The iPad – Using it at work

The iPad, what an amazing invention…. ok, perhaps not so much an inventions when it was released by Apple.  I guess it was genius marketing.  At the time it came out there were already other gadgets on the market that probably would have done the same thing but none of them ever took off like the iPad did.  Even when the competitors came on, and there were quite a few, the iPad remained the one table everyone wanted.


I had the original iPad and then the iPad 2.  when the Mini came out I swore I would not get it.  After all, why would I want a smaller tablet?  Would I be able to read anything on the screen?  Well, it didn’t take a lot of convincing.  One visit to the Apple store and one look at the cute little table, I had to have it.  I got the regular WiFi only version, at times it’s annoying, but I’m surviving and I love it.

Originally, I was using my iPad more at home and occasionally to read some PDFs, read books, take some notes.   I never took it to the next level.

Recently I’ve discovered whole new world of Apps which make my life 100% more productive no matter where I am.  This could be a good or bad thing.  Considering that I’m always ready to pick up my iPad it means that my boss knows that no matter where I am I will always have everything available to have a discussion……. Use at your own risk.

Research:  There are two great apps for the iPad that I use quite often The CFR and The US Code.  The actual apps are free but you have to buy the titles.  The good thing about this is that you only need to buy the titles you need.  For instance, for me, in the Code of Federal Regulations, only needed to buy Title 12 (for now) I may at some point need to buy others but the price is not so bad.  I use these all the time when I just want to quickly look at the Reg or the Code.  I’ve used it mostly when I’m on the phone.

There is a Black’s Law Dictionary which would be a great addition to my iPad, but I have not purchased this one.  For now I’ve been using the dictionaries at the office or at times I can get away with free dictionaries on the internet.  You know how that is, when you’re on a paralegal salary…. Sometimes have to wait. I guess I’d say that this one is a “nice to have.”

Fastcase, is another app that I currently don’t use very often but have used from time to time.  It’s free and it provides you with information regarding case law.  It can be search using a citation or natural language.  Although not as comprehensive as a Lexis or a Westlaw, it’s good enough when you need a case in a hurry and have no access to either of the other two or don’t have subscription to the others.  I liked it and would recommend it.

Note Taking:

Note taking applications are various.  I have a tried a few and at the moment am sort of disappointed with all of the handwriting note taking applications.  So in order to protect the guilty I will refrain from reviewing or mentioning any of them until the time I actually find one I enjoy and works well.  I’m not very picky.  All I need is an app that recognizes handwriting and allows me to write lots and lots…. almost like having a notebook at my desk.

So, for now, I am taking my notes on the Apple Pages which is the equivalent of Word.  I bought a small keyboard for my iPad and carry it with me wherever I go.  I really like it.  I bought the Logitech Keyboard in white for the iPad Mini (my Mini is white).  It takes a little of getting used to, since the keyboard is so small but I’ve found that the typos can be corrected later and I’m getting faster at typing on it now.  So I don’t mind so much.  I still wish I could take notes by hand….. What can I say, old habits die hard.

Reading and Marking Up Documents

I have used two apps for reading and marking up documents.  I don’t know about you, but I love to write notes on the margins of the documents and draw arrows, highlight and doodle when I have nothing better to do.  Let’s just say my documents wind up being very colorful…. But neat…. I don’t like messy.  So for this purpose I have found two apps which do the trick.  Evernote and Goodreader.  Evernote is great because it syncs with all your other devices which can be a good thing.  However, I don’t often need that since my iPad is with me at all times.  Goodreader is my favorite for no particular reason other than there is more room on the margins to write and the way the pages turn is more user-friendly, in my opinion.  Goodreader also syncs with my Dropbox account so I can access my documents on my computer if I have to.  I find that downloading the PDFs to Goodreader is simple and if I want to keep a clean copy as well as a marked up copy, the app allows me to do that.

Legal News

Well, this one is all over the place.  So most of the time I get my news from the various blogs I read.  Where it comes to apps on the App store I sometimes read the ABA Journal.

appointments and Meetings

I used iCal for a very long time.  This year I was introduced to Sunrise and I have not looked back.  Sunrise syncs with iCal so I can go back and forth if I need to and because my husband and I have one shared calendar on our phones it’s a good thing that it does.  He still gets all my notices….. Sometimes he’s not so happy when I put “to do’s” on his calendar or schedule things for him to do.  But …. those are the breaks, right?  Sunrise is pretty to look at and because it syncs with iCal my color coding does not have to be updated or re-created. Once I set it up it just worked.

I no longer carry notebooks or pens and paper with me anywhere.  The days of having a notebook and a pen and shuffling through my purse or whatever other bag I happen to be carrying to find a pen so I could write a note are sooooooo over.  These days I take a note on my phone and within seconds I have that same note on my iPad and on the iPhone.  If I can’t write it, I sometimes even dictate it.  I have pens at my desk at home but those are mostly used to write on my calendar at home because I still can’t get used to not having a paper calendar.

