Friday, November 30, 2007

The Key to Paralegal Profitability

From morepartnerincome.com :: The Paralegal Opportunity for Law Firms: "The key to the paralegal profitability is the same as that for legal associates—utilization. It requires partners with delegation and supervision skills. It requires effective firm-wide scheduling of billable resources."

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Judge Orders Production of Paralegal's Notes

MARSHALL, Texas -- U.S. District Judge Leonard Davis ordered defendant Time Warner to produce a flowchart created by its paralegals in order to identify further parties to the litigation.

In an effort to identify proper parties and address liability issues, Judge Davis granted the plaintiffs' request for production of defendants' partnership agreements and a flowchart developed by Time Warner's paralegal on Nov. 20. Defendants argued the documents are irrelevant as the proper parties are named. Although granting the plaintiffs' request, the judge denied the plaintiffs' request for sanctions against the defendants.

I'm not sure what this means for paralegal work product, although it seems ominous. Would the plaintiffs be granted access to an attorney's notes? Probably not.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Paralegal Honored for Pro Bono Work

From Dateline Pittsburgh:: "Eckert Seamans Cherin and Mellott is the recipient of the 2006 Law Firm Pro Bono Award from the Allegheny County Bar Association. The award is in recognition of the firm's administration of the Custody Conciliation Project, which it developed in connection with the Pittsburgh Pro Bono Partnership. The ACBA also will honor the work of Eckert Seamans paralegal Rachel Klink, whose service to the Custody Conciliation Project has earned her the 2006 Paralegal Service Award."

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Bree Cottrell Joins The DiLeone Law Group, P.C.

How awesome is it when a firm sends out a press release about their new paralegal? The Raleigh, N.C. firm of The DiLeone Law Group, P.C. did just that to announce that Bree Cottrell has joined the firm as a paralegal. Cottrell is a recent graduate from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, where she received a bachelor of science in business administration with a concentration in human resource management and entrepreneurship. She is a member of the Human Resources Association and the Society of Human Resource Management.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Sophomore Earns Scholarship from Greater Lexington Paralegal Association

J. Michelle Hoffman, a sophomore paralegal science major, has received the Greater Lexington Paralegal Association Scholarship.

Hoffman, from Lake Charles, La., is president of EKU's Student Paralegal Association and has a 3.74 GPA. She will be presented the scholarship at the GLPA’s December luncheon.

“The ($250) scholarship will help me pay for books,” Hoffman said. “The most valuable part of the award will be a student membership in the GLPA because that will give me the opportunity to meet and network with paralegals in Lexington, as well as learning opportunities.”

Hoffman plans to work as a paralegal in the Lexington area upon graduation.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Holiday Survival Tips

The holiday season has officially started, and in addition to working, we all probably have family commitments, holiday parties, and assorted festivities where our attendance is required. Starting tomorrow, it's going to feel like crunch time for most of us, especially those of us with billable hour requirements trying to meet the year's quota. No matter what your situation, here are some tips to get through the holiday season and start off 2008 on the right foot:

1. Take care of yourself. This may seem obvious, but it's all too easy to get caught up in the festivities and forget about our own health. Drink plenty of water, try to make healthy food choices (shrimp cocktail is much better than anything fried or mini'd, for example), and try to get plenty of rest. If you have a regular exercise routine, stick to it. And remember there is no shame in taking a few minutes for yourself, even if it's just a ten-minute walk in the middle of the day.

2. Stay focused. It's tempting to look out the window and daydream or do some online holiday shopping. Now is the time to focus, to work on meeting your goals and finishing your assignments. That way, you'll be in a position to put on your coat and leave the office at the end of the day without worrying.

3. Take care of someone else. Got an elderly neighbor? A friend who could use some cheering up? A food bank that needs servers? Nothing feels better than to help someone else. Shovel your neighbor's walk; take your friend out for coffee (I highly recommend Starbucks Peppermint Mochas - you can't be unhappy after drinking one of those!); spend a couple of hours serving food to those less fortunate.

4. Count your blessings. As cheesy as it sounds, it's good to remind yourself what is good in your life amidst what is definitely a stressful season. Make a list of five things that bring you joy, and post it somewhere you will see it every day.

5. Keep it all in perspective. The holidays will be over soon enough, and so will the stresses and expectations. Take the time to enjoy them and bask in the good of the season. January comes soon enough, with its own set of expectations, and these expectations aren't dressed in twinkling lights.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

American Health Lawyers Association Offers Paralegal Membership

The American Health Lawyers Association's (AHLA) Board of Directors recently approved the establishment of an electronic membership category for paralegals. If you are employed full-time as a paralegal, you are eligible to apply for and receive this electronic membership – for just $75 – when you are sponsored by an AHLA member or attorney.

