Monday, June 30, 2008

Paralegal Chosen for School Board

In Jordan, Utah, paralegal and accountant Carmen R. Freeman won the precinct 1 seat on the Jordan School Board, according to unofficial returns. Freeman will take office next month. Although Freeman has no prior experience in education, a survey of his neighborhood motivated his candidacy.

"Forty-two percent of the population in my precinct area are 18 years of age or younger," Freeman said. "Our number one challenge will be growth, and how to get funds appropriated in the best manner."



(Source: Salt Lake Tribune)


Friday, June 27, 2008

After Years of Growth, Firms Pare Down Staffs, Budgets

A softer economy means that non-partners at law firms end up with targets on their heads as partners try to cut costs and build revenue in a difficult time. South Florida is just one of many areas hit by economic troubles, but the layoffs look troubling.

For example, after four out of five partners announced their defectin to Carlton Fields, litigation boutique Zuckerman Spaeder closed its Miami office in March. In this case, the partners fled, affecting the staff.

Meanwhile, Holland & Knight laid off 70 legal secretaries and accounting and information technology staffers firmwide, and Shutts & Bowen reduced its staff in Miami by nine. Holland & Knight's managing partner determined that the firm was overstaffed due to changing technology and normal business processes, and Shutts & Bowen's managing partner said the layoffs had nothing to do with the economy.

However, Blizen & Sumberg has had an uptick in litigation, as has Becker & Poliakoff. Hunton & Williams has seen their bankruptcy and litigation practices growing, particularly with an influx of Latin American and European clients.





Source: (lawjobs.com Career Center)


Thursday, June 26, 2008

ALM Research and IPMA Release 2008 Paralegal Compensation Survey

Yesterday, ALM Research released its Annual Compensation Survey for Paralegals/Legal Assistants and Managers, 2008 Edition. More than 363 organizations participated in the survey (285 law firms and 78 law departments), representing a total of 14,216 paralegal positions. The study was conducted by ALM’s recently-acquired Altman Weil Publications group, in conjunction with the International Paralegal Management Association (IPMA).

Among the results of the survey were the following:

  • The compensation of paralegals in U.S. law firms and corporate law departments showed solid increases over the previous year, above the rise in the cost of living.
  • Paralegals working in law firms received somewhat higher increases than their law department peers, For exempt paralegals at firms, salaries increased by an average of 4.9% compared to 3.8% in corporate law departments.
  • Within law firms, the highest paid paralegals are litigation support/technology managers who earned a median annual base compensation of $115,000.
  • The average billing rate for paralegals was more than $150 per hour, with rates for most positions exceeding $175. Paralegal case managers in law firms averaged 1,642 billable hours, followed by senior paralegals at 1,530.



Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Paralegals in Favor of Regulation in Massachusetts?

I unfortunately was unable to attend MCLE's 2008 Paralegal Conference, but I did hear back from one of the chairs, who said that about 75 paralegals attended. Of that, about three-quarters were from the Boston area. She also said that she did an informal poll of the attendees about regulation (the keynote address was given by Tracey Young, RP, who spoke on paralegal regulation).
  • Approximately 99% of those polled were in favor of paralegal regulation of some variety.
  • Approximately 80% were in favor of mandatory regulation.
  • Approximately half of those polled were in favor of a test being administered as part of a regulatory scheme.


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Paralegal Specialists Need Security Clearance

A secret security clearance soon will be a requirement for enlisted soldiers to serve in military occupational specialty 27D, paralegal specialist.

The policy change, proposed by the Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School, takes effect Oct. 1.

Because most of the several hundred soldiers who serve in this specialty already meet the requirement, the restriction primarily applies to paralegal specialists who have had their secret clearance revoked or suspended because of misconduct or derogatory information.

Beginning Oct. 1, the Human Resources Command will post an “immediate re-enlistment prohibition” code on the files of 27D soldiers who do not have a secret clearance or higher. Soldiers who are so flagged will not be eligible for re-enlistment and promotion.