I hope this helps a little bit.  Finding the right app to help you be as productive as you can be is a work in progress and I feel as if I have only scratched the surface.  I made a promise to myself that by the end of the year I would be close to being paper free.  So far, I’m doing really well.  Aside from some files which I still need to convert to the computer my desk has no papers on it.

If you know of any apps you think I’d like, please feel free to leave a comment.  I would love to try them out.  As I said, my road to a greener work life is still a work in progress.  What about you?



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Posted by on September 16, 2014 in The Paralegal's iPad


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What am I thinking? Where am I going?

Hello everyone. I just wanted to catch up and ask for an opinion as well as let you know what I’m thinking. As you probably know I’m dividing this blog into two different blogs. It has come to my attention that many of you are not interested in seeing beauty or fashion articles on this blog. However, it’s also been made clear to me that some of you really like those types of articles.

After some thinking I have decided to start another blog dedicated to The Paralegal at Home. All the things I do when not at work. All articles about beauty, fashion, cleaning, decorating, organizing a home, etc will be found there. I am leaving this blog as it was intended to be. A blog about being a paralegal. Here you can find all the things we originally started talking about. How to be a paralegal, how to research and what is expected of us in the crazy work we all live in.

To kicky this new schedule off. I will start by doing a series on research….. internet research, Lexis research and Westlaw research. I also want to do a series on how I use my iPad. How to use the iPad at work, the different apps I work with and how I manage to totally give up paper in my life as a paralegal.

Please take a moment and go check out the new blog at The Paralegal at Home and like and subscribe to the feed. I am hoping that by doing things this way you can better find your way to the things you most want to see. Let me know if you have any trouble or if you would like to see something different.

I love to hear from you guys.


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Posted by on September 15, 2014 in Fun/Misc., paralegals


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Sunday Funnies



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Posted by on September 14, 2014 in Fun/Misc.


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Time to Start Looking for a Coat?

Jaeger Wool Cashmere Waisted Coat

I don’t know about you, but this morning all I could think about was my nice toasty sweats and sweatpants.  Is it possible that Summer is over?  Are we really going to start buying sweaters and coats and pants?  I’m not sure I’m ready.

However, one look at the store windows, online and all around it feels and looks like that is a reality we are now faced with.  Here at the blog we are going to start seeing a few more Fall and Winter things.  I have to admit that I am more of a Summer person than a Fall or Winter person, although I do like fall colors.  The one thing I do want and enjoy is being toasty and cozy.  What better way than with a great coat.  Let’s start with that.

This year I will be working from home a little more…. Ohh who am I kidding…. a lot more than I have ever had a chance.  I managed to negotiate for working from home at least three days a week instead of getting a bump in pay.  To me that’s a much better deal than a monetary incentive…. well, at least for now.  That’s not to say I won’t be trying to get more money…. We’ll discuss this at a later time…. anyway, because I will be working from home more and therefore not needing as many suits and office appropriate clothes as I would normally need, I figure I can spend a little bit more.  But what about my fellow paralegals that are not in the same situation as I am?  Well, don’t worry, I have not forgotten about you.  I will be looking for bargains and bringing them to you.  One of my plans is to be on the lookout for things you would love and let you know where to get them.  Is that a deal?  Would you be willing to give me a change with that?

Let’s start with coats.  Above is a Jaeger Wool Cashmere Coat.  Yeah, a bit pricey and unless you are willing to use your end of the year bonus (ahead of time) to get it, chances are that on a paralegal salary that’s not going to be a priority.  So I have found this Corinna Caon Coat.  I know it’s not Cashmere but it looks so stylish and warm and the red color makes it a great statement piece.  For those of you who prefer a more traditional coat, which I have to say I don’t blame you.  I always say, if you’re only going to be able to buy one coat or one of anything, make it a traditional cut. That way you can get much more wear out of it and keep within your budget…. Anyway, this Angela Mele Milano Coat although traditional, because of the red color it looks fresh and young.  Also, if red is something you don’t think you can get into, this coat comes in three different colors.  Sand, which is almost a camel color, black which as a New Yorker I find it the ultimate find and in the red.  There’s a color for every taste and all look classic and very warm.

If the above price points are still a bit steep for you, don’t despair.  I have been where you are.  Being a new paralegal, having to deal with student loans and the way the economy is I totally understand that spending over $200 on a coat can be the difference between making that student loan payment or not or having a life or not.  I also know that the stress that we are put through by our wonderfully amazing attorneys sometimes require a little bit of a nightlife.  So, I am prepared and here are some less pricey coats that still look like stylish and fun.  This Sinequanone Coat is so cute.  It looks young, fun, stylish and no one needs to know you didn’t spend a fortune to look this great.  I also happen to think that Ann Klein makes great clothes and surprisingly affordable.  I totally love this Anne Klein Wool-Cashmere Blend Walker Coat.  What do you think?  Comes in a variety of colors, camel, black and red.

