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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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  • 12 Nov 2018 4:14 PM | Mariana Fradman (Administrator)

    https://www.unitedcorporate.com/blog/the-importance-of-networking-in-the-paralegal-community/

    In a span of 10 days in mid-October, my colleague and I traveled over 6,600 miles to attend the International Practice Management Association (IPMA) and National Federation Paralegal Association (NFPA) conferences held in Orlando, Florida and Seattle, Washington. This was an opportunity to reconnect with old friends and make new acquaintances. The new relationships would primarily be for business purposes but could quite possibly turn into long-lasting friendships.

    As I stood by my carefully staged vendor table, offering and taking business cards and asking questions to quickly get to know the conference attendees, all this activity reminded me of just how important professional networking is for career development as well as your sanity. So many of my interactions turned into learning moments and a chance to relate to someone who was going through something I thought was unique only to me. Five years ago through my networking efforts, I met Mariana Fradman, Vice-President of the New York City Paralegal Association. I admire Mariana’s commitment to the advancement of the paralegal profession and we have developed a relationship that benefits her organization as well as mine. I asked Mariana about the concept of networking and this was what she shared:

    “When I was growing up, my father told me that if you want to be a professional, you have to belong to a professional association. Only by joining the New York City Paralegal Association, I did fully understand it. When I come home and say “I had a closing today, my family understands that I had a busy day. But only my fellow paralegals know how much work stands behind that closing; how many hours my team and I spent in preparing all the documents, clearing all the obstacles and making sure that all parties are on a same page.”

    What are the benefits of actively networking?
    Networking can help you develop and improve your skill set, stay on top of the latest trends in your industry, keep a pulse on the job market, meet prospective mentors, partners, and clients, and gain access to the necessary resources that will foster your career development. According to a survey conducted by LinkedIn in 2017, almost 80 percent of professionals consider networking to be important to career success. Even more interesting was that according to that same survey nearly 70 percent of the people in 2016 were hired at a company where they had a connection.

    How do I get started?
    Today there are so many ways to network. While there are hundreds of social media outlets (LinkedIn being the most popular) to connect with, in my opinion, there can be nothing more invigorating than spending time around people who are supportive and share a common interest. Whether it is in the office where you work or the person you meet at the grocery store, there is always an opportunity to network. Start by looking for a local group of professionals in your field who meet on a regular basis and provide opportunities for career advancement, training, and networking.

    Mariana offers this observation and practical advice:
    “In the first three years being a member of my local paralegal association, I met more people that I met through my entire career. Some of them became my mentors and friends. Some of them helped me to shape my career. The easiest way to start is by joining your local paralegal association and getting involved with it. Between joining committee or board of directors, doing pro bono or just attending local paralegal events and seminars, there are many opportunities for professional and personal growth for anyone who is interested in it.”

    The elements of networking were on full display at both conferences. I encountered opportunities to learn through targeted seminars presented by experts in their respective fields. I observed meetings/debates regarding specific challenges that affect the workplace and advice on career advancement. I also saw colleagues from across the country celebrate the impressive achievements of their counterparts.

    Despite traveling from coast to coast a few days apart, my colleague and I agree that we feel exhausted yet exhilarated for the opportunity to meet with such a diverse and passionate group of professionals who care deeply about what they do for a living. Being a paralegal myself I can certainly appreciate the commitment.

    Do you have a networking story you’d like to share? Feel free to drop a comment on our LinkedIn page. You never know who it may benefit. While you’re at it, come join our LinkedIn group (United Corporate Services, Inc.) to receive more blogs like this one and to share your journey. We’d love to network with you!

    About the author:
    Keith Sheppard is the Project Coordinator at United Corporate Services. Keith received his Bachelor of Science degree in Paralegal Studies from St. John’s University. As a corporate paralegal and manager with over two decades of experience in the legal services field, Keith has developed an awareness for how to assist lawyers and fellow paralegals with corporate filings and due diligence. Have a question or a suggestion for a blog? Contact Keith at keith.sheppard@unitedcorporate.com



  • 08 Oct 2018 4:45 PM | Mariana Fradman (Administrator)

    10 Ways to Be More Mindful at Work

    You don't need to block out 30 minutes to practice meditation in order to experience the benefits of mindfulness at work. Here are a few ways you can stay in the present moment to do your best during a busy day.

    illustration person holding coffee and phone fatumwr/Adobe Stock

    Mindfulness may seem like a great idea, but how do you become more mindful in the context of a busy work day? You may have emails, phone calls, meetings, and presentations to deal with. And, of course, your own work! In the middle of all that, how can you apply the principles of mindfulness so that you feel more alive and present, as well as being productive? Here are a few popular and other more radical ways to be mindful at work.

    1. Be Consciously Present

    Mindfulness is, above all, about being aware and awake rather than operating unconsciously. When you’re consciously present at work, you’re aware of two aspects of your moment-to-moment experience—what’s going on around you and what’s going on within you. To be mindful at work means to be consciously present in what you’re doing, while you’re doing it, as well as managing your mental and emotional state. If you’re writing a report, mindfulness requires you to give that your full attention. Each time your mind wanders to things like Helen’s new role or Michael’s argument with the boss, just acknowledge the thoughts and bring your attention back to the task in hand (see how to stop thinking). This scenario sounds simple, but many aspects of your experience can get in the way.