Temporary waivers to the requirement are authorized for soldiers who can convince supervisors that extenuating circumstances have prevented them from getting a clearance by the Oct. 1 deadline.A secret security clearance soon will be a requirement for enlisted soldiers to serve in military occupational specialty 27D, paralegal specialist.

The policy change, proposed by the Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School, takes effect Oct. 1.

Because most of the several hundred soldiers who serve in this specialty already meet the requirement, the restriction primarily applies to paralegal specialists who have had their secret clearance revoked or suspended because of misconduct or derogatory information.
Beginning Oct. 1, the Human Resources Command will post an “immediate re-enlistment prohibition” code on the files of 27D soldiers who do not have a secret clearance or higher.


(Source: Army Times)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Paralegal Retires After 35 Years

Nancy Goble of Sayre, Pa. Saturday, June 7, after working 35 years for the Friedlander, Friedlander & Arcesi P.C. Law Firm.

Nancy began working in 1972 for Alan J. Friedlander, and in 1974, Friedlander's son, William, joined the firm which became known as Friedlander, Friedlander & Reizes. A retirement dinner was held at the Sons of Italy in Sayre, Pa., and 70 guests, members of the Friedlander Firm, co-workers, former co-workers, friends and family honored her.

William Friedlander said that "Nancy's dedication attention to detail, friendliness, and caring, coupled with her work ethic were reasons for the firm's success." Nancy, a specialist in personal injury litigation, helped consumers hold corporate wrong doers accountable and responsible for injuries, malpractice and other wrongs. Her work over the years helped achieve millions of dollars in recoveries for consumers. Nancy is a member of the American Association for Justice Paralegal Group, the New York State Trial Lawyers Paralegal Division and local paralegal organizations.

William Friedlander said, "Nancy will be greatly missed. We need three people to replace her."




(Source: Daily and Sunday Review)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Schriever JA Paralegals Win Awards

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- A member of the Air Reserve Component and a legal service civilian at Schriever were awarded Judge Advocate General awards May 9.

Ruben Martinez, a paralegal specialist with the 50th Space Wing Judge Advocate Office here received the 2007 Harold R. Vague Award. This award recognizes Mr. Martinez as the outstanding legal service civilian of the year based upon demonstrated excellence, initiative and devotion to duty.

...

Mr. Martinez's selection was based on his contributions to the wing's environmental and labor law programs. Special consideration for the Vague award is given to individuals who develop or improve systems, programs or procedures that enhance management efficiency or cost-effectiveness for Air Force legal programs.

...

Tech. Sgt. Michelle Molina, an individual mobilization augmentee with the 50th Space Wing JA office here, received the 2007 David Westbrook Award. Sergeant Molina is a civilian court reporter at Peterson's JA office.

...

The award recognizes Sergeant Molina as the outstanding reserve paralegal of the year based upon demonstrated superior initiative, technical skill and training accomplishments or contribution to mission support. Exhibition of leadership qualities in contributing to civic, cultural or professional activities in the military or civilian community and enrollment in off-duty programs of professional self-improvement were also considered for the award.


(Source: Schriever Sentinel)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Advertise With Me!

Smart legal services and education providers know that paralegals choose the vendors used by their firms for litigation support, document management, CLEs, and other legal products and services. Your company is probably looking for a great way to reach dedicated, decision-making paralegals across the country. I would like to offer you a unique opportunity to do just that.

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I am selling several advertising slots on A Paralegal's Blog (http://www.paralegalsblog.com/), which is read by paralegals across the United States and Canada. These advertising slots are unique in that they are 250-word articles provided by your company detailing how your products and services can help paralegals better do their jobs, and they are posted on the blog as specially labeled blog posts (i.e., this message is sponsored by Your Company, Inc.). You will also be able to provide a link and a logo to be posted with the article, which will never be deleted. The article will also appear as a permanent link in the right-hand sidebar of the blog. The cost is $250. Each article will be edited only for grammar and punctuation.

For $50 more, I can offer my services as a journalist and editor and craft an article for your approval.


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If you are interested, please e-mail me at cparizo@gmail.com and we can set up a time to discuss.

Ready to Run Wild?



