Dedicated to the progress and advancement of all paralegals.

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
  • 15 Mar 2020 3:02 PM | Mariana Fradman (Administrator)

    How Bad Is It To.....

    We all make mistakes. However, there are degrees of mistakes, some very bad, some, well, not so bad. Here are 5 scenarios that might sound familiar to you:

    How bad is it to......

    1.  Agree to a phone interview with a staffing organization recruiter and ghost or stand them up. Recruiters are professionals. They take the time to answer your application. They set aside time in their very busy schedule that could have gone to someone else. Recruiters can be your best friend because not only do they know where the jobs are, they have intimate details of the firm that you would never know by answering an ad on a job board. They may even have other jobs available that you don't know about.

    Once you stand them up, they put you down in their file as a "no show" and move on to the next candidate. It is really rude and frankly, unprofessional, not to even shoot the recruiter a one-line email and in the re line say you can't make it. That way, you remain friends and the recruiter can book their very valuable time with someone who does want the interview. You wouldn't stand up an employer, would you? Of course not! Why would you stand up the gatekeeper to the employer? What happens? Usually, after some time goes by, the candidate forgets that they stood that recruiter up and applies for their dream job with the same agency. The result? They are very definitely rejected.

    How bad is it: Really, really bad.

    2.  Your resume does not look that great. Yet, you refuse to change it, acknowledge it isn't the greatest or have someone else review it. You use Times Roman font (outdated). You use the wrong grammar i.e., in past jobs. You say, "Drafts documents" instead of the past tense, "Drafted documents". (Employers bounce resumes for that reason. You don't know how to write.) You are not specific to the job description posted. You keep sending out the resume with little or no results and claim "age discrimination" or some such thing. You go back 30 years when you only need to go back 10 years.

    How bad is it: Really bad.

    3. You leave off your email or your phone number on your resume. Seriously??? You say that you are getting too many spam calls. You forgot to put it on. Or, you leave off your email and say you don't want to reveal it to strangers or that you get too many emails. I am curious. How do you expect potential employers to reach you? Sometimes, they book an interview with you and only afterwards, realize there is no phone number on the resume. It's annoying and makes you look unprepared. You are viewed as not detail oriented or, well, making a dumb mistake. (Honestly) They simply pass.

    How bad is it: Really bad.

    3. In an effort to adhere to the "one page" resume rule, you squeeze everything in or leave out important information. Look. You need to sell yourself. You need to get past the gatekeeper. It's absolutely true that potential employers can spend less than 15 seconds perusing your resume seeking salient points. Two pages is perfectly ok. Three or four is not. It's better to have a good looking resume than one that is crowded or leaves off important information.

    How bad is it: Kinda bad.

    4. You just had a phone or face-to-face interview and you fail to send a thank-you email. I cannot emphasize how important the thank-you email is. First, it shows professionalism. Second, it reminds the potential employer of you and it is one more reason to get in front of them. Third, employers review the thank-you email and make assessments as to your writing ability along with your desire for the position.

    The first paragraph thanks the employer for taking the time to meet with you. The second paragraph and most important, ties in something that was said in the interview that ties in with your skills. It shows that you were listening and reminds the employer of why you are qualified for the position. The third paragraph talks about looking forward to moving to the next step. Try not to use standard thank you's that everyone writes. Be original. It shows that you are well above the average candidate.

    How bad is it? Sorta bad.

    5. You have no questions to ask the interviewer after the interview. The interviewer ends your talk and asks you if you have any questions. Now is the time to show off that you are highly interested. Don't say, "No, you've pretty much covered everything." Have two questions to ask about the job. Be sure not to ask what are the benefits, bonus and salary. Not the right time. Answering, “No, I have no questions” could signal to an interviewer that you lack enthusiasm, thoughtfulness, and an understanding of everything discussed in the interview.

