Thursday, January 29, 2009

S.F. Public Defender Begs for Two Paralegals

Unless San Francisco hires more paralegals, Public Defender Jeff Adachi said that he will have to turn away defendants accused of homicide and other felonies, and he will refer them to private attorneys. Private attorneys will charge the city up to $120 per hour, which could cost San Francisco over $1 million a year.

Adachi has previously requested $50,000 for two part-time paralegals, but the request was rejected by the mayor and the Board of Supervisors. Adachi needs the resources to properly defend clients.

(Source: San Francisco Chronicle)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Legal Background Leads to Success in Pest Control Industry


Cindy Lee Doe, President and CEO of Central Exterminating Company, has been recognized by Cambridge Who's Who for showing dedication, leadership and excellence in all aspects of her field, with over 30 years' experience in legal services.

Doe has over 30 years of professional experience in managing business-related legal issues. As CEO and President of Central Exterminating Company, she is responsible for overseeing all operations of the company. She is located at the headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio, but oversees all of the offices located in Ohio. She received an Associates Degree in Paralegal Studies from The Paralegal Institute and is a supporter of Goodwill Industries International, Inc., Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and many other charitable foundations. Doe credits her success to her background knowledge of the legal industry, which helped her to reach her goal of becoming the Chief Executive Officer of the Central Exterminating Company.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Practice of Law Definition Hits New Roadblock

Hawaii state Attorney General Mark J. Bennett is speaking out against the revised rules concerning the definition of practice of law, dealing a fresh blow to the Hawaii State Bar Association's efforts.

Last month, the bar association submitted a revised draft of the new definition of the practice of law, after accountants, insurance agents, real estate brokers, and other professionals accused lawyers of trying to steal their work. The new draft makes a point of saying that the definition should not restrict anyone from doing their usual business; however, Bennett cannot support the revised rules because they are full of exceptions and exclusions that are overly broad, ambiguous, or quite simply "do not make sense."

The new draft 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.

There are other exemptions for individuals who choose to represent themselves in court, who participate in labor negotiations and arbitrations or who lobby at the Legislature.


The proposed rules are available on the Hawaii State Judiciary’s Web site at www.courts.state.hi.us.


(Source: Pacific Business News (Honolulu))

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Wave Software Launches Wave University Webinars

Wave Software has announced the launch of Wave University. Wave University will provide free educational opportunities through educational webinars, "lunch and learn" series, and software training webinars.

“Cutting the High Cost of eDiscovery Through Reliable Processes, People and Tools” will be presented by Dan Regard, Managing Director at Intelligent Discovery Solutions, Inc. The one-hour presentation will focus on reliable processes, people, and tools that help cut the escalating costs of e-discovery. Mr. Regard will also discuss Rule 702, qualification of an expert, and the scientific method as referenced by Judge Facciola.

The webinar is scheduled for January 28, 2009 at 2:00 PM Eastern time. Registration is free and open to all participants. To sign up and reserve your webinar seat, go to https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/443440278.

City Clerk Returns to Paralegal Career

Papillion, Nebraska City Clerk Jennifer Niemer has resigned after almost seven years of service. Previously a general litigation paralegal, Niemer plans to return to paralegal work, this time in the corporate arena. Niemer credits her legal background as being very helpful for the position of city clerk.

(Source: Papillion Times)


One Legal Expands Online Court Filing to Five Additional States

One Legal LLC has announced the expansion of its online court filing service to five additional states. Legal professionals can now upload documents to OneLegal.com and have those documents filed in select courts in California, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, and Washington.

OneLegal.com simplifies the court document filing process by enabling legal professionals to file court documents, pay court fees, and receive confirmation from their computers. It removes the burden of printing, sorting, and preparing documents by hand. Court fees are advanced on behalf of customers, and documents are hand-delivered as quickly as the same day to avoid missing deadlines. Order status is available online, and file-stamped confirmation pages are sent to customers after every filing.

