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How Much of a Career Risk Should You Take Switching Specialties?

It's a sure-footed, absolute and positive, no mistakin' it gamble. Switching specialties, that is. Bored with what you're doing? Fed up with a paltry salary? Peeking over the fence to see who makes more money? Seeking that enigma: better challenge? Tonya Pierce addresses the topic today. She's making some good points. The main one being: THINK before you leap (and other relevant cliches). Enjoy! The days of general practice law firms may have passed. Many attorneys are choosing to specialize to be more marketable. Law firms are following suit [pardon any puns] by specializing in one or two areas of...

An Oh So Different Effective Approach to Strong Cover Letters

Cover letters are usually boring. About 98% of the time it’s entirely possible that your cover letter is just like the last one that the employer read. In fact, while not word-for-word, I'll bet it goes something like: To whom it may concern: “I noticed your ad for a litigation paralegal. I am an experienced paralegal with 10 years of experience. I have attached my resume for your review. I am seeking a challenging position which offers me the opportunity for growth. I have extensive litigation experience and excellent skills: I have great attention to detail, am organized, an expert...

Ten Top Reasons Midsize Law Firms are Disappearing

Oh, for heaven's sake! First we read for years how the major firms are going to go under, disband or simply disappear and now we're reading out go the midsize firms. What's going to be left? Teeny, tiny little firms or solos? What does this mean for the paralegal? Probably a lot. Already, a new trend is sweeping the country: the combining of the paralegal with the legal secretarial position. That means a new set of skills for paralegals. Does it mean more money? Not necessarily. Is it a downgrade or will the legal secretarial duties no longer be considered...

Paralegal Predictions for 2015: Probable, Paralyzing or Positive?

2015! Predictions for each new year is a c**pshoot. How can you know? Based on what? I'm going to stick my neck out here and say that most likely, predictions are based upon the previous year's trends. They certainly don't come out of the blue. Really now, predictions shouldn't come as any surprise to anyone. That is if you've kept up with facts, forecasts and fantasies. OK, I've missed a few here and there. However, let me try my hand at five and at the end of 2015, let's see how close I came. I'll bet anyone $.25 on these....

What's Hot - What's Not: How To Be Left in the Dust Without Even Trying

"Here is what Robert Denny says is slated to happen in 2015. My take on things is that he's probably 95% correct for lawyers. But then again, I'm only concerned with paralegals and sometimes what's hot doesn't always apply to high volumes of paralegals. My best advice? Ride that dang horse the direction it's going."

When to Say Oh-No-Absolutely-Not to Your Dream Job

I order up the snowmobile. I hop on Realtor.com. I find out that for the price of a garage in L.A., I can have a mansion on a lake with my own personal boat dock. I realize I'll need floaties. Not a bad deal - even if I don't know how to sail.

Facing maniacal, steamrolling, panic pushing bosses - how the heck do you respond?

Our guest blogger today is Katherine Giacolone, The Corporate Nanny All too often we have conflicting work priorities. We're all working managers with daily tasks that have to get done and new assignments that come and go. We don't have a whole lot of room for organizational emergencies or pop-up projects! But the emergencies and pop-ups are going to come, and the boss is likely to push the panic button. Let's face it, the world changes on a dime these days, so many times our bosses are reacting to their bosses' requests - and you know what happens in a...

10 Reasons Why I Won't Hire You

"The manner in which some candidates were approaching their job search was not going to land them a position with anyone, ever. The funny thing is, none of them thought they're doing anything wrong. After all, they wrote a great resume, cover letter, wore their Sunday Best and gave 'em hell during the interview.".

What Attorneys Really Think About Paralegals - The Inside Scoop

What Attorneys Really Think About Paralegals - Inside Scoop CBE: Let’s talk politics. Why can some attorneys work with paralegals until midnight but wouldn’t be caught dead having lunch with them. What’s with the caste system? ASB: Arrogance. Don’t try to change things. It’s not going to happen. It’s not a reflection on you. It’s all about the attorney’s ego. These are things beyond your power to change.

So You Think You're So Smart: IQ vs. EQ

Although IQ plays an important role in personal success, especially in complex disciplines such as the sciences, studies have demonstrated that emotional intelligence—or EQ—can play an even more important role. In fact, experts in this field argue that IQ contributes only 20% to life success.

Stand Out...Don't Just be Outstanding: Be Out-Rage-Ous

Be Out-Rage-Ous....Not Just Out of the Box.... Today we have the pleasure of Mark Gorkin, MSW, LICSW, the "Stress Doc" as our guest blogger. Enjoy! Early on in my migration to the Internet, I christened myself AOL’s “Online Psychohumorist” ™. Along with a part-time psychotherapy practice and the moniker “Stress Doc” ™, I was writing short psychological pieces for both AOL and Rick Estep’s pioneering jokes/humor newsletter. My stories were infused with a strong dose of wit and humor. Throw in the myriad DSM-psychiatric labels strewn on both sides of my family tree…well the title definitely seemed apt. It certainly...

You Might Be Stressed Out If.....

You might be stressed out if.....You have seriously pondered entering the paralegal protection program in an effort to actually step away from that papyrus covered desk, as you flee the legal perimeter to play a fun little game called “Paralegal Evading Esquire Hide-And-Go-Seek,” so you can actually eat a few blissful calories, away from your desk, for a period of at least 30 whopping minutes to an hour without receiving a single verbal, text or e-mailed request for anything at all. (Got that – nothing. We want to hear absolutely nothing from you during this time if you are in possession of a legal badge. Shhhhh.)

Are you calling yourself certified? Chances are you're mistaken.

