Posts Tagged ‘honors’

The “C” Mantra

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

The NFPA National Paralegal Reporter for December/January, among several articles worthy of reading announces the winners of the Thomson Reuters Scholarship Winners (Melissa Jurik and Anne Caitlin Griffin) and the Chancellor University Scholarship Winner (Shelly L. Bender.) Their winning essays are included.

Melissa’s “Our Mantra – Learn As Much As You Can” was particularly interesting to me as it relates to my recent post on professional self-assessment in which I made the point, “The professional paralegal strives to move beyond just “doing the job” – average or satisfactory work. So as we do our year end assessments, we should each ask ourselves, ‘Am I doing “A” work?'” While I was speaking of already practicing paralegals, Melissa applies the principle to paralegal students and newly minted graduates. She points out, “In that diverse group of students, there are a myriad of personalities and work ethics. Some have the mantra of ‘C’s get degrees’ and are doing just enough to get by, while a larger group of us are on a mission to learn as much as we can to make sure we are prepared to enter into the workforce.” She then argues in favor of completion of a voluntary exam such as The Paralegal CORE Competency Exam as a way of showing employers that the “individual has met the standards that are objectively established and verified by a third party.”

Those of you who read my previous post are aware that I agree with Melissa on the need for students to be doing “A” work if they expect an “A” grade. That can best be accomplished by adopting Melissa’s mantra: Endeavor to learn as much as you can rather than work for a passing grade. That same attitude applies to getting and keeping a job. It certainly applies to any paralegal who sees themselves making a career as a professional paralegal.

Singing for the Unsung

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

Little comment on this from MinnLawyer Blog other than to say it’s an idea I like:

Minnesota Lawyer announced the honorees in its third annual Unsung Legal Heroes Awards. The awards are meant to honor support staff employees who have consistently gone above and beyond the call of duty in their work. This year’s honorees were nominated by colleagues, supervisors, and the staff of Minnesota Lawyer. … A lunch will be held at noon September 22 to recognize this year’s honorees. Congratulations to everyone.

A job well done

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010
A job well done is worth talking about and recording. Yesterday Jeannette Motis posted this comment on the Paralegal Today listserv:
I’m doing my job well today, and even better yet, it’s entertaining me! I had a “witness” give me the third degree about how I got her number (I told her that I researched it and I finally said that it was part of my job and that I do my job well.)
Then Joe Quinn called, and I called him back and asked him how much he got paid to talk to attorneys about his “accident” and he told me that the only people who looked at that website were secretaries with nothing to do. Gold Star! (I remembered looking up the number previously and searched my sent mail, and sure enough, he called on 12/30/09 too.) He’s very gruff about talking to only the attorney and hanging up on you when you try to say otherwise after giving an order to have the attorney call him.
Anyone else have any calls from Joe Quinn? Any funny stories? I’d like to know what his real intention is. Marketing? Rankings? Annoyance? Just a paycheck?
(It’s that 866 number. Occasionally I’ll get a real client who will only speak with the atty, but they usually at least let me explain that I’m bound by the same confidentiality rules before saying they would feel more comfortable to speak with the attorney anyway. But a toll-free number? That would be a rarity.)
Legal Assistant

I was impressed for a number of reasons. First, Jeannette does appear to have done her job well. She was “proactive” and used her research, critical thinking and ananlytical thinking skills. In addition she was able to recognize her own success and compliment herself on it. All too often those in charge are short on compliments and we need to be able to “pat ourselves on the back.” As I point out in The Empowered Paralegal, “Empowerment does not come from the outside. It comes from within. It is not granted, it is earned. The empowered paralegal gains that power  and the confidence that comes with being professional, and by being a competent, effective and efficient member of the legal team.

That being said I would recommend that Jeannette go one step further – record the successes. This has several advantages. It provides a resource for review in preparation for annual evaluations and it can be useful in re-establishing self-esteem and self-confidence at the end of those (we hope infrequent) bad days. It is good to keep a notebook with copies of CLE certificates, thank-yous or compliments from clients and attorneys, certifications, volunteer activities, professional association activities, and every other honor you receive during the year, and bring that notebook with you to your annual evaluation. Include a section recording those honors that you have given yourself when you recognize you have done your job well.

Paralegal Association has Profound Impact of Lives of Children

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

Practical Paralegalism’s sharp eye notes the nomination of the Northwest Florida Paralegal Association’s nomination for the Children’s Champion of Northwest Florida award. The nomination is “for making a profound impact on the lives of local children.” I would like to hear more about the association’s work that had that profound impact.

In addition to this nomination, NWFPA’s nifty website tells us:

NWFPA recognizes over 40 members that have attained Florida Registered Paralegals (FRP) status, utilizing the association for networking and continuing education purposes.

The NWFPA sponsored an essay contest for Law Week 2009 focusing on Abraham Lincoln and his contribution to the fields of law and government.

In step with what many paralegal associations have done nationwide, NWFPA has established a LinkedIn networking group.

NWFPA clearly demonstrates what a professional association can and should be, and what professional paralegals can do when they work together as a profession and for the profession.  In fact, unlike many association, not only live up to, but go beyond their mission statement:

The NWFPA Mission Statement

The Northwest Florida Paralegal Association is dedicated to encouraging the ethical and professional growth of paralegals in the northwest Florida area by providing continuing education to members of the paralegal profession; by providing a venue for members to interact with other members of the legal community; and by supporting and carrying out the programs, purposes, aims and goals of the National Association of Legal Assistants, Inc.