    Here are some ideas to help you stop being mindless and unconscious at work and more mindful and consciously present:

    • Make a clear decision at the start of your workday to be present as best you can. Pause for a few moments before you start your work day to set this intention in your mind.

    2. Use Short Mindful Exercises at Work

    Mindful exercises train your brain to be more mindful. The more mindful exercises you do, the easier your brain finds it to drop into a mindful state, thus optimizing your brain function. In the busy workplace, finding time for a 30-minute mindful exercise can be difficult. So does that mean you can’t be mindful at all at work? Nope. Mindful exercises can be as short as you wish. Even one minute of consciously connecting with one of your senses can be classified as a mindful exercise. You don’t need to close your eyes. You don’t even need to be sitting down. Be creative about finding slots in the day to practice mindfulness exercises. At times of excessive pressure at work, practicing a short mindfulness exercise can be a saviour. The process helps to rebalance your nervous system, toning down the fight-or-flight response and engaging the wise part of your brain, so that you make reasoned decisions rather than automatically react to situations.

    3. Be a Single-Tasker

    Single-tasking is doing one thing at a time. Multi-tasking is trying to do two or more tasks at the same time or switching back and forth between tasks. Nobody can actually multi-task. In reality, your brain is madly switching from one thing to the next, often losing data in the process. Most people know multitasking is ineffective nowadays. If multi-tasking is so inefficient, why do people still do it? The reason was uncovered in a study by Zheng Wang at Ohio State University. She tracked students and found that when they multi-tasked, it made them feel more productive, even though in reality they were being unproductive. Other studies found that the more you multitask, the more addicted you get to it.

    Here are a few ways to kick the multi-tasking habit and become a mindfulness superhero:

    • Keep a time journal of what you achieve in a block of time. Work out when you’re single-tasking and when you’re multi-tasking. Note down what you achieved in that time block and how mindful you were.

    4. Use Mindful Reminders

    The word “mindful” means to remember. Most people who’ve read about or undertaken training in mindfulness appreciate the benefits of mindful living. Unfortunately, they keep forgetting to be mindful! The reason you forget to be mindful is because your brain’s normal (default) mode is to be habitually lost in your own thoughts—running a sort of internal narrative. When you’re going about your usual daily activities, your brain switches you into this low energy state, which is unmindful, almost dreamy. Doing some things automatically, without thinking, is fine but research undertaken at Harvard University showed that 47 per cent of a person’s day can be spent lost in thoughts. The same research found that day dreaming can have a negative impact on well-being. Being on auto-pilot means that you’re not fully present and awake to the opportunities and choices around you. You can’t be creative, plan something new or respond appropriately if you’re operating mechanically.

    By using some form of reminder, you can be mindful again. The reminder shakes you out of auto-pilot mode. Try these reminders:

    • Setting an alarm on the phone – even a vibrating alarm that doesn’t disturb others can work well.

    So, every time your phone rings, you take a mindful breath. Every time you hear the ping of a text message, you pause to be mindful of your surroundings rather than immediately reacting by checking the message. All these things are opportunities to come back into the present moment, to see yourself and your surroundings afresh. You take a small step back and reflect rather than automatically react to what’s coming at you in the form of demands, tasks, and challenges.

    5. Slow Down To Speed Up

    Mindfulness at work does seem counter-intuitive. You’re considering the fact that, by stopping or slowing down, you can become more efficient, productive, happy, resilient and healthy at work. You may not think that slowing down and being conscious can have such an effect (see How to Stop for more tips on that).

    Imagine being asked to stop sleeping for a week. Sleeping is resting—and resting isn’t work. So, simply stop sleeping and just keep working. Maybe you’ve experienced this when studying for exams or trying to meet a deadline at work. Eventually your efficiency drops to almost zero; you’re completely living out of the present moment and perhaps even hallucinating! You need to sleep at least seven hours every night to be able to function effectively.

    Clearly, rest can increase efficiency. If you do manage to get about seven hours of sleep and achieve a certain amount of work, imagine what would happen if you also did a few mini-mindfulness exercises during the day? Your brain would become even more efficient, focused, effective at communicating with others, and better at learning new skills.

    Being in a panicky rush leads to bad decisions and is a misuse of energy. Instead, pause, focus on listening, stroll rather than run, and generally take your time when at work. Effective leaders, workers, and entrepreneurs slow down and reflect to make the best decisions and actions—they slow down to speed up. That’s a mindful way of working.

    6. Make Stress Your Friend

    Recent research conducted at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, asked 30,000 people the same question: “Does the perception that stress affects health matter?” The results were astonishing.

    The researchers found that people experiencing high levels of stress but who believed that stress was good for them had among the lowest mortality rates. Whereas highly stressed people who believed that stress was bad for their health had the highest chance of dying. Your beliefs about stress clearly affect how they impact on your health and well-being. Another study even found that the blood vessels constricted (as is seen in those with heart disease) in people who believed that stress was bad for them, but stayed open and healthy in those who believed that stress was good for them.

    If reading this didn’t make you go “wow,” try reading it again. It’s the most exciting research I’ve read this year!

    So if you want to make stress your friend, you need to change the way you think about it and, in turn, your body’s response to it.

