Posts Tagged ‘NAFLP’

Client Grief and Paralegal Professionalism

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

Those familiar with The Empowered Paralegal: Working with the Elder Client are aware that it focuses on the premise that elder law is a dual-natured creature and in many ways is quite unlike any other area of law. Substantively the law is law – statutes, cases, rules, and regulations – all of which must be researched, analyzed, understood and applied. Unlike any other type of law, however, elder law is not about something a client is going through, such as a divorce, bankruptcy, a real estate transaction, or even a criminal charge. Elder law is about whom and what the client is – an elderly person. The book seeks to enhance understanding of elder law clients, the laws applicable to them, and the issues they and their families face.  One of those issues is the grief felt by family, friends, and even the legal team, when a client dies or is dying. Thus, a understanding of how people view death, dying, and aging, including an understanding of how that people’s perspective differ depending on cultural, educations, religious, and personal backgrounds, is essential to paralegal professionalism for paralegals that work with the elder client and families.

This point was reinforced for me when I browsed through the first issue of Freelancer, a monthly e-zine from the National Association of Freelance Legal Professionals, a new professional association discussed in a previous post. It includes an article by Tina Johnson, a paralegal in a Minneapolis law firm. The article, entitled “The D Factor: Dealing with Death and Clients’ Emotional Up and Downs.” I can’t print the entire article here, of course, but here’s a link and here’s a particularly pertinent excerpt:

Certified grief counselors we are not, but we certainly display professionalism by treating clients with tact, empathy and compassion and by ensuring client confidentiality. Calming fears and soothing worries, paralegals must be prepared to deal not only with the legal aspect of things, but with the relational aspect as well.

It is not surprising to know that many times the paralegal is the go-to person the client contacts when they just need someone to talk to such as the grieving surviving spouse who is going through the mourning process and finds it very difficult to function on a day-to-day basis. In my experience, these clients often do not open mail or follow through on requests made by the law firms as part of the probate administration process. By talking and listening to the client, paralegal can reassure, support and encourage the client and provide as much assistance as the client needs.

So, assuming the link works, take a few moments to read Tina’s article, and a few more to check out the entire issue of Freelancer.

Disclosure: There is a link between the National Association of Freelance Legal Professionals and the Organization of Legal Professionals. I am on the OLP Advisory Council, although frankly the organization seems to do quite well without any assistance from me.

National Association of Freelance Paralegals

Saturday, February 19th, 2011

The KNOW News for February referenced in yesterday’s post also announces, :”The National Association for Freelance Legal Professionals (NAFLP) is about to launch its paralegal division and The Organization of Legal Professionals (OLP) has several online courses to benefit the career and its eDiscovery certification exam is just about to roll out.” Not at all coincidentally I’m sure, today I received an email from NAFLP about the launch stating, “The National Association of Freelance Legal Professionals is an organization providing higher continuing legal education, networking opportunities, publications and more to freelancers in the legal field.” Some of the benefits listed in the email are:

  • Over 100 webinars per year free  – many that are specifically designed for freelancers.
  • Freelancer: a monthly magazine specifically for Freelance Legal Professionals
  • Online, interactive courses to help you build your business
  • Telecoffee:  A lively monthly teleconference with other members about pertinent and important freelance topics
  • Public Member Directory
  • Discounts to seminars, publications, magazines
  • Free membership in the prestigious Organization of Legal Professionals (OLP) plus special discounts for CLE
  • Discounts from NAFLP sponsors
  • National Networking Opportunities
  • Discounts to annual conference
  • Publications, white papers, ezines, monthly newsletters and more.”

Here’s the link to NAFLP. I’ll be adding it to the professional association blogroll.