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Mentor Blog

Welcome to our mentor blog. Here you will find posts from
industry professionals on such topics as:
  • Resume & Cover Letter tips
  • Interview Tips
  • How to succeed at work
  • How to get a Mentor
  • What every Mentee should know
  • I lost my job. Now what?
  • Healthy habits
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  • 23 Oct 2014 3:17 PM | Mariana Fradman (Administrator)

    This article was reprinted with permission from The Paralegal Society
    a forum created to educate, motivate and inspire paralegals.
    Be sure to check it out at:
    www.theparalegalsociety.wordpress.com!  

    By: Jamie Collins
    Alright, I really can’t help myself here. There are certain times when I feel so compelled to write on a particular topic that I simply cannot go one more day without sharing a little industry wisdom and a few pearls of personal opinion with our readers. The day has come, my friends. Today’s [Read More]

     

  • 21 Jun 2014 11:09 PM | Mariana Fradman (Administrator)

    By Chere Estrin, Co-Founding Member & Managing Administrator at Organization of Legal Professionals (OLP)

    Read More at: http://joom.ag/4Veb

  • 23 Apr 2013 5:49 AM | Mariana Fradman (Administrator)

    By: Barbara A. Bessey, CP

    This article was reprinted with permission from The Paralegal Society
    a forum created to educate, motivate and inspire paralegals.
    Be sure to check it out at:
    www.theparalegalsociety.wordpress.com!

    Greetings, TPS Nation! It’s great to see you on this absolutely fabulous Monday morning. Here’s the deal – it’s either going to be a fabulous Monday or we’re going to go down in a big blaze of legal glory trying to make it happen! Today, Barbara is stopping by to share a guest post on the topic of mentorship. What do mentorship and mining have in common? You’ll have to keep reading to find out.

    I connected with Jamie Collins through the NALA group as an active member of NALA. Jamie had shared some of her articles that she posted on TPS with the NALA group. The first article I read of Jamie’s was a very interesting article about paralegals being planners and the run-away train that we end up on each day trying to derail us. I then read Jamie’s article regarding TPS, how her vision began, and what mentoring meant to her. It stayed with me; I woke the next morning thinking about what I wanted to post as a comment.

    I sat down to my computer, logged into LinkedIn, went to my Groups’ listing, clicked TPS, and low and behold there was Jamie’s current article about a writing contest. Great! I thought, “I’m going to develop my comment into an article for the contest.” Life is sometimes a run-away train and my best laid intention to do something that is career related just sat on the hard drive of my computer partially started as a random thought process. I know the contest is long over and we had some amazing winning articles [insert applause!]. But, I felt compelled to finish my thought process and submit a guest blogger piece to help my dear friend Jamie find some precious extra time to spend with her family.

    I believe many of us have come across the occasional paralegal at work or in our local association that feels that her best asset is to hang onto the “golden nuggets” of knowledge – a miser. I’m not sure if these paralegals have a fear of losing their job or losing certain projects if they share their experience and talents with “newbie” paralegals. I call them “golden nuggets” of knowledge because they are the things that a paralegal won’t find in a textbook sitting in a class. They also may not be helpful words spoken by an attorney because most attorneys don’t really know the exact intricate steps paralegals take to get their work done. It is up to paralegals to share their knowledge and experiences with others.

    Even though I have 20 plus years of legal experience, starting as a receptionist at a small law firm of brothers, I still feel like I am a newbie in certain situations as most TPSers likely can relate to. Every time I have changed jobs, I’m the newbie learning the office culture and the office’s intricate internal procedures. Sometimes, I am also a newbie learning a new area of law.

    I was also a newbie when I joined the executive board of a paralegal association by volunteering from the floor for a vacant position. It was a total unexpected “knee jerk” response from me, the classic shy introvert, to raise my hand and volunteer. I really felt like a newbie in unchartered waters when I became elected chair of that executive board several years later (upon encouragement from a now past president of NALA while having lunch with her the last day of an annual conference). I led by example of women I felt had leadership qualities in “aces of spades”. True mentors. I attended national conferences as a newbie. Talk about needing that “20 seconds of insane courage” that Jamie has talked about to learn the “practice of networking” [insert positive nod of head].

    Even if a paralegal has years of experience in one way or another she/he continues to be a newbie. We all need mentors of one kind or another throughout our careers as paralegals. We all become better paralegals by sharing the “golden nuggets” of knowledge.

    Mentoring is like mining. The golden nuggets are there to be extracted from the legal community whether it be from individuals in the workplace, an association, or an online group, which has formed as a “mineralized package”. The miners (newbies or veterans) might find some of the golden nuggets just under the surface; however, more often than not it might take a little bit of work to harvest the most valuable pieces. Don’t give up. Sometimes the miners might have to “sift through a whole lot of sand” to extrapolate the real gems. Keep digging. The internet has an abundance of blogs and articles undefined take as little or as much information as needed that works for you.