Congratulations to NWFPA! And thanks to Lynee DeVenney for her post featuring this association.

Paralegal Honored by Maryland Legal Aid

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

The Baltimore Sunreports that Carol Ahlum, Legal Aid Bureau of Midwestern Maryland paralegal, was among those honored at a recent “gala.” This is no suprise to Facebook fans of Maryland Legal Aid where Carol was congratulated last October:

Congratulations to Carol Ahlum, who will receive the Maryland Legal Services Corporation’s 2009 William L. Marbury Outstanding Advocate Award in December. The annual award is presented to a non-attorney who has demonstrated outstanding service in Maryland representing or expanding service on behalf of the rights and legal needs of low-income people.

While I’ve been pleased to report on recognitions given to paralegals on a regular basis (see the “Awards and Honors” category), Carol drew my attention for additional reason: the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law online library carries an entry regarding a successful appeal of a Defendant Maryland Department of Human Resources denial of an application for food stamps. That entry notes:

Appellant represented by Carol Ahlum, Legal Aid Bureau, 21 W. South St., Frederick, MD 21701

I assume this is the same Carol Ahlum, and that Carol has won not only the award, but also the respect and confidence of the attorneys supervising the Legal Aid Bureau to the extent that she is given the responsibility for representing clients at these appeal hearings!

I am interested in hearing from paralegals regarding other opportunities for paralegals to represent clients at administrative hearings and other proceedings.

NALA National Awards

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

The NALA website announces the 2009 NALA National Award Recipients:

2009 NALA Presidents Award Recipient
Michelle Erdmann, ACP
Fargo, North Dakota

Michelle Erdmann has been a “guiding force” in the Western Dakota Association of Legal Assistants and NALA, providing inspiration and motivation to paralegals on the local, state and national levels. Before leaving the region for new employment, Michelle served in numerous leadership positions for the Western Dakota Association of Legal Assistants. Her performance was described as “calm and patient,” offering guidance to members and resolutions to difficulties.

Her work with NALA includes working with the Professional Development Committee as Chair, and as a member of the NALA Board of Directors. she has also served as Ethics Chair, and as a member of the NALA Continuing Education Council. Most recently, she served as a member of the NALA Advanced Paralegal Certification Board.

2009 National Affiliated Associations Achievement Award
Connie Kretchmer, ACP
Omaha, Nebraska

A former NALA president, Connie has been heavily involved in the paralegal profession for several decades as an educator, author, and as a paralegal. She has been a member of NALA for more than 24 years, and has served both NALA and the Nebraska Paralegal Association. She is currently in her second three year term as a member of the NALA Advanced Paralegal Certification Board. She is also serving as a faculty member of the NALA CLA/CP review course, and is greatly involved in helping those seeking the Certified Paralegal credential. She has contributed to numerous CLA/CP review programs on the local and regional level, and has contributed material to the NALA CLA Mock Examination and Study Guide. Her dedication to furthering paralegal education and career enhancement has inspired members of the Nevada Paralegal Association, and the power of her personality and helpful attitude has influenced many paralegals throughout the nation.

2009 NALA Affiliated Associations Outstanding Contribution Award
Sandra D. Hatch, CP
Portland, Oregon

Sandra Hatch has taken the Pacific Northwest Paralegal Association to a pinnacle of excellence with her leadership as President. She has served on the PNPA Board for nine years, was a Past President, and is currently chair of the Legal Education Committee. She is a litigation paralegal with more than 30 years of experience, currently working in labor and employment law. Her influence is credited with bringing PNPA’s membership back from 12 members in 2002 to over 70 today.  She has also help reform a CLA/CP Study Group to prepare for the March 2010 Certified Paralegal examination.

Paralegal Honored

Sunday, August 16th, 2009

According to The Buffalo News:

Five members of the U. S. Attorney’s office for the Western District of New York have received honors from the U. S. Justice Department for their work on a massive fraud case.

Receiving the awards in Washington last month from Attorney General Eric Holder were prosecutors Richard D. Kaufman, Richard A. Resnick, Frank Sherman and Christopher V. Taffe. Sean Eldridge, a paralegal with the U. S. Attorney’s office, also was honored.

Investigators from the FBI, Internal Revenue Service, U. S. Postal Inspection Service and the Greece, N. Y., police department also were honored by Holder for dismantling a multimillion dollar scheme involving fraudulent appraisals of property in the Rochester area owned by Eastman Kodak Co.

It is significant that Sean was honored in his capacity as a paralegal rather than the award going to his attorney and staff. It recognizes his contribution as a separate professional and member of the legal team.

I’d like to know more about this. Any one having additional information, please leave a comment or email me at

Betty Hickok

Sunday, August 9th, 2009

The Washington Post reports that Betty Hickok has died at age 91.  I had not heard of Betty before this report but she was a “onetime home economist who served in the Women’s Army Corps during World War II and who later worked as a paralegal.”  “Later” was in 1977, when (according to my calculations she was 59) ” she enrolled in the paralegal program at George Washington University law school. After completing the program, she worked at Protection for Elderly People, a senior citizens’ group in the city.” Thus, she was a pioneer of the profession and desires a mention here. Check the obituary for more on what appears to have been a remarkable life.