NFPA Scholarship Applications Due by July 1

Apply for a Paralegal Scholarship
NFPA is now accepting applications for our annual scholarships, sponsored by Thomson Reuters and the Paralegal Education Group.
The NFPA/Thomson Reuters Scholarship will award a total of $5,000 to two paralegal students. The PCCE and PACE scholarships, sponsored by the Paralegal Education Group, cover the costs of a review manual, a PEG online review course and the exam fee for either the PACE or the PCCE.
All completed applications must be post-marked by July 1 in order to be considered.

Second Edition Suggestions

I’m working on the second edition of the first The Empowered Paralegal book. Your suggestions will be appreciated. You can make them by commenting here, sending me a message on the TEP Facebook page, or email theempoweredparalegal@live.com.

In addition to updating the first editions, present plans include:
> A new chapter, “The History of the Paralegal Profession.”
> A new chapter, “Managing ADR.”
> A new chapter, “Managing Social Media.”
> A new chapter or extended section of the “Managing Your Clients” on working with elder clients.
> A new chapter on paralegal ethics.

An Important and Well-written Rallying Cry

Jamie Collins wrote “A Rallying Cry Against Rogue Paralegals” posted on The Paralegal Society webpage. Here’s her motivation quoted from the article:
For starters, I believe 99% of paralegals are ethical people, who do their jobs with integrity, and do it well. …

Aside from the aforementioned 99%, the remaining (incredibly loosely estimated) 1% of paralegals, it seems, may consist of some shifty folks who tend to straddle the ethical lines. I write this post today as a rallying cry to ALL paralegals across the United States. I’m talking to every paralegal reading this post who gives a damn about the profession and our reputation as “paralegals.”

It is, as I say in the title of this post, both important for the paralegal profession and well-written. Please take the time to read it.

Wow! 46 years. Congratulations on your retirement!

Fort Washington-Based Paralegal Retires After 46-Year Career
“Pat believes and lives with a purpose and a dedication that helps improve everyone around her, and these qualities are palpable.”
FMI: https://patch.com/pennsylvania/plymouthwhitemarsh/fort-washington-based-paralegal-retires-after-46-year-career

Scholarship News from NFPA

NFPA is now accepting applications for our 2017 NFPA/Thomson Reuters Scholarships. All completed applications must be post-marked by July 1 in order to be considered.
There are two scholarships: first place scholarship is $3000 and second place scholarship is $2000. They will be awarded at the NFPA Annual Convention in New Orleans in October. Winners will be announced by September 15. This has always been a great way for our students to earn scholarship money for their paralegal education! Those applying do not need to be a member of NFPA. Remind students to follow the instructions for the deadline and documents required for the application packet, along with the essay.
Download the Thomson Reuters Scholarship Application
Additional information, including the application and judging criteria for all NFPA awards is available on the Awards and Scholarships page of the website.
Get more information about NFPA awards and scholarships!
On another note, if you have an current students or graduates who are interested in taking PACE or PCCE exams, there are also scholarships, but applications must be a member of NFPA (can be member through their local paralegal association who is a member of NFPA).
The link can be found at http://www.paralegals.org./ The scholarship links are under the Announcements section on the home page. For these scholarships, click on either the 2017 PACE Scholarship or 2017 PCCE Scholarship.

Best of luck to your students! If you have questions, contact Beth King, RP, at Education_coord@paralegals.org.

ASLP Use Increasing

Via Chere Estrin at The Estrin Report we have this article, Law Firms Increasingly Using Alternative Legal Service Providers.  by Tami Kamin Meyers for Progressive Law Practice.

The premise for the article is this: “According to a new study (PDF) recently released by Thomson Reuters, Georgetown University Law Center’s Center for the Study of the Legal Profession and the University of Oxford Said Business School, more than half of large law firms and 60% of corporate law departments say they utilize alternative legal service providers (ASLP) to assist them with their burgeoning caseloads.” It’s an interesting read.

Washington State LLLT Program is working!

At least according to this from the ABAJournal.com:

Despite kinks in program, nonlawyers are successfully providing some legal services in Washington

Limited license legal technicians in the state of Washington are succeeding at helping clients who can’t afford a lawyer while staying within their limits as practitioners, a new study has found.