    Mindfulness can help you achieve this change in perception. The next time you’re facing a challenge at work, notice how your heart rate speeds up and your breathing accelerates. Observe these responses and then switch your attitude—respond to your stress creatively rather than negatively. Be grateful that the stress response is energizing you. Note that your body is preparing you for your upcoming challenge and that a faster heart rate is sending more oxygen around your body. Be grateful that the process is sharpening your senses and boosting your immune system. By viewing the stress response from this perspective, you see your upcoming problem as a positive challenge and recognize your body preparing to meet it. This small change in attitude can literally add years to your life and improve your productivity and achievements in the workplace.

    7. Feel Gratitude

    Humans have a “negativity bias.” Essentially, this means that you’re much more likely to focus and dwell on something that’s gone wrong than on things that have gone well. Behaving in this way every day means that you ultimately adopt an excessively negative and unbalanced way of thinking.

    Gratitude is the antidote. Plenty of evidence suggests that actively practicing gratitude makes you feel better and has a positive impact on your creativity, health, working relationships, and quality of work. Gratitude makes being at both work and home more positive experiences.

    If you feel like you’re stuck in a job you don’t enjoy, the first step is to practice gratitude. What’s going well in your job? Maybe you’re grateful for the money? Even though it may be less than you’d like, you probably prefer it to having no salary at all. You may not like your manager, but maybe you’re friends with a couple of colleagues? You hate the office politics, but they give you insight into what you don’t like in a job, so in the future you know what to look for. After practicing gratitude, you can then consider whether you want to continue in that role or need to find another job.

    Being mindful of what’s going well at work helps to improve your resilience. Rather than allowing your mind to spiral into anxiety or dip into low moods as you brood over all the aspects of the job you don’t like, you can feed your mind with thoughts of gratitude to raise your well-being. Then, if you do decide to find another job, your positive mental state can help you select an appropriate position and optimize your performance in the interview. People hire positive people, not those who just complain about what’s going wrong. Use gratitude to neutralize your brain’s natural negativity bias.

    8. Cultivate Humility

    Humility comes from the Latin humilis, meaning grounded. Humble people have a quiet confidence about themselves and don’t feel the need to continuously remind others of their achievements. Humility may seem counter to our culture of glorifying those who make the most noise about themselves, grabbing our attention. But actually, humility is attractive—no one enjoys being around those who continually sing their own praises, and most people enjoy the company of those who are willing to listen to them rather than talk about themselves all the time.

    In Jim Collin’s hugely popular book Good to Great, he identified leaders who turned good companies into great ones. He found that the companies exhibiting the greatest long-term success (at least 15 years of exceptional growth) had leaders demonstrating all the skills of your standard leader but with one extra quality—personal humility. They were willing to work hard, but not for themselves—or the company. If things went wrong, they didn’t seek to blame other to protect themselves. And if things went well, they immediately looked outside of themselves to congratulate others. They didn’t have an inflated ego that needed protecting all the time.

    Humility is often confused with meekness or timidity but they’re not the same. Humility does not mean seeing yourself as inferior; rather, it means being aware of your natural dependence on and equity with those around you.

    How is humility linked to mindfulness? Mindfulness is about accepting yourself just as you are, and being open to listening to and learning from others. Mindfulness is also synonymous with gratitude—you appreciate how others have helped you. And someone who is grateful for the contribution of others is naturally humble.

    To develop a little more humility, try the following:

    • Undertake mindful exercises: Mindfulness reduces activity in the part of the brain that generates the story of your self—sometimes called the narrative self. Giving too much attention to you and your own story is unhealthy. Mindfulness practice helps you to be more connected with your senses—the present self. Your attention widens and you can see how much others contribute to your everyday successes.

    9. Accept What You Can’t Change

    Acceptance lies at the heart of mindfulness. To be mindful means to accept this present moment just as it is. And it means to accept yourself, just as you are now. It doesn’t mean resignation or giving up. But it does mean acknowledging the truth of how things are at this time before trying to change anything.

    Here’s a workplace example. If you went $30,000 over budget, that’s a fact. It’s already happened. As soon as you accept that, you can move forward and try to deal with the situation. Lack of acceptance can lead to denial of the fact (maybe causing you to go even more over budget) or avoidance (you keep skipping meetings with your boss) or aggression (you vent your anger at your team unnecessarily, adversely affecting relationships and motivation). Instead, you can accept the situation, talk to the necessary people, learn from your mistakes, and move on. Acceptance actually leads to change.

    When you accept yourself, you cut down on energy-draining self-criticism. You’re then much better able to enjoy your successes and smile at your shortcomings.

    Personal acceptance is even more powerful. Self-acceptance is embracing all facets of yourself—your weaknesses, shortcomings, aspects you don’t like and those you admire. When you accept yourself, you cut down on energy-draining self-criticism. You’re then much better able to enjoy your successes and smile at your shortcomings. Through self-acceptance, you can create a clarity of mind that allows you to work on those aspects of yourself you wish to improve. The starting point of self-improvement and personal development is self-acceptance.

    10. Adopt a Growth Mindset

    According to Carol Dweck and her team at Stanford University researcher, people essentially adhere to one of two mindsets—a growth or a fixed mindset.

