Posts Tagged ‘NYCPA’

Being Mentored

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

I’ve mentioned Mariana Fradman on this blog several times. She’s a top-notch paralegal with over twenty years experience who continually gives back to the paralegal profession. She’s an officer of the New York City Paralegal Association, but this post arises from her role as Chairperson of the NYCPA’s Mentor Committee. In that capacity she coordinates the Mentoring Program, matches students in paralegal studies, paralegals changing practice areas or paralegals who are new to the community with an experienced practicing NYCPA members who are willing to be a resource and make an affirmative effort to get the newcomer oriented to the legal environment. While I’ve occasionally spoken about the value of mentoring here, I have not focused on the role of the person being mentored. Mariana recently started a discussion regarding the role of the person being mentored on The Paralegal Society’s LinkedIn discussion board by posting an article entitled, “This Is Why You Don’t Have a Mentor” by Ryan Holiday that started on The article is good, but of more interest is the discussion found in its comments section on the extent to which the personal life of the person being mentored should be brought to the relationship.

The article draws a bright line, stating that personal life should be left at home: “Your personal life is irrelevant. Your excuses aren’t going to fly. If you get asked to do something, do it the way it was asked. If that means staying up all night to do it, then ok (but that’s to stay your little secret). No one cares what’s going on with you, or at least, they shouldn’t have to.” There is a lot of truth to this and it is a general approach to your obligations as a paralegal, a student, a mentor or a mentee. However, the line may be a bit too bright as pointed out in several of the comments. The gist of those comments is, “Yes, leave drama at home, and if you have no drama at home, don’t create it in the office. No one likes to be involved with drama. But a mentor relationship is built on sharing life experience. An aspiring person in a new field looks up to someone successful thats (sic) doing exciting things.”

Where do you come done on this? In any case, the article and the comments are worth a read. Join the conversation!

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.

NYCPA and City Bar Justice Center: Pro-Bono Volunteer Opportunity

Monday, February 25th, 2013

I’ve post here frequently about the value of volunteering and pro bono work to individual paralegals, the paralegal profession, and the communities the paralegals serve. Today I’ve just enough time to pass this opportunity from NYCPA on:

Dear Volunteers:
You are invited to participate in a Superstorm Sandy Helping Legal Handbooks Project as per the details below:                
  • Volunteers to apply stickers to multiple Superstorm Sandy Helping Legal Handbooks.
  • Before these legal handbooks can be mailed to the victims of the hurricane, an error in the handbooks must be corrected.
  • These legal handbooks are in great need in the areas hard-hit by the storm.
  • We will coordinate one mailing project date and time according to the majority of the available volunteers.
Potential Volunteer Dates: February 27, 2013, February 28, 2013, or March 01, 2013
Times: 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM or 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
RSVP: This event is open to New York City Paralegal Association members and non-members. Please send an E-mail to the Pro-Bono Chairperson at probono@nyc-pa.orgwith two potential volunteer dates and times, your contact information (Full name, address, and cell phone number).The Pro-Bono Chairperson will confirm the date and time of the mailing project and provide you with the address and time of the project. Please do not go down to the mailing project without receiving a registration time and date. If you have questions you can leave a message at 516-851-4007.

NY State Paralegal Day?

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

Several states now have special days recognizing the contributions of paralegals to the legal system and the public. I do not have a complete list (if your state has one please let me know,) but have posted about Pennsylvania’s and Washington’s Paralegal Week, and Paralegal Day proclamations in Ohio and Mississippi. New York state has had paralegal days in the past, but apparently it’s a year-to-year sort of thing. If you are from New York you can now assist the Empire State Alliance of Paralegal Associations in establishing a 2013 paralegal recognition day, according to this announcement in the NYCPA’s Paralegal Buzz newsletter:

Do you want to showcase the support of your law firm, business or employer in a significant way to the New York State Legal Community? Then consider supporting the Empire State Alliance of Paralegal Associations by joining us to obtain a proclamation for Paralegal Day for paralegals in New York State.

For more details on how to be listed as a supporter please visit and click on “News and Events” to see how your firm or business can be featured on the proclamation that will be signed by Governor Cuomo.

If you have any questions please contact Cynthia Bynum @ 347-974-2874 or via email

I do hope you will join Cynthia, NYCPA, and ESAPA in this effort. While proclamations such as these may seem trite to some, they are one step in building “self-esteem” for the profession and greater awareness among the public of the essential role paralegals play in our legal system.