In addition to court filing, One Legal currently offers court research, document retrieval, and process serving nationally and eFiling and eService in select courts in California and Texas.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

McAffe & Taft Names New Paralegal

McAfee & Taft names J. Lynn McKay paralegal. She is a certified paralegal and will be responsible for assisting attorneys in the firm’s tax and family wealth group in matters related to wills, trusts, estate taxes, gift taxes and probate law. McAfee & Taft is one of the largest law firms in the Southwest with offices in both Oklahoma City and Tulsa.


(Source: NewsOK.com)



Friday, January 23, 2009

Top Employment Law Issues for Paralegals

According to this article from The Legal Intelligencer, the most common areas of employment litigation involving paralegals include failure to pay overtime, sexual harassment, violation of family and medical leave laws, and retaliation against whistleblowers.

  1. Overtime Pay. The bottom line is that non-supervisory paralegals should get paid overtime for all hours worked over 40 hours per week.
  2. Sexual Harassment. Sexual harassment typically takes two forms: quid pro quo sexual harassment, where the paralegal's terms of employment are contingent upon complying with a supervisor's sexual requests and come-ons, and "hostile work environment" harassment, where unwelcome severe or pervasive mistreatment is based on the employee's gender and adversely changes the tersm and conditions of employment. Paralegals are protected against retaliation for filing a reasonable, good faith complaint of harassment.
  3. Medical and Maternity Leave. Paralegals who work for a law firm with 50 or more employees within 75 miles of the employee's worksite may be eligible for family and medical leave protection under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which also provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year for a birth or adoption, or to care for a family member's serious illness or the employee's own serious health condition. Employees are eligible after 12 months of continuous employment, so long as they have worked 1,250 hours during the previous 12 months.
  4. Whistleblowing. Various state and federal laws provide limited protection to employees who expose unlawful conduct.


(Source:Law.com)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Paralegal Layoff Watch: Cooley Axes 52 Lawyers, 62 Staff

The layoffs keep coming. Cooley Godward Kronish axed 52 lawyers and 62 staff yesterday, citing the economy. The practice areas most affected by the layoffs are corporate, transactional, and public securities.

However, Cooley just finished up a strong year, with 14 percent growth in revenue. Profits per partner were down 7 percent, though.

(Source: Law.com)

Think you might be the next to go? Read Top Five Ways to Prepare for Layoffs.

Free Live Webcast on Electronic Signature Case Law Review

Silanis Technology will co-host a free, live webcast with law firm Locke Lord Bisell & Lidell LLP to review the latest case law and lessons learned involving business contracts executed with electronic signature technology. The 60-minute webcast will take place on Thursday, January 29 at 2:00 pm (EST) and focus on how to reduce contract disputes and strengthen the enforceability of electronically signed records by automating the enforcement of regulatory requirements and the capture of strong legal evidence.

While the E-SIGN Act was passed into legislation nearly 10 years ago giving electronically signed records the same legal validity as their pen and paper counterparts, it is no guarantee that the records will be admitted into court as evidence, or that electronically signed records will provide the needed defense to ensure a positive outcome in the event of litigation.

Following a brief overview of e-signature legislation and lessons learned from recent court cases, webcast participants will learn:
  • How to automate the enforcement of regulatory requirements and ensure that no information or step in the document review and signing process are missed;

  • How an electronic process can help individuals to better understand contract terms and that they are entering into a binding agreement;

  • What information can be captured along with the electronically signed document to create stronger evidence than currently available with paper documents; and

  • How to store the electronic evidence in a format that can be easily presented, reviewed, and understood in a court of law.

To register for the webcast, visit Silanis' website at:
http://www.silanis.com/caselawreview.html.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Top Five Ways to Prepare for Layoffs

Paralegals are not recession-proof, and the recent layoffs at firms across the United States, even at firms that made a profit, only drive that point home. When the writing is on the wall, and it's only a matter of time until the dreaded pink slip lands on your desk, it helps to be prepared. (And as paralegals, we know all about being prepared.)

