Archive for June, 2011

Paralegals to Help Filipinos in Dubai.

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

Paralegalism takes on identities quite different than that exemplified here in the United States, as can be seen in the posts in the “International Paralegalism” category. However, the role of paralegals as persons who can assist in providing access to justice to those in need remains consistent. Here’s another example, this time from Dubai, published originally in The National

Paralegal ‘first aid’ builds a base for Filipinos to know rights
Ramona Ruiz

DUBAI // Filipinos facing legal and employment-related problems will soon be able to turn to a team of paralegal volunteers for help.

A series of paralegal training workshops starting on Friday in Dubai aims to educate Filipinos about their rights, the labour laws, the Filipino Migrant Workers Act and the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.

“Our main aim is to form the first paralegal team in the UAE, who will make our compatriots understand their cases better,” said Nhel Morona, the secretary general of migrant rights group Migrante-UAE. “This team will explain the local laws and ways to address their problems and concerns.”

The organisers, Migrante-UAE and the women’s rights group Gabriela-UAE, are targeting leaders and members of the Filipino community to be part of this pool of paralegal volunteers.

For the rest of the story click on the link for The National above.

Paralegal Group Discussion Question: Why Did You Become a Paralegal?

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

An archived Paralegal Group LinkedIn discussion thread asks, “Why Did You Become a Paralegal?” The thread started by Karen George, FRP, posting the question as quoted in full below. There are several good responses posted and I was going to copy all or parts of those posted by Chere Estrin of The Estrin Report, KNOW: The Magazine for Paralegals, and several other publications and organizations, and Linda Whipple, FRP, a paralegal for some 36 years who I’ve quoted before, but according to the thread Chere is likely to write about this in KNOW soon with permission from Linda to include her thoughts, so I won’t blatantly steal that thunder. Instead, I recommend you (1) read the discussion thread, (2) read Chere’s article when it comes out in KNOW, and (3) add your comments by posting here or emailing me (The Paralegal Group is now an open group, but the discussion thread is from about a month ago and appears to be “read only.”) [BTW: Chere also contributed an article on the history of paralegals to The Empowered Paralegal Professionalism Anthology now set for publication.]

Here’s Karen George’s original question:

I was talking to some friends today and one is a nurse. She is proceeding with her education in nursing and had to write a 750 word essay on “why do you want to be a nurse”. She read me the essay and it struck me; why did I become a paralegal? Could I write a 750 word essay on the subject?
We read so many posts from paralegals who can’t find jobs, are thinking of leaving the legal field to go into something else so they can get a job. Then we have paralegals who have invested tens of thousands of dollars in education to get certificates, associates degress and bachelor degrees in paralegal. Some even have gotten Masters degrees in paralegal studies. Why not a JD and pass the Bar?
But really, why did YOU decide to become a paralegal? Was it a calling? What was the compulsion to invest so much money in this particular profession?
In Florida as paralegals all that we do, study, get registered as FRPs, take either the NALA certification for CP or NFPA certification for RP, is voluntary, completely voluntary.
So I pose the question to you, all you paralegals out there; Why did you become a paralegal?
It should be interesting to see the answers and maybe help me come up with an answer myself.

Do Not Do This.

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

I’ve done several posts here on the paralegal’s responsibility when  confronted with “bad” (unethical) behavior by the attorneys for whom they work and make several suggestions as to how to handle that responsibility. Today I’m simply going to copy a post from and say, “Don Not Do This.” Ever. No matter what.

Rising Star’ in NJ Bar Charged in Hit-and-Run; Legal Assistant

Initially Took the Blame for Crash


If it even begins to sound like a good idea, call or email me.

Defining Professionalism

Friday, June 24th, 2011

Judge Larry Primeaux posts today on his Chancery Court blog on a post on The Legal Ethics Forum. While it relates to lawyers, its applicable to paralegals as well. Defining professionalism (or even a profession) is not easy and is the subject of The Paralegal Professionalism Anthology which is on the way to the printers and should be available from the publisher soon, as well as a key part of The Empowered Paralegal: Effective, Efficient, and Professional and many posts here.  While the Judge does a good job of summarizing the original post, it is well worth clicking through to the original for a take on professionalism that is not often discussed.

Here’s Judge Primeaux’s post:

The Legal Ethics Forum has a thought-provoking post about a study in Minneapolis in which lawyers were called upon to define professionalism by identifying lawyers they considered exemplars, and by identifying the traits they displayed.  ” … [T]hese exemplars talked about a way of being, of acquiring habits of reflection and soul searching, of questioning their personal assumptions about how to be an effective lawyer, or how to lead other lawyers.”  It’s an interesting addition to the concept of professionalism.

NOLA Discussion:The Importance of a Paralegal Certificate in Louisiana

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

Paralegal Gateway notes that the New Orleans Paralegal Association Annual Dinner will feature a talk entitled “Why Does Your Paralegal Certificate Matter?” This is an important topic everywhere, but especially important given previous posts here regarding alleged and real paralegals in Jefferson Parish. Here’s the rest of the information provided by Paralegal Gateway:”

JEFFERSON PARISH ATTORNEY DEBORAH FOSHEE will address why your training and certification matters in the rapidly evolving Paralegal Profession during our annual Summer Dinner Meeting set for July 21, 2011.

