Posts Tagged ‘Estrin’

The Day Jamie Quit

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

I haven’t been posting much recently (for reasons I will not go into here at the moment,) but when I did post regularly, I regularly posted items from or about Chere Estrin’s Estrin Report or Jamie Collins’ The Paralegal Society. So it seemed reasonable today to sign on and point you to a guest blog post by Jamie Collins on Chere Estrin’s Estrin Report weblog, “I Quit – In stilettos. (It was epic.)” You can find the whole thing at this link, but here’s a taste:

Today I’m here to tell you about one of the most powerful days in my life. It was transforming. Awe-inspiring. A day filled with tremendous personal freedom. It was the day I quit. I’m pretty sure you’re prepared to read some humdrum piece about a colossally awful job, with a dreadful boss, and the day I belted out a song that included the words, “these stilettos were made for walking.” This ain’t it.

The day I quit, my entire life began to change. I began to change. I realize it wouldn’t be fair to make a bold statement like that without telling you about that pivotal day in my life, so here goes: life changed…

The day I decided to have a great attitude and work hard.

The day I quit waiting for validation from other people and realized I needed to provide it for myself, instead.

The day I quit waiting for people and opportunities to find me and sought them out with a will to win….

It’s well worth the read. In fact, whether you have  already quit or still need to do so, it’d be good to print it out and hang it somewhere where it’d serve as a daily reminder.

California Law Advocates

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

Lay Advocates will be in California’s future if Barbara Liss is correct. She makes a good argument for them in an email to Chere Estrin, part of which is posted by Chere on The Estrin Report. Since I’ve provided a link to the full post, I won’t re-post it here. As a teaser, I’ll just post her conclusion:

Once a journeyman, however, a full-fledged paralegal may often be as able as a lawyer in many aspects to provide considerably beneficial direct services to the public and has great potential to significantly diminish the existing gap in access to justice in California. I look forward myself to being soon able to contribute my own services in that way when I am able to test and obtain a limited license as a California Lay Advocate.

Master Your Ship

Friday, March 30th, 2012

In a post The Estrin Reportreprinted in the most recent issue of KNOW, The Magazine for Paralegals Chere Estrin spells out “10 Ways to Sink Your Paralegal Career – Guaranteed.” My position is that a sinking paralegal career can be summed up by “unprofessional” and letting yourself be managed by events rather than managing them. Hence a good part of my motivation for writing The Empowered Paralegal: Effective, Efficient, and Professional,” providing (I hope) clear and concise information and techniques to be effective, efficient, and professional. Chere does a very good job here of emphasizing a “Top Ten” list, taking a paragraph or two to explain each, while summarizing my theory by advising that we all be the master of our own ships. I’m providing the link here. Just click through to the article or the magazine for the full article.

(The magazine has a number of worthwhile articles in this issue – as is often the case – including a good story on Marianna Fradman’s journey for a childhood in the Ukraine to President of the New York City Paralegal Association, one of the most active, vibrant, and professional such associations in the country.) Anyway, here’s the list:

Here are 10 top reasons why your career may be stalled, dead-ended or become routine and repetitious:

1. You Are Your Own Worst Career Manager

If you don’t watch out for your career and goals, no one else will and you may become a candidate for right-sizing, downsizing, merging or purging.

2. Breadth, Not Depth of Skills

You do not want to be a one-trick pony. In today’s paralegal field, there is a greater emphasis on the breadth of your skills not just on the depth.

3. Don’t Be a SMEL (Subject Matter Expert on Life)

We all know these folks – the ones who have the answer to everything. They’re annoying, really.

4. Not Being a Tall Tree

You want to be noticed in a positive manner. Do not try to blend into your paralegal department to avoid attention.

5. The Living Resume

You’ll hear over and over to keep your resume up-to-date. There must be a good reason.

6. The Written Word (and Picture) Remains

What you write in emails and instant messaging can be used both for and against you.

7. Don’t Burn Those Bridges

What a temptation it is to “tell all” in the exit interview! Telling your boss and colleagues what you really felt about them, particularly when you’re angry, is a potential future career buster.

8. Don’t Disconnect or Isolate

The reach of social networks and professional sites should not be underestimated – even for paralegals. Take a look at LinkedIn.

9. Technical Complacency, Ignorance or Denial

Never make the assumption that you have all the computer skills you need. New technologies are emerging at a furious rate and to remain relevant, you need to learn these new skills.

10. Lack of Soft/People Skills

In today’s market, paralegals that assume simply having updated skills will give them a ticket to career advancement, have their heads buried deep in the sand.

Above all, be responsible for your own career. Being the master of your ship instead denying what’s going on at the helm, guarantees a move forward in a growing, changing and fantastic journey.

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.

Building the Paralegal-Attorney Relationship – An Aggregation

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

There are names for blogs that rely on other blogs and sources for their content and add nothing to that content. Depending on who is doing the naming they range from parasites through derivative to aggregators. Today I’m joining Google News, Yahoo, etc., as an aggretator because that’s what I’m doing in this post.
Let’s start with Lynne DeVenney at Practical Paralegalism who has a post about another blogger’s post:

At first glance, I thought John Cord’s post, “Be nice, and other ways to strengthen your legal team,” at the blog Generation J.D., was only going to yield a short quote with some timeless advice for new lawyers, “1. Don’t run up the Westlaw/Lexis research bill, and 2. be nice to paralegals and secretaries.”

