Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Paralegal Poser Gets Prison Time

She wept and swore she wanted to turn her life around, but the judge wasn't buying it, taking a been there and done that approach in the sentencing of a Missouri woman found guilty of felony theft charges.

I don't blame him. The woman posed as a paralegal in order to steal money from a widower, who learned the hard way that you shouldn't conduct business in parking lots.

That's an expensive lesson, after losing $70,000 to the phony paralegal and a co-conspirator.

Buchanan County Circuit Judge Patrick Robb sentenced the defendant, Christy Nichols, to five years in prison, after taking into consideration her previous criminal career record, including five felony convictions. He put the kibosh on probation.

Nichols left the courtroom in tears and handcuffs. It's a relief to know that there will be one less fake paralegal with sticky fingers terrorizing the streets, at least for a while.

Unfortunately, sneaky fake paralegals are still all over the news this week, allegedly entering the Miami Federal Detention Center under the pretense of conducting legal affairs with wealthy guests, but in reality engaging in much more steamy affairs.

Source:  News-Press Now

Paralegal Career Dressing: Do You Have to Be So Bloody Boring

That's what I thought when I initially put on a plain black cardigan and monochrome necklace with this outfit.

Then it occurred to me I don't have to be so bloody boring, although I would not wear this outfit to a court-related activity.

Forever 21 cardigan ($6 clearance); Loft ruffled tank (@$10 Loft outlet store); Kenar pencil skirt (@$16 Marshalls); Mossimo slouchy boots (Target $30); Coffee tights (@$4 Ross); Silver multi-chain necklace (@$6 Burlington Coat Factory); Blue bead necklace (@$3 Rugged Wearhouse)
Here's my one and only piece of original fashion advice: Everybody needs at least one pair of bedroom shoes that can pass as real shoes in public. These boots are darned close.

I switched the skirt for skinny jeans with these boots after work, to go to a school concert.
Taking outfit pictures is hard, really hard. Especially when you are run indoors by the weather. The sun came out right as we started taking these pictures, causing my necklace - and my hair - to more or less light up like an artificial Christmas tree.

Lawsie, that's gawdy. The blue necklace isn't nearly that blue in person.
Do you ever find yourself in a boring outfit rut? How do you get out of it?

Paralegal Career Dressing: Wednesday's Deal Has One Button at SmartBargains

I know there's a majorly successful career dressing blog for female lawyers and MBAs that does suit deals on Wednesdays, but I'm a legal staffer, and most of the time, my budget wouldn't even cover one piece of the beautiful suits featured. This blog is for legal professionals who have to bring their lunch to work and don't have J.D. behind their names, so part of my goal is to prove that you can look polished and professional - for less.

So I'm loving this Sharagano Black 1-Button Skirt Suit from, for its slim tailoring, minimalist big button approach, and pleated collar, available in sizes 6 - 18. It's perfect for an interview, court, and a legal staffer's checkbook.

Sharagano Black 1-Button Skirt Suit - $66.98 (originally $280)
You had me at the collar. Check out the beautiful purple lining, too.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Today's Quote: Finally, those Pole Dancing for Fitness Classes Paid Off

But attorneys swear the scam is ongoing. One "discovery room" normally used to discuss trial strategy was recently closed, they say, after guards caught an inmate and a paralegal "discovering" more than legal documents. ~ "Miami's Federal Jail Overrun With Strippers Posing as Paralegals, Lawyers Say" (Miami New Times Blog)

She wasn't a real paralegal, She was either a "busty beauty" or a "little hoochie mama." 

The author adds, "Any lawyer can sign a form and designate a legal assistant." Unfortunately, without licensing or regulation, that's pretty much true all over the U.S.

Source:  Miami New Times Blog

Social Media Is an Incredible Learning and Networking Tool for Paralegals

Or, You Don't Need to Delete Your Facebook Account Just Yet

Relax. Use social media for good.
While waging war on paper in my home office, I found the outline of a luncheon speech I gave to a local paralegal group earlier this year. So that I can throw away the paper, I'm memorializing the outline of my little speech here. Keep in mind I was actually eating lunch while talking, no mean or graceful feat.

What IS social media? [Rhetorical question, blog readers. If you're reading this, you probably know what it is.]

Anyone here using Facebook? LinkedIn? Twitter? Blogs? [A surprising number, at least to me, of legal professionals still say no.]