Special Offer

In addition, a paralegal can join AHLA for a year for just $75 or—for a limited time—he/she can also register for the Fundamentals of Health Law program at the same time. When the paralegal does both, he/she receives a bonus! For just $450, the paralegal will receive a year's membership and be registered for the Fundamentals of Health Law program, which is being held on December 2-4, 2007 in Chicago, IL.

The Fundamentals of Health Law Program

The program provides a solid foundation in health law for the paralegal. Paralegals attending the program will benefit from the education received on an array of health law topics, including key legal issues on tax and finance, antitrust, patient care and liability, corporate compliance, false claims, labor and employment, medical staff organization and credentialing, Medicare, Medicaid, physician issues, and managed care. The program’s expert faculty will not only share their expertise on health law but will provide their insight into the challenges ahead in health law. From the opening reception, to a luncheon and presentation on using the Association's resources, the program includes plenty of time for the new paralegal member to network too.

The Benefits of Membership in the American Health Lawyers Association

As an AHLA member, a paralegal is able to retrieve resources and information on a content rich website to aid in writing and research efforts; browse through publications, and other legal resources in the AHLA Bookstore; and build relationships with other paralegals, as well as academicians, health lawyers, in-house counsel, government attorneys, and healthcare executives.

Paralegal members also receive the following:

  • Health and Life Sciences Law Daily, a customized digest service written by Bulletin News, an affiliate of U.S. News and World Report. It provides summaries of the most important health and legal news culled from all of the major media outlets in the country – delivered to your email inbox each day;
  • Health Lawyers Weekly, a comprehensive, online news and analysis service providing in-depth reporting on the latest developments affecting health law. In addition, access is provided to the Health Law Digest, a powerful research tool that provides synopses of current state and federal court decisions in health law (you will be able to browse each issue by topic and subtopic or print out the full issue to read at your leisure); and the
  • Health Lawyers News offering monthly features, substantive analysis, and regular columns written by legal and industry experts.


Paralegals may subscribe to one or more of the Association’s listservs (online email discussion forums) devoted to a variety of health law topics. Members subscribe online and have the option of either receiving individual emails whenever there is a posting on the listserv or receiving a digest version of the discussions for the day. Members are able to access archives of all the listserv discussions in the Members-only section of the website.

Paralegal members are also given an opportunity to gain electronic access to all of AHLA’s fifteen Practice Groups for a nominal fee. This 'PG16' option provides Paralegals with the opportunity to network with other paralegals and health lawyers from across the country; receive email alerts and briefings; receive special discounts when registering for PG-sponsored teleconferences or when purchasing PG publications; and to access the websites for all of the Practice Groups.

NEXT STEP

Call AHLA’s Member Service Center at (202) 833-0766 to join and register for the program – or use the encrypted forms located online at the Association's website at www.healthlawyers.org.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Legal Technology - Keeping Up With EDD Blogs and Tools

From Law.com, Legal Technology - Keeping Up With EDD Blogs and Tools features an impressive list of e-discovery blogs, along with descriptions.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Everybody, have a very happy, safe Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Indiana Noteworthy

Indiana Noteworthy: "The National Federation of Paralegal Associations presented Debi Neale of Tabbert Hahn Earnest & Weddle and the Indiana Paralegal Association with the 2007 PACE Ambassador Award."

The PACE Ambassador Award was initiated to recognize an NFPA member association that has made superior efforts in developing its local PACE Ambassador program to promote the Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam (PACE) to its members and its legal community.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Legal Electronic Document Institute

The Legal Electronic Document Institute (www.legal-edocs.org) advertises itself as “a Washington non-profit corporation established to promote the development of education and standards in the field of legal electronic documents, including practice management of electronic documents, electronic trial practice with litigation support systems, e-filing, e-signatures, and e-discovery.” Their Resources page has a decent selection of articles and links.

Monday, November 19, 2007

E-Evidence Information Center

The E-Evidence Information Center (www.e-evidence.info) has information on digital forensics, which does sound much more exciting than e-discovery. There is an entire section on cell phone forensics, including links to other Web sites, software to manipulate cell phones (use with caution!), and articles.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Electronic Discovery Resources

If you haven’t had to deal with e-discovery already, you soon will. As more evidence is found on hard drives, in e-mails, and on disks, keeping up with the rules can be daunting. I'll be posting various resources as I find them.