    The first rule is never ask anything already covered. Listen carefully the entire way through your interview because if you ask something already expressed, it’ll seem like you weren’t listening. If you need something explained further, ask: “I’d like to revisit this point … can you elaborate on this for me?”

    You might say:

    • ""I am very interested in this position and am confident I am qualified. Can you tell me if I am the type of candidate you are seeking?" The idea here is to find out what objections the interviewer might have. Finding out on the spot gives you a chance to explain further or more solidly clear up any doubts the interviewer might have instead of having them stew over it and send a rejection letter.
    • "How has this position changed over the years?"
    • "Is there anything that I haven't explained adequately that you would like to address?"

    Here is a great article to help prepare you: 14 Impressive Questions to Answer at the End of the Interview

    How bad is it? Pretty bad.

    There are always things we could do better. However, these common mistakes can be avoided and you can spend a lot less time agonizing over why you didn't get an offer. Always take the path to success. Don't be resistant to trying new techniques. With the coming down economy, you may find yourself on the job market. (Hopefully, not.) Beat the competition and land the job you want. You'll be glad you did.

    Chere Estrin is the CEO of Estrin Legal Staffing, a top staffing organization in California. She is also the President of the Organization of Legal Professionals and the Paralegal Knowledge Institute. Chere has written 10 books on legal careers, hundreds of articles and has been written up in publications such as the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Trib, Newsweek, Entrepreneur and others. Chere is a recipient of the Los Angeles/Century City Women of Achievement Award and a finalist for the Inc. Magazine Entrepreneur of the Year award. She is a former administrator in an AmLaw 100 firm and Sr. Vice President in a $5 billion company. She can be reached on Sundays from 3am-5am. Reach out at: chere@estrinlegalstaffing.com.

    https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-bad-chere-estrin/?trackingId=EfVKWycaPZM1jVNoHzey%2Bg%3D%3D

  • 08 Mar 2020 9:47 AM | Deleted user

    Social media has been more of a reliable resource for finding prospects, jobs, new talent, and partners than ever before. One of the most popular social networking sites in the year of 2020 is LinkedIn: a social networking site when it comes to online “business networking.” Did you know that LinkedIn has actually been around longer than Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram? But it is more relevant now than ever. 

    You are probably wondering to yourself, “is it important to have a LinkedIn profile?” The answer is, yes. Why? According to Topresume.com, “LinkedIn hosts more than 500 million professional profiles, which means nearly an unlimited supply of network connections and job opportunities. From seeking a new job to maintaining your personal brand, LinkedIn is an important part of being a full-fledged professional in any industry these days.” Your profile gives you the ability to showcase your expertise, connections, skills and achievements.

    Learn how to build a professional and better LinkedIn profile with the few tips below.

    Profile Picture: The quality of your LinkedIn profile picture is very important. Your picture is a key element of your LinkedIn presence. According to Lydia Abbot, the Blog Editor and Contest Marketer at LinkedIn, research showed that just having a picture makes your profile (14) fourteen times more likely to be viewed by others. 

    Get someone such as a friend or family member to take your photo – do not take a selfie. Make your pose simple, put the focus on your face, look friendly and stick to your office wardrobe (there’s no need to dress up unnecessarily). Standard office clothes will do. The only exception to this rule is for casual work environments), and do not over edit your picture. Try to avoid small, low-resolution images and your ideal size is 400 x 400 pixels. For more tips to have a better LinkedIn profile picture, click here

    Write an Interesting Headline and Summary: LinkedIn data shows that you only have (5) five to (10) ten seconds to impress a potential employer online and one of the very first things they see is your headline. Your headline should answer the question, “Why should I stop and click on this profile?” Have a specific header such as highlight your unique value proposition. The more detailed your headline is, the better. 

    Think of your summary as a cover letter - as it is supposed to give people a better sense of who you are. Show off your personality, keep it short by removing superlatives and write in an active voice, and have a pitch: elaborate on your passions, skills and unique story. Click herefor more tips to making a better LinkedIn profile summary.