    Mentorship should be a valuable and integral part of the workplace. It has to be. And if mentors are not prevalent in a paralegal’s workplace then she/he needs to find mentors in other places. Keep searching. Knowledge is meant to be shared and paid forward, not buried or secreted in the “ore body”. Mentors come in all shapes and sizes, like the landscapes of Mother Earth. Mentors may be like river beds, beach sand, or unconsolidated materials (placer deposits) or be like veins, layers, or mineral grains of solid rock (lode deposits). Either type, golden nuggets are extractable by different techniques. Keep trying. Not all of the “golden nuggets” come from deep within an “ore body”; some of the best “pearls of wisdom” are tucked deep inside a protected shell in the soft body waiting for the right person to open that shell to release it. It might be your next “aha moment”.

    _____

    Join.
    Attend.
    Don’t give up.
    Keep digging.
    Keep searching.

    …until you find those precious golden nuggets of mentorship.

    Just like Barbara said, “It might be your next ‘aha moment.’”

    Remember, good day or blaze of glory undefined either way, we’ve got it covered! Make it fabulous. We’ll see you soon.

    © The Paralegal Society – All Rights Reserved – Reprinted with Permission

     

  • 14 Apr 2013 8:51 PM | Mariana Fradman (Administrator)

    LinkedIn Endorsements: What You Need to Know
    By Vicki Voisin, ACP

     

    If you have a LinkedIn account, you’ve probably received email messages with the news that someone, often a complete stranger, has endorsed your skills.

    Sometimes the endorsements are in areas where you actually have minimum skills.

    Since so many people are using this new tool, the question becomes, “Do endorsements offer value?” Hopefully the following 10 points will help you understand endorsements and then use them so they are helpful to both you and your connections:

    1) First a word about LinkedIn recommendations. LinkedIn members have always been able to recommend their connections. These are written references supporting you and your work and are almost always written by or for someone you know and/or have worked with. Receiving a recommendation is special in that it takes time and effort for a person to write it and it represents the person’s opinion (usually positive) about you.

    2) What is an endorsement? Endorsements represent skills and expertise that someone knows or thinks you have. They are a “one-click” way to give praise to a connection and are based on the skills you entered in your profile. LinkedIn allows anyone to endorse anyone for their skills.

    3) How do endorsements happen? When LinkedIn connections view your profile, they are asked if they want to endorse you for any of the skills you've listed. If they choose to do this, they will be asked if they want to endorse skills from other contacts. Under your “Skills and Expertise” section, LinkedIn lists all your skills along with how many have endorsed you for each one and who did the endorsing.

    4) Should you reciprocate? There is no official LinkedIn endorsement etiquette but this is a social network, so you may want to get into the spirit of reciprocity. If you know the person who endorsed you, take a look at their profile and endorse the skills you know they have. You will be giving a little bit back to that person. You certainly don't have to endorse the same number of skills, but you may endorse all the skills you know are accurate.

    5) Why do you want endorsements? Since your connections are verifying your skills, people who review your profile will know you didn't just list skills to get noticed. The result is that your profile has more credibility. While it’s difficult to know if specific endorsements will influence potential employers or networking partners, it is safe to say that (a) endorsements can't hurt your profile and (b) the lack of endorsements may make people questioning both your skills and your social media savvy.

    6) How to get the right endorsements. It's important that the endorsements you receive accurately match your skills and experience. You can almost guarantee by including a wide variety of critical skills and knowledge in your profile there are ample options for endorsements. Include as many skills areas as possible within your target career or job, particularly if you are transitioning to a new area of the law or another career field.

    7) Do endorsements have value? The value of endorsements on LinkedIn has been questioned because this takes so little effort and often isn’t accurate. Since there seems to be a race to collect as many endorsements as possible, their overall value and professionalism may be diminished. Some bloggers have predicted that LinkedIn will drop endorsements by the end of 2013 with, perhaps, everyone realizing they are worth as much as the effort it took to award them: zero.

    8) Turning off endorsement messages. If you don't want email notifications regarding the endorsements you receive, you can turn off the email messages by following these steps:

    • Click on Settings (under your name on the top right side of the page
    • Click on Email Preferences
    • Click on Set the frequency of emails 
    • Scroll down to Endorsements
    • Select No Email (you can also opt for a Daily Digest)

    9. Turning off endorsements. You can't stop someone from endorsing you. However, you can stop them from showing on your profile by following these steps:

    • Click on Profile
    • Click on Edit Profile
    • Scroll down to Skills & Expertise
    • Click on the pencil icon

    10. What if you don't want to be endorsed for some skills? People may endorse you for skills you really don’t have and you don’t want to mislead anyone into thinking you do. For example, I’ve been endorsed for Public Speaking and that's valid. I’ve also been endorsed for PACER and product liability. While I know a bit about both, I don’t want to mislead anyone into thinking I’m an expert in those areas.