Electronic Discovery Resources (www.discoveryresources.org) aggregates articles from a variety of sources. The site features original content, including a monthly “Ask the Expert” section. They also will e-mail a weekly newsletter to you at your request.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Free E-Discovery Book Covers Basics

If you're looking for more information on e-discovery, RenewData is offering a free book entitled Electronic Discovery for Dummies. According to their Web site, the book covers:

  • Basic principles and terminology of e-discovery;
  • What should happen in a meet and confer session;
  • What you should preserve and when you should start;
  • How you obtain the data;
  • The fastest and easiest ways to review data;
  • How to produce the data to the other side; and
  • Additional e-discovery resources.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Florida Registered Paralegal Program Approved

On November 15, the Florida Supreme Court approved the creation of the Florida Registered Paralegal Program, set to begin on March 1, 2008. This is a voluntary registration of paralegals who meet certain minimum educational, certification or work experience criteria and agree to abide by an established code of ethics.

Read the full opinion here.

Update: This is not to be confused with the PACE Registered Paralegal Program, administered through the National Federation of Paralegal Associations.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Court ID Cards

If paralegals were regulated, they could be issued ID cards, similar to Bar Identification Cards given to attorneys. Paralegals could then flash those cards when they go to the courthouse and avoid standing in line for security screening, which wastes precious time.

Just a thought...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Paralegal Fees Case

The United States Supreme Court has granted certiorari to Richlin v. Chertoff. This case will consider whether paralegal services can be recovered at the market rate when determining the payment of attorneys' fees. The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled that the Equal Access to Justice Act permits only the reimbursement of paralegal services as the cost of the expense to the attorneys rather than as fees at the market rate. A decision in this case would resolve a split among the circuit courts of appeal.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Palo Alto Settles Paralegal's Overtime Claim

The problems with classifying paralegals as non-exempt has begun. The city of Palo Alto has agreed to pay $335,000 to settle one of its paralegal's overtime claims.

Casey O'Neill, a claims investigator and paralegal, will receive $51,107 in unpaid overtime, $51,107 in liquidated damages, $163,320 in attorneys' fees, $26,567 in costs and $42,900 in severance pay, according to a settlement finalized Oct. 18 in the Northern California branch of the U.S. District Court.

O'Neill, who began work as a claims investigator and paralegal in 1993 and sued the city in August 2005, also tendered her resignation, effective June 1, 2008.

In a complaint filed in July, O'Neill's attorneys argued that the city improperly classified her as an employee exempt from being paid overtime because her work did not include "executive, administrative or professional duties."

O'Neill also said she worked at least 55 hours per week, while only being paid for 40 hours, between July 1993 and May 2005. Until then, she received "glowing performance appraisals," according to the complaint, but staff began criticizing her work after she complained.

When O'Neill complained that the city was violating the Fair Labor Standards Act and said she could not finish her tasks, she was suspended for three days without pay in June 2005, according to the complaint.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Sicklerville Woman Leads Paralegals

Parker McCay paralegal Dawn Moskalow was recently re-elected as president of the South Jersey Paralegal Association.

The Sicklerville resident will serve her second term as association president in the 2007-08 term.

As president, Moskalow will preside at all board and general membership meetings, appoint committee chairmen, and supervise the work of the board and special committees.

Moskalow is a paralegal in Parker McCay's personal injury department.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Uganda Paralegal Diary

George Oringa, 27, is a paralegal at Pabbo camp, in Uganda. Here he describes what being a paralegal in a war-torn area is like, and what life is like at the Pabbo camp. Oringa makes refugees aware of their rights.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Paralegal Honored as Part of Task Force

Paralegal Lisa Nelson of the U.S. Attorney's Office, along with other "Collarbomb Task Force" members, was honored Friday by the Law Enforcement Agency Directors of Western Pennsylvania. The other members of the task force are FBI Special Agent Gerald C. Clark, Jr.; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Special Agent Jason P. Wick; Pennsylvania State Police Cpl. David M. Gluth; and Assistant U.S. Attorney Marshall J. Piccinini.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Law Society Closer to Licensing Paralegals

TORONTO -- Ontario will be the first jurisdiction in North America to license paralegals. Almost 2,200 experienced paralegals and graduates of post-secondary paralegal courses have applied to the Law Society of Upper Canada to write the licensing examination in Ontario.

The Law Society's regulatory authority was expanded last year to include paralegals. Since then, the Law Society has created a set of rules of professional conduct for paralegals and developed a licensing program that includes the same kind of regulatory standards used for lawyers.

The first paralegal licences will be issued by May 1, 2008 to grandparent applicants who pass the licensing examination. In the meantime, approved applicants can continue to practice in permitted areas until they are licensed, providing they carry professional liability insurance and comply with the Paralegal Rules of Conduct and Law Society bylaws.