I know social media has a bad rep. A recent CLE presentation I heard by a digital forensics expert likely frightened most of the attendees into deleting their Facebook accounts as soon as they got home.

My position is that if you're using it for evil, or to lie, cheat, bully, share your naughty parts or thoughts, or do anything you wouldn't be comfortable doing in this room, plus add your mom and your boss, then you shouldn't use it.

But social media can be an extraordinary networking and educational tool for smart users.

Paralegal Career Dressing: I'm Too Stylish for My Cat

Thinking up blog post titles every day is hard, as you can see.

The last time out with this skirt, I put a bow on it. This time the bow is on the lamp post. (No creepy comments, please).

This unintended weight loss thing is making getting dressed for work extra challenging. Even my shoes seem too big for my feet.

Intriguing Threads skirt (thrifted $9); It's Our Time sweater (Marshalls I think); Wide belt (Steinmart);  Madden Girl Mary Janes (Kohl's I think);  Tights (Walmart); Earrings (from Jada's Jewels set)
I bought this black no-name belt this summer, and found it way more versatile, especially with dresses, than I expected.
Yep, it looks like rope in person, too.
I just realized the tops of the Mary Janes have a similar pattern to the belt, but I wish my feet were fatter, like they were when I bought them.
Again, if I tell you how many pairs of Mary Jane pumps I own, I'll have to kill you.
You TMZ guys are a huge pain in the royal hiney.
Do you find yourself buying the same kinds of shoes repeatedly? (If so, um, how do you stop?)

Meet the Creater of Fasheners, Contracts Analyst Mina Hernandez
Mina Hernandez, Creator of Fasheners
1.  In a former career you were a paralegal. How long were you a paralegal, and in what areas did you practice?
I’ve been working in the legal field for more than 11 years and received my NALA certification in 2004. I’ve worked in the areas of medical malpractice, personal injury, product liability and white-collar crime. In 2007, I made the switch from the corporate law firm setting to working in academics where I utilize my paralegal talents. As of 2010, I have been working as the sole Contracts Analyst for The University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix campus. The academic world has opened new doors for me and has inspired me to acquire a higher level of education. I am one semester away from graduating with a Master of Administration degree.

2.  How did you make the shift from paralegal to entrepreneur?
Honestly, I didn’t switch. I’ve transferred my paralegal skills to become a self-taught emerging entrepreneur. It’s amazing the knowledge base we have as paralegals that we can take advantage of in becoming an entrepreneur. You must be dedicated to research, time deadlines, have strong organization skills, and strong verbal and written communication skills to succeed. I wouldn’t be where I am now without my years of work as a paralegal. In fact, it is through my paralegal experience that I have successfully worked through the process to establish Fasheners as a registered Trademark. In fact, I received my certificate this past October 2011 certifying Fasheners® as a registered Trademark!

3.  What inspired you to create the first Fashener,
I lost 30 lbs. two years ago. Although thrilled at my new body size, none of my clothes fit. Like most paralegals, I work in an office that requires me to look professionally polished. Like many others during this poor economy, I couldn’t afford to replace my clothes. Fasheners were born out my need to alter my old wardrobe to my new body size. I began embellishing my Fasheners with my favorite embellishments such as Swarovski crystals and pearls, natural stones, and cameos. I wear Fasheners almost every day, not just as a fashion fix-it, but to embellish my clothing as well.

4.  What are the best uses for Fasheners in working wardrobes?
My magnetic Fasheners have taken DIY mending to a whole new level! The magnetic Fasheners eliminate having to pierce delicate fabrics. You can also use magnetic Fasheners to accentuate your waistline on a shapeless blouse, secure delicate scarves, and embellish lapels, hats and even shoes!

5.  What is your favorite way to wear a Fashener?
I love to wear my Fasheners to secure those deep v-neck tops and wrap dresses we all worry about wearing to the office. Living in the hot climate of Phoenix, I hate layering clothes and buying camis to conceal what I don’t want to show. Fasheners solve those issues by fastening my fashion. The money I would have spent on camis and specialty bras can now be spent on other things - - like shoes!