    Your Challenge: Be sure your LinkedIn profile accurately reflects your skills. Then decide if you want to play the endorsement game. This should be based on the value you believe they add to your profile. Take a look at the profiles of connections you know and endorse the skills you recognize they have. Do not endorse just to be endorsing. Endorsements certainly can’t hurt so long as they are accurate. They may even be helpful in expanding your network and employment possibilities.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    © 2013 Vicki Voisin, Inc.  Do you want to use this article in your newsletter, ezine or Web site? You may do so so long as you include the following attribution language:

    Vicki Voisin, "The Paralegal Mentor", delivers simple strategies for paralegals and other professionals to create success and satisfaction by setting goals and determining the direction they will take their careers. Vicki spotlights resources, organizational tips, ethics issues, and other areas of continuing education to help paralegals and others reach their full potential. She is the co-author of The Professional Paralegal: A Guide to Finding a Job and Career Success. Vicki publishes Paralegal Strategies, a weekly e-newsletter for paralegals, and hosts The Paralegal Voice, a monthly podcast produced by Legal Talk Network.

    More information is available at www.paralegalmentor.com where subscribers receive Vicki's 151 Tips for Your Career Success.

  • 13 Jan 2013 11:39 PM | Mariana Fradman (Administrator)

    12 Tips to Help You -- and Your Career -- Thrive in 2013
    By Vicki Voisin, ACP

    As you kick off the New Year, instead of "resolutions" look for "real solutions" that will help you grow and flourish in the 12 months ahead.

    Here are 12 tips to help you make 2013 one of your best years ever:

    1.    Look for the opportunities and be prepared to take advantage of them.

    2.    When you make plans, back them up with action. A plan without action is just a wish.

    3.   Doing what's right may not be the easiest way, but it is the best way.

    4.    When you encounter negativity, respond with education instead of anger.

    5.    Nourish your mind every day with new information that educates, motivates and inspires you.

    6.    Deliver on your promises and exceed expectations.

    7.    Always ask, “What can I learn from this situation?”

    8.    Do not be a follower. Instead, find the courage to be your unique self.

    9.    In addition to work that pays, do work that matters.

    10.    When you start a project, always be working on the end result you want.

    11.    Avoid fixating on disturbing news and disasters that you can do nothing about.

    12.    Rather than complain, create a solution.

    What would you add to this list? Follow this link to leave a comment at my blog.

    ~~~~~~~~~~

    © 2012 Vicki Voisin, Inc.  Do you want to use this article in your newsletter, ezine or Web site? You can, so long as you include this entire blurb with it:

    Vicki Voisin, "The Paralegal Mentor", delivers simple strategies for paralegals and other professionals to create success and satisfaction by setting goals and determining the direction they will take their careers. Vicki spotlights resources, organizational tips, ethics issues, and other areas of continuing education to help paralegals and others reach their full potential. She is the co-author of The Professional Paralegal: A Guide to Finding a Job and Career Success. Vicki publishes Paralegal Strategies, a weekly e-newsletter for paralegals, and co-hosts The Paralegal Voice, a monthly podcast produced by Legal Talk Network.

    More information is available at www.paralegalmentor.com where subscribers receive Vicki's 151 Tips for Your Career Success.

  • 07 Oct 2012 1:26 AM | Mariana Fradman (Administrator)

    Decision Making 101: How to Make the Right Decision with Confidence
    By Vicki Voisin, ACP


    How do you make a decision?
    Are you impulsive? Do you agonize and wring your hands? Do you make every decision complicated? Are you afraid of making any decision at all?

    Does making decisions stress you out? Do you procrastinate so you don’t have to make any decision at all?

    Recognizing what drives your decision making process can help you make better decisions, as well as control irrationality and impulsiveness.

    Here are some strategies that will help you make those better decisions:

    1. Understand Your Emotions. The first step toward making better decisions is to understand how your feelings and attitudes motivate your behavior. Those feelings are usually deep-rooted in your childhood and revolve around how you were raised. They might include attitudes toward money or work or possessions.

    Identify these attitudes and work at changing them. You do not want to be the person who buys things you have no use for, or who changes jobs on a whim or forms relationships for the wrong reasons.

    2. Think first. If you are an impulsive decision maker, you probably get caught up in the frenzy and can’t stop yourself. Instead of participating in the frenzy, step back, take a deep breath, and spend a few minutes re-evaluating your choices. Even better, sleep on it and make your decision the next day when you’re thinking rationally.

    3. Is the decision worth the worry? Be honest...is this a momentous decision, one that will change your life, or one that really won’t matter much in the end? Will it really matter if you choose the pink sweater or the blue one? Insignificant decisions are simply not worth stressing over. Just make your decision and move on.