Conducted by the American Bar Foundation and the National Center for State Courts with support from the Public Welfare Foundation, the study (PDF) evaluates Washington’s LLLT program. The program permits nonlawyers who earn an LLLT credential to help clients with lower-level legal tasks without the supervision of a lawyer, as the ABA Journal reported in January of 2015.

Currently, Washington is the only state offering this kind of license, although Utah is working on a similar program for professionals called Paralegal Practitioners. Washington’s first LLLT class took the licensing exam two years ago. All of those LLLTs are licensed in family law; the state of Washington plans to expand training to other practice areas. LLLTs help fill out forms and explain legal procedures to clients. They may not represent their clients in court or in negotiations with opposing parties.

For more on this study: Complete ABAJournal post. The bottom line is the last line: The program, the study concluded, “should be replicated in other states to improve access to justice.”

Utah Approves Limited Paralegal Practitioners

According to The Salt Lake Tribune, “[T]he Utah Supreme Court has approved the creation of a new legal profession: limited paralegal practitioners. An LPP, or paraprofessional, will have more training and responsibilities than a normal paralegal, but is not quite a lawyer. The paraprofessional will be able to help the public in those areas where Utahns generally aren’t hiring lawyers.”

The reasoning behind the new classification of licensing is similar to that behind programs adopted in other states: “”We recognize the valuable services that lawyers provide to their clients every day, in and out of court,” the report reads. “But the data shows that, even after years of effort with pro bono and low bono programs, a large number of people do not have a lawyer to help them. … The people facing these situations need correct information and advice. They need assistance.” Likewise, the biggest obstacle to success of the new program is the bar: “One of the biggest hurdles may be getting Utah lawyers to support the program. The task force report said 60 percent of lawyers recently surveyed by the Utah State Bar either disagreed or “strongly disagreed” with a proposal to explore limited licenses for certain practice areas.”

I look forward to scientific studies of the effects of these programs on access to justice and on the bar.

Sloppy or Misleading

I’ve posted several times about judicial reprimands for sloppy work. Indeed, there’s a “Consequences of Sloppiness” category. Above the Law notes a recent “benchslap” for sloppiness on the part of government in a post entitled, “Judge Loses Patience With Government’s Sloppy Work.” However, the article makes it clear that the judge’s concern went beyond mere sloppiness. She writes that the government exhibited a pattern of “sloppiness” that “in sum” the sloppiness “represents a systematic pattern of the Commission picking the wrong conclusion from the evidence.” If this is the case, the problem goes well beyond sloppiness to a matter of serious ethical concern.

There used to be a commercial in which the tag line was “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature>” The fact is that most judges are fairly intelligent. It’s not nice to attempt to fool them in this way and they are not likely to be fooled by it. The consequences may go well beyond the consequences of mere sloppiness.

According to an article at Examiner.com, “the South Carolina Supreme Court issued an Order which gives legitimacy to Rule 429 of the South Carolina Appellate Court Rules (SCACR) and creates the Board of Paralegal Certification where paralegals can voluntarily apply to become certified with the State of South Carolina. According to the Supreme Court, ‘The purpose of certification of South Carolina’s paralegals is to assist in the delivery of legal services to the public by identifying individuals who are qualified by education, training, and experience and who have demonstrated knowledge, skill, and proficiency to perform substantive legal work under the direction and supervision of a lawyer licensed in South Carolina.’ ”

There are a lot of reasons why this is good, most of which are well stated by the article (which at times reads more like an opinion column than just a news report,) “South Carolina has taken a huge step toward filling the gap to making legal services more affordable to the economically challenged. Hopefully, the future will be brighter for paralegals with degrees that are forced to compete with non-degreed paralegals for jobs while carrying the burden of an ever increasing student loan with aspirations of making their mark as a paralegal with a law firm or corporation. Today, many have found themselves hopeless in their never ending quest to find an employer that would recognize their talents and creativity in legal matters. South Carolina should be applauded for creating the Board of Paralegal Certification which may someday be like the program in the State of Washington which has Limited License Legal Technician (LLLT) who represent clients before judges in small claims, divorce, and probate proceedings. The State of California and several other states are seriously considering an LLLT program to bring the cost of legal services down and make it more affordable for those in need with very little resources.”