Paralegal Career Dressing: Tuesday's Deal is Tonal Plaid at Kohl's

If you're just starting out in your legal career, acquiring basic but economical professional wardrobe pieces that you can mix and match is essential, especially if your budget is tight (or nonexistent). As you know, I'm a big fan of the classic sheath dress, which can be worn alone, layered with cardigans and blazers, or over blouses.

This AB Studio Plaid Sheath Dress (it's hard to see the tonal plaid unless you zoom in at the store site) can take a paralegal from a second job interview to court to feeling ready for every work occasion.

AB Studio Plaid Sheath Dress ~ $24 (Kohl's)
Readers, if you see a great buy (or actually buy it) on career wear for mostly conservative legal environments, I'd love it if you send me the link!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Today's Quote: Yet Another Reason I Don't Do the Black Friday Thing

My [legal] assistant was unable to make it into work on Monday. She numbered among the Black Friday casualties. If it were Omaha Beach, I would have to say that my assistant hit the beach on H hour in the first wave, made it to the cliffs, scaled them, and advanced into the Normandy hedges before having to be evacuated behind the lines. ~ "Black Friday" (The Brazil Times)

I do like the part where the author's legal assistant plans her Black Friday attack like a military operation. What else would you expect from a talented legal assistant?

Source:  The Brazil Times

Paralegal Career Dressing: I Channel My Spinster Aunts

I had several spinster great aunts, and it's clear sometimes from the way I head out of the house in the morning that pictures of them greatly influence my sartorial choices. Ask my hubby, he'd tell you I'd make a great spinster aunt.

Rafaella Studio dress (Steinmart with coupon); Bow-tie blouse (Gap sale); Aerosoles heels (Steinmart with coupon);  Opaque tights (Walmart); Pin (Spinster Aunt)
First, this sheath dress has a secret weapon: a built-in body shaper slip. Aaaah, you can let your muffin top ooze out of the top of the pan without anyone seeing.

Second, Aerosoles pumps are so well cushioned that I call them "sneakers with heels." Paralegals need sneakers with heels. They're not Jimmy Choos, but who the heck can run like a bat out of hell in Jimmy Choos? Only Carrie Bradshaw, and she's not real.

Tying bows. Not my forte.
Do you ever catch yourself channeling the style of your favorite older relatives?

Practical Paralegalism's Recommended Reading This Week

One of the many reasons I blog for paralegals and legal professionals 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 (or less when Life happens) I share links to a half dozen or so articles focusing on law practice and technology, professionalism, career dressing, legal news, and hopefully, 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.

Hope your holidaze rocked, too.

Here are this week's links:

Paralegal Career Dressing: Monday's Deal Is a Bangle at Steinmart

I've had several people ask where I got the wide bangle watch I usually wear in my career dressing photos. I have the wrists of a puny second grader, so watch-shopping is a horrible challenge for me, and I hate it. (Why I don't just replace the batteries when my watches die is an issue for another post on my possibly future anonymous blog called Big Ol' Basket O' Dead Watches.)

Why do I even need a watch with a smart phone and 24/7 computer access? I dunno. I'm just a paralegal of a certain age, and wearing a watch makes me feel more secure.

I bought my current bangle watch from the local Steinmart, which had a huge selection of beautiful bangle watches priced in the $14.99 - $19.99 range. I  could only find one similarly priced bangle watch in Steinmart's online store, so I suggest shopping in person if you can.

Geneva Interlocking Loops Bangle Watch $14.99 (Steinmart)
I'll admit the large numerals are a huge plus for me :)

Do you still wear a watch every day, or has your mobile technology replaced it?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

English Legal Secretary's Theft Causes Law Firm to Go Belly Up

A legal secretary's admitted theft of over £400,000 ($618,285 USD) will not only result in prison time for her, but has also cost approximately 36 co-workers their jobs and sunk the East Sussex law firm where she worked.

The Daily Mail reported that Leanne Harris pled guilty to seven counts of fraud and theft, after writing multiple checks from at least two client accounts from 2008 through 2010. The actual term used by The Daily Mail is plunder. A synonym of plunder is sack, which is apparently what happened to most of the law firm's members after the funds disappeared.

Ms. Harris's defense counsel said the thefts started with her family's "financial strife" and a small check to pay bills, "[b]ut of course that became a spiral effect and smaller amounts turned to much larger amounts."

Spiral effect? No kidding. Now the clients she stole from and her former co-workers are facing financial strife, too.