I hope you enjoy this post and I will work on a few others.  Let me know what you would like to see more of and I will make every effort to post about it.


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Posted by on September 13, 2014 in Fashion


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Compliance vs. Legal — The Past Month

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Yep. I just looked at my last post and it was written over a month ago. Shame on me. How can I expect you guys to be interested or stick around here if I don’t take the time to say hello, at least. Anyway, this is not an excuse or anything like that. Actually, if I’m serious about wanting to help you or make this blog grow, nothing should be standing in the way, right?????

So what happened in the time I have been away from the blog? Well, I changed positions at work. If you recall I was working in compliance. I left my paralegal role in one large bank and joined the compliance department of another large bank. Did I like it? Yeah, I guess I enjoyed it well enough. I didn’t like enough to stay, though. I am glad I did it. Why? you might ask. Well, it taught me two things? 1) that I really, really (can I say really one more time?) really…. haha… like being a paralegal. 2) Compliance is not for me.

So what do I see as the biggest difference? Both roles involve regulatory change management, both roles involve research of the various regulators in charge of our money and what our financial institutions can or cannot do with our money. Most of the day is spent trolling those regulatory bodies, in both positions….. So why would I take this position is if sounds like the same thing? Well, the reason is the actual role.

A compliance officer advises the business. The compliance officer is much closer to the business than the lawyer. Although the lawyer must be familiar with the business, the lawyer really does not, and has no time to be concerned with the intricacies of the business….. that’s the compliance officers’ job. So the lawyer interprets the law and hands it over to the compliance officer to give it a second look and say….. Well. Here’s what legal says, here’s what we do and here’s what we have to stop doing in order to remain in compliance with what the regulator is saying. There is so much “advising” that needs to be done that the compliance officer has no time to read and interpret.

Don’t get me wrong. I do like knowing the business and I learned quite a bit about the big money machine. However, I learned these past few years that I am ok with knowing the business superficially enough to know it but my passion is in really knowing the law.

As a paralegal I have the time to really get into the regulators’ heads….. Sometimes not a happy place to be and most of the time a frustrating proposition. If you have tried to read a bill, a proposal and eventually a new law….. Holly heck….. Yesterday I was actually wondering if the law was written in English….. that, at times, is the fun of it.

So, why did I go back to the legal department? Well, it came down to what my passion is. My passion is reading and writing and learning the law. My passion is to sit with books (these days the computer or the iPad) and read, highlight, make notes, and eventually be able to put into words what I believe the law addresses. In compliance, while I got to look at new laws, if I were to stay and follow my passion, as stated above, my role would have morphed into a data entry person. There is no time to read, understand and digest it. If I were to move up in a compliance role, I would have had to give up that passion. I would have had to rely on legal to really get into the weeds of the law so that I could get into the weeds of the business. I would not be able to spend as much time as I would like in being well versed in the legalities of what is or is not allowed. Someone else would have to do that and I would have to take their word for it.

I chose to follow my passion. I am busier than I have been the past 3 years, since I came to this new firm. However, I am happier than I have been at this firm. There is something to be said for figuring out who you are and doing what comes naturally to you. I enjoy being surrounded by words and then taking those words, which at times are a bit incomprehensible, and have them make sense to someone who does not get a chance to sit and analyze them. I have that luxury now. Research and analysis is my thing. That’s what I enjoy doing.

So, I’m often asked what my advice is for someone just getting started in their career. My advice is to figure out what you love to do. To figure that out, thing about what you can spend hours on and not mind, what would you do even if you were not getting paid for it and then go out and find a place where you can do that and get paid for it as well.

I hope all this works. I have been in my new role for a month now and it looks like things are finally getting settled and I’m not playing catch up. I will try to go back to some type of schedule on the blog so you guys don’t forget about me. I’m also thinking, I’ve been thinking about this for a while. Would you guys like a YouTube channel to go along with this blog? Think that’s a good idea? Would you subscribe? Would you guys want to see have a YouTube channel to go along with this blog?

Let me know. Nice chatting with you all and I’ll see on my next blog post.


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Posted by on September 13, 2014 in paralegals, Professional Issues


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Happy (Hour) Friday – Champagne and Strawberry Cocktails

Champagne & Strawberry


For those of you who have not been paying attention to my Twitter, Instagram and Facebook pages, you may not be aware that I have been on vacation this week.  Well, also the fact that posts have been very few and far between both on The Paralegal and The Vegan Paralegal.