    Customizing Your URL: Your LinkedIn profile URL is important because it enhances your personal brand, control how you appear when people search for you online, use the URL on your resume and on personal business cards. Click here for directions of how to change your public profile URL.

    These tips will help you make a better profile. It will wow your future connections and grow your influence on LinkedIn. What are your tips to making a LinkedIn profile desirable and interesting? Write your tips or advice below to help other readers with their profile.

    Also, do not forget to download the LinkedIn Mobile App on your electronic device or devices.

  • 11 Aug 2019 4:00 PM | Mariana Fradman (Administrator)

    By Becky Kane—Doist via Fast Company

    Becky Kane writes, "According to his LinkedIn profile, Rick Galan has been the head of digital marketing at Qualtrics — an experience research and analytics software company headquartered in Utah and Seattle — for the last three years and seven months. On paper, he certainly looked successful. Yet here he was with a to-do list so out of control that he had decided to just give up and start fresh."

    READ MORE HERE

  • 07 Aug 2019 8:41 PM | Mariana Fradman (Administrator)

    A question was submitted to NYCPA:

    As applied to Regulation D Private Placements there are Jurisdictional NASAA Legends.  What book or website  would I need to find out the Legend requirements for Israel, UK, and Europe? I'm aware that there is a more "general" foreign legend. Would that be more appropriate? where would I find one? I will be applying them to a "clear sky" continual offering for 100mm. For disclosure purposes- the issuer exemption is being utilized. As for forms when attracting foreign investors with or without using a "portal" what forms are required and to whom do I submit them. Is it possible that my questions and more that I may not be aware that I have are answerable in one or more horn or nutshell books?
    If you can help, please respond to Bermanmoorellc@aol.com.

    Thank you!


  • 12 May 2019 7:54 PM | Mariana Fradman (Administrator)

    Are you afraid to post on LinkedIn? I have broken down for you how I went from a lurker to a full-time poster (am I an hashtag #influencer yet?) Each stage is typically 3-6 weeks (depending on your level of social media fear).

    • Lurk for awhile (it's ok, this is a necessary prerequisite.) 
    • Like a few posts per day. 
    • Begin to comment. (Keep it real. Just make believe you are talking/conversating.) 
    • Become a regular liker/commentator. 
    • Begin to post with a goal of once a week. 
    • Accidentally post twice a week (because you found yourself with more things to say and it wasn't so scary!) 
    • Post daily. 
    • Surprise yourself and post more than once a day! 
    • Disclaimer: It's ok to take a break if you have to.
    •  Also: Message people regularly to say hello! 
    • Connect with at least 10 ppl per day. 
    • Connect with those that like and comment on you posts.

    Questions? Ask me in the comments! If you're a LinkedIn pro what can you add? P.S. This somehow means a lot to me to share this. Hope you like it! hashtag #EstherINsites hashtag #socialmedia hashtag #linkedinlife hashtag #linkedintips hashtag #connectengagerepeat Expirit

    https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6531899395418386434/

  • 08 May 2019 8:49 AM | Mariana Fradman (Administrator)

    10 truly helpful Windows 10 tools you might not know about

    Enthusiast-friendly power tools lurk in every corner of Windows 10. Let's shine a light on some of the more obscure ones.

    By Brad Chacos

    Senior Editor, PCWorld

    So you’ve mastered Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts and Snap open windows like a boss. Now what?

    Windows 10 offers many other power tools for enthusiasts—if you know where to find them. Some are older, yet still obscure. Others are relatively new, added during the twice-annual major upgrades Microsoft’s been pushing out since Windows 10 launched nearly four long years ago. But all 10 of these little-used tricks and tools can help hardened PC users save time or eliminate headaches.