    4. Consider the consequences. Think your options through to the end and consider the consequences you may suffer if you take the path you’re considering. This will help you eliminate the choices that would have poor consequences and help you keep your choices in perspective.

    5.  Do What’s Right.  Always choose to make a decision based on what is right and what corresponds with your personal values. Consider what you can and cannot live with. Never base your decision on what is easy. Doing what is right may be a bumpy path for a while but you will sleep better and be happier with yourself in the long run. Consider this quote:

    My basic principle is that you don’t make decisions because they are easy; you don’t make them because they are cheap; you don’t make them because they’re popular; you make them because they’re right. ~ Theodore Hesburgh

    6. Listen to your Intuition and Follow Your Instincts.  Decisions can’t always be based on statistics and analysis. There are times when your “gut feeling” provides the right choices. If your options have your stomach tied in knots, know that your intuition sending a strong message. As Oprah Winfrey says, “Follow your instincts. That's where true wisdom manifests itself."

    7. Is there pressure? If you are being pressured to make a decision immediately, consider what is driving the pressure. Perhaps you’re dealing with a salesperson who needs to make quota or by someone driven by competition, greed or power. If the reason for the pressure does not make sense, step away from the pressure and give your decision more thought.

    8. Decide not to decide. Not making a decision is a decision in itself...and often the right decision. If you are trying to make a choice between Option One and Option Two, the right decision may be Option Three: neither One nor Two.

    9. Heads or Tails? When you are faced with options that are really not very different and either would be a good choice, you can always flip a coin. The point is not to agonize over a simple decision. This is a waste of time and keeps you from taking care of really important life decisions.

    10. Don’t look back. Once you have made a decision, don't look back and don't worry about "what might have been". Your goal should be to do your best to make the decision work so you get the results you want.

    Your Challenge: Think about why you stress out when it comes to decision making. Work on your attitudes and emotions that play into your decision making process. Always listen to your instincts and, once a decision is made, march forward toward your goal.

    ~~~~~~~~~~

    © 2012 Vicki Voisin, Inc. 
    Vicki Voisin, "The Paralegal Mentor", delivers simple strategies for paralegals and other professionals to create success and satisfaction by setting goals and determining the direction they will take their careers. Vicki spotlights resources, organizational tips, ethics issues, and other areas of continuing education to help paralegals and others reach their full potential. She is the co-author of The Professional Paralegal: A Guide to Finding a Job and Career Success. Vicki publishes Paralegal Strategies, a weekly e-newsletter for paralegals, and co-hosts The Paralegal Voice, a monthly podcast produced by Legal Talk Network.
  • 08 Jul 2012 3:38 PM | Mariana Fradman (Administrator)

    Is it realistic to think that a degree entitles you to a job? By Pamela J. Starr, CBA, J.S.M.

    June 8, 2012

    I’ve been following a particularly interesting thread on LinkedIn:

    “A few associates of mine think that they can walk into a law firm to work with just having a paralegal degree and no experience, I told them that’s not going to happen w/o exp. What are your thoughts?”

    This is a phenomenal thread; filled with good advice and shared wisdom. I was particularly impressed by the comment that ‘earning a paralegal certificate is akin to receiving a learner’s permit’. It is true, no amount of education will prepare you for the real world.

    Think about it – realistically – high school does not truly prepare you for the experience that is college; college and other degree programs do not prepare you for a job. An education provides you with the tools you need; if you’re lucky, it also provides you with the knowledge to use those tools. Nothing, however, takes the place of education, determination, experience, and thinking outside the box to get the job.

    We are in a difficult economy – the jobs are out there, but they are more difficult to find. Paralegals sometimes need to be chameleons to succeed. To that end, you should not have a boilerplate resume or cover letter – you need to put the energy and effort into customizing both for each position. I am not suggesting that you lie – heaven forbid – but you need to tailor the content for your audience.

    Use your cover letter to distinguish yourself from the competition; highlight personal, professional, and/or educational accomplishments that show that you can be an asset to a prospective employer – and remember to keep it concise and on point. Never send out blind or generic cover letters or e-mails – those are the first to get tossed; check and recheck your spelling and grammar; and know your audience.

    I graduated from an ABA approved program in 1983; I had my BA and paralegal certificate, but it was 1983 in Texas and the economy was in trouble. My first job out of paralegal school was at the information desk at the unemployment office. My first paralegal job was with my father’s attorney. Armed with my degree, certificate, and several summers as a ‘law clerk’/runner (okay, mostly, I did a lot of filing), I went to the interview and agreed to work ‘as needed’ to get the necessary experience and a pay check.

    My early career reads like a checkerboard. I took temporary and contract positions for several years; a few days here; a few months there. Ultimately I landed a job in the legal department of a savings and loan where I learned all about mortgage and bankruptcy; later I got a gig at a ‘real’ law firm. And then the economy took another hit … I ended up at the Resolution Trust Company closing down and investigating several failed Texas S&Ls.

