Thursday, April 24, 2008

Paralegal Appointed New Poughkeepsie Chamberlain

A Poughkeepsie paralegal has been selected to replace the Acting Chamberlain by Mayor John Tkazyik. Karen Burke, a resident of Poughkeepsie, has been appointed as Chamberlain, which is similar to a city clerk. Burke would handle council meeting minutes and oversee applications for various parmits and licenses.

Burke has worked as a paralegal for several area law firms, and Tkazyik cited Burke's background as a reason for choosing her.

"Karen will be an asset to the chamberlain’s office as she has great organizational skills," Tkazyik said. "Her background will make her a perfect fit for the duties this important position demands."

Source:Poughkeepsie Journal

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

D.A. Should Reduce Attorneys, Hire Paralegals

As we know, using paralegals can save law firms, corporations, and municipalities plenty of money.

The first-ever management audit of the Santa Clara County District Attorney's office recommended the office replace a dozen attorney positions with more than twice as many less expensive paralegals.

The audit, performed by the county's contracted independent auditor, found attorneys were spending multiple hours a week on tasks that could be performed by a paralegal.

"The department therefore spends at least an additional $3.34 million per year to have attorneys rather than paralegals carry out many paralegal tasks,'' according to the audit.

The audit recommended reducing the number of attorneys in the office by 12 positions through attrition and using the funds budgeted for those positions to hire as many as 25 paralegals.

Needless to say, the recommendation was met with resistance from District Attorney Dolores Carr, who objected to the auditor's suggestion about reducing attorney positions.

"We disagree, however, that the additional paralegals can be provided simply by eliminating attorney codes. The audit failed to conduct any meaningful analysis of how the elimination of 12 attorneys would impact our ability to provide mandated legal services in courts as well as in the office," according to Carr's response. "The statistical calculation by the auditors to justify the reduction in attorney codes is too simplistic and an insufficient measure of the work that needs to be done."

She did, however, admit that the office needs more paralegals.

The office does need additional paralegals; Carr listed nine positions that would "significantly help," but she said they should not come at the expense of attorney positions.

My question is, has she looked at what the attorneys are doing? Can paralegals do it instead? Most likely, I'd bet.

(Source: - Local Wire)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Paralegals on the Move

CORSICA, Texas -- Lynn Gatlin is now associated with Keller Williams Realty Harper Smith Team. Gatlin brings with her six and one-half years of experience as a sales associate with Re/Max of Corsicana. She began her career in real estate by working for real estate attorney David Wilson Jr., and then later as a real estate paralegal for Strasburger & Price, L.L.P. in Dallas.

"After being able to see how a real estate transaction works from the legal side and working in the field, I really enjoy working with buyers and sellers the most," Gatlin said. "I just enjoy a more hands-on experience."

Source: Corsica Daily Sun

PITTSBURGH, Pa. -- Thomas Thomas & Hafer hired Cindy Janicko, paralegal.

Rothman Gordon hired Charles J. Vrscak Jr. as a paralegal.

Source: Dateline Pittsburgh

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

From Paralegal to Priest?

NYT: Facing Decline, an Effort to Market the Priesthood: "At 39, Ronald Perez is the oldest candidate for ordination next month. A former paralegal at a Midtown law firm, he moved to New York from Los Angeles 10 years ago to change his life. By the time he decided to become a priest, he had worked at a failed manufacturing company and a dot-com that missed the boom.
His decision to become a priest was gradual, he said, coming after years of involvement in activities at his home parish, St. Patrick's Cathedral. He credited the talks he had with visiting seminarians for nudging him closer to the religious life. Like many other contemporary candidates for the seminary, he started studying philosophy with other prospective priests.
'The door was open, so if it was for you, go on, but if not, leave, no questions asked,' he said. 'That first year was crucial. It gave me a chance to look back at my life and the world around me. Nothing I could have done as an engineer or a paralegal would give me contentment and happiness. Something was missing. I realized what it was: becoming a priest.'"

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Wisconsin Supreme Court Denies Paralegal Regulation

In a blow to paralegal regulation, on April 7 and April 8 the Wisconsin Supreme Court denied the State Bar paralegal petition, which would have established licensure and regulation for paralegals.

The court will encourage the Bar to work with other interested groups to consider creating a voluntary certification program using programs currently used in other states as models. Even though the court denied the petition, the justices emphasized that they recognize the valuable service provided by paralegals.

Acknowledging the State Bar’s efforts Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson said, “This has been a long labor, the State Bar task force was made up of many members and worked for about seven years.” Abrahamson noted the objectives of the paralegal petition were to recognize the important role paralegals can and do play in the daily practice of law and to set standards that would include requirements for continuing education credits and maintain ethical standards.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

RP Salaries Surpass Averages

The March/April issue of Legal Assistant Today reports that, on average, paralegals with NFPA's Registered Paralegal designation earn $67,489 per year -- over $11,000 more than NALA's CLAS-holders.

The new version of PACE, the Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam, has been released, and NFPA is selling the new study guide on its Web site. Now is a good time to become an RP, if the numbers mean anything.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Filipino Troops to Train as Paralegals

MANILA, Philippines -- The military will train soldiers on desk duty as paralegals to help fellow troopers facing charges of human rights abuse and other cases. Scheduled to start this month, at least one soldier per battalion will be trained. The paralegals will give the soldiers advice and assist with answering basic petitions. It is often difficult to draft lawyers into the military service, and having soldiers as paralegals would help cut costs.