  1. Update your resume. Right now, before the axe falls, because the last thing you are going to want to do is hunker down at your computer and try to think of your accomplishments.
  2. Clean up your office. This doesn't mean walk out today with a big box of all your stuff, but do start bringing your non-essential items home: books you're not using, the extra pair of shoes under your desk. If anyone asks, you're streamlining to get ready for the next big project.
  3. Get a USB thumb drive. Back up anything personal that's on your work computer, and if you need to work on personal matters at the office, save it to the thumb drive. You may not have access to the computer system after you're let go.
  4. Update your professional address book. After the axe falls and you've regrouped, you're going to want to contact everyone in it.
  5. Create a post-layoff budget. Know how long you can be out of work for before your savings run out, and see where you can cut costs. This isn't something you're going to want to do after the layoff.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Litworks Announces Certified Litigation Support Project Manager Course

LitWorks has added a Certified Litigation Support Project Manager course to their existing training catalog. The three-day course, offered to litigation support professionals with three or more years of industry experience, is focused on improving project management skills. Attendees will receive checklists, templates and real-world resources to manage their litigation support projects more effectively in today’s fast-paced, high-risk litigation environment.

The first LitWorks Certified Litigation Support Manager Course will be held March 9-13, 2009. To register or for more information, visit www.LitWorks.net.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Evans Elected Paralegal of the Year in Cumberland County

Wanda Evans was recently elected Paralegal of the Year by the Cumberland County Paralegal Association. Evans is a paralegal with the law firm of McCauley & Person LLP.


(Source: FayObserver.com)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Paralegal Named Chief Magistrate

Traci Carper-Strickland has been appointed as Kanawha County, West Virginia's Chief Magistrate. Carper-Strickland was appointed as a magistrate in 1999 after the death of Magistrate Chuck Ferrell, then was elected in 2000 and served a four-year term. In 2007, she was appointed again to fill a vacant seat after Magistrate Janie Moore resigned. Carper-Strickland was elected to another four-year term in 2008.

Carper-Strickland was a paralegal before taking over all the juvenile proceedings in the county prosecutor's office. She managed approximately 450 active files.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Legal Secretaries Find Paralegal Doors Shut

In this economy, it's very tempting to take a legal secretary position after being laid off, in hopes of being promoted to a paralegal position in the same firm.

Don't.

Most firms would rather lose their top employees than allow them to reach their potential, probably because said top employees are just too good at their current jobs, or because most lawyers don't want to interview and train replacements. That's right; the reward for excelling at your job in a law firm is stagnancy.

It's a lead ceiling, according to The Assistant at Law. That lead ceiling rarely cracks, and when it does, it has nothing to do with talent.

Promotions, we learn, are achieved only through coercion, pity or medical necessity. Qualifications don't enter into it.


It's a sad statement when initiative, intelligence, and qualifications are rewarded with nothing but a verbal pat on the head.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Peak Discovery Releases Upgrade to Peak Review Metrics

Peak Discovery, Inc. has released an enhanced upgrade to its proprietary software, Peak Review Metrics. Peak Review Metrics measures and reports on essential data in the document review process through extracting data from the document review system and combining it with time and billing information to generate metrics for individual reviewers and the group. It is available for free on suitable projects staffed through Peak Discovery.

The upgrade enhancements made to Peak Review Metrics allow attorneys and litigation teams access to proprietary software which provides accuracy and productivity insight into the document review process. Peak Review Metrics acts as a dashboard to provide multiple reporting functions to track individual and group metrics. Since it is adaptable to almost any document review platform, it provides a historical perspective, quickens decision making, improves productivity and gives law firms and corporate legal departments cost control and real-time metrics. With Peak Review Metrics, reviewer performance, project management, quality control and project duration can all be observed and controlled resulting in large time and cost savings.

Peak Review Metrics automated reporting function saves time and reduces overhead. There are many standard reports available and additional reports can be created based on a combination of metrics. Some of the reports included are: a Reviewer Metrics Report, which views accuracy and performance metrics for each individual reviewer; Activity Metrics Report, which tracks the speed, performance and accuracy based on details; Tag Metrics Report, which identifies tags by reviewer, time and bates range; Source Metrics Report, which tracks the chain of custody; and a Project Cost Report, which breaks down the cost by task, reviewer, hourly rate and total hours.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Service Member of the Year Is a Paralegal

The Service Member of the Year for fiscal year 2008 is Pfc. Alicia Lyman who serves as a paralegal for the 206th Military Intelligence Battalion. Lyman is originally from Naples, N.Y. and has been stationed at Fort Gordon since November 2007. She has always volunteered for additional work to help others. She is a to- tally poised, mature and dedicated Soldier. Future plans include attending the University of Tampa for Rerserve Officer Training Corps in fall 2009, attending law school, and applying to become a Judge Advocate General Corps officer. When asked why she decided to join the Army, she said she enjoys adventure and being active.