    I had to keep reinventing myself; to remain flexible and open to new opportunities – even 2 jobs where my office was a storage closet and my desk, a pile of boxes. I have earned my stripes, and yes, I had to swallow my pride a few times (and I have served my time in the unemployment line).

    In 2008, I lost a law firm position that I had held for 8 years. I had to completely reinvent myself. Rather than rely on finding another law firm position, I started my own virtual paralegal services company. I provide services only to lawyers – UPL scares the bejeebers out of me. Going solo is not for everyone and can be difficult if you have not worked as a paralegal before; but there are options.

    It is an established fact that it can be impossible to get past the office gatekeeper – find another way. Attend local bar association / section meetings; consider working part time for several lawyers (bear in mind the potential for conflicts of interest and confidentiality issues); make yourself useful – figure out their ‘pain points’ and offer solutions; suggest that you intern for a short period of time so you can get your foot in the door; apply to the courts and various agencies and NEVER stop networking!

    So, what are your thoughts?

    Copyright © 2012 Pamela the Paralegal. All rights reserved.

    To read more or sign up for updates, go to http://pamelatheparalegal.com/is-it-realistic/ 

    STARRParalegals, LLC is not a law firm, nor are we attorneys.
    We do not provide advice to any individual as to their legal rights, remedies, or obligations under the laws of the United States of America.
    STARRParalegals, LLC's services are provided ONLY to licensed attorneys. All documents, pleadings, etc., are prepared under the exclusive direction of those attorneys. Visit http://www.starrparalegals.com/ for more information.

  • 29 Jun 2012 6:37 PM | Mariana Fradman (Administrator)

    Change is in the air! Whether it's the advent of Summer or the current political campaign, it seems like everyone is talking about change.

    Change is always good, any time of the year. In fact, I believe that once you stop changing you're just done...there will be no more personal growth in your life.

    I'm not necessarily talking about drastic changes like a quitting your job, leaving your spouse, or moving to Peru. I am talking about making small changes that will keep you fresh and content with your current job and your career.

    Do you feel like you've painted yourself into a corner? Do you feel like you're stuck in a rut? Well, nothing happens to the rut you're stuck in unless you make the changes necessary to get out. If you continue to do the same thing in the same way, you'll get the same results. It's time to make a few small changes that will get you out of that rut. Here are some tips:

    Clear the decks! Or, rather, clear your desk! Piles of papers and gobs of Post-It notes keep you from doing your best work. With all the clutter on your desk, you waste time looking for files and memos. Throw away what you can and then file the rest. Working in a clear, organized space will make you feel better instantly.

    Set goals! Decide what you want to do and where you want to go. Then figure out the steps you need to take to get there. You would never eat a 12" sub sandwich in one gulp, but bite by bite that sandwich will disappear. Setting short term goals to reach your long term goal is the only way to make sure you keep yourself on track. Put those goals on your calendar so that you will make time to do them.

    I have another example. Say you want to see 'Wicked' this coming October 2nd. But you say to yourself, "I don't know if I can do that. What if something else comes up?" So you do nothing. Guess what...October 2nd will come and go and you will not have seen 'Wicked.' If you had put that event on your calendar, purchased your tickets and made travel plans, you would be in for a terrific experience on August 2nd. If not, you'll be at home watching 'I Love Lucy' re-runs.

    Challenge yourself! Think of something challenging that you want to do before you wake up on the wrong side of the grass. This should be something that is out of your normal routine...something that is a stretch for you. Would that be sky diving? A trip to Morocco? Learning Italian? Once you've chosen your challenge, plan the steps you must take to make it happen. You simply cannot learn Italian overnight.

    Also, forget the excuses. Never say, "I can't do that. It will take too long and I'll be (you insert the number that's holding you back) years old before I'm finished!" I have news for you, you will (hopefully!) be 30...40...50...60...or whatever number you're thinking. You might as well reach the age and have completed your challenge as get there and have regrets because you didn't. Nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it and plan the steps you must take to climb your mountain.

    Ask for what you want! I'll let you in on a little secret...I didn't have a reserved seat for the Richlin v Chertoff oral arguments. It would have been very easy to just wring my hands and decide to stay home because I wasn't even sure I would get in the building. Instead, I stood in line for two hours on a chilly March morning and slowly inched toward the door. The oral arguments were to begin at 10:0 0 a.m.

    As that time approached, I could see I wasn't going to get in. Instead, I was given the opportunity to move to the line of people who could watch for just five minutes. That was better than nothing (even though I was calculating that for five minutes in the court room, the trip would cost me about $300 per minute!) so I moved and was with the first group inside. When I sat down, I was totally awed by the Court and the voices of the Justices, but I couldn't see them very well.

