Archive for the ‘Networking’ Category

Legal Careers Rx for non-attorneys

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

Mariana Fradman, MBA Senior Real Estate Paralegal at Kaye Scholer LLP and NYCPA Treasurer, Mentor Program & CLE Chairperson (NYCPA is an exemplar of what paralegal associations can be. An excellent set of officers! Check it out even if you are not a New York City paralegal.) announced through the NYCPA LinkedIn discussion board a new LinkedIn Group:Legal Careers Rx for non-attorneys.

The announcement is brief, so I’ve included it all here:

In less than two weeks, over 900 paralegals joined the group. The group is about career strategies, job search techniques, resumes, workplace situations, stress/burnout, virtual paralegals, promotions & more.

NFPA Provides Webinar on Pro Bono Work: Register Now!

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

As frequently discussed here (see “Volunteering” category) pro bono work, of course, benefits the persons receiving the services and the public, but provides just as much if not more benefits to the paralegal performing the services in the form of experience, networking, fulfilling ethical requirements, and just plain feeling good about doing good as well as benefiting the paralegal profession. So I please to re-post this announcement posted by Theresa Prater on NFPA’s LinkedIn discussion board:

Announcement from National Federation of Paralegal Associations, Inc. – PRO BONO WEBINAR – MARCH 29 — REGISTRATION OPEN

Here is the link to the registration form for the first NFPA Pro Bono Webinar to be held on March 29: http://paralegals.org/displayemailforms.cfm?emailformnbr=175366

Our speaker is Michael Adler of Philadelphia, whose topic is “Meaningful Giving: The Benefits of Helping Others While Networking Through Pro Bono Work.” This is a wonderful opportunity to learn about networking opportunities while giving back. There is no CLE credit for this webinar.

This is a free event for NFPA members; there is a small charge for non-members. We hope to make pro bono webinars available throughout the coming year.

Paralegal is Children Champion

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

Sue Allen, a New Hampshire paralegal with 25 years of experience has been nominated as a Champion of Children according to this report. Her list of accomplishments and activites on behalf of children is indeed extensive. What caught my attention most was how many of those activities and accomplishments involved utilization of paralegal skills, even though she did not use them in the context of law.

Ms. Allen served on the Elementary Building Committee “dealing with deadlines.” She then moved onto the School Board where she “helped with negotiations.” Others are not so explicit but each of the activities clearly required use of her organizational, communication, people management, analyzing, prioritizin, planning, and other skills that are part of the typical professional paralegal’s toolkit.

Congratulations to Ms. Allen for the volunteer work she has done for children and for showing the paralegal profession in its best light.

As an aside, all this work and networking cannot but have helped her employer’s business. So the law office’s bottom line is improved by more than the simple utilization of her skills at the office. Perhaps this is one reason why she has been at the same firm for 25 years. I suspect there have been times when Ms. Allen’s outside activities have seeped into the office and interfered with her job activities. The smart law office recognizes the beneficial tradeoff and the good for the community, and encourages rather than discourages this type of volunteer commitment.

Texas Sized CLE + Networking for Paralegals

Saturday, February 13th, 2010

Angie F. Laird, ACP, TBLS, posted this invite on the Paralegal Today discussion forum:

YOU’RE INVITED!

The Southeast Texas Association of Paralegals (SETAP) is hosting its annual Spring seminar on April 9, 2010 at the MCM Eleganté Hotel & Conference Center in Beaumont, Texas. We have a full line-up of great speakers and topics. SETAP is an affiliate of the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA). Full attendance will qualify you for 6 hours of continuing legal education (CLE) credit toward the maintenance of your NALA certification. In addition, credit from the Texas Board of Legal Specialization (TBLS) will also be granted in various specialty areas of law.

Our seminar is being held in conjunction with the Texas Alliance of Paralegal Associations’ (TAPA) Conference that will be held the next day and attended by Presidents and Presidents-Elect of various paralegal associations across Texas.

Also, we are hosting a welcome social Friday evening after the seminar. Please join us for an evening of fun and entertainment! This will also be a great networking opportunity for you! We have chartered a bus to transfer us to and from the social. You won’t want to miss it!

All are invited to attend the seminar and the social. Go to www.tapa2010.webs.com for seminar and social details as well as the registration information.

Active, cooperative associations with events like these will go a long ways to establishing a professional identity for the paralegal profession.