Yesterday my husband surprised me and we went out to dinner down the shore.  Yes, I’m from Jersey so, “down the shore” is actually a place.  It’s the beach.  The boardwalk…… a place where shopping, eating and enjoying the salty air go hand in hand.  Where Ying meets Yang.  We ate at the Avenue, while we sat outside and enjoyed how it appeared that time slowed down to almost a crawl.  These are the things Summers are made of.

Champagne and strawberries go so well together.  Give it a try…… Even if you don’t have an ocean to look at.  Close your eyes and imagine.

Let me know how it goes.

Here is the recipe:

4 shots orange-flavored liqueur (recommended: Grand Marnier)
4 teaspoons honey (No honey for me thank you)
4 fresh strawberries, tops trimmed
1 bottle Champagne, well chilled
Special equipment: 4 chilled Champagne flutes
Add the orange-flavored liqueur, honey and strawberries to a food processor and process until smooth. Fill the chilled glasses halfway with the strawberry mixture and then fill the rest of the glass with Champagne.


Recipe from the Food Network:

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Posted by on July 11, 2014 in Fun/Misc.


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Sale Wednesday – Check out these great items on sale this week


Sometimes I’m happy to just surf the net and find great deals on work clothes.  I don’t necessarily need anything but you might and if I can help you I’m going to totally try.  Here are some things I found which will help you look like the professional you are and still allow you to enjoy that great much deserved vacation you have been dreaming and planing on.

This Honor Floral-print organza skirt is so pretty and feminine.  Originally the price of this skirt was $795 but this week it’s been marked down to $398.  I know it’s a steep price but that quite the markdown don’t you think?  I think if you pair this skirt with a simple white blouse or a sweater set (make sure it’s a Summer weight set) you can get a lot of mileage from it.  Wear it with some nice casual sandals for an afternoon out with the girls or with a nice pair of pumps (nude would be best) for the office.  Who said feminine has no place in the office?  They lied……. go for it.

Jackets can turn a casual outfit into a work outfit.  Sometimes they can turn a very classic work appropriate outfit into a going out outfit.  We all need these.  Remember that night you were supposed to meet your girlfriends for a drink after work?  You wore a nice pair of slacks or that great black pencil skirt that is not too sexy but not so matron either.  You had on the perfect pair of red (not too red) heels.  It’s 6:30 and you are ready for that drink……. what do you wear?  how about this Diane von Furstenberg Vint jacket.  This jacket can make any casual outfit have that something extra that will take it from office to evening out.  Honestly, I think this jacket could also go well with a pair of jeans and a great pair of sandals (heels or flats).

I know, I know it’s really hot now but we all know that sooner or later we will be wishing we had as many layers between us and the snow as possible.  In the midst of my summer crazed shopping I came across this AllSaints Klein Shearling Parka, the discount is tremendous and and you can get an even bigger discount if you use Coupon Code SUMMER.

And what about in the Fall when it feels like it’s going to just keep raining and we will need to somehow build out own arc in order to stay afloat.  Being a commuter I swear by my rain boots.  I like my hunters but I have been eyeing these Burberry Clemence Check Canvas Rain Boots.  There is nothing more classy than the fabric of anything Burberry.  Although not on sale the shipping is free with the Coupon Code FREESHIP.

Speaking on Hunters…. remember how I said I loved my hunters …. up there…. remember?  Well, guess what I found?  Here Hunter Back Adjustable Rain Boots I can promise you that these are going to last you a lifetime.  You will be trying to ruin them so you can justify getting a new pair in a few years.  I have a pair in green and have been eyeing the black (goes with more stuff).  They are also not on sale but the shipping is free with Coupon Code  FREESHIP.

Back to Summer.  I really enjoy the way red makes me feel.  Every time I wear red I feel like I can take on the world.  This dress combines the strength of the color and the softness of being a woman…… You can wow them with your smarts when they least expect you to.  J.Crew Crepe short-sleeve dress.  The dress is already on sale but you will get an additional 40% off if you use the Coupon Code SHOPMORE.

Last but not least, how about a dress with a punch.  A very different color.  I happen to like green and when I have a tan for some reason the light greens or some people would call them lime greens bring out the tan.  I want to accentuate the great color I have been able to get without frying out in the sun.  I have to tell you that I always wear SPF 30 or above and don’t sit out in the sun for more than 30 minutes at a time.  Anyway, let’s talk dresses…… Lauren Ralph Lauren Belted Dress this is a great color.  On those days when you want to look more conservative, put on a blazer and you’re good to go.  This dress is already on sale from $149.00 to $44.70…. Not too bad right?

I hope you enjoy the sales and I promise to keep my eyes opened for more if they come across my inbox.  I will totally let you know.

See you all soon.



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Posted by on July 9, 2014 in Fashion


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