    Then I noticed one empty seat just across from me. The Marshalls were patrolling the room and looked like they'd throw me out if I even crossed my eyes. But when one walked by me I asked (very quietly!) if I could move to the empty seat. His response? "If you move to that seat, you have to stay for the whole hour!" Yes! I asked for what I wanted and I got it. Never hesitate to ask for what you want. What do you have to lose? You'll be surprised how often it works.

    Look for the good in people! It's very easy to see other's faults, but it's healthier to see the good things. Every person has a story. Every person has something interesting to offer. Acknowledge at least one positive quality in everyone you meet during a day. The negatives will slip away and you will find more joy in your day.

    Exercise! Golly, how many times have you heard that? But it's true! You need to exercise not only to keep your body strong, but also to keep your mind healthy. You will do your best thinking and problem solving while you take a brisk walk. Try to make exercise a priority.

    Have you noticed a recurring theme here? Each of these changes requires that you work on yourself and your way of thinking. It is so important that you maintain your sense of humor, that you have fun, and that you always be learning something new. Taking a risk once in a while is mandatory. Work on those goals, make some long-term plans, smile at your neighbor, and I'll bet you will find you're no longer stuck in your rut. That said, I have one more point to make.

    Evaluate your situation! In the beginning, I said I was not advocating any drastic changes. But think about this: You probably have an idea where you want your career to go. Think where you were five years ago and then where you want to be in five years. Are things going as you had hoped? Are you on a path that will get you to where you want to be in five years? Are you earning what you deserve? Hopefully your answers will be 'Yes.' If not, you may need to make more than a few small changes.

    Your Assignment: Take ten minutes to assess that rut you think you may be stuck in and make a list of five things you would like to do by the end of the year. Then determine what steps you have to take to reach those goals, to make those things a reality. Next, schedule the steps on your calendar. By the end of the year, you'll not only be out of your rut, but you'll be marching down the road singing a happy tune.

    ~~~~~~~~~~

    © 2012 Vicki Voisin, Inc. 
    Vicki Voisin, "The Paralegal Mentor", delivers simple strategies for paralegals and other professionals to create success and satisfaction by setting goals and determining the direction they will take their careers. Vicki spotlights resources, organizational tips, ethics issues, and other areas of continuing education to help paralegals and others reach their full potential. She is the co-author of The Professional Paralegal: A Guide to Finding a Job and Career Success. Vicki publishes Paralegal Strategies, a weekly e-newsletter for paralegals, and co-hosts The Paralegal Voice, a monthly podcast produced by Legal Talk Network.

    More information is available at www.paralegalmentor.com where subscribers receive Vicki's 151 Tips for Your Career Success.

  • 25 Jun 2012 12:23 PM | Mariana Fradman (Administrator)

    This article was reprinted with permission from The Paralegal Society
    a forum created to educate, motivate and inspire paralegals.
    Be sure to check it out at:
    www.theparalegalsociety.wordpress.com!

    By: Jamie Collins

    Happy High Heel Friday, TPS readers! Raise the flag and rally the legal troops -you’ve made it through yet another thrilling work week! [insert paralegal high fives all round]. Today, we’re sharing some of the most interesting search terms that have made their way onto our blog. Since we couldn’t convince all of the esquires of the world to give you Friday off…we figured we’d do the next best thing, and give you a brief break from your big day of accomplishment, accompanied by a small dose of paralegal humor. We’re certainly ready for a mental break, aren’t you?

    Here goes…

    (and yes, these are real search terms…we can’t make this stuff up)

    Did paralegals use typewriters in the past?

    Seriously? The answer is HECK YES! Thankfully, I have no personal experience with that genre of paralegaling. Just ask any senior paralegal with 25+ years of experience and they’ll tell you all the fun and interesting tales related to the days of carbon paper past. May those thin, black sheets of finger staining tissue paper rest in peace.

    The true story of George the paralegal

    OMG…this search has landed people on our blog at least 10 times over the past month or so. Who in the heck is this George fella? Really? If you figure it out, please let me know. I’m dying here. George? You out there? What’s your story? And why in the world are all these people searching for you???

    What challenges does a paralegal face?

    Hmmmm…let’s see – there’s waking every day with a to do list that never seems to gets ta-done due to every possible perceived crisis, issue or phone call that seems to comes your way, as though you are a knight engaged in a duel…only the knight is you…and the sword is your super amazing intelligence, skills and legal aptitude, slaying problems like Morimoto slicing tuna tartar on the Iron Chef; aimlessly wandering and stressed out esquires asking why you didn’t provide them with a letter you never knew they needed despite your best telepathic efforts; typically an 8 hour work day (hopefully) with 12 hours worth of work piled up to the point that your office is starting to resemble the Library of Congress.

    All in a day’s work! Did I miss anything?