More information and ongoing updates can be found on the paralegal pages of the Law Society website at www.lsuc.on.ca.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Midlo Hip Hop Artist Goes Back To Roots

Corey Fauconier moved to Richmond, Virginia in 2002 to find independence in both a spiritual and lyrical sense. Through his work as a paralegal for a not-for-profit legal entity in lower Manhattan, he gradually made inroads into the world of music. When a friend named Carl Jackman ran into problems with party promotions, he turned to Fauconier for contract help. The job eventually drew Fauconier into the world of promotion, and from there, he gravitated to other roles.

In late 1999, he started working with Jackman’s group 99 % Entertainment. Though content with the dual role of paralegal by day and independent musical artist in his spare time, world events led Fauconier to consider a lifestyle change.

After his move to Virginia in 2002, he founded Shakara Entertainment in August of 2005 to showcase independent artists.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Bates-Stamping Documents the Easy Way

The thought of Bates-stamping a five foot-high stack of documents by hand (and yes, if you stacked all the boxes of documents in some cases vertically, I'm sure they would easily reach five feet) sounds hideously unproductive. Reading this article on Planet PDF - Bates-Stamping documents the easy way - offers some interesting food for thought. By using a scanner and Acrobat 8.0, I could scan those documents, OCR them, then electronically Bates-stamp them, thus bringing the tedium factor to a manageable few hours. As a bonus, the documents could then be burned to CD-ROMs and forwarded to opposing counsel that way. Instead of shipping five bankers' boxes, five CD-ROMS would go out by Federal Express.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

CPA to Paralegal to Teach Parent-Care Course

Rebecca Pace, a CPA who is transitioning from a career in financial planning to paralegal work with senior citizens, is one of the nine presenters for "Straight Talk about Caring for Your Aging Parents." This is a two-part class being offered by Communiversity, the University of Cincinnati's continuing education program.

The morning session will deal with legal issues (such as obtaining power of attorney to make financial and health decisions); managing parents' assets; and housing solutions, such as the transition to retirement communities and nursing homes. The afternoon session focuses on financial matters - insurance issues and government benefits such as Medicare and Medicaid.

The panel includes attorneys, a representative from the Council on Aging of Southwestern Ohio, and other experts in elder care.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Big Island Gets $443K Grant for Drug-Court Team

The Big Island of Hawaii received a $443,405 federal grant to establish a Third Circuit Drug Court team to supervise and track high-risk defendants with drug problems. The U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services grant provides funding to hire two additional probation officers and one paralegal each for the prosecutor's and public defender's office.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Law Firms Hiring More Paralegals

In this article from the East Bay Business Times, author Greg Hayman notes a fantastic trend: law firms are hiring more paralegals to cut costs and train new associates.

Attorneys and paralegals say the trend results not just from paralegals gaining trust and respect from firm leaders, but also from the reduced costs that can be passed on to clients.

Compare this to McDermott, Will & Emery's new class of lower-paid associates to handle lower-end tasks at lower billing rates. A partner in the L.A. trial group says it will help bring the best quality service at the lowest price to their clients. These associates will participate in document review. However, a well-trained paralegal can do the same thing, at an even lower cost to clients.

By utilizing paralegals, as they are in Alabama, not only are law firms keeping costs in control, they are also retaining full control of documents, as opposed to outsourcing the document review process. It's a win-win trend in Alabama, and with any luck, firms around the country will follow their lead.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Pinpoint Labs Releases Safecopy 2.0

Pinpoint Labs, a litigation support and forensics software development company, has announced the availability of Safecopy 2.0, a utility which enables users to copy files without altering file time stamps and any other metadata inherent in the files.

New features include:

-Multiple Directory Selection: Provides an easy-to-use interface allowing for easy directory (custodian data sources) selection within Windows Explorer. It also supports drag-and-drop from Windows Explorer.

-File Hashing: When copying files, SafeCopy 2.0 retains the crucial metadata. To ensure copies made with SafeCopy 2.0 are identical to the originals, the user can calculate the MD5 hash values of the source files and destination files.

-Chain of Custody Log File: Provides a chain of custody log file which proves the copies made are forensically sound. This log file contains important information such as the date and time the copies were made and the MD5 hash values calculated in the source and destination files.

-Error Reporting and Resuming: SafeCopy 2.0 immediately notifies users of incomplete file copies and can resume a job that has been cancelled or aborted.

For more information, visit www.pinpointlabs.com.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Paralegal Becomes 'Mompreneur'

Maria Thompson left her job as a paralegal to be with her third child. With a little research, some self-training, and a few hundred dollars, she became a "virtual assistant," offering Web design and desktop publishing services for $25 to $75 an hour.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

NaBloPoMo

November is National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo), and because I've been neglecting my blog, I've signed up for it.

For the next thirty days, I'm going to post something to this blog every day. Yes, that includes Saturday and Sunday. Yes, even over Thanksgiving. And no, I really don't have that much free time on my hands, but I love a challenge, which is why I became a paralegal in the first place!