The Daily Mirror also noted that Ms. Harris carried a Karen Miller handbag to court. Those puppies cost at least $250 on sale

Squeeze Lock Tote on sale. Gorgeous bag but apt name.

Sentencing is pending completion of psychiatric evaluations, and Ms. Harris has repaid approximately £250,000, but it's likely that the spiral effect of her crimes will be felt by her family, friends, and former colleagues for years to come.

Source:  Daily Mail 

Today's Quote: Tell It to the Stuffed Animal

“When school is hard and you need a good cry, a stuffed animal is a lot nicer than having a person judge you.” ~ Kimberly Ma, legal assistant student at SAIT Polytechnic in Calgary, Alberta, Canada (The Weal)

I kept a stuffed giraffe from my childhood way into adulthood - until a real pet animal shredded it...

Now I buy stuffed sock monkeys for my neurotic Cairn Terrier.
Source:  The Weal

NC Paralegal Spearheads Gifts for Soldiers Campaign in Local School System

Katie Berry, a working mom and senior paralegal with Deuterman Law Group in Greensboro, NC, is using her professional skills to make a difference as a community organizer. She's coordinating her law firm's Operation Shoebox campaign by asking local schools to help gather gifts for soldiers.

Operation Shoebox - Supporting Our Troops, sends care packages to soldiers deployed outside of the U.S. You can find a list of suggested items here. Berry told the Burlington Times News that Sudoku books are very popular.

Of note, the U.S. Postal Service offers free boxes for Priority Mail Operation Shoebox packages. If your employer or legal association wants to share some holiday cheer with our troops overseas, this is a great project, but you need to act fast to submit donations or packages before Christmas.

Kudos to Berry and the Deuterman Law Group for making this a community effort and raising awareness of Operation Shoebox.

You can see Berry's photo at Deuterman Law Group's "Our People" page, which emphasizes its legal staffers' key role by stating, "A law firm is only as good as its people."

Source:  Burlington Times News

Monday, November 21, 2011

Practical Paralegalism Counts Its Blessings

I'm taking some time off during the Thanksgiving break. Unfortunately, I wasn't smart enough to think ahead and use vacation time to take the whole week off, like some of my savvier co-workers and friends, but I decided to lay low on the extracurricular paralegal activities. Like many of you, I'm going to cook (yes, I can, but I like to eat better), enjoy family and friends, and take a little mental break. After Thanksgiving, I'll be back with more terrific weekly legal professional profiles, including from paralegal students, guest posts, and random ramblings from the wonderful world of legal staffers.

But I do want to take this time to thank you, whether you're a new reader, an occasional reader, or a regular reader for making the last three years as a paralegal blogger a pretty awesome experience. I've gotten to know many of you virtually, and even met some of you face-to-face. Blogging has expanded my professional world in wonderful ways that I never anticipated.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Paralegal Career Dressing: Sunday's Deal Is Gypsy Rose at Loft

Wrap dresses are great for work, and they're even better if they're faux wrap, i.e. the look without the constant re-tightening of your dress tie during the day. An added bonus is they feel like nightgowns, but look much better. For cooler weather, add one great bracelet or necklace, boots and go.

Loft is offering 40% off everything online (TAKE40 Code) through tomorrow at midnight. Actually, the dress deals I wanted to recommend first are sold out already so if you're a Loft gal, stop reading this post and get to it!

Twist Detail Jersey Knit Dress ~ 40% off $89.50 (Loft)
Where do you stand on wrap dresses for work? Easy career dressing, or wouldn't be caught dead in one?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Paralegal Career Dressing: Shop Clearance Racks with Discernment

Okay, maybe I didn't with this piece. I knew it kind of looked like a mother-of-the-bride jacket (or maybe a grandma jacket), and it's a weird piece, and still, I loved it. Love it. And for $6 I can afford to love it.

But what to do with it? I didn't know. Maybe I still don't know. Wear it to a party? But I don't go to many parties - except I've been to at least one every week for the last three weeks. Kind of like another dimension for me.

I thought I heard this jacket screaming for Target trouser jeans, and it was the last 75 degree day this year (I know, that's almost stupid in mid-November, right? Please don't hate me because we haven't seen any snow yet.)