    People with a fixed mindset believe that their basic qualities, such as their intelligence and talents, are fixed traits. Instead of developing their intelligence and talents, they spend their time hoping their traits will lead to success. They don’t seek to develop themselves, because they think that talent alone leads to success. They turn out to be wrong—brain science has proved otherwise.

    People with a growth mindset believe that they can improve their intelligence and talents with effort. By applying themselves, they think that they can get better. They see brains and talent as just the starting point, and build on them with hard work and determination. Brain scans have actually revealed that effort does lead to growth in intelligence and enhancement of initial talent over time. People with this mindset have a love of learning and demonstrate greater resilience. Success at work depends on having a growth mindset.

    Mindfulness is about adopting a growth mindset. Mindfulness is about giving attention to the present moment and not judging your innate talent or intelligence, but being open to new possibilities. When you adopt a growth mindset at work, you don’t mind getting negative feedback as you view it as a chance to discover something new. You don’t mind taking on new responsibilities because you’re curious about how you’ll cope. You expect and move towards challenges, seeing them as opportunities for inner growth. That’s the essence of mindfulness at work—believing that you can improve and grow with experience, moving towards challenges, living in the moment, and discovering new things about yourself and others.

    4 Steps for Adopting a Growth Mindset

    Use the following four steps to develop a growth mindset, based on research by Dweck and colleagues:

    1. Listen to the voice of a fixed mindset in your head. This is about being mindful of your own thoughts when faced with a challenge. Notice if the thoughts are telling you that you don’t have the talent, the intelligence or if you find yourself reacting with anxiety or anger when someone offers feedback to you.

    2. Notice that you have a choice. You can accept those fixed mindset thoughts or question them. Take a few moments to practice a mindful pause.

    3. Question the fixed mindset attitudes. When your fixed mindset says “What if I fail? I’ll be a failure,” you can ask yourself “Is that true? Most successful people fail. That’s how they learn.” Or if fixed mindset says “What if I can’t do this project? I don’t have the skills,” reply with “Can I be absolutely sure I don’t have the skills? In truth, I can only know if I try. And if I don’t have the skills, doing this will help me to learn them.”

    4. Take action on the growth mindset. This will make you enjoy the challenges in the workplace, seeing them as opportunity to grow rather than avoid. Use the above system if you mind starts leaning towards the fixed mindset.

    Over time, you’ll find yourself habitually of a growth rather than fixed mindset, leading to greater success and personal mastery that before.

    This article was adapted from Mindfulness at Work for Dummies by Shamash Alidina and Juliet Adams.
    https://www.mindful.org/10-ways-mindful-work/


  • 10 Mar 2017 12:24 AM | Mariana Fradman (Administrator)

    Career Experts Mercilessly Revised My Entry-Level Resume

    By Rich Bellis

    Add more specific details, cut out your address, tie unrelated experience to your field, and enough with the italics.

    A couple of weeks ago I asked some experts to revisit a cover letter I wrote early in my career. Their reviews? “Verbose and methodical”; “does not capture my attention”; “vague.”

    Well, fair enough. The revised version they offered up would’ve delighted 24-year-old me, with whom (and I realize I’m biased here) it’s easy to sympathize: When you’re only a few months or years into your career, you’re inexperienced as both an employee and as a job seeker. With so little by which to sell yourself and scant sense of how to do it strategically, it’s inevitable that you’ll write clumsy, boring, and (yes) “vague” cover letters and resumes at first...READ MORE HERE


  • 21 Sep 2016 10:01 PM | Mariana Fradman (Administrator)

    Membership Benefits Create Value for Professional Paralegal Association Members

    , The Legal Intelligencer

    Twenty five years ago marked the beginning of my legal career, at a time when the world was a very different place. The year was 1990, Wilson Goode was the mayor of Philadelphia, the phrase "Google it!" didn't exist, Congress voted for the Americans with Disabilities Act, and President George H.W. Bush and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev signed an historic agreement to end production of chemical weapons. I had no idea what a professional paralegal association was or why networking with other paralegal professionals was an important part of my occupation. As I built my career, I quickly found value in the opportunities and benefits that membership in a professional paralegal association provided.

    One of the first steps toward furthering your paralegal career should be exploring the idea of joining a professional paralegal association. You might ask yourself, "How will becoming part of this group help further my paralegal career?" Joining a professional paralegal association may not be one of your top priorities. What paralegal has time for more meetings and activities after working all day with deadlines, charts, and other daily tasks? The answer is that you should make the time; an association is synergistic with your growth. As Thomas Jefferson once said, "Do you want to know who you are? Don't ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you." My membership in a professional paralegal association provides me with valuable networking benefits that include, but are not limited to, meeting and interacting with professional contacts, access to a wealth of useful practice information, continuing legal education through conferences and seminars, becoming an advocate of my career, and the opportunity to mentor others.

    Associations sponsor countless events throughout the year that allow you to connect with your colleagues in the paralegal profession. Building such relationships is a fundamental way to establish and ensure that you are working diligently on your career path and consistently improving your skill sets. By attending various association events, you have the chance to socialize with other paralegal colleagues and paralegal students while extending your professional networking opportunities. It's not every day that you have a chance to meet the chancellor of  the Philadelphia Bar Association, or federal, state, or local judges, or some of the prominent members in the legal community and hear them speak on legal issues. Your connections will extend beyond just your firm, but also with paralegals in different capacities such as in-house, government, and nonprofit paralegals. By becoming an involved and active committee member or even chair, you will become a highly valued member in your association. The connections you establish will be invaluable resources in your career. The more people you know, the more people know you, and the more you can learn from them. As Henry Ford said, "Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success."