Approximately 200 of the nation’s top paralegals will be descending upon Northwest Arkansas beginning on October 8, 2008 at the John Q. Hammonds Center at Embassy Suites in Rogers, Arkansas.


  
ArPA (Arkansas Paralegal AssociationTM) is proudly hosting the 2008 National Federation of Paralegal Associations, Inc. (NFPA) Annual Convention and Seminars.  Since 1974, NFPA has proactively supported the growth and expanded role of paralegals nationally. 
The lineup of distinguished speakers lends the opportunity for excellent learning experiences for paralegals. Continuing legal education hours through NFPA, NALA, and NALS is pending.  Segments include topics relating to general paralegal knowledge, enhanced writing and research skills, meeting juror expectations, profitability and the proper use of paralegals, investigation matters, the paralegal role in intellectual property, and more!


ArPA will introduce Justice Annabelle Clinton-Imber, speaking at the Friday Luncheon!  Justice Clinton-Imber has been an Associate Justice with the Arkansas Supreme Court since 1997.  Justice Clinton-Imber served as the Chancery and Probate Judge for Perry and Pulaski Counties from 1989-1996 before being elected to the Arkansas Supreme Court.  She was appointed Circuit Judge for Pulaski and Perry counties by former Governor Bill Clinton in 1984.  Prior to joining the bench, she was a practicing attorney with Wright, Lindsay & Jennings in Little Rock, Arkansas. 


Justice Clinton-Imber graduated magna cum laude from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts.  She received her Juris Doctor in 1977 from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock School of Law where she was a Comments Editor on the Law Review.  From 1989 to 1994, Justice Clinton-Imber also attended the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada.


  
ArPA and NFPA will be hosting a train ride dinner on fully restored dining cars (thanks to the great folks at the Missouri-Arkansas Railroad). Dueling pianos will be part of the Wednesday reception.  And of course, there will be plenty of other networking functions.  Paralegal students from the Northwest Arkansas Community College and the University of Arkansas - Ft. Smith will be volunteering throughout the Convention. 


   
Information and convention news are continually updated on the ArPA website
www.arkansasparalegal.org and the NFPA website www.paralegals.org.


  
ArPA Board of Directors:  Kelly S. Montgomery, RP, President, Terri Vanlandingham, Vice President, Paula Adams, RP, VP-Membership, Dee Dee Lantz, RP, VP-CLE & PACE Ambassador, Marilyn Clifton, Secretary, Maggie Haase, RP, Treasurer & Primary Representative.
 

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Paralegal Becomes Ombudsman for Santa Clara County DA

The Santa Clara County District Attorney's office has added a new way for the public to get answers to legal questions or raise concerns about a county prosecutor - an ombudsman.
Paralegal Lisa McCrary will take on the role, District Attorney Dolores Carr said Wednesday.
McCrary will direct complaints to supervisors in the office and help members of the public contact the appropriate person in other agencies and departments.
...
McCrary has worked at the District Attorney's office for 24 years. She was the first paralegal hired in the office and currently helps maintain the DA's Web site, among other duties.

(Source: San Jose Mercury News)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Realtor's Love of Law Leads to Paralegal Degree

HAMMOND, Ind. -- In her mid-20s, Maureen Miller attended Calumet College to earn a degree but got a little side-tracked.

About 30 years later and after a bout with breast cancer, Miller, now 57, is graduating with an associate's degree as a paralegal. She is set to do an internship with Merrillville attorney Steve Rodriguez in August and intends to earn a bachelor's degree in 2009.

"In the (1970s), I went to school for about a year, but I didn't finish," she said.

Miller managed to earn a real estate license and has worked for McColly Realtors for the past eight years.

"I kept thinking that I wanted to go back," she said. "After my son was an adult and an episode with breast cancer, I decided to go back. It was the right decision for me."

Miller said breast cancer slowed her down, but her husband, Patrick, a poker room dealer at Majestic Star Casino, helped her by driving her around when she had to show houses.

Real estate renewed Miller's love for the law, she said.

"I got so involved that I wanted to get a degree related to the law," she said. "My experience at Calumet College has taught me how to multitask and still give 110 percent to everything that I'm striving to do."

