could wear them every day.


Don't leave home without a safety pin :)


I replaced the dark hematite earrings with the bright silver ones to attend my daughter's school play that night, and also substituted my Forever 21 skinny jeans ($2.50 thrifted!) and short black boots.

Hematite earrings made by a friend; Nine West dangles from a 3-pack of earrings at Kohl's

You got one of them newfangled one-loop scarves yet? If you don't, not to worry. You can make one out of your existing scarves with a safety pin!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Paralegal Career Dressing: Animal Print Mash-up?

After I posted "How to Wear Snakeskin to Work," a reader asked me via Practical Paralegalism's Facebook page if I'd really wear an animal print to work.

Of course, I would.

Here's proof:

Dress (Ross @$16); Booties (Ross @$16); Antique Sarah Coventry necklace (mom)
I asked one of our associates if this dress is too "RRAAAHHRR-errrrr" (I don't know how to spell that sound), and she said, "No, I love it. It has a great silhouette and details. But it wouldn't work if it were shorter." I replied I'm pushing 50 and don't do much shorter.

I do love the empire waist, and the clever tucks and draping, with the slight ruching on the sleeves - all of which make this a great dress for the office. Plus, it's as comfortable as a nightgown, which is important to me.

This is just my opinion, but I think when you do go with a strong print, you need to minimize your accessories, so that you don't have too much going on at once.

But here's the real question: What de heck animal is this? We decided it was several animals - plus some that don't exist.

Do you have any animal print clothes you can wear to the office?

TGIF: I Have Everything Inside of Me I Need to Live a Bountiful Life

It occurred to me that my TGIF post doesn't always have to be funny. So today I thought I'd share one of my favorite inspirational songs and R&B artists, Fantasia, singing "I'm Here" at the 2007 Tony Awards.

The Color Purple is one of my favorite books, and I would have given my right arm to see Fantasia singing Miss Celie on Broadway.


We're all beautiful, and we're here.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Paralegal Career Dressing: Grandma's Jacket & Jeans

Yesterday was a dark and stormy day (this is critical because I did NOT pee on the porch in this picture), and I had appointments outside of the office. We are allowed to wear jeans to work (but not to court-related activities, of course), so it seemed like an excellent day to wear my favorite Merona trouser jeans and my Anthropologie grandma jacket, which you'll recall I had to crawl on my hands and knees to purchase. It might be one of the most expensive items I own ($40!) but it goes with everything.

Anthropologie jacket (clearance); Merona jeans (Target); Tee ($6 - Burlington Coat Outlet); Booties (Ross)


The lining is so beautiful, I'm tempted to wear it inside out.

New hair means new earrings, right? (Steinmart glass earrings, @$6 with coupon)
A great jacket can really dress up a pair of jeans.

Are you allowed to wear jeans to work?

Reader Question: Is It Better to Be a Law Firm or Corporate Paralegal?

Is it better to work for a law firm or a corporation? The reason I ask is I have seen so many scary stories of paralegals being talked down to and not treated well by law firm attorneys. Of course this is all on the Internet, but how true are these stories? ~ Thinking about a Paralegal Career

Practical Paralegalism's Answer

Bad bosses are everywhere, not just in private law firms. But the practice of law itself is deadline-oriented, fast-paced, and sometimes extremely stressful. Like any other supervisors, some attorneys' interpersonal and management skills are better than others.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Paralegals Sought for Focus Groups about Redaction

Informative Graphics Corporation Seeks Paralegal Participants for Virtual Focus Group Teleconferences about Redaction on November 2 and 3

Scottsdale, AZ October 19, 2011 Informative Graphics Corporation (IGC), a leader in viewing, collaboration and redaction technology, announced today that they are seeking paralegals to participate in one of two virtual focus groups about “Modern Approaches to Redaction” to be held on November 2 and 3 from 1-2pm Eastern time by teleconference. Paralegal participants will each receive a $50 gift card and a chance to win an iPad.

The sessions are designed to uncover paralegal perspectives and insights about modern approaches to redaction, including electronic software tools.  Each session is limited to 15 participants, in which the focus groups will foster discussions about priorities and preferences for electronic redaction solutions.

Lindsay Court Watch: What Should I Wear with Handcuffs?

Y'all know I am a tacky celebrity watcher fascinated by Lindsay's sartorial choices for her not infrequent court appearances, and today is no exception.

I thought she might have actually listened to her attorney's paralegal's suggestions for proper dressing for the Court, wearing a demure dress and modest scarf, with a ladylike purse - you know, to show some freakin' respect for the gravity of her situation.

But maybe just a little less war paint?
Or maybe she knew that white looks great with handcuffs.

via TMZ
I do want that dress. I also want to tell Lindsay to just do her dang community service already. Geez.

Related Posts:  Paralegal Do-Over: What Would You Tell Lindsay to Wear to Court?; Paralegal Do-Over: Is it Date Night, Or Just Another Court Date for Lindsay?; Lindsay's Back on the Courtwalk

Paralegal Career Dressing: Clearance Racks Rock

One of the reasons I'm so interested in career fashion blogging is that I'm rarely wearing $50 worth of clothing total. Does that make me one cheap paralegal - or just thrifty?

Anyway, you guys know I know it's hard to have a great work wardrobe on a limited budget - or is it? As the teens get older and drain more of my wallet, I generally stick to thrift stores, clearance racks, and discount fashion retailers for work clothes.

Have I mentioned that I had to wear mostly out-of-date hand-me-downs and senior citizen elastic-waisted polyester pants as a teenager, when everyone else had jeans? I don't smoke, drink, gamble, or cheat, but I do have a little bit of a clothes habit as an adult.
Skirt (Talbots ~ $25); Cardi (Loft ~ $14); Tee (Kohl's ~ $6); Nine West heels (Ross); Belt (Steinmart)

I won these in a Christmas Round Robin exchange, with a matching necklace :)
I never belted my sweaters - ever - until I started reading work wardrobe blogs, can you believe it?

What's your favorite clearance rack to prowl regularly?

Legal Professional Profile: Donna M. Olson

Donna Olson
Job Title: Paralegal

Employer: Ramsay Law Firm, P.A., Charlotte, NC

Years of Paralegal Experience: 11

Education/Degrees: Associate degree - Paralegal Studies, Harper College, Palatine, IL

Specialty Areas: Workers’ Compensation/Personal Injury

Career Highlight: I attended a CLE seminar by the North Carolina Bar Association in December 2009, "Workers’ Compensation, A Method to the Madness," and met Tracey Weaver, the former Executive Secretary of the NC Industrial Commission.  I walked up to her to introduce myself and when she saw my name tag, she said, “Oh I know you.”  I was like what?  OMG the Executive Secretary knows my name!  I was so impressed.  I also got to meet my mentor, Lynne DeVenny, who did an amazing presentation on medical records....:-)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Paralegal Career Dressing: It's Easy Being Green

Inspired by many of my favorite fashion bloggers, I've desperately wanted to try color-blocking (pink, orange, together!), but you have to own bright-colored (or any colored) clothes to do that. So when I saw this bright green Banana Republic skirt (with pockets and fully lined) at a local thrift store, I stepped way out of my comfort zone and bought it. Even Dear Hubby gasped with shock when he saw it.

Too bad I didn't buy any bright-colored blouses or shoes to pump it up with. I'm still trying to recover from being classically boring...

Banana Republic skirt ($12 ~ thrifted), BR shirt ($10.79 on sale), earrings ($7.00 ~ thrifted), Bandolino flats (again)
I don't think anyone noticed my new haircut, due to the skirt.

How about you? Have you tried color-blocking? Stopped traffic yet? :D