NYCPA Annual Membership Appreciation Dinner

Saturday, December 29th, 2012

Just back from a lovely Christmas trip, but although my body is in the seat, my mind continues to be elsewhere, so I’m filling the time by wandering aimlessly through emails, blogs posts, Paralegal Reporter the like rather than put any real effort into creativity of my own. First up is a notice from the New York City Paralegal Association, perhaps the best local paralegal association in the country* (I’m willing to entertain contrary opinions on this), of its 2013 Membership Appreciation Dinner. The event features  “<span “two distinguished guest-speakers, William J. Mulkeen, JD and Professor Thomas Goldman,” who will speak on “”Paralegalism: Is this as good as it gets?”

I like in particular the notice’s statement of whom the dinner is for:

This event is all about you, our members who joined and renewed their membership in 2012 and about you, who are considering joining the NYCPA in 2013. We are looking forward to welcoming you as a member of our Association and want you to know that your input can make a difference! Join the NYCPA and invite your colleagues and others from your network.

During the Award Ceremony, we will recognize members who contributed the most into NYCPA, our sponsors and supporters. We are also looking forward to award a scholarship to a winner of our scholarship contest. Will it be you?

The dinner is

The Grand Salon
3 West Club
3 West 51
st Street
New York, New York 10019
6:00-9:00 PM
For more information and to register click here.

*In the interest of full disclosure I am on the NYCPA Advisory Board, although they seem to be doing quite well without any advice from me.

Paralegal Certification and the ABA

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

As usual I am behind in my reading. I am just now noticing that 29 days ago Marianna Fradman of the NYCPA posted a link on the NYCPA LinkedIn discussion board entitled, “A Warning to All of the ‘ABA Certified Paralegals” on Legal Blog Watch, which itself was a synopsis of Chere Estrin’s article entitled, “Are you a “Certified Paralegal”? Maybe not.” The gist of the article is this:

I’m on my soapbox today with a pet peeve. I noticed that some paralegals are putting “ABA Certified Paralegal” on their resumes, social media or announcing it to friends and employers. Here’s a suggestion: Stop now while you still can! Save yourself some embarrassment or even keep yourself from getting rejected from a job!

The ABA does not offer certification. Certification is a process of taking a very rigorous exam that is based upon work experience and knowledge. It is not your final exam in paralegal school. Generally, you need to meet certain educational and work experience requirements, submit an application for approval, pay a fee and take the exam in a secured environment.

For example, The Organization of Legal Professionals, OLP, offers a certification exam in eDiscovery.

The full article is worth the read, especially since it includes the correct way to reference graduating from an ABA approved program.

This is just one of the many problems arise from the current state of the paralegal profession. As I previously noted here, and more extensively in The Empowered Paralegal: Effective, Efficient, and Professional, even attorneys can be confused leading to must frustration for both paralegals and attorneys on the legal team.

Those interested in paralegal regulation and certification should check out the fine articles included in The Empowered Paralegal Professionalism Anthology.

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.

A Professional Reality Check

Monday, October 24th, 2011

It is no surprise I am sure that the New York City Paralegal Association has a LinkedIn group, nor that Mariana Fradman, President of that wonderful group, continues to post links to great materials and sites there. And certainly it is no surprise that Karen George, FRP, would produce a well-written article. Nonetheless, I was pleasantly surprise at Mariana’s link to Karen George’s article at The Paralegal Society entitled, “WANTED: Paralegal, No Experience Necessary. A Professional Reality Check.”

This is a very good article that is well worth a full reading. I particularly liked her emphasis on the paralegal as a professional:

A paralegal is a professional position. By becoming a paralegal, you have stepped away from the subordinate positions in the work world and stepped into a new realm on the employment list. You are a professional and that means there’s a new and harder set of rules in the “game of employment” for both sides: the employee and the employer.

…Whatever your expectations, you have them because you are A PARALEGAL. You now hold a certificate or a degree, you have studied long and hard, and incurred loans to become and be able to call yourself A PARALEGAL.

The employer seeking a paralegal has certain expectations as well: that the paralegal dress in a professional manner, conduct himself professionally, not have to be micromanaged, and to not be directed in an assignment the same way his legal assistant or receptionist or file clerk is directed. The attorney expects the paralegal to come to have those abilities and knowledge that are instantaneously helpful to the attorney. In sum, he is seeking a partner, not exactly an equal partner, but a partner in the representation of the client.