This year’s venue is Landry’s on Lake Ponchartrain and will once again feature a silent auction of luxury items donated by members, vendors and sponsors. Dinner priced at $35 will include a non-alcoholic drink, your choice of entre, salad, garlic bread and desert. Please RSVP to Karen Seghers at no later than noon on July 20, 2011 at


Why an Attorney Should Hire a Paralegal

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

Linda McGrath Cruz has posted her reasons on the Know: The Magazine for Paralegals”LinkedIn group board:

•Frees up attorney time to handle more complex cases and serve more clients.

•Allows the attorney to accept a large volume of cases thereby increasing revenue.
•Paralegals can perform quality legal services to the client at a lower cost to the client.
•Allows the attorney to market his or her legal services as being progressive and efficient.
•The paralegal is generally available to meet with the clients when the attorney is unavailable or when the attorney’s presence is not necessary.
•Allows more time for the attorney to meet mandatory continuing education requirements and to keep abreast of new or repealed laws and reported cases.
•Allows the attorney to accept pro bono cases or represent clients or to represent clients in noteworthy cases.

Elizabeth Stallings added this:

Paralegals frequently play a large role in ensuring that deadlines are met on a timely basis.
Clients sometimes feel more comfortable communicating with paralegals because paralegals can cut through legal jargon and express ideas in a way that those unfamiliar with the law can understand.

Linda and I both ask, “What do you think? Do you have other ideas to add?”

NFPA Scholarship Deadline

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

I often post on the benefits of belonging to paralegal professional associations. There are benefits to the members, the association as a whole and often to the public. This post is just to illustrate the point by passing along a post made by Theresa A. Prater, RP on the NFPA LinkedIn group board:

Group: National Federation of Paralegal Associations, Inc.
Subject: Announcement from National Federation of Paralegal Associations, Inc. – SCHOLARSHIP DEADLINE 7-1-11

A reminder to students in this group — the deadline to apply for one of two NFPA/Thomson Reuters Scholarships is JULY 1, 2011. Application and essay topic are located at:

Scroll down to Thomson/Reuters Scholarships for the PDF of the application and the essay topic.

Jouben on Status of Regulation in Florida

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Among the many people not doing nothing while I’ve been otherwise engage is Elona Jouben who passed on an email dated 05/30 stating, “The effort to regulate paralegals in Florida was voted down by the PEC at last Thursday’s meeting in Key West. No changes to the current program were made and so the voluntary registered paralegal program will continue.” Elona reports this as “good news.” Of course, not everyone agrees with her assessment, but it should be noted that Elona wrote her thesis for her Masters Degree at George Washington University on the topic entitling it, “Compulsory Regulation of Florida Paralegals is Unnecessary.” She also provided a written response to the February 22, 2011 Report of the [Florida Bar] Special Committee to Study Mandatory Paralegal Regulation. There are two important points here:
(1) Whether you agree with Elona’s position or not, her efforts to analyze the issue, articulate and advance her position, illustrate the professionalism that we would like to be exhibited by all paralegals. Each member of the profession should be in the thick of this issue, analyzing, writing, discussing, and advocating for the position that feel will best benefit the profession.
(2) Elona’s thesis, with minimal editing, is included in The Empowered Paralegal Professionalism Anthology that I just finished editing and indexing, along with several other well-thought-out position papers on this issue.
Fortunately, the pre-publication reviews for the Anthology and for Elona’s article have been quite good, including this:

“This anthology delivers on the title’s promise: it is a thought-provoking compilation of issues facing paralegals today and a challenge to individual paralegals to embody professionalism as the profession itself grows and develops.”

Not Doing Nothing -The Paralegal Voice on Ethics and Professionalism.

Monday, June 13th, 2011

It’s been awhile, I know. But I’ve not been doing nothing. Two children graduated (one in Providence and one from grad school at NYU – both summa!). So we drove from Mississippi to Providence, then to NYC, then back to Providence, then up to Maine where I’ve been holed up in a cottage re-charging while indexing and doing final edits on The Empowered Paralegal Professionalism Anthology, editing a student’s Masters thesis, conducting an online course, working on The Empowered Paralegal Cause of Action Handbook,etc. What I have not been doing (obviously) is posting here. However, with the Anthology behind me, I’m likely to get back to regular posting.

In the meantime there are a whole lot of people who really have not been doing nothing and I’m just catching up with what they’ve been doing. As usual Vicki Voisin, The Paralegal Mentor, and Lynne Devenny of Practical Paralegalism top the “active” list with blog posts, newletters, speaking engagement, etc. However, the item you should catch if you haven’t already, is the latest edition of their The Paralegal Voice:

Ethics and professionalism are essential to becoming a successful paralegal. On this edition of The Paralegal Voice, co-hosts Lynne DeVenny and Vicki Voisin welcome paralegal, Camille Stell, Director of Client Services for Lawyers Mutual, who provides ethics tips for paralegals, talks about how paralegals can assist attorneys in the area of client communications and what paralegals can do every day to maintain the highest level of professionalism.

This is an important topic and Lynne and Vicki handle it well!