Friday, November 28, 2008

Philadelphia Paralegal Chosen as Outstanding Local Leader

The National Federation of Paralegal Associations, Inc. (NFPA) chose Renee Mazzeo as the organization’s 2008 Outstanding Local Leader. The Outstanding Local Leader award is given to an individual who has promoted interest and participation in the activities of his/her local association and has been recognized by the legal community as a professional dedicated to the advancement of the legal profession.

Ms. Mazzeo has been a member of the Philadelphia Association of Paralegals (“PAP”) since 2000. She started out helping the Public Relations/Marketing Committee (PRMC). PRMC provides a liaison to the Philadelphia Bar Association, and presents yearly achievement awards to PAP members. Renee also assisted with planning for PAP’s exhibition booths at the Pennsylvania Governor’s Conference for Women, an event held in Philadelphia in 2005 and 2007. Ms. Mazzeo was awarded with the Leadership Award in 2004 for her work in 2003 with PRMC.

In 2003, Ms. Mazzeo was also a key participant in planning of the Association’s 30th Anniversary celebration. Working with the Professional Development Committee, she has also been involved in selecting the winner for the Association’s Annual Scholarship, given in memory of past President Joan Weldon. Ms. Mazzeo also takes responsibility for the Association’s Legalmen Project. She is currently serving on the 2010 NFPA Convention Committee. As a Board member, her dedication to the profession and association shows in her never-ending willingness to help, assist and volunteer. Even with her busy schedule, she still finds time to attend national and local legal functions to promote the profession and the Association.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Shelby County OKs Paralegals in Budget

In Shelby County, Indiana, the County Council adopted its 2009 budget, which includes an increase over the 2008 package. As part of that package, six positions will be added: three deputies to the sheriff's department, a paralegal to the public defender's office, a part time paralegal to the prosecutor's office, and a part time clerk to Shelby Superior Court II.

(Source: The Shelbyville News)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Legal Aid Paralegal Position Eliminated

Tanking right along with the economy is funding for Greater Hartford Legal Aid, which is now facing budget cuts. Sadly, layoffs are part of the package. Six attorneys, one paralegal, and one staff member will find themselves searching for new jobs in March 2009. Countless more people who cannot afford legal representation will find themselves struggling to remain on equal footing with their opponents, despite the hard work of the remaining staff at Legal Aid.

(Source: Layoffs and Legal Aid - Susan Campbell)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Legal Assistant Today Acquired by Litigation Support Today

Last week, Conexion International Media, Inc., publisher of Litigation Support Today, announced that it had acquired Legal Assistant Today from James Publishing, Inc.

Legal Assistant Today has been the only independent trade magazine for paralegals, and it has been published continuously for over 25 years. Conexion, meanwhile, has been publishing Litigation Support Today and producing the International Litigation Support Leaders Conference. Charles Buckwalter, VP of Conexion, claimed in a press release that "Legal Assistant Today shares areas of convergence with our other publication."  He further stated that he is confident that Conexion will be able to maximize promotional opportunities and build upon LAT's strong paid subscriber base to "better serve the information needs of the paralegal profession."

The concern is that, if James Publishing, an established company that specializes in legal publications, is willing to let go of LAT, what will really become of it? Does Conexion understand the difference between paralegals and litigation support professionals, which tend to focus on trial presentation, document review, and other, more technology-intensive roles? Not that the convergence of the two is a bad thing, given the increasing challenges of being both paralegal and litigation support professional in a smaller firm, but will the paralegals specializing in areas other than litigation be left in the dark?

Conexion itself is a "publishing group that specializes in the development of international and niche-market publications[,] particularly those focused on vertical professions or special interests with multiple growth potential in the USA, Hispanic USA and/or the markets of Latin America, Asia-Pacific, or other regions." It's a broad mission that may result in a more superficial publication that caters to no one.

Readers, feel free to comment on this development. Do you read Legal Assistant Today? Does this make you more or less likely to subscribe or renew your subscription? Sound off in the comments.Technorati Tags: , , ,

Friday, November 21, 2008

Paralegal's Research Supplements Motion to Move Trial

Murder defendant Fred Cooper’s attorneys have filed their seventh attempt to move his trial out of Lee County. To supplement the motion, the Public Defender's paralegal, Karen Maus, found thousands of web postings by citizens and the media regarding the case. There are nearly 6,000 pages on four compact disks of articles and postings.