    Paralegal on call

    You betcha!!! Only on days that end in “y”. We’re confident and sit perched and ready…available like a 911 dispatch operator, just waiting on the next call. Did I mention that I answer my inner office calls: “Help Desk”?

    We’re paralegals! You ring…we bring.

    That’s us.

    Are paralegals dumb?

    I have no idea who keeps searching for this…but the answer is no!

    Paralegal fuzzy robe

    What? A paralegal fuzzy robe???? What? You got me here. I’m stumped. I have absolutely no idea what in the world it is that you’re in search of with this one, Mr. Google searcher. Anyone know anything about a paralegal fuzzy robe? Is this used in place of the green jacket when one is inducted into the Paralegal Hall of Fame or something? Am I missing something here? Paralegal fuzzy robe. No clue. I’m speechless…and apparently in search of a robe.

    Jobs for paralegal with no experience

    From what we’re hearing these days, searching for a paralegal job with no experience is somewhat comparable to combing the woods of North Alaska in search of Big Foot. On a positive note, there is only one Big Foot and you only need to hear one “yes” to begin your big adventure in paralegal land! Just one – that’s it. All you need is one. May you fondly pay mental homage to Big Foot during your next job interview!

    Corporate paralegal to do when not busy

    Huh? Not busy? We’re throwing the oxymoron card on this one! We know a lot of corporate paralegals all across the country and they’re about as busy as a one-legged man in a butt kicking contest! During any down time, we’d suggest taking a few deep breaths to prepare for the next wave of crazy!

    Are we missing something here, corporate paralegals??? You’re busy right?

    Poor paralegal

    Clearly an individual who did not adequately learn, grow, rise to challenges, excel, and conquer the legal mountain; newbies, let me assure you – good paralegals are not poor! Good paralegal = good pay check. If that’s not the case, you’re doing something wrong!

    Clothing + paralegal

    Yes!

    Sure hope you figured that one out before that big job interview.

    In summary…Clothing + paralegal = yes!

    Do you have to have typing skills to be a paralegal

    Nope. The pleadings just magically type themselves. Really. Amazing isn’t it???? If you find any of that magic, pleading typing, fairy dust lying around…please send a bottle my way!

    Okay, in all seriousness the answer is an astounding:

    Yes2,000,000. Yes, you must have typing skills to be a paralegal. (See…I just typed that…) I’m a paralegal.

    To do list for paralegals

    About as long as Santa’s…and you better believe we don’t list each and every little thing we actually have to do on that to do list…or we would all surely be overcome with either a full-blown, stage-4 panic attack or undoubtedly be sued by those caring folks interested in protecting the integrity of the rain forests we would single handedly level with our legal laundry lists. It would surely send us all clamoring onto our window ledges. Here’s the thing: the to-do list is L-O-N-G and never done. Once you resign yourself to this “fact” (and it is a fact), things go a lot more smoothly in the land of legal.

    Keep it real, Santa!

    What stands between you and what you want

    Good question. Unfortunately, not one that we can answer for you! What is it? Lack of ambition, knowledge, career skills, opportunities, confidence, education, connections, intelligence, motivation and/or desire? You tell us! We have no idea what’s standing between you and what you want, but chances are, it’s something on that list.

    Like Robert Frost said: “The best way out is always through.”

    Everything you need to know about being a paralegal

    We sure wish we could answer that one for you in one impressive line of text. Unfortunately, it’s a little more complicated than that. You have to read books, read blogs, listen to instructors, talk to lots of smart attorneys, talk to a lot of smart paralegals, attend seminars, webinars and workshops, embrace Google like a long lost sibling, and embark on a life long journey of growth and learning. It never ends in the paralegal world…at least not if you’re doing it right, it doesn’t.

    “Window office” paralegal

    Ahhh…the land of windows and sunshine…every paralegal’s dream. It does happen. However, if they opened, we might occasionally feel inclined to leap out of them…therefore…they typically don’t…open that is…and this prevents the window-officed paralegals from doing the paralegal swan dive in a moment of utter chaos. Good move, law firms! And good luck getting that window office, paralegals!

    Mission statement for a paralegal

    Let’s see …don’t miss a statute of limitations, don’t miss the deadline for request for admissions, answers, summary judgment motions or other important deadlines, make sure your attorney is always where he is supposed to be, when he’s supposed to be there, never lie about progress made on a file or task (never…it will kill your credibility…don’t do it!), conduct yourself as a consummate professional at all times, and steer clear of the cancer in your office (those dark clouds a/k/a keepers of the misery) as best as you can. Yep – the secret to remaining gainfully employed, and you heard it here, folks!

    Okay, well, there is much more involved than that, but you get the idea. Pretty darn comprehensive considering we’re responding to a search term here…

    How to become a senior paralegal

    Well, you get your first paralegal job, and then you work some more…and some more…and some more…and finally…one day, you’ve worked so many “mores” that you become a full-fledged, senior paralegal. Pretty cool, right? Hey, you might even get one of those coveted offices with a window…that doesn’t open! We’ll chalk that up to “living the dream.”