But Cord’s article is well worth a closer look – by all members of the legal team, from the senior partner right down to the part-time runner and that lady that comes by once a week to make sure the plants don’t die. His article is really about appreciating everyone’s contribution to getting the job done.

And what legal staffer wouldn’t heartily agree with the following advice for attorneys?:

  • Say please and thank you.
  • Be effusive in your praise for jobs really well done.
  • Be unexpected and reward exceptional work – a lunch out of the office, baseball tickets, or some other recognition.
  • Shut the office down early sometimes. Even 4 p.m. on a nice Friday is a good perk.
  • Get to know the people behind the workers – take an interest in their families and activities.
  • Don’t limit your website bios to just attorneys – include pictures everyone on the team.

But unlike this post, Lynne actually adds something. She points out:

But strengthening the team is a two-way street, and when we’re fortunate enough to be part of a great work environment, we should also be appreciative employees. There are a number of ways that we can show our employers that we don’t take their “work, energy and input” for granted:

  • Say please and thank you, whether it’s for great mentoring, having expenses paid for a CLE or conference, getting the opportunity to do more substantive work, or receiving a raise or surprise luncheon treat.
  • Be effusive in your praise for cases really well handled and problems quickly resolved.
  • Be unexpected and reward exceptional supervisors – do more than you’re asked, fetch a cup of coffee or a soda when you can tell they really need it, share the candy from your secret stash (all the attorneys I work with know which drawer has the Hershey’s chocolate) or bring baked (even if not at your house) treats once in a while for the whole office to enjoy.
  • Offer to stay late in a pinch, or come in on the weekend, especially when you can tell your supervising attorney needs your help but is reluctant to ask.
  • Get to know the people behind the bosses – take an interest in their families or activities (without being nosy).
  • Market your firm, even if your bio is not on the website, by telling people what you do and how proud you are of the work your firm does.

One of the nicest things my supervising attorney repeatedly says when he takes extended vacations is, “I couldn’t do this without you!” When I think of all the wonderful career opportunities I’ve had during 15 years of working for him, I honestly have to say, “I couldn’t do this without you!”

Now if all I did was to give you, as I have, Lynne’s work in its entirety, I’d just be a rip-off artist. What makes me an aggregator is that I noticed there were other posts and stories on the internet that go with (sort off) Lynne’s. Here’s the next, from Chere Estrin of so many sites I could not name them all – KNOW: The Magazine for Paralegals, Sue Magazine for Women Litgators, Organization for Legal Professionals, etc. – with more advice on maintaining a good relationship with attorneys:

Establishing a good relationship with your boss is critical for success. And frankly, it’s sometimes hard to talk with these folks. If you have a distant relationship with him or her, you probably have no idea what to informally chit-chat about. You don’t want to cross any boundaries but when your boss starts small talk with you, it becomes even more important that you make a good impression.

Small talk is defined as light and easy conversation about common, everyday things. Hard to do if you have no clue what to say. Yet, a hidden key to success is the ability to carry on small talk. Why? Because small talk establishes rapport. It builds trust and allows the other person to get a chance to know you without delving into anything personal. You simply cannot get ahead in your job if you cannot establish trust with your employers. It’s not going to happen.

Attorneys, in particular, must have an excellent grasp of expressing themselves because mostly, that’s how they make a living. And, since raises and promotions are built on whether your firm likes and trusts you, it probably behooves you to do well in this arena. Conversations give a human dimension to the employee/employer relationship.

I got this excerpt from the KNOW Magazine LinkedIn Group feed, but you can read more at http://estrinlegaled.typepad.com. By the way, the most recent feed from that group contains review letters praising Chere’s new book, The Successful Paralegal Job Search Guide. Given the current market you may want to check it out.

Next we go to Linda Whipple who reports on the Paralegal Today discussion forum (in response to another post, not just out-of-the-blue), “Actually I will be 62 in September and I have been at this for 36 years now. I have lawyers all the time asking me if I am happy working for the attorneys I have been working for because if not they want to talk with me about hiring me.” Apparently, she is still happy with her present attorneys. This in itself is not news, but another posts reminds us, “Hey, Linda – FINALLY got around to reading my January-March issue of PT and saw the nice interview with you and your boss. Isn’t it wonderful having that sort of working relationship with an attorney?” So if you still have your copy of the January-March issue of Paralegal Today, feel free to add that interview to this aggregation. It ought to say a lot about how to build and maintain a good relationship with your attorney.

Now a previous post from this blog. This might seem like I’m adding my own content and not just aggregating, but this post is itself mostly aggregation. It is included to gives some sense of what a well-oiled attorney/paralegal relationship can do when that relationship comes up with a plan.

Finally, I’ll send you directly to Melissa at Paralegalese. The relevant posts are down a bit where Melissa describes the angst that goes with leaving a paralegal/attorney relationship built on mutual respect and trust – End of an Era Parts I, II, and III. Melissa has been quite busy working on her relationship with new attorneys, paralegals, and clients (I assume) so she hasn’t posted as regularly as she once did, but I am looking forward to the time when she regains her old blogging form!