Paralegal Profession Recognized by Tulsa County Bar Association

Sunday, February 7th, 2010

Lynne DeVenny at Practical Paralegalism notes that the Tulsa County Bar Association now allows paralegals who meet the Oklahoma Bar Association’s Minimum Qualification Standards for Legal Assistant/Paralegal to become associate members of the association. Lynne correctly notes, “This is a great opportunity for Tulsa paralegals and legal assistants to expand their professional network and educational opportunities.” More important, she states, this is an important recognition, “of the importance of its area paralegals and legal assistants.”

The latter is of the most significance to me, although I do not mean to minimize the networking and educational opportunities. The bar as all to often neglected to recognize not only the importance of paralegals, but the fact that paralegals are, like the lawyers themselves, part of the legal profession. Opening the bar association to paralegals allows the attorneys and paralegals who must work together as a legal team in the law office to associate together as the professionals they are.

One question that arises is whether this step would have been possible without the establishment in 2000 of the minimal qualification standards by the Oklahoma Bar Association. While such standards do not amount to licensing they do, at least, help establish the identity of paralegals as a profession.

Central Florida Paralegal Volunteering Follow-up.

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Cassie D. Snyder, CP, FRP (Certified Paralegal/Florida Registered Paralegal), Second Vice President & Editor of the FOCUS, and CFPA Yahoo Group Moderator provided me with information requested in my post yesterday regarding the Central Florida Paralegal Association’s request for volunteers. Here’s the low-down on the program:

CFPA assists each of the counties providing Teen Court in our general location in finding paralegal volunteers for this program to act as Jury Advisors to the teen jury they are assigned to for the evening.  These teen juries consist of legal magnet program students (who also act as the prosecution and defense attorneys) as well as teens serving out part of their punishment as a jury member for a specified number of juries.  The role of the Jury Advisor is to make sure that the jury renders a punishment in each case heard (usually 2 cases a night) that is a fair punishment and in line with the Teen Court guidelines.  In Seminole County, paralegals can actually take the training program to sit in as Judges (usually done by attorneys).  This opportunity is a great way to give back to the community as a paralegal and is very rewarding.  When I volunteered, I would even bring my teen daughter at the time to volunteer for her community service hours for high school.

Here is a link to the Orange County Teen Court Program – http://www.ninthcircuit.org/programs-services/teen-court/

Definitely a win/win/win on this one – good deeds, networking and useful experience!

Thanks, Cassie, for the fast and informative response.

Central Florida Paralegal Award and Volunteering

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

The Orlando Sentinel has several reports of interest. Here are two of them:

Annette L.S. Root, Florida Registered Paralegal with the Law Offices of Neal T. McShane, Orlando, has been awarded the 2009 Paralegal of the Year Award by the Central Florida Paralegal Association Inc.

Teen Court volunteers: The Central Florida Paralegal Association needs teen volunteers for its Teen Court program. Orange County volunteers meet Tuesday and Thursday evenings at the Juvenile Justice Center. Contact David Medvec at ctaddm1@ocnjcc.org. Osceola County volunteers meet Wednesdays at the Osceola County Courthouse. Contact Angie Martinez at ctadam1@ocnjcc.org. Seminole County volunteers meet Tuesdays at the Juvenile Justice Center in Sanford. Contact Alison Mikel at 407-665-5364 or amikel@seminolecountyfl.gov.

Congratulations to both Annette and CFPA.  Annette is, by virtue of the award, an uncommon person. CFPA’a involvement in volunteer programs is, fortunately, not uncommon for paralegal professional associations. This program appears to be a particular good opportunity to volunteer and network – a win/win situation for sure. I’m particularly partial to programs that focus on teenagers. I’d be interested in more details on this program as there is no indication in the story as to what the program does (although some intelligent guesses can be made) or what the teen volunteers are volunteering to do.

While I’m Away

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

Tomorrow I head to Portland, Oregon, for the American Association for Paralegal Education national conference. On Friday night we are having a joint event with NFPA that should be particularly interesting. This is my first time attending and presenting at an AAfPE national conference, so I do not know whether and when I will be able to post, but if it is at all like ABA or ATLA meetings, I should be able to at least post on the proceedings.

One topic discussed several times on this blog and I suspect will be discussed at the conference is pro bono work as a means of giving back to the profession and community while benefiting by the networking. Along that line is this from Reuters:

Peirce College and Burlington County College will host a Professional Networking Reception and Panel Discussion for paralegals on Thursday, October 29 on the Burlington County College Mt. Laurel Campus.

Professionals from the legal community will discuss the personal and
professional benefits of working with local Pro Bono and Public Interest Law
organizations. The keynote speaker is Jill Friedman, Director of Pro Bono and
Public Interest Programs, Rutgers School of Law in Camden, NJ.

