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In The News – What has the Paralegal Been Reading


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As most of you know reading is one of the ways I relax.  I’m not much into watching television so, after a long day, while the husband relaxes watching whatever shows he enjoys watching I am usually sitting or laying down next to him reading on my iPad.  These are some of the bits of the things which caught my interest.

After a Summer full of activities and sometimes spending more money than most of us budgeted for the fall is a great time to revisit our spreadsheets, or Mint or whatever method you use to make sure you are going to have enough to enjoy the holidays.  Mint published a great list of Money Moves for Fall.

Are you guilty of pointing fingers?  Do you sometimes get annoyed at how some people seem to have it so easy and seem to be struggling to get ahead?  Well, I know I am guilty of that, sometimes.  We’re all human and sometimes we can’t help but be a bit jealous or envious of those who seem to have it all.  This week I read a great article in brainpickings.org.  Sometimes what looks like privilege to us is actually the product of many years of struggle.  Take a moment to read this article and then take some time to actually assess if you agree.  Some Thoughts on “Privilege.”

Every morning and every evening when I’m commuting from New Jersey into New York for work I wonder if other people go through the same annoyance as I do.  For instance, last night, the subway was so crowded I couldn’t find a place to hold on to.  I’m short, so I can’t reach the top railing — you know the one that hangs above you head — so I need to rely on the poles. Well, unless I morphed into Gumbywoman I was not going to be able to hold on.  I tried to balance myself without holding on which makes for an interesting commute.  Good thing I was not wearing heels.  This morning I found some pictures Proof that Rush House is Kinda Terrible Everywhere which made me feel much better.  Misery does love company, after all.

While we’re on the subject of pictures….. What’s this about?  I do’t even know what to say to that.  Is it really necessary to post a notice like this?  What are we coming to?

You all know I really enjoy being a paralegal.  Maybe I’ve always been lucky and I have never been treated disrespectfully because I’m a paralegal.  Sure, I have been disrespected.  However, not because of my chosen profession but because some people are just jerks.  They can’t help that and honestly not something I can change.  It’s their problem and I can only feel sorry for them.  When I saw this article in Legal Cheek, I thought it best to write something here in case some of you are thinking about becoming paralegals.  It’s funny and some of them are probably going to wind up in my Pinterest but it’s not what the profession is about.  Remember you do have a choice in everything you do.

XoXo

Ana

 
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Posted by on October 9, 2014 in Current Issues, Fun/Misc.

 

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Sunday Funnies


Yes, I know…. last week was a dud.  I wound up getting a sinus infection as well as some stupid upper respiratory infection and have been coughing ever since.  I’m feeling better now.  No more fever and nothing else except for this stupid cough I can’t get rid of.

Don’t think for one minute that I would forget the Sunday Funnies.

$250 per hour

You know this one is going right into my Pinterest….. hahahaha

XoXo

Have a great weekend.

 
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Posted by on October 5, 2014 in Fun/Misc.

 

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How I use the iPad Mini at Work – Note Taking


 

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By now most of you know that I have been working from remotely a few days a week.  By remotely I mean, I’m either working in my home office or out of a different office.  As you can imagine, as a paralegal, most of us rely on notes that we take during meetings, telephone calls and sometimes even when an idea just strikes us….. I have tons of those while on the bus or sometimes just sitting at my desk which means that we can fill out tons of notebooks in a single year.

When I worked out of one main office, I didn’t mind so much having a notebook on my desk where I could quickly jot down an idea and then put a little post-it tag on it to mark the location on the page.  Usually by the end of a few months I would have a drawer full of notebooks with forgotten notes on it and if I ever needed to find one sometimes I would have to pull out a few out of the drawer and go through all the post-it notes to find the one I was looking for.  This made for wasted billable hours at times and it was very frustrating.  However, I continued this process because, like I said, I was stationary and it was a tried and true method.

Now, that I’m no longer in one place all the time this method because a hindrance.  I would be in one office, or at home, and the notebook where that one one I needed was in another location, either at the office or at home …. You know, somewhere I was not.  I needed to develop another system.  A system where all the notes I need are with me all the time and since I needed to develop a whole new system why not figure out a way where I can also search for notes instead of having to read pages and pages?

In comes the iPad.

That part was easy.  The iPad is portable and with me all the time.  After all, I take it with me so I can read and check my social networks at lunch or during a break.  However, although typing on the virtual keyboard is ok for a quick email, I don’t particularly like using it that much.  So I searched and searched for a note taking app.  I found one that I sort of like, NotesPlus… it’s free on the App Store.  I have to admit that I really liked it at first.  It’s easy to organize by allowing you to create “notebooks” for each of the subjects you need and it even has a recording feature that allows you record the conversations (remember to always let whomever you’re speaking with that you are recording the conversation).  I created a notebook one for general notes and a few for the specific issues — you can create one for each of your cases, for example.   This was my go to application.  It was easily uploaded to dropbox and I was sure to always have my notes wherever I went.  It was nirvana!!!! well, almost.

Then the trouble began.  A few months ago, while I was on a call something happened to my NotesPlus.  It started crashing every time I tried to write a note and it became really frustrating when I couldn’t keep up with the conversation because I had to restart the application every few minutes — Grrrrrr — anger set in.  After the call I uploaded all my notes to Dropbox and went on a search for something better.  Remember, I still don’t want to carry notebooks with me everywhere.  My bag is heavy enough with shoes and food and we all know that these are much more important than a stupid notebook.

In the meantime, because I still have not found a note taking application that I like I, went out and bought the Logitech Bluetooth Keyboard and right now I am typing my notes in Pages (the equivalent of Word).  Because I have an iCloud account with Apple, I am able to see my notes on all my devices, including my phone, my computer at home and off course, the iPad.  I like this method.  It serves the purpose I was originally trying to accomplish.  However, I still want a note taking app.  I like writing and doodling when I’m listening to a call and it’s always much easier to write a note than type a note….. at least for me, since I didn’t grow up around computers all the time…. perhaps this new generation feels more comfortable typing than writing but there is something to be said for a handwritten note…… Don’t you feel like you can remember things better when you write them down?  hmmmm maybe it’s just me.

So, long story short, I’m still looking for a note taking application.  Do you have any ideas?  For now I’m going to continue using this method since the original purpose has been met.  However, nothing wrong with making it a better system don’t you agree?  So do you have any note taking apps you like?  Can you give me some suggestions?

I will be back with my review of the Logitech Keyboard which, for now is my new best friend.

Ana