    The paralegal profession is an ­ever-evolving practice that requires continued learning and expansion of skills. Every paralegal job has become more sophisticated as new technology continues to be ­introduced. Paralegals need to develop a culture of learning not only in learning the use of emerging technology, but the importance of improving the efficiency of their current legal technology skills. Associations offer several ways to broaden this knowledge. Opportunities include case studies, online courses, career guides, articles and books written by experts in your area of practice, educational conferences and seminars for association members to attend, and free subscriptions to industry magazines, print and online publications, and other informative resources.

    Another important benefit to membership in a professional paralegal association is the career resources offered to members. Many associations offer job listings online that are only available to their members. When looking for job opportunities, your connections with fellow paralegals can offer insights and perspective on a firm's culture and leadership. They may also know of new vacancies being offered even before the job posting appears on social media or in other publications.

    For recent ­paralegal program graduates, establishing relationships with alumni associations also will help you professionally and socially. This is especially true for job offerings from various organizations seeking entry level and experienced paralegals. Furthermore, such associations offer tips on resumes and the drafting of cover letters, strategies on job searching and techniques relating to negotiations.

    Associations provide new paralegals with a chance to market themselves, gain career advice, meet potential mentors, make commitments, update knowledge, and take part in association activities. There are a variety of volunteering opportunities for new members of an association to get more involved. You don't want to miss out on the ­numerous membership benefits that a professional association offers. Ronald Reagan made a statement that "There are no great limits to growth because there are no limits of human intelligence, imagination and wonder."

    Mentoring is the pillar of many professional associations when working with newer members. There is a noticeable difference in paralegals who had a mentor at the beginning of their career. Mentorship does not take much time. A short discussion over coffee or lunch, even a few emails will be suitable. Mentors who share their knowledge, experiences, and connections with newer members of the association will create a sense of appreciation, respect, and pride among colleagues. Giving back can be the greatest reward and benefit. Many mentees are looking to learn from experienced mentors. Mentees need to take an active role, be open, willing to work and be respectful of a mentor's busy schedule. Many mentoring relationships turn into lifelong friendships. My first mentor was my boss when I was working as a library clerk 25 years ago. My second mentor was an attorney that I had a privilege to work with and witness him grow professionally from a summer associate to a firm partner. I have built not just a professional relationship with my mentors but a personal one as well. As Steven Spielberg once said, "The delicate balance of ­mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the ­opportunity to create themselves."

    In closing, regional, state and national paralegal associations provide information on training and certifications for paralegals such as the Pa.C.P. credential offered by the Keystone Alliance of Paralegal Associations [www.keystoneparalegals.org] or the CRP™ and RP® certifications offered by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations [www.paralegals.org]. Potential employers may favor candidates who have current membership status in an association or who validate their knowledge as a credentialed paralegal. •

    http://www.thelegalintelligencer.com/id=1202767396578/Membership-Benefits-Create-Value-for-Professional-Paralegal-Association-Members?slreturn=20160821215842#!


  • 28 Aug 2016 9:45 PM | Mariana Fradman (Administrator)
    Greetings paralegal members and followers,
    We are interested in providing you with substantial benefits for your membership and to encourage our followers to join the New York Paralegal Association by rewarding them for reading our newsletter, The Buzz, liking and contributing to our posts on Facebook and Linked In as well as stopping by and checking our website. We will be posting questions on all forms of communication just mentioned. These questions will serve two purposes: to help us with the demographics of our subscribers and followers, and to help us verify that our we are indeed engaging our readers.

    The rewards will be free webinars on a variety of legal topics - that can be downloaded and watched on demand - many of which come with power point presentations with which you can read separately and have. Recipients will have a choice of several each time - and your participation will help us determine what legal areas of interest NYC-PA should cover. This will not be a drawing. All participants will receive a link to view and download.
    Here is an example; On our webiste, An article this month posted by the Treasurer in the Mentor blog discussed "3 Things Hiring Managers Actually Discuss After the Interview". Name one of them
    _________________________________________
    In order to answer the question, readers must consult the article mentioned on the website. Please submit answers to: research@nyc-pa.org.
    Everyone who submits a correct answer will be sent a link to webinars on one of these topics - their choice:
    • Dispute Resolution
    • Bankruptcy
    • Guardianship
    Here is another exmple:

    Select a Facebook event/webinar announcement from our page and submit a comment on whether you have registered, and why you chose that topic.
    On August 7, there was a webinar about "Tort liability". Did you register or not and why? Did you watch the webinar and/or did you learn anything from it? By submitting a meaningful comment and adding to our Facebook and/or Linked In activity you will earn a link to download a FREE webinar.
     
     
    Sincerely,
    Belline Manopla
    New York City Paralegal Association, Inc.
    Research Coordinator
    Email: research@nyc-pa.org
    website: www.nyc-pa.org
  • 23 Aug 2016 9:22 PM | Mariana Fradman (Administrator)

    It’s Five O’clock Somewhere: How are your ethics ‘after hours’?