Peirce College is co-sponsoring the event for the College`s undergraduate
Paralegal Studies students and other interested professionals. “Our goal is to
communicate the personal and professional benefits of volunteering with a public interest or pro bono organization,” says Cynthia Gentile, J.D., Assistant
Professor, Legal Studies at Peirce College.

On the professional side, “We want to show them how they can get their foot in the door. From a personal perspective, we want to demonstrate the benefits of volunteering, especially during these difficult economic times, when the need for more pro bono volunteers is even greater.”

Our program here at Ole Miss is currently working on providing a formal channel for pro bono work through a legal clinic and other volunteering opportunities for our students. Paralegal educators want their students to know what profession paralegals already know: when paralegals volunteer to meet pro bono and public interest needs, everyone wins.

A Lot Happening in Catawba Valley

Friday, September 18th, 2009

Judge Nancy Gordon writes in the Catawba Valley Paralegal Association Inc.’s July 2009 Para Sight

The concept of pro bono publico (1) goes way back in our profession. It has long been understood by lawyers that our unique access to the legal system imposes an obligation to help those who are disadvantaged gain access to that system. Arguably, it is our obligation to provide pro bono services, as set forth in the Preamble to our
Code of Ethics,(2) that makes the practice of law a profession and not merely a business.

In addition to the substantial pro bono services provided by individual section members and their law firms, each year the North Carolina Bar Association Family Law Section Council selects a pro bono project that the section collectively supports.

………….

We will also be happy to put you to work in our pro bono outreach project.

It probably seems that I’m going on and on about volunteering both as an opportunity to satisfy ethical obligations and opportunity for networking especially since I just posted on a NYCPA opportunity. And I am, because in most cases these opportunities are rare chances to “double up” – you can do right and do yourself some good at the same time. In this instance, the volunteer opportunity assists both pets and victims of domestic violence while networking with members of the Family Section of the bar.  Paralegals interested in entering or advancing in Family Law may find their next employer on this project. Best of all, it feels good to do good. When you feel good about yourself, it’s easier for the professional in you to stand out.

By the way, the Para Sight also shows some of the other ways that a professional association can benefit the profession and the individual members. This issue contains information about a Bankruptcy CPE presentation to the organization, a monthly community outreach program, a social event, an Employment Law CPE opportunity, resources for paralegals, and more. This association appears to be a very active group.

Volunteer Opportunity for NYCPA Members

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

Marianna Fradman of Real Estate Paralegal at Blank Rome LLP posts on the NFPA Linkedin webpage, a paralegal volunteering opportunity in the Safe Horizon Domestic Violence Law Project:

Day Time Pro-Bono Paralegal Volunteer Opportunity for NYCPA members
Safe Horizon Domestic Violence Law Project
Day Time Pro-Bono Paralegal Volunteer Opportunity
New York City Paralegal Association Members are welcome to apply.

Background:
• The Safe Horizon Domestic Violence Law Project (DVLP) provides Legal Information, Advocacy, and Representation to Low-Income and Indigent Victims of Domestic Violence, in Family Justice Proceedings within New York City.
• Family Justice Proceedings Include: Order of Protection, Custody, Visitation, Support, and Divorce Cases.
• DVLP Staff Members also Provide Basic Legal Information and Referrals via a Legal Intake Line.

Project Requirements:
• Volunteer Paralegal should have Knowledge of or Willingness to Learn Family Law and Domestic Violence Related Issues.
• Required Experience: One Year Legal Work Experience, Family Law Experience Preferred.
• Responsibilities Include: Filing Legal Documents in Court, Assisting with Trial Preparation and Discovery Requests, Proofreading Legal Documents, Cite Checking, Preparing Correspondence, Transcribing Recordings, and Assisting Clients with Uncontested Divorce Cases.
• Scheduling/Location: One Day a Week, Five Hours, in Brooklyn, New York (Day Time Only)
• No College Credit nor Stipend Offered (Credit Towards a Graduate School Clinic available)

I have previously posted here regarding the important role volunteering plays in satisfying a paralegal’s ethical obligation to “serve the public interest by contributing to the improvement of the legal system and delivery of quality legal services, including pro bono pubilco services,” (NFPA Model Code of Ethics, Rule 1.4) and the networking benefits. This one looks as thought it would also be a good addition to a resume and provide invaluable experience.

It is good to see these opportunities posted, but you do not have to wait for them. Often they can be created by paralegals seeking to volunteer, network and gain useful experience. Look around, be creative and approach organizations in need of help.