Bet these pics would be better if I'd stop taking them in the morning. Adiva jacket (Steinmart clearance - the BIG one, 75% off lowest price sign not including 20% coupon); Merona trouser jeans (Target); Lapis tank (Ross Dress for Less); Colin Stuart heels (thrifted); Walmart earrings ($5 3-pack)
Mornings look better in sepia.

Two of the Walmart 3-pack. And I also scored dog food on the same trip ;P
Have you ever bought anything really weird to wear even when you knew it might be hard to style - just because you fell in love with it?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Legal Professional Profile: Kathryn Gordon, Senior Paralegal & Corporate Contracts Administrator

Kat Gordon
Job Title:  Senior Paralegal & Corporate Contracts Administrator
Employer:  Broadwind Energy, Inc.
Years of Paralegal Experience:  14  
Education/Degrees:  Bachelor of Science Paralegal Studies Stevenson University
Specialty Areas:  Corporate Governance; Intellectual Property; Litigation; Securities  
Career Highlight: When I was working at a law firm in Alexandria, VA, I was part of a trial team defending a national restaurant chain against an employment discrimination claim based on race.  This particular client was known for never settling any case.  Part of the discovery phase, I subpoenaed all of the plaintiff’s prior employment records as well as all educational records.  I received six bankers boxes full of records from the school system that the Plaintiff attended.  Suffice to say, there were a lot of smoking guns in those boxes evidencing anger issues from childhood and an interview with the Plaintiff’s mother indicating that he had issues with authority figures of a different race.  I offered to have the documents photocopied for Plaintiff’s counsel but they declined due to cost.  When we went into the Plaintiff’s deposition with all of the smoking guns/documents, Plaintiff’s counsel was stunned to say the least with the sheer amount of documentation we were able to uncover.  The deposition lasted the full day but we had only covered approximately a quarter of the questions.  When I tried to schedule the continuance of the deposition on the following Monday morning, Plaintiff’s counsel faxed us Plaintiff’s dismissal of the claim.  I have been on several winning trial teams but this was the first that we won just based on the documents. 

Paralegal Career Dressing: I Told EVERYBODY My Skirt Only Cost $11

Because I have no class, and it is Ann Taylor, thrifted. And it is my fave skirt ever.

Ann Taylor skirt ($11, thrifted); Willi Smith sweater (TJ Maxx clearance); X-Appeal boots (Rack Room, BOGO); Belt (saved from Teens' GoodWill bag); Earrings (Steinmart)
Dang, I already need my roots and my hair did. Again.

Dear Hubby took this while playing with the camera settings. I wish my hair was all these colors.

These are glass but feel as light as plastic. Definitely faves.
I was dressed for day to evening wear again - yes, ANOTHER legal professional cocktail gathering! Gosh, we can have a good time in Winston-Salem! Thanks, Rebekah and Denna at CaseWorks Deposition Services,, and Leroy at Case-Closed Investigations,, for inviting me to your Autumn Social and graciously letting me blather on about how legal professionals use iPads :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Paralegal Career Dressing: Tuesday's Deal is French Blue at Nordstrom Rack

Now that I have discovered Nordstrom Rack my wallet may never be the same. (I hope Dear Hubby isn't reading this.)

I recently saw a MSN Lifestyle article, "Neon Shoes and Accessories for Fall," suggesting that we add "electric accents" to our blah neutral wardrobes. Yee haw! Well, that probably is fun advice for people that don't work in conservative legal environments.

But you might be able to sneak in some electric color with a camisole or sweater under a jacket, or a cute shoe peeping out from your dark trousers, like these French Blue flats:

Jessica Simpson 'Lex' Flat ~ $45.90 (Nordstrom Rack)
(The flat is also available in a nice plain black if there will be no electric accents making an appearance at your office.)

Today's Quote: Most Depressing Legal Lunch

Marie Sanchez, a Fort Lauderdale legal secretary, used to toddle off with co-workers to downtown restaurants for a relaxing repast.

Now it's salad and a legal file. "I do it every day," she said. "Because of work, that's exactly why I stay in."

- Excerpt from "Lunch at desk can lead to weight gain, digestive woes" (Sun Sentinel)

Salad and a legal file. Yuck.

Wait. Most days my lunch is at my desk, consisting of a sandwich and a legal file. (I had to give up Pop Tarts for health reasons.)

How often do you eat lunch at your desk?