Confusing the certified with certificate says you don’t know your career. How sad is that? You need to be able to represent yourself correctly. Saying you are certified when you received a certificate of completion or achievement after completing either a course or even a 3-day workshop is not only a misnomer, it could be construed as misrepresentation. Would a lawyer say he/she is a lawyer if they didn’t take the Bar exam?

What's a nice Greek like Nikki Karakostas doing in the paralegal field?

"Who can truthfully say they absolutely love what they do? Be honest. While most people open with their “don’t like” list, getting Nikki to confess what she does not like was not going to happen. When pressed, she admitted to difficulty dealing with frustration when, after passionately putting forth a great deal of hard effort, the case ends with a thud."

Will Paralegals End Up with Too Much Power?

Dubois, of course, has to make sure that he cites a paralegal who stole some money as a possible example of why paralegals should not be given more power. Get real, Dubois. Paralegals in that kind of trouble are rare which is why it hits the news. One only has to pick up any monthly magazine such as the California State Bar newsletter and see pages and pages of suspended or disbarred attorneys who have had licenses ripped away for stealing from client's trust accounts.

Why Paralegals in Traditional Law Firms Won't Stand a Chance in Hell

Will the traditional law firm survive? If " traditional" encompasses the status quo -- incentives that measure and reward billable hours, a pyramid structure where large numbers of associates are hired, weeded out and then promoted to the partnership by doing really good work and putting in excessive hours, where client matters are each approached in a bespoke manner -- the answer to the title question is "no."

I'm Not a Dinosaur. I'm Just Big for My Age.

Let's take this social media thing. You're definitely a dinosaur if you're not social mediaing it. So, I'm twittering, I'm linking, I'm facing, I'm blogging, I am pinning (although with what, god only knows) but I'm no closer to anyone than before. Where are my friends?

Cliches: The Name of the Game

Have you taken my class, Brave New Writer: Leadership Through Corporate Storytelling? If so, you know how adverse I am to cliches. When I see certain ones, I just tell myself to keep walking past those open windows. Phrases such as: As you know; if you have any questions, hit the nail on the head; attached please find; tip of the iceberg; avoid like the plague; catch-22; not in my wheelhouse. Well, you get the picture. (Oh, sorry about that one.) Cliches are tired. They're boring. They cause you to skip right past them frantically searching for the meaning of...

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Coming soon to a law firm near you: Paralegals giving limited legal advice?

Do you believe in licensing paralegals to give limited legal advice? There are areas of the law where at present, it is not economically feasible for lawyers to provide services profitably but where lay advocates might if UPL statutes were relaxed or rescinded. Holy, moly!

Don't give me the same old, same old for stress. Fix it for me!

Stress doesn't really scare me. It is part and parcel of our lives. Why, might you ask, would anyone say that? Probably because in the second half of my work life, I have found the secrets to a relatively stress free career. Article after article has been written about stress. It’s the same old, same old: manage your stress, have a plan, stay positive, visualize your last trip to Hawaii in the sun-soaked terrain, exercise daily and get regular hot rock massages. That, or have a glass of good merlot, get in the bathtub with lots of Evelyn & Crabtree...

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The Old Gray Mare - Is She Still What She Used to Be? Ageism and Paralegals

"My supervisor remarked to me on two separate occasions that I may be "too old" for the type of work I was doing. At the time he said this, I had reached the age of 54. The supervisor was 46. A few of weeks after the second “you’re too old” remark, I was let go - even though my reviews were excellent. It doesn't take a brainard to figure it out."

Licensing Paralegals? Now? Whoa! Hold down there, Big Fella

I have always maintained that the paralegal field did not go about establishing itself correctly. It's been piecemeal, guessing and improvising at best. Why? For years, anyone who wanted to could call themselves a paralegal - and get away with it.

OLP Launches the First Litigation Support Certification Exam: First of its kind will set industry standards

LOS ANGELES – The Organization of Legal Professionals, an industry group that includes some of the most respected legal technology thought leaders in the field, announced today that it has finalized preparations for its Litigation Support Certification Exam. The exam, developed in conjunction with Pearson Learning Solutions, a $7 billion company that specializes in certification examinations for a wide variety of industries, incorporates content created by OLP members including eDiscovery and legal technology lawyers, consultants and experts. OLP is the first organization to offer a Litigation Support Certification Exam. OLP’s two-hour certification exam covers five primary areas in Litigation Support....

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When Bad Things Happen to Good Paralegals

The story of Cinderella is familiar to most of us. Nice girl, horrible living conditions, probably violation of child-labor laws, happy ending. When we are children, we believe this story and for some of us, it sets our expectations for the future. And then, real life happens. When we think of what the bad things are that happen to good legal professionals, it’s generally an event, incident, illness or other occurrence that was not within the control of that person. Here are two real-life stories: #1: When I heard the following story, I wanted to explore what occurs when bad...

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Weight! Weight! Are you sabotaging your career?

After lunch, he hit me with “You’re doing a great job.” Wow. I liked that. “However,” he proceeded, “if you’re going to succeed here, you’ll have to lose weight.” To this day, I could tell you exactly where we were standing, what I was wearing and the time he gave me the news.

The Future of Paralegals: Why Waiting for the Future to Arrive is a Career Buster

Todays Guest Blogger is Terese Cannon, J.D., We are entering a era of major, perhaps even revolutionary, shifts in law practice, legal education, and the role of both lawyers and nonlawyers who deliver legal services. Already in motion but accelerated by the economic meltdown five years ago, these shifts have already resulted in significant downsizing and reorganization in large law firms, decreased demand for legal services affecting large and small firms alike, and high under- and unemployment of lawyers. Roles for paralegals are changing, requiring a re-envisioning of what paralegals can and should do and a concomitant rethinking of paralegal...