…The bottom line is this: by becoming a paralegal you have stepped out of the regular job market. You are no longer looking for the “regular job” you may have previously held. You are now a professional and the playing field is different. You bring not only your education to the application table, but you must also bring proof that you can fill a very important role in the firm from the moment you enter it – and for the most important person in the office — the attorney. A paralegal is not hired to be “taught” how to be a paralegal. A paralegal is hired to fill a position that is intricate to the process. The position requires critical thinking based on experience, which is knowledge.

Of course, Karen does not stop there. She goes on to explore the implications of seeking employment and experience as a professional and adds some sound advice.

As a side note, this is my first trip to The Paralegal Society and I have added it to my Paralegal Blogs list. While you are there reading Karen’ article, look around at the rest of what it has to offer.  Mariana’s LinkedIn profile states she is a “Mentor at The Paralegal Society.” Perhaps one day soon I can get her to do a guest post discussing The Paralegal Society mentors.

International Understanding

Monday, August 8th, 2011

You may have heard that the ABA is holding its annual convention in Canada this year. announced today that “The ABA and Canadian Bar Put Their Special Relationship into Writing:”

The U.S. and Canada share perhaps the longest unguarded border of any two countries in the world, running from the Atlantic Ocean across the North American continent. There is an arch spanning one of the many border crossings in sight of the Pacific Ocean south of Vancouver. A message is printed on that arch: “Children of a common mother.”

If that message characterizes the relationship between the U.S. and Canada, it also describes the relationship between the legal communities of the two countries, said leaders of the ABA and the Canadian Bar Association at a special ceremony held today to commemorate that bond.

The ABA is also, according to the story, finalizing a cooperation agreement with the Korean Bar Association.

One thing the two legal systems does not have entirely in common is the utilization of paralegal as in many areas of Canada the term “independent paralegal” has real meaning whereas the ABA recognizes only paralegals working under the supervision of any attorney. Indeed, as many of the posts in the “Canada” category discuss, one Canadian province has started licensing paralegals for some services. Most United States bar associations treat any paralegal activity other than that supervised by an attorney as UPL.

The article reminded me that I also wanted to post about international cooperation among paralegals and paralegal associations. I’ve mentioned before the relationship between the New York City Paralegal Association and the Institute of Paralegal in England.  A recent (although not the current) issues of NYCPA’s Paralegal Buzz includes this news:

New York City Paralegal Association Board Members met with representatives from Japan Federation of Bar Association

On June 28, 2011, a group of NYCPA Board Members met with the Japanese visiting scholar and representatives from Japan Federation of Bar Association (“JFBA”) on their study mission to the United States. In November 2011, JFBA will hold the 17th Symposium on Legal Practice Reform. At the Symposium, one of the topics of discussion will be “The Cultivation of Administrative Staff and Revitalization of Attorneys’ Services: Perspectives on How to Utilize the JFBA’s Training and Competence Accreditation System” on the reform of legal practice.

The mission of the visiting group is to gain a better understanding of the role of paralegals in the United States. During the two-hours meeting, we discussed the role of NYCPA in the community; why and how NYCPA was created; educational, networking and pro bono opportunities provided by NYCPA to its members and community; educational background and training opportunities for paralegals in NYC; accreditation system, work environment and job-based relationships between broad categories of administrative staff and paralegals and attorneys.

The efforts made by NYCPA to connect with their counterparts internationally is quite impressive. I suppose I should be more thrilled than I am with the ABA’s recent efforts. What would thrill me more though is a regular ABA Symposium on Reform of Legal Practice that focused on the utilization of paralegals to revitalize attorney services and help alleviate the access to justice problem.


Institute of Paralegals (England) News

Thursday, August 4th, 2011

As I’ve mentioned before, the New York City Paralegal Association, one of the premiere paralegal associations in the United States, has an on-going cooperative relationship with a paralegal association in England, the Institute of Paralegals. Thanks to that relationship the latest edition of the Institute’s Paralegal News is now available through this NYCPA link. I’ve had the good fortune to travel to London to do research on the paralegal profession and practice there and find the similarities and differences in the two systems to be quite fascinating. (Despite the fact that our law is based on English common law, our system of paralegal practice seems to have more in common with the system in France.)

H/T to James at the NYCPA LinkedIn Group.