    If you’re looking for a guide to even more of the operating system’s darker corners after reading this, be sure to check out our roundup of the best Windows 10 tips and tweaks. Most everyone will learn a little something! Microsoft’s been aggressive about rolling out new features for Windows 10, but not necessarily about promoting them. Speaking of which…


    1. Timeline

    Microsoft rolled out Windows 10’s Timeline feature as part of the April 2018 Update, and it’s awesome. It’s basically like a browser history for your desktop programs, showing files you’ve opened previously in chronological order. Selecting one opens the file once again. Paired with the “Pick up where you left off” in modern Microsoft Office apps, you can be knee-deep in that project from two weeks ago in no time. Better yet, Timeline’s tied to your Microsoft account rather than an individual PC. If you store your files in the cloud, you can pick up where you left off no matter which device you happen to use.


    READ MORE HERE: https://www.pcworld.com/article/3387950/10-truly-helpful-windows-10-tools-you-might-not-know-about.html


  • 17 Apr 2019 10:23 AM | Mariana Fradman (Administrator)

    How Can Paralegals Survive and Thrive in New Wokr Situations?

    Whether you’re new to the profession or you have years of experience as a paralegal, you may find yourself working in an unfamiliar practice area. You may be ‘learning by fire’ and not feeling confident about how you’re getting the job done. You may not have enough contact with your supervising attorney or feel like you’re bothering him/her with constant questions. Even if you’re not working in a new practice area, there are always new rules and procedures that you need to figure out.

    Here are twelve tips that will help you survive these situations and thrive in your career:

    Just like the cable company, adopt the habit of ‘bundling.’ Try saving all the questions you need to ask the attorney and present them all at once. It’s tough to flag down a busy person and they don’t like frequent interruptions that take them away from their work. If you can schedule one or two fifteen minute meetings (say, first thing in the morning and perhaps immediately after lunch), you may find a more willing listener.

    Does your state have guidelines for the utilization of paralegals? If so, be sure you have a copy and then discuss the guidelines with your employer. Tell him/her that you really like your job and you like working for him/her but you feel there are some areas where you feel uncomfortable and could he/she help you with those. If your employer doesn’t know that you need this help, he or she can’t provide what you need. (Remember that the American Bar Association offers Guidelines for the Utilization of Paralegal Services and so does the National Association of Legal Assistants.)

    Be sure you are getting the supervision that is required for nonlawyer staff. Remember that the attorney is to review your work before it leaves the office and that nonlawyers cannot sign pleadings or correspondence that offers legal advice.

    Familiarize yourself with the court rules for your state and your local jurisdiction. Know where to find requirements and time frames for any filings you’ll be doing. It’s your responsibility to know this for calendaring and for planning when work needs to be done.

    Are there similar older or closed files you can follow? They would give you great ideas for a procedure that’s been followed in the past, documents that have been drafted, and correspondence that’s been sent. Be sure to ask the attorney if there is another file you can follow or another client with similar issues.

    Make the court staff your new best friends. They are usually happy to help with the procedure and they may have checklists and forms you can use. Be sure to treat them with respect and be lavish with your thanks.

    Create your own procedures manual. This should include forms, checklists, contact lists, and helpful Web sites. The more systems you can put in place, the smoother your transition into this new practice area will be.

    Seek out continuing education opportunities, especially in the new practice area. You should consider certification and advanced certification. There are also a number of online courses (remember that The Paralegal Mentor offers a few that might work) that should be convenient for you to attend.

    Take an active role in paralegal forums. Two good ones are provided by Paralegal Gateway and by Legal Assistant TodayNALA also provides a good forum for members. The paralegals who post on those venues are very generous with their expertise and advice. They will generally share forms and their knowledge of procedure.

    Join local, state and national professional associations. After you’ve joined, become an involved member: go to meetings, run for office, join in discussions and educational events. This will provide chances for networking with other paralegals who do the same work you do. Professional newsletters and journals offer lots of articles that may help you with your situation.