Practical Paralegalism Has a Paralegal Job Interview

Not that kind, Boss. A very sweet paralegal student from a North Carolina Community College paralegal program that offers an associate degree in paralegal studies asked if I'd be her paralegal interview homework. Of course, I always agree to these requests. We had a delightful telephone chat, but I thought I'd answer her questions, in a more or less short Twitter form, because other readers ask me the same questions.

What does one wear to a paralegal student interview? Allen by ABS suite (Ross @$40 seriously); Apt 9 lace top/cami (Kohl's @$10 clearance); Colin Stuart heels (thrifted); Pin (antique recovered from 80s jacket)
Of note, I took in my too big no-belt suit pants (unplanned weight loss recently) with a Fashener by Classy Chica, It held my pants up all day long!

Paralegal Student Interview:

New Paralegal Voice Podcast - Career Tips: How to Advance in the Paralegal Profession

The latest edition of The Paralegal Voice, “Career Tips: How to Advance in the Paralegal Profession,” co-hosted by Vicki Voisin and me, is now available at Legal Talk Network.
Want some tips from the experts about how to get ahead in the paralegal profession? On this edition of The Paralegal Voice, Vicki and I join NALA President, Karen McGee, ACP and Charlsye Smith Diaz, Ph.D., as they take a look at career development and how to advance in the paralegal profession. We cover key topics including creating professional resumes, obtaining professional certification, and networking at CLE programs.
Also in this episode:

  1. New ways that NALA is serving the paralegal profession
  2. Why having a quality professional resume is vital
  3. How employers read resumes
  4. The most important parts of a professional resume - and what to leave out
  5. More resume writing tips
  6. Alternate career paths for paralegals
  7. The advantages of NALA’s Advanced Paralegal Certification
  8. Vicki’s practice tip and Lynne’s social media tip
Internet resources and links mentioned during the podcast:

Monday, November 14, 2011

Four Ways that One Paralegal Successfully Prepared for NALA's CP Exam

Michele Brooks
By Michele Flowers Brooks

When I saw that one of my virtual paralegal buddies, Michele Brooks, recently received her CP designation from NALA, I congratulated her, and then sent her a couple of DMs (direct messages) via Twitter, asking if she'd share some of the secrets to her success, which she graciously did. Believe me, she schooled me, and I will be using her tips in my own test preparation.

Here are four ways that Michele successfully prepared for the CP Exam:

Practical Paralegalism's Recommended Reading This Week

One of the many reasons I blog for paralegals and legal professionals 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 (or less when Life happens) 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

Turns out it was my supervising attorney. I now call him the Chocolate Pusher.
Here's this week's links:

Paralegal Career Dressing: More Styling with Jada's Jewels

As I stated in my last post, our firm hosted an evening reception for local North Carolina Advocates for Justice,, members last week, so we all dressed for daytime activities to after-hour wine and hors d'oeuvres, with the wine graciously provided by a terrific new local wine store, The Caviste in Winston-Salem, NC.

I brought out my $5 thrifted sweater and recent purchase from Jada's Jewels (register here for cool daily emails with great jewelry deals) for the occasion:

Jones New York Dress (Ross @$40); Banana Republic cardigan (thrifted); Black Flats (Ross @$16); Necklace (Jada's Jewels, $10 including matching earrings)
Panty hose, bleh, but what's a middle-aged broad to do? (I do love my tights.) As you can tell, I'm a fool for any dress or skirt with pockets. We had a great time at the reception, as you can see from this pic of me with two of the firm's lawyers:

Helen Parsonage, attorney; Lynne DeVenny, paralegal; Robert "Hoppy" Elliot, attorney
I'm proud to work with a great group of civil rights attorneys, who have taught me a lot over the last 17 years. For more information about the work our firm does, see

Paralegal Career Dressing: Our Associate Thrifts J.Crew

Last week our firm hosted an evening reception for local North Carolina Advocates for Justice members, so most of us were a little more dressed up than usual (I'll share my duds in the next post). One of our talented associates, Lauren Weinstein, had on a J.Crew dress to kill for - that she thrifted:

Dress (J.Crew, thrifted); Belt (Appleseeds, thrifted); Shoes (Bandolino, DSW clearance)
Lauren's thrifty tip: Thrift stores are the best for leather belts. They are never more than a few dollars, and I got a Coach one at a GoodWill!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

One of the Biggest Mistakes a Paralegal Did Not Make

The story about the over $900,000 in monetary sanctions requested by the defendant's attorneys against a widower and his formerly well-respected attorney in a multi-million dollar wrongful death trial, due to spoilation of Facebook evidence and subsequent perjury, has been covered in numerous blawgs, including Above the Law and The Empowered Paralegal, but I just want to say a very few words about it from a paralegal perspective.