    “What time zone am on? What country am I in?
    It doesn’t matter, it’s five o’clock somewhere.”
    ~ Alan Jackson, ‘It’s Five O’clock Somewhere” recorded with Jimmy Buffett

    It's 5 O'clock Somewhere

    “It’s Five O’clock Somewhere” refers to a popular expression used to justify drinking at any time of day, given that somewhere in the world it’s 5:00 p.m. — the end of the work day for a traditional “nine-to-five” employee.

    While, this might apply to happy hour, it does not apply to ethics rules for legal professionals. Ethics rules continue to apply after the work day ends.

    The Basics:

    • Attorneys are bound by the ethical rules adopted by the state where they practice…usually those ethics rules are adopted by rules adopted by the American Bar Association.
    • A person engaged in a profession, such as medicine or the law, is held to a higher ethical standard than the average person.  This is because the higher standards are necessary to protect the public that the professional serves.
    • In law, ethical standards that apply to the profession also apply to all individuals working in the profession, whether they’re the licensed professional or they are employed by the professional.
    • Members of the legal support staff, not just the paralegals, are held to the same high ethical standards as attorneys.

    Ethics rules are quite clear while you’re at work. Within the confines of the work place, conflicts checks are routine. It’s usually apparent whom the firm is representing. Everyone understands that communications, both oral and written, must be confidential. Privileged documents and communications are evident. It’s obvious that the attorney is the one licensed to practice law. AND, other people are paying attention to what you are doing.

    It’s after hours, when you’re not at the office and no one is watching or listening, that you may let your guard down and ignore the ethics obligations that follow you wherever you go.  All of your actions after hours are bound by the same ethical obligations as when you are on the job. Further, these unethical actions may be just as damaging, perhaps even more damaging, as anything you do at the office.

    Here are some interesting situations for you to consider. Do any sound familiar?

    “Do I need a lawyer?” People will want to talk about potential legal issues. You are not licensed to practice law and cannot give legal advice, even something as simple as telling them that, yes, they need to see a lawyer. Instead, suggest that they make an appointment with someone at your firm so that the attorney can evaluate their case.

    Another issue is that this person is not a client of your firm and, therefore, the conversation you have with him is not privileged and may be discoverable by an opposing party.

    “I have a quick question about my case.” Never engage in conversations about a client’s case (with the client or anyone else) outside the office. You never know who may overhear the conversation. If it is overheard by a third party, the conversation is loses the privilege. And you also owe the client the duty of keeping everything about their case confidential. This is virtually impossible in a public place.

    “Sweetie, I need a simple will and I just can’t afford a lawyer.” Of course you want to help your poor Aunt Pearl and you may think you can draft a ‘simple will’. However, you do not have the ability (or the authority) to make legal decisions for another person.  Only the attorney can use his or her expertise to apply legal judgment to an issue.

    Besides, you may be doing your Aunt Pearl a real disservice. It’s entirely possible that she has some complex estate planning issues that only the attorney would recognize and have the knowledge to give her the advice she needs. Also, this all holds true whether or not you’re paid for helping someone with a legal issue. Giving free advice or assistance is still the unauthorized practice of law.

    “Will you serve on our board of directors?” Is the entity one of your firm’s clients? If so, serving on their board may be a conflict of interest. Discuss this issue with your attorney before you make any commitments.

    “Can we talk off the record about my case?” Your answer is ‘NO’ whether the person is a client or the opposite party. Remember that there are issues of confidentiality and privilege. Also, you cannot have communications with a represented party without their attorney present.

    “I heard Bob and Mary are getting a divorce!” Oh, yes, your firm is representing Bob in his down and dirty divorce from Mary. You know all the sordid details! Keep your lips zippede! Even telling someone that the firm represents Bob is unethical.

    “Hello, Judge!” Communicating with the judge about a case is prohibited and so is any effort to influence the outcome of a case. Also, you must avoid even the appearance of impropriety.

    “I slipped and fell on the ice!” A golden opportunity, right? You’ll get a new client for the firm and look like a hero! Wrong! Staff cannot solicit clients and only the attorney can form the attorney client relationship. So don’t hand the injured person your card and tell them your firm is the best one to handle a slip and fall case. Also, keep in mind the issue of privilege. The person is not the firm’s client and your conversation may be subject to discovery.

    These are just some of the slippery situations and you may encounter. Always be mindful of potential ethics mine fields that await you both in and out of the office. Keep in mind the American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct, as well as those adopted by your state and any professional association you belong to.  They are not long, nor are they difficult to understand.

    Keep in mind that ethics rules always apply when you’re out with friends, at social events, or in public places. When someone asks you a simple question you’re tempted to answer, you have to handle the situation ethically to protect yourself, your firm, and the client.

    Always remember that your ethical obligations are with you 24/7… they don’t change or end when the clock strikes five.

    ____________________________________________________

    ©2016Vicki Voisin, Inc.

    Vicki Voisin ACP, “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, an 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.

    http://paralegalmentor.com/2016/08/its-five-oclock-somewhere-how-are-your-ethics-after-hours/

  • 15 Aug 2016 12:36 AM | Mariana Fradman (Administrator)

    Behind the Scenes: 3 Things Hiring Managers Actually Discuss After the Interview


    https://www.themuse.com/advice/behind-the-scenes-3-things-hiring-managers-actually-discuss-after-the-interview?ref=recommended

    If you’re like many people I know, you worry about what hiring managers say about you the second you exit the interview. And you therefore probably assume that they nitpick the heck out of your answers and only hire the people with zero faults.