    Find a mentor. Ask someone who has experience in the practice area to help you learn the ropes. Again, most paralegals are incredibly generous with their time and their expertise.

    Use social media as a resource. Establish accounts on LinkedInFacebook, and Twitter, provide a professional profile and dive in. Be sure to join whatever groups work for you, too. This is a great way to ask questions, locate resources and learn about educational opportunities. Just remember that whatever you post on these sites can be viewed by everyone so keep everything you do on a professional level.

    Your challenge: When you catch yourself saying, “Holy Moly…what do I do now?” take a step back, analyze the situation, and decide which of the above tips will work for you. You will probably find more than one. Then, step by step, learn all about the new practice area or the new procedure. Before you know it, you’ll be offering tips and advice to other paralegals.

    Vicki Voisin, “The Paralegal Mentor”, delivers simple strategies for paralegals and other professionals to create success and satisfaction by achieving 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 publishes a bi-weekly ezine titled Strategies for Paralegals Seeking Excellence. More information is available at www.paralegalmentor.com


  • 13 Mar 2019 3:44 PM | Mariana Fradman (Administrator)

    5 Tips for Incorporating Mindfulness into Your Legal Practice

    Mindfulness practices have known therapeutic benefits that I’ve seen firsthand as a lawyer and practicing yoga instructor.

    By Jennifer Cormano | March 08, 2019 at 05:07 PM

     

    Jennifer Cormano is an associate in Nixon Peabody’s Los Angeles office (Photo: Courtesy Photo)

    When I talk with lawyers about having a daily practice of mindfulness, meditation or yoga, there’s often resistance to add yet another activity to their already hectic schedules. But these practices have known therapeutic benefits that I’ve seen firsthand as a lawyer and practicing yoga instructor. Studies show that meditation leads to growth in areas of the brain important for learning, memory, emotional regulation, perspective taking and compassion. Simply put, it’s worth the time.

    Here are some ways you can incorporate these activities into your daily life:

    Start small. Pick a short meditation you’ll be able to complete regularly. There are many types of meditation but, at its core, meditation is the act of concentrating your mind on one point of focus. Value the quality of the time and the number of days you practice rather than the amount of time you spend practicing on any one given day. A great starting point is a focused breathing meditation. Start by sitting or lying down. If you are sitting, be sure your feet are flat on the ground with your legs uncrossed. Your hands can be in a comfortable position with your arms unfolded. Close your eyes and take a deep breath in while slowly counting to three. The goal is to time your breath so that you have inhaled as much as possible as you reach the number three. Then exhale while counting to three. Again, the goal is to have exhaled as much as possible as you reach the number three. Repeat this for as many breaths as you’d like. If your mind wanders at any time, gently bring your focus back and start where you left off. Another option is a body scan meditation. You can hear a session I led with the Live & Law in LA podcast.

    Attach your practice to something you already do and/or schedule it. The best way to be consistent is to build a short practice around your current activities. For example, doing the above breathing meditation for five breaths before getting out of the car when you arrive at the office and/or before getting out of the car when you arrive home. Another alternative is to turn something you do daily into a mindfulness exercise. Mindfulness is the act of observing one’s physical, mental and emotional states in the current moment without judgment. For example, if I mindfully brush my teeth, I slow down the activity and focus on the feel of the brush on my teeth or the taste of the toothpaste without deciding if I like or dislike it.

    Track your progress and commit to being consistent. In order to get the most from your practice, it’s important to be consistent with some form of practice. Studies that focus on changes to the brain in connection with mindfulness, yoga and meditation, all show these benefits take place when the exercises are done consistently. Put time on your calendar or use an app to track your consistency. If client demands or other personal needs come up, that’s okay, but reschedule your practice time in the same day rather than cancelling altogether. If you miss a day or two, it’s okay, just pick it up the next day. This isn’t about being perfect every day—just completing your practice most days.