(Source: The News-Press)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Pro-active E-Discovery Strategies Can Minimize Risk

E-discovery strategies are critical for enterprises in a world of rising litigation, bankruptcies, mergers and acquisitions, and increased regulation, argues CMS Watch, an independent analyst firm that has just released a half-day online course, "The Fundamentals of E-Discovery."

For those enterprises that do not have a proactive e-discovery strategy in place, getting hit with a lawsuit or regulatory action means a costly search for information needles in very large haystacks.

"The Fundamentals of E-Discovery" course lays out the proper ways to build a successful e-discovery process, and offers advice on which key technical considerations to evaluate when selecting an e-discovery tool.

The courses are available online at:

Monday, November 17, 2008

New "Practice of Law" Definition Written

The Hawaii State Bar Association has crafted a new definition for the practice of law in Hawaii and will send its draft to the Hawaii Supreme Court next week.

After a year of occasionally contentious discussions in which professionals like accountants and real estate brokers accused the lawyers of trying to steal their work, the new draft makes a point of saying that the rules are not intended to restrict anyone from doing their usual business.

Instead, it says no person shall “hold themselves out as a lawyer, or being authorized or competent to practice law in this state unless the person is an active member of the state bar in good standing.”

The original draft was one page. The latest version is four pages and contains a dozen exemptions, including the preparation of real estate contracts, purchase and lease agreements and tax returns; selling or soliciting insurance and annuity products; performing paralegal services; and selling legal forms to the public or publishing legal self-help information in print or electronic media.

(Source: Pacific Business News (Honolulu):)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Supervisor-elect Adam Hill Hires Paralegal as Legislative Aide

Supervisor-elect Adam Hill has hired Susan Devine, formerly a litigation paralegal for the San Louis Obispo law firm of Ernst & Mattison. Hall will be sworn in on January 5, 2009.

(Source: Tribune

Monday, November 10, 2008

Current Economy Offers Opportunity for Paralegals

As law firms struggle with the limping economy, paralegals may have a window of opportunity to prove their value.

With less money to go around, firms need to cut their operating costs, and one way to do that is to hire lower-paid paralegals who can do the work of attorneys, touted toward the end of this article.

(Source: Star Banner)

Paralegal Wins Mega Money Jackpot

P. Kevin Seamon, a 56-year-old paralegal in St. Augustine, Florida, won the November 4 $750,000 Mega Money jackpot. He bought his winning Quick Pick ticket at Pat's Discount in St. Augustine.


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Paralegal Elected to Laconia School Board

Paralegal Stacie Sirois is the newest member of the Laconia School Board, winning by 75 votes in the only contested school board race in Ward 5.

She defeated former teacher and school administrator Doris Barnes who, at the age of 96, was beginning a new career in local politics. Sirois logged 526 votes to Barnes' 453.

Sirois has two children in the Laconia School system and spent much of her day holding a sign outside Woodland Heights Elementary School.

Fourth grader Duncan said he wanted his mother to lengthen recesses while sixth grader Rebecca would like to not have to walk to school anymore.

"I don't think either of those things are going to happen," Sirois said, laughing.

Sirois is a paralegal with attorney Ed Philpot and graduated from Laconia high School in 1987.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Resource for Paralegal Students Launched

Best Paralegal Schools recently lauched their website,, which aims to provide online resources to students searching for paralegal training programs. Best Paralegal Schools allows students to compare paralegal degrees and request information from schools that interest them.

Students will also find articles about various paralegal education options available to them -- from online paralegal training courses to traditional campus programs. Best Paralegal Schools will give prospective students a good idea of what they can expect from paralegal courses, how to choose the best paralegal program, and whether they should pursue paralegal certification.

Monday, November 3, 2008

"Licensed Paralegal" Is a Liar

Remember the "licensed paralegal" who is a juror in the Ted Stevens case? She pulled a disappearing act, claiming that her father had died. In reality, the juror, Marian Hinnant, 52, went to the Breeders Cup races. And yes, her father is alive and well.

I don't know why she's being described as a "licensed" paralegal, when no such animal exists in the United States. Nor do I think she should be a paralegal of any sort, given her disregard for the judicial system. As paralegals, we help uphold the judicial system, not undermine it by causing a trial to be put on hold so we can play the ponies.