First, note that the formerly well-respected attorney falsely blamed his paralegal for telling the allegedly grieving widower to "clean up" his Facebook page, which showed him wearing a t-shirt announcing he loved hot moms and holding a beer can. If you're not the judgmental type, there's probably nothing wrong with holding a beer and wearing a hot moms shirt, but if that's already posted on Facebook, you can't hide that picture in discovery.

Getting blamed for the huge mistake that led to the jaw-dropping request for sanctions could not have been fun for the paralegal. I'm not sure an apology would be sufficient for this level of false finger-pointing by a supervising attorney. I'd sure like to ask her directly how she feels about it now.

Defense Paralegal's Observations May Result in New Trial for Defendant

A paralegal employed by defense attorney Carl Oreskovich in Spokane, Washington, has made allegations of improper media exposure by jurors during deliberations, which may lead to a defense motion for a new trial (a 14-day request for extension of time to file said motion has been submitted.)

According to KHQ Right Now, five of the jurors were staying in a hotel during the excessive force trial of former Spokane Police Officer Karl Thompson:

The Prettiest Paralegal Coverboy Practical Paralegalism Has Ever Seen

Okay, I admit that real paralegals are as good-looking as those fresh-faced, outrageously attractive fictional paralegals on TV.

When I saw the pictures of D.C. contract paralegal Philip in MetroWeekly's (a Gay D.C. News Magazine) Coverboy feature, my jaw dropped, and not just because of the nipple rings (consider yourself warned, there are a few questions of an adult nature, and this link is probably borderline NSFW, especially if your bosses have no sense of humor whatsoever). He's gorgeous, pursuing a paralegal education while working, and is also an actor.

Hmmm, I'm thinking about changing some of my paralegal profile questions - these Coverboy questions are way more interesting :)

Prettiest Paralegal Coverboy Ever via Metro Weekly
Source: Metro Weekly (I don't know why the interview shows up as the most recent paralegal news when it's dated June 2, 2011, but maybe the newspaper rotates their Coverboys, or maybe Google just likes to mess with me.)

Paralegal Career Dressing: Sunday Inspiration Outfits for Work

Banana Republic is having a great sale right now, 25% off all items (including those on sale) with orders of $100 or more (Code BRHOL25), including free shipping. BR did have my perfect grey slacks for $29.99, but unfortunately not in my size today (jump on it if you are size 00 or 0).

But BR did inspire me to think about fashion photos I see online that provide inspiration for styling my every day work clothes - and looking for similar items in thrift stores. Remember, law offices and legal departments are generally fairly conservative environments, so Practical Paralegalism will stay in the conservative realm.

I love this career wear combo from Banana Republic: side bow-tie grey blouse, cream skirt, and nude heels. I bet many of you already own similar items.

Click here for the BR link.

Where do you find your favorite style inspiration for work?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

One-Dish Recipes for Busy Paralegals: Vidalia Onion Dip

Last week we celebrated Guy Fawkes day at a British co-worker's home. We weren't completely sure who Guy Fawkes was, but we found out he's the last man to enter parliament with honest intentions, even if he was planning to blow it up. We had a great time with a bonfire, sparklers, good company, and good eats.

I was particularly taken with a delicious dip, so I tracked down the party guest who said it was his mama's special recipe, and then gave me the three ingredients! Three ingredients! Woo hoo, I too can make this for all the holiday parties I am invited to. When I Googled the recipe ingredients online, I discovered this is actually a lot of mamas' special recipe, and so chose this recipe link, with its great pictures, to share:

It's so good, you can eat the whole pan by yourself.
The party guest said his mama says the mayo must be Hellman's Real Mayonnaise, so I'm going to make sure I follow his advice.
Got an easy one-dish recipe (including crock pot) for busy paralegals? Email it to, and voila, you are a guest blogger!