(Source: Fort Gordon Signal)

Friday, January 9, 2009

Being a Paralegal Tops Being a Lawyer

The Voice that tells me I should have gone to law school just got very quiet. CareerCast.com ranked "Paralegal Assistants" as having the 17th top job, out of the top 200 jobs. Lawyers ranked at 82nd. While lawyers rake in an average of $109,207, compared to a paralegal's $46,155, being an attorney comes with enough stress and anxiety to bring the rating down to 82nd place.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

D.C. Firm Gets a Name Change

The Washington law firm formerly known as Leventhal Senter & Lerman will now be known as Lerman Senter PLLC.

The best part in this economy:

[Steven] Lerman, who has been the firm’s manager since 2000, says the rest of Lerman Senter remains intact. “Our entire legal team is staying - no staff member, no paralegal is leaving - everybody is staying. There’ll be no change whatsoever. The firm is 99 percent the same.”


(Source: The BLT)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Dagger Soldier Earns Honors as Fort Riley Paralegal Soldier of Year

BAGHDAD - A Multi-National Division Soldier from the 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team "Dagger", 1st Infantry Division, won 1st place in the annual Fort Riley, Kan., Paralegal Soldier of the Year competition at the 1st Inf. Div. headquarters building via video teleconference from Camp Victory.

Spc. Nickolas Heystek, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd HBCT, a paralegal specialist, who is a native of Kalamazoo, Mich., competed against three other Soldiers in the brigade to determine who was fit as the most knowledgeable junior paralegal Soldier in the division.



(Source: News Blaze)

Monday, January 5, 2009

Paralegal Turns Bankruptcy Into Cottage Industry

Victoria Ring sits atop the virtual bankruptcy world.

For many years, she worked as a paralegal for various local attorneys, eventually landing with several prominent bankruptcy lawyers in Central Ohio. It was during this time Ring realized she could input a debtor’s data into a bankruptcy petition from anywhere in the United States, freeing her from the constant interruptions she endured when working in a law office and letting her work for attorneys outside Columbus and Central Ohio.

When word began spreading about what she was doing, other lawyers sought her out. Ring was soon preparing those labor and data-intensive bankruptcy documents for 56 attorneys from across the U.S.


In 1988, Victoria Ring developed 713Training.com LLC, which includes a website to teach attorneys, paralegals, and virtual assistants how to prepare bankruptcy petitions over the Internet. Bankruptcy Court rules dictate that all documents must be filed electronically, and educating people about how to accurately enter data into those forms made sense, said Ring.

She coined the job title Virtual Bankruptcy Assistant. To guide candidates wishing to become bankruptcy assistants, Ring penned five books, 10 electronic books and 15 training videos while also founding the National Association of Virtual Bankruptcy Assistants.

The materials were a success, she said, and when some bankruptcy assistants told her they wanted a way to promote themselves as certified professionals, Ring, 51, created a curriculum and a certification exam.

She recently expanded her endeavor by establishing 713Attorney.com LLC, a business providing technical support and training to debtor attorneys.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

License Commission Paralegal Recognized

It's always nice to see a paralegal recognized for doing a good job:

The 12 pages listed details about nearly 200 bars, restaurants, package stores and other establishments seeking liquor license renewals from the Springfield License Commission on Monday.

For each license-holder, listings showed the owner's name and the name under which the establishment does business - for example, "Karjak Inc." is the owner of "Alumni Club."

Additional details for each establishment included the type of license, manager's name, street address, whether taxes were paid and problems why a renewal application was lacking.

The commission gave a round of applause at City Hall to Andrea L. Stone, the License Commission's paralegal, for compiling the list.

"Thank you, Andrea, for putting together a neat and orderly package," Chairman Peter L. Sygnator said.


(Source: MassLive.com)