October 29th, 2013
There’s an old joke about the work of a first year associate being the equal of a highly paid proofreader. There’s just enough truth in it to be funny, so long as you’re not the first year associate in question. But the work itself is no laughing matter, as one firm discovered when an appellate court reversed its award of fees because “ambiguities in the offer prevent its enforceability.” The ambiguities? Misplaced apostrophes. Proofreading matters, says Kathy Sieckman, a paralegal and marketing director of NALS, the professional association for paralegals and legal secretaries. theNALSdocket
October 4th, 2013
Playing fantasy football can make you a better paralegal. What?, you say. Seriously? Rob Schwartz, Jr., thinks so. He hopes to one day be a lawyer. In the meantime, though, the parallels he draws between putting together a fantasy team and constructing a brief are nothing if not original. Writing before the start of the regular NFL season, Schwartz explains, “Throughout the last few weeks, I spent countless hours going over expert opinions on players and draft strategies. This is no different than reading case law or a judge’s opinion involving a court ruling. I had to sift out the opinions I found valid and create a logical reasoning for my plan of attack come draft day. This sounds similar to how paralegals and attorneys prepare evidence and precedent in order to develop a plan of attack for a big case or trial.” The Paralegal Society
September 29th, 2013
Taking a cue from the Six Word Festival on Twitter, Marquette University’s Law School faculty blog challenged students and professors alike to tell a law school or law related story in six words. The submissions started rolling in, and not only from Marquette, but elsewhere. Soon, other law schools and the ABA Journal jumped on the bandwagon, with their own six word law challenges. Some submissions spoke of their passion, such as this one: “Tirelessly devoted to representing the underdog.” Others, were humorous commentaries on law professors, “Legal writer, for sale, bores family.” And more than a few commented on the job market, “Don’t outsource, let our lawyers work.”
July 24th, 2013
The hiring outlook for paralegals is good and getting better, as the biggest firms are again adding staff, while smaller firms are discovering that an experienced paralegal can be more valuable than a green associate fresh out of school. But for entry-level paralegals, the job hunt can be as tough as ever.
Carl Morrison, a senior certified paralegal with Rhodes, Hieronymus, Jones, Tucker & Gable, says, “Besides networking and professional deportment recommendations, I always recommend those ‘beginners,’ seek out temporary employment.” Read the rest of this entry »
June 23rd, 2013
If you’ve eve been stuck looking for just the right word for an article, or help trying to figure out whether it’s “its” or “it’s” you’ve probably discovered there’s no shortage of sites offering help. Googling “grammar” or “thesaurus” turns up tens of thousands of results. But when you need help of a different sort — a colorful phrase, a specific statistic, or how to attract a bigger audience for your blog — finding it can be harder. Fortunately, there’s a handy one page list of resources for writers — amateur, business, and professional. Here you will find lists of sites organized by the kind of help they provide. The list is billed as “150 Resources to Help You Write Better, Faster, and More Persuasively.” Open Education Database
May 21st, 2013
You have a small law office or a solo practice. To keep expenses down, you do most everything yourself. Technology and outsourced services take care of the phones, scheduling, billing and collections, and the like. Sooner or later, as the practice grows, you’ll need to hire support staff. The question is: Do you hire an administrative assistant with legal experience, or a paralegal who can also help with the office work?
“Take an honest and objective look at the actual daily rate of productivity and production output from your law practice,” advises Prof. Annie G. Reed. A lawyer, she taught in a paralegal program at a junior college in Los Angeles. Read the rest of this entry »
April 28th, 2013
One of the most common — maybe even universal — skills requested of paralegals and law office administrative assistants is “excellent communication skills.” That’s probably true as well for admin staff in every occupation, but attorney Bryan Garner says the need is so much greater in law offices because, he explains, his colleagues suffer from Dunning-Kruger. Neither a disease nor a genetic disorder, it’s the notion among unskillful or unknowledgeable people that they believe themselves to be so much better than they really are. “Lawyers on the whole don’t write well,” says Garner, “and have no clue that they don’t write well.” Now you know why law office managers spend so much energy looking for support staff who know why “herein” should be struck from nearly every document they review. ABAJournal
March 28th, 2013
Does your firm need a paralegal or a legal assistant? Be careful how you answer that. Even though the ABA and the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALS) says the titles are interchangeable, there’s enough confusion that you could find yourself wading through a stack of resumes from great people applying for the opposite job you need done.
A blog post by a paralegal turned freelance writer sets the debate:”Paralegals have long tried to make a professional distinction from legal secretaries, and some believe that any title with the word “assistant” in it has clerical implications.”
Those on the sidelines of the debate, tend toward the clerical / practitioner distinction. Read the rest of this entry »
March 18th, 2013
Seven occupations accounted for more than 400,000 job postings last month, about one-sixth of all the new jobs that went online in February. These occupations, ranging from accountant to paralegal, are also those that will be among the fastest growing between now and the end of the decade.
The number of jobs for accountants will grow by 16%, says the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The need for paralegals will grow 16%. But the bigger winner will be medical assistants, where demand will increase a whopping 31%, or 163,000 new jobs .
Rounding out the seven are: Read the rest of this entry »
February 22nd, 2013
When it comes to news, advice, career help, and more, lawyers have it made. Every city of size has at least one legal publication, some of them only online, others still being printed. Every bar association, legal society, every major (and many regional) law firms, and hundreds of bloggers produce newsletters, articles, and other commentary by the truckload.
Alas, for the legal support professional, such resources are far scarcer. The National Federation of Paralegal Associations and the National Association of Legal Assistants are the leading nationwide organization offering training, certification, resources and the like for paralegals. Despite NALA’s name, it’s really for paralegals and those who do a paralegal’s job. There’s also the smaller American Alliance of Paralegals. Read the rest of this entry »