    Well, I can’t speak for every single hiring manager on the face of the earth, but I can say that when I was a recruiter, that was not the case. Sure, there are a lot of conversations that happen before a candidate receives an offer, but the things your interviewers are discussing will probably surprise you.


    1. Is This Person Excited to Be Interviewing Here?

    Many employers I’ve come across do everything in their power to hire individuals who are passionate about their company’s mission. A sincere interest in the organization goes a long way—and a lot of recruiters know they shouldn’t have to settle for someone who’s qualified on paper, but has no interest in being a part of the actual team.

    And because this is so important to so many people, your excitement comes up more often than you’d think. Employers know that they’ll meet candidates who don’t know the entire mission or haven’t memorized the founding story, but they do look for people who seem genuinely excited about the possibility of coming to work there.

    If your energy is lacking, that should be a sign that you should probably look elsewhere. Why? Because it's an indication to the employer that they should probably look elsewhere, as well.

    And, if you’re not sure if your enthusiasm came across clearly, use your thank you note to make it obvious just how pumped you are about the opportunity.


    2. Is There Anyone Else We Should Ask This Person to Interview With?

    I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve walked out of an interview and had no doubt that we should pass. But I’ve also lost count of the number of times I left an interview with an excellent candidate and had to ask the hiring manager if he or she wanted that person to meet with anyone else. And if so, when that person would be available.

    As frustrating as lining up schedules was, it became a very real reason that some of the most qualified people I met with got nothing but radio silence from me for an extended period.

    And even worse, I’d been burned enough in the past to know that there was a chance that person would end up at one of our competitors because he or she would assume we weren’t interested in moving forward. So, while it’s totally understandable to be frustrated by a lack of follow-up, take solace in the fact that the delay doesn’t mean you’re out of the running.

    3. How Soon Do We Need Someone to Start?

    You might’ve read this question and thought to yourself, “So, if I catch a company at the exact time they simply need to fill a role, I’ll be in good shape to get it?” Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the truth is that’s not the case.

    If an employer’s pumped to make you an offer, he’ll ask himself how soon he’d like you to start to figure out his internal timeline. Who needs to be alerted? What does the HR team need for your onboarding? When does he think you’ll be able to give your current company notice?

    On the flipside, this question often spurs a long conversation about how good of a fit you are. If you’re not the one, it’s more likely resources will be re-allocated to make up a gap until the employer finds the right person—than he’ll just hire you (and trust me, that’s for the best).

    But more importantly, this forces companies to think deeply about whether they’re excited to hire you, or if they’d only be settling by extending you an offer.



    Some of these talking points aren’t exactly fun. I get that—especially because if it were up to me, every conversation that a hiring manager about me would be incredibly positive.

    But knowing what happens behind closed doors is still a good way to ease your nerves. Employers don’t just make fun of your answers after you leave an interview, or that old blazer you were unsure about (but decided to go with at the last minute). They’re digging into some crucial questions to determine whether or not you’re a fit for the job—and also if the job is something that would make you happy.


    Photo of co-workers talking courtesy of Caiaimage/Paul Bradbury/Getty Images.

    Career Guidance

    About The Author

    Richard Moy is a Content Marketing Writer at Stack Overflow. He has spent the majority of his career in talent management, including a stint as a full-cycle recruiter and hiring manager. In addition to the career advice he contributes to The Muse, he also writes test prep and higher education marketing content for The Economist. Say hi on Twitter @rich_moy.


  • 04 May 2015 6:37 AM | Mariana Fradman (Administrator)

    Recently, I was a speaker at the Los Angeles Paralegal Association's 19th Annual Spring Conference. The theme was the Paralegal Career - What's happening today; alternative careers and the ever-talked about licensing, registration and regulation. What can I say? It was informative, lively and eye-opening.

    I was invited to be on the alternative careers panel. Oh, boy. Having taken one of the most unorthodox career paths in paralegal history, this is a topic I knew. There were going to be 3 people on the panel. A litigation paralegal doing something else interesting, a legal administrator who was never a paralegal and me. That meant 20 minutes each for the hour.

    OK! I can do this! I did my research. I got in touch with my network. I interviewed a number of former paralegals all over the world and now had different titles and responsibilities. I poured a lot of hours into condensing a wide topic into 20 minutes. I got those new fangled PowerPoints so I looked on top of things. I went out and bought a brand new outfit at Neiman Marcus. (Spring-like, Tahari, make-you-look-thinner-type of thing.) Ok, it was Neiman Marcus, the outlet and I got it on sale. I even found out salaries (hard to get info). I load up my flash drive and I'm ready to go.

    I arrived to find there were 5 people on the panel - 2 extra who were invited by mistake which meant if it ran precisely on time, not one second over and no questions, there would be exactly 12 minutes each. Oh, dear. I had a lot to say. Which 8 minutes would I cut? Obviously, some of the folks on the panel weren't too happy to see me either. When we sat down, someone next to me told me that I wasn't supposed to have PowerPoints. This was after all, she said, a panel discussion. She was practically hissing. I didn't know who she was but she certainly seemed annoyed with me. Great. I squirmed in my chair. If I squirmed any harder, my new Neiman Marcus Tahari all linen beige pants might split right down the middle. Then, of course, I wouldn't be able to get up. It's always something. All I could say was, "Oh."