Paralegal Career Dressing: Saturday's Deal Is All Tied Up at Loft

My favorite Loft sales are the 40% off everything (including the sale racks). If I were shopping today, which I'm not, I think this tie waist cardigan in Concord Grape would be a nice addition to a paralegal's wardrobe, and a great mixer with slacks and slim skirts. It's a little different from a traditional cardigan, and the rich color is beautiful and slimming, and likely more flattering than that old stand-by black.

Tie Waist Cardigan ~ 40% off $49.50 (Loft)
Did you take advantage of any sales this weekend to add to your working wardrobe?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Today's Quote: Help Veterans Year-Round

"...there are lots of little ways to show appreciation during the year." ~ Excerpt from "Veterans Day: Is it enough?" (

Danny Tyree's terrific Veterans Day column (which I encourage you to read in full) reminds us there are so many ways we can appreciate what our veterans have done for our country throughout the year, including (but not limited to, it's a legalese thing):

  • Celebrate our religious freedoms every day.
  • Stay informed with current events.
  • Register to vote - and then do it.
  • Use English correctly.
  • Learn flag etiquette.
  • Hold our government accountable for its military decisions.
  • Volunteer at a veterans hospital.
  • Donate time or money to organizations that help veterans.
We need to appreciate and thank our veterans much more often than November 11 each year.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Paralegal Career Dressing: Disguising Wrinkles with Kicky Pleats

I can summarize this fashion inspiration in one sentence. I scored this Loft sweater for $4! I love boat-neck shirts, and I love wearing this Worthington Belted High Waisted Skirt (without the belt this time), even if it's a little big now, and there's not much point in ironing it. You'll see why in just a minute.

Loft sweater ($4 thrifted); Worthington skirt ($30 JCPenney); X-Appeal boots (@$30 Rack Room BOGO sale); Necklace ($1.77 from Steinmart clearance rack)

I tried really hard not to post a picture of my butt on my blog, but I love these pleats!
You notice I've got curls again? That's due to my curling iron for Dummies, the Infiniti You Curl by Conair. No clip, no getting hair tangled in the iron, no burns. (I just watched the directions, and learned I am doing it wrong. Dang, I am a curling iron Dummy.)

Paralegal Career Dressing: A Long Lost Treasure

This post involves the 80s. If you laugh at peeps that rocked 80s fashion, stop reading now. If you remember the 80s fondly, then this post is for you.

I have a lot of costume jewelry acquired during college, when I partied in vintage dresses or dressed like Madonna, and also from intercepting several great aunts' gifts of dress-up jewelry for my young daughter, after they cleaned out their own jewelry boxes. I figured a 6-year old wouldn't notice if a few items were missing, so I screened all the jewelry the aunts sent our way, and yeah, I kept the good stuff.

Around 2005, my daughter was in undergraduate school and planning to attend an 80s party. She asked if she could borrow some of my costume jewelry, and I just let her have at it. I don't even think I looked at what she borrowed.

But last weekend when I visited her at graduate school, I did remember she had borrowed an antique sweater clip for the party, so I asked her if I could have it back. I cannot describe my glee when she brought this back from her closet:

Great balls of fire! Not only my sweater clip, but antique brooches galore!
Not only did she return my long lost treasure, but she gave me the very cool denim jacket she got from the GoodWill.

Get ready to see more of this sweater clip and brooch. She kept the matching clip on earrings, but that's okay. They hurt.
I can't wait to rock this antique rhinestone pin.
I used to wear this on suits to court activities when I thought the other side was a snake in the grass :o
 Do you have antique jewelry that you work into your career wardrobe?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Paralegal Career Dressing: Wednesday's Deal Gets Cuffed at Nordstrom

I have spent too much time unsuccessfully looking for a pair of affordable grey pants for cold weather, both at my fave retailers online and in local thrift stores. As a paralegal, I kind of pride myself on my ability to find anything. Not so much this time. I did buy a pair of grey Ralph Lauren pants for $6 at a local thrift store - but they are a little too big right now (I figure I'll broaden again).

I do like the wide cuff and more narrow leg on these Gallia pants, plus "a hint of stretch" always gets my attention. But I'm not crazy about the fit on the model - anyone tried these on in person?

Gallia Moda Cuff Pants ~ $38.90 (Nordstrom)
If anyone sees a great deal on grey slacks for work, please shoot me a link!