    Grow your practice slowly over time. When you first start out with your new practice, put a reminder in your schedule every week or two to check-in and determine if it’s time to increase your practice time. For example, if you started with five focused breaths before getting out of the car when you arrived at the office, try ten breaths after a week’s time. After another week, try 15. When the number gets too high to count easily, try moving to a timed meditation by setting an alarm for three to five minutes. Then each week increase your time by 15 to 30 seconds until you reach your desired length.

    Be forgiving and patient with yourself and your practice. Lawyers are often perfectionistic and whatever we do, we want to be the best. As a result, we can be incredibly critical of our performance. When I first started my daily meditation practice, it felt like I was failing because I found it difficult to get it in every day. My yoga teacher suggested I try changing the time of day I meditated, but, more importantly, that I go easy on myself. Give yourself the same permission to be a beginner and investigate different options. The end goal is to create a consistent practice that works best for you.

     

    Jennifer Cormano is an associate in Nixon Peabody’s Los Angeles office. She represents both nonprofit and for-profit health care providers, including hospitals, physician groups, academic medical centers, surgery centers, accountable care organizations, and other organizations affiliated with the health care industry. Her practice focuses on hospital/physician alignment strategies, corporate governance and formation matters, joint ventures, mergers, acquisitions and other strategic transactions. The information outlined above does not constitute legal advice and is meant solely for educational purposes.

    https://www.law.com/therecorder/2019/03/08/5-tips-for-incorporating-mindfulness-into-your-legal-practice/ 

  • 28 Jan 2019 2:29 PM | Mariana Fradman (Administrator)

    Edit a PDF in Microsoft Word https://bit.ly/2CPAsPN < Want to convert a PDF to Word? No special software needed!

    https://support.office.com/en-us/article/edit-a-pdf-b2d1d729-6b79-499a-bcdb-233379c2f63a 

  • 09 Jan 2019 10:13 AM | Mariana Fradman (Administrator)

    19 SMART Goals for 2019

    From

    http://blog.healthadvocate.com/2018/12/19-smart-goals-for-2019/ 

    Looking to improve your health in 2019? Breaking down your goals into smaller SMART goals can be the difference between aspirations and realizations. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. Adopting behaviors in this manner helps to create lasting lifestyle changes!

    Think about the goals you have for your health and the positive results you hope to achieve in 2019. Integrate some of the suggested SMART goals below that can help you reach those results.

    1. Pack a healthy lunch for work three days each week.
    2. Walk for 15 minutes of your lunch break five days each week.
    3. Designate two evenings each week to be screen-free time.
    4. Aim to go to bed at a time that allows you to sleep for 8 hours five days per week.
    5. Add an extra serving of fruits or vegetables every day.
    6. Drink a glass of water before each meal, three days a week.
    7. Strive to avoid added sugars in foods two days each week.
    8. Select 5 days each week to perform at least 30 minutes of exercise.
    9. Stay ahead of stress by allocating five minutes every day for a stress-relieving activity such as a brisk walk, quick meditation or deep breathing exercises.
    10. Make one new healthy recipe for dinner every week.
    11. Aim to get 10,000 steps five days each week.
    12. Start your day in a healthy way by eating a nutritious breakfast at least three days a week.
    13. Meditate for 10 minutes before work two days a week.
    14. Strive to eat a dark leafy green vegetable such as spinach, broccoli, kale, romaine, etc., three days each week.
    15. Include two days of resistance or strength building exercises each week.
    16. Use a fitness device or app to track your workouts daily.
    17. Add one serving of whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, whole grain bread, oatmeal, etc. three days each week.
    18. Select one day a week to eat vegetarian.
    19. Choose two days a week to spend one hour doing something you love such as reading, a hobby, journaling, or any other activity you do for personal enjoyment.

    Create your own SMART goals! When setting wellness goals, creating specific goals to achieve over a designated period of time is the best method to successfully achieve lasting lifestyle changes. 

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