    I frantically searched my memory. It was totally blank. Totally. I had no notes and wasn't sure if I could do the presentation minus 8 random minutes without the prompting of the PowerPoints. I mean, I'm an experienced national seminar speaker and all but hey, I'm up there in front of 200 people being told the show has suddenly changed in the last minute and a half and some one who thinks I've taken her spot is chastising me under her breath. I think I'm in trouble. My palms started to sweat. Not a pretty picture.

    Just then, as I am sitting there wiping mud off my face, Bobby Rimus, the most wonderful association president in the world, comes over to me and tells me I'm scheduled to go last and we would put on my PowerPoints and we'll go over the hour. Don't worry about a thing. Somehow, I am no longer warm, wonderful and charming. At least for just a second. I set a Cheshire grin on my face and turn to my colleague. I don't say a word. I just grin. But truthfully, I was really glad I had given myself an extra dose of Secret that morning.

    The other four panelists turned out having interesting things to say. The Legal Administrator, Luci Hamilton, had originally immigrated from Brazil to the US without knowing one word of English, spoke six languages and ended up leading one of the most prestigious boutique employment firms in Los Angeles. She stressed how paralegals were generally lacking financial skills. If they had that knowledge, combined with management skills, ability to size up situations, work with difficult personalities, and team skills, they were solid candidates for good career paths in HR and administration.

     Kai Ellis, a senior litigation paralegal talked about her foray into paralegal teaching. Here was an opportunity to exercise the benefits of your experience, gain the satisfaction of knowing you have assisted someone in their career and just feel great. Teaching also has upward career movement - besides writing opportunities, you can become head of a paralegal program or more.

    There were two paralegals from a well-known major corporation, Disney. They talked about working for The Mouse. In-house legal departments have always caught the interest of paralegals from law firms. The myth is that the job is easier than one in a law firm. The reality is the job is not necessarily easier but the level of stress and politics is different. There are few, if any, billable hours, so the pressure on attorneys to make partner based upon how many clients they bring to the firm is non-existent resulting in less pressure on non-attorneys.

    One of the in-house paralegals, Tamara Loveland, was in a hot, hot arena: technology. She rose from paralegal to head of the Litigation Support Department. This is a well-paying arena ripe for paralegals for a couple of reasons: professional technologists who also have a legal background are frankly, very hard to find. While paralegals have user friendly backgrounds, heavier technology skills are not that easy to find. Throw in management skills and the position becomes one that pays very well. I mean, very well.

    The other paralegal, Yvonne Kubicek, spoke about the paralegal manager position. This is an interesting position as the job has changed over the years. Paralegal managers now have additional responsibilities than in earlier years. They may be in charge of other departments, They may have financial control over sophisticated budgets. They have more personnel responsibilities and certainly have more control over the workflow process and project management. It was interesting to hear her take on what it took to get into paralegal management. It is no longer the paralegal who does the best work who wins. It is now the paralegal who can demonstrate the best HR skills and understanding of the big picture - not an opportunity every paralegal is offered. This is one position a paralegal will probably have to seek training on their own.

    It was timely that I was on the alternative career panel as I am adding an additional career avenue to my own career path: that of a job search strategist. With over 20 years in paralegal management, staffing, executive management, CEO and author of 10 books on legal careers, I realized this was something that I knew a lot about.

    So, I have launched a new website, LegalJobSearchRx.com. I am consulting with just a few select clients on job hunting strategies. Using the latest techniques to match the new norm job market, I have been coaching clients on the new way to write resumes, cover letters, answer tough interview questions, beat age discrimination, negotiate for the highest salaries, write a compelling LinkedIn profile, create a network that works and get your dream job.

    So far, I have a 95% success rate. One person hadn't had a job in a year. Within one month, she had a job in a Fortune 1000 corporation. Another hadn't had an interview in months. With the new cover letter, she had 4 interviews lined up for the following week. I can't tell you how excited I am. Alternative careers can give you a boost even when you don't think you need one.

    Oh, as for the paralegal on the panel who had the hissyfit, she didn't exactly apologize (which upon reflection, she probably didn't owe me). However, she did ask for a copy of the PowerPoints. I mean, what more can you ask for? My new BFF.

    I have a free eBook I've prepared on alternative careers for paralegals. I'd be happy to send it to you. For a free copy, drop me an email at chere.estrin@paralegalknowledge.com. You just never know. A little spice here, a little spice there. It's good for the soul, believe me.

     

    Chere Estrin is CEO of the Paralegal Knowledge Institute, a national online continuing legal education organization and President and Co-Founding member of the Organization of Legal Professionals (OLP), providing legal technology training for lawyers, litsupport professionals and paralegals. She has written 10 books in the legal field and has been interviewed by the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and other publications. She has written the blog, The Estrin Report since 2005. Chere is a Los Angeles Paralegal Association Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient. She can be reached at chere.estrin@paralegalknowledge.com

    This article was reprinted with the permission from Chere Estrin. http://www.estrinlegaled.typepad.com 

  • 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

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