    Ignore passive aggressive person

    OMG…best of luck on that one…and we mean that in all sincerity. Trust us – we all try to ignore a passive aggressive person each and every day of our paralegal lives…and it ain’t easy! We highly recommend ear plugs, blinders, an on-call masseuse, therapeutic music, and aromatherapy candles for your office…with the window that won’t open. Just stay in your area/office while the dark clouds (a/k/a keepers of the misery) loom. (That’s what the blinders and ear plugs are for, people…you’re gonna need ‘em!) Hey, maybe that’s actually the real reason why those windows don’t open after all…it’s not us they’re worried about going out the windows…it’s the negative, annoying and scantily clad among us! We’re with ya now!

    Kudos on your incredible foresight, attorneys.

    Wanted paralegal

    Are we talking…you want a paralegal here? Or like Jesse James poster with a reward offered kind of wanted? I have no idea. If you’re an attorney or human resource professional, you may want to resort to more helpful hiring resources, such as job boards, classified ads and LinkedIn. Just sayin’. I’m guessing 20 paralegals didn’t come beating down your door over this one, Mr. HR representative.

    Best of luck in finding your “wanted” paralegal!

    © The Paralegal Society – All Rights Reserved – Reprinted with Permission

  • 17 Jun 2012 8:37 PM | Mariana Fradman (Administrator)

    Are You Sitting on the Bench? 7 Ways to Become a Real Player
    By: Vicki Voisin, ACP

    Sitting on the bench is not a lot of fun. All the other team members are participating in the excitement of the game while the bench warmers are just watching -- and wishing they could be more of a player.

    Paralegals may experience the "bench warmer" malady, too, when they would like to play a bigger role on the legal team and assume greater responsibility.

    Wanting and wishing will not make it so. Instead, you have to take action to get off the bench and out on the field. Here are 6 ways to make that happen:

    Perception is everything. Be sure you are perceived as a person who can take on more responsibilities. Is your office neat and organized? Even though you may know where everything is among the piles of papers and files, you may appear overwhelmed and unable to take on any more work. You may also appear disorganized and unable to keep track of a project. Give some thought as to how you can project a better image in the office.

    Upgrade your skills. If your employer will send you to continuing legal education classes, always go. If that is not an option, learn on your own time and dime. Your local paralegal association may offer classes. There are excellent learning tools available on the Internet. Read everything you can. Pay attention to how others in the office are doing their work and ask them to teach you.

    Become an expert. Has your office implemented a new software program? Learn it inside and out and then offer to train others how to use it. You may also want to draft training manuals and checklists to save everyone time. Whenever you become the “expert” in any area, you will be called upon to play a bigger part in the game.

    Volunteer. Want to take a more active role in a case, perhaps one that is going to trial? Anticipate what has to be done and take a stab at completing the work.

    For example, ask if you can prepare the witness and exhibit list or organize the trial notebook. Many attorneys prefer to do this themselves but there is no harm in asking if you can prepare a draft. When the final product is completed, compare it to your draft to learn how you can improve for the next “stab”. You may find that the attorney will gladly turn more responsibilities over to you IF he thinks you more things well.

    Do good work and meet deadlines. When you are given work, be sure to ask when it must be finished. Then do your best work and finish as soon as possible, perhaps beating the deadline. A word of caution: Never hesitate to ask questions if you aren’t sure how to do the work and never promise you will meet a deadline if you know you are not able to.

    Cooperate and pitch in to help. Cooperation is the act of working with others to complete a project. When you respond positively to requests for assistance, as well as take the initiative to solve problems and get the work done, you demonstrate a cooperative spirit and willingness to help everyone for the good of the team.

    Team players do not come in any particular style or personality, nor are they always the “Yay, Team!” cheerleader types. While they may be soft-spoken, they are not passive. They care about what the team is doing and they contribute to its success without being asked or pressed into action.

    Follow these 6 steps, to become an active and committed team player. You will find that warming the bench is a thing of the past.


    ============================

    © 2012 Vicki Voisin, Inc. 

    Vicki Voisin, "The Paralegal Mentor", delivers simple strategies for paralegals and other professionals to create success and satisfaction by setting goals and determining the direction they will take their careers. Vicki spotlights resources, organizational tips, ethics issues, and other areas of continuing education to help paralegals and others reach their full potential. She is the co-author of The Professional Paralegal: A Guide to Finding a Job and Career Success. Vicki publishes Paralegal Strategies, a weekly e-newsletter for paralegals, and co-hosts The Paralegal Voice, a monthly podcast produced by Legal Talk Network.

    More inf ormation is available at www.paralegalmentor.com where subscribers receive Vicki's 151 Tips for Your Career Success.

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