She said the faculty goes out of its way to make sure students have what they need, and "that's a lot to say about any college."


(Source: The Times, Munster, IN)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Paralegals Inducted Into Who's Who

Two paralegals have been inducted into Cambridge Who's Who.

Lucinda Carr, Paralegal for Kelly Services, and Maria Czora, Paralegal for the Law Offices of Mark Lewis, PLLC, have been recognized by Cambridge Who's Who for showing dedication, leadership and excellence in all aspects of legal services.

Carr has more than five years of professional experience in her field and one year of experience as a paralegal for Kelly Services. In addition to industry-related training, Carr received her Associate's Degree from the Community College of Allegheny County.

An expert in assisting lawyers with bankruptcy and personal injury cases, Czora is responsible for managing administrative duties, billing and bookkeeping. Prior to joining the firm, she honed her skills as a legal assistant for one year. Czora completed training in Paralegal Studies at Bryant and Stratton College, which honored her with the Outstanding Achievement Award in Paralegal Studies.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A Very Special Message from Christine

I am trying to raise funds to attend the 2008 NFPA Convention, which is going to be held in Rogers, Ark. I will not be attending as a delegate but as a member of the paralegal community and as a blogger.

This is where you, my loyal readers, can help. I have a CafePress.com store, full of fantastic items that make great gifts for paralegals. I've brought back the Limited Edition Sticker, perfect for cars and notebooks, and the sticker also comes in a convenient ten-pack for distribution as thank-you gifts to members.

Tech Bits & Bytes - Tech-Savvy Paralegals Needed

Here is a Tech Bit & Byte from Charlotte Riser Harris at Five Star Legal & Compliance Systems, Inc.

"Technology has changed the work environment in most professions but maybe in none as profoundly as the legal profession. Essentially all legal practice areas use technology for day-to-day business but also for specialized tasks. Paralegals are expected to possess technical skills like never before and often it is paralegals who lead the charge when introducing new and innovative technologies into the legal work flow. Experienced, technically-savvy paralegals are in demand."

Want to know more? Attend Charlotte's seminar on Technical Skills for Paralegals at the NFPA Tech Institute on July 25 & 26. Register now using the interactive seminar schedule and registration form at www.paralegals.org/techinstitute!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Tech Bits & Bytes: Engaging the Jury

Here is another Tech Bit & Byte for you from S. Kristine Farmer, RP. Kristine is NFPA's Immediate Past President & Board Advisor. Kristine is also returning to the NFPA Tech Institute as a speaker!

Effective use of technology allows you to teach the jury the facts they need to know in a visually attractive manner. But, the time investment to prepare the images and videos necessary to create those visually attractive presentations can be time consuming. Early preparation pays dividends, and it begins long before the first day of trial. In fact, it begins at the "anticipation of litigation" and involves early organization of witnesses and documents, and early involvement of your Litigation Support Department or litigation support vendor.

Do you want to know which Technology to use? Attend the NFPA Tech Institute on July 25 & 26 in Aurora, Colorado and find out!

Register now at www.paralegals.org/techinstitute!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Tech Bits & Bytes - Geek Speak

Here is a Tech Bit & Byte from Courtney David Mills, a returning speaker to the NFPA Tech Institute.

"In the changing legal landscape, paralegals are going to have to learn to talk tech and speak geek."

Learn tech language at the NFPA Tech Institute on July 25 & 26 in Aurora, CO! Early Bird Registration has ended, but you can still join us at the membership rate of $250 ($275 for non-members) until June 15! Register today at www.paralegals.org!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Tech Bits & Bytes: Avoiding Jargon

What is a Tech Bit & Byte? It is words of wisdom from the slate of speakers for the NFPA Tech Institute!

Here is what Monica Bay from Law Technology News has to say:

"Do avoid tech jargon, especially when talking with attorneys. Jargon builds walls, not bridges, and lawyers -- more than most humans -- hate to be embarrassed by what they don't know."

Want to know exactly what tech jargon to avoid? Attend the NFPA Tech institute on July 25 & 26 in Aurora, Colorado and find out!

Register now at www.paralegals.org/techinstitute!

Nigeria: First Set of Paralegals Graduate

The Proprietress, teachers and students of Daibo Paralegal Training Institute (DPTI), Lagos were last Friday in ecstatic jubilation. To them, it was a day of fulfillment, particularly for the first batch of 25 graduates of pioneer paralegals in Nigeria.

The well attended graduation ceremony of the paralegals took place at the Lagos High Court foyer with certificates and awards were presented to the students.

Speaking at the event which was chaired by the Nigerian Bar Association, Lagos Branch Chairman, Mr. Bola Baderinwa, the Principal and Proprietress of the institute, Mrs. Roli Hariman who could not hide her joy turning out the first set of paralegal graduates in Nigeria described the event as historic because according to her, prior to now, paralegals could only be trained abroad.

She said, "One of the recent innovations in Nigeria is the use of law office management experts to run the firms. These persons are called by various names. They are the support staff the profession needs. I am proud to note that paralegals are now being trained here in Nigeria."

Harriman called on legal practitioners to support their staff to take paralegal courses or in the alternative ensure that staff they employ as office assistants are qualified paralegals. She urged lawyers to recognise the need to introduce professionalism into the management of their law firms to enable them concentrate more on legal work.

According to her, paralegals are the life wire of any practice in foreign jurisdictions. She expressed hope that this would be the case in Nigeria in due course.

Hariman also advised the graduating students not to see their job as a stepping stone to other opportunities. "Paralegalism is a profession and occupation and the paralegal must make his presence felt wherever he works."


(Source: allAfrica.com

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Delaware Recognizes Paralegal Week

This week (June 8 - June 14) is Paralegal Week in Delaware!

S. Utah Paralegal Takes State Honor

ST. GEORGE – A local paralegal has been named Distinguished Paralegal of the Year by the Paralegal Division of the Utah State Bar in association with the Legal Assistant Association of Utah.

Deborah Calegory, a paralegal with the law firm of Durham Jones & Pinegar was recently recognized at an annual Paralegal Day luncheon in Salt Lake City.

The career award honors a Utah paralegal who has, by ethical and personal conduct, commitment, and activities, exemplified for fellow paralegals and the attorneys with whom they work the epitome of professionalism.

Winners also must have rendered extraordinary contributions that promote justice, professional excellence, civility, ethics and respect for and understanding of the law.

Calegory has worked as a certified paralegal in St. George for 26 years. She has served in numerous leadership positions in the Utah State Bar Paralegal Division, including chair in 2001-2002 and in the Legal Assistant Association of Utah.

She is currently serving on the board of directors of Leadership Dixie and has prepared curriculum and provided instruction for paralegal programs for Dixie State College and the Utah Chapter of the American Paralegal Association.





(Source: Mainstreet Business Journal)

Monday, June 2, 2008

Victory for Paralegals: Richlin Decision Allows for Recovery of Paralegal Fees

Paralegal fees are reimbursable! In a 9-0 decision in Richlin Security Service Co. v. Chertoff , the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that paralegal services must be reimbursed as “attorney fees” at market rates.


Richlin v. Chertoff - Get more Legal Forms

The full opinion, which was released this morning, can be found at http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/07pdf/06-1717.pdf.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Three Duquesne Students Win AAfPE Scholarships

Three students enrolled in the Duquesne University Paralegal Institute recently received scholarships from the American Association for Paralegal Education (AAfPE).

The winners are Audrey Poch of McMurray, Laura Baldwin of Green Tree and Cynthia Chambers of Penn Hills. Essays from only five awardees are selected nationwide by the AAfPE from students enrolled in 126 paralegal programs.

(Source: Duquesne University | Newsroom)

Paralegal Position Cut at MTA

The Massachusetts Turnpike Authority is eliminating six jobs, including a paralegal position, in an effort to cut costs.

Under their union contract, officials said, the employees may have bumping rights, entitling them to a different job at the cash-strapped agency.

But eventually, said Turnpike Authority executive director Alan LeBovidge, six positions will be cut from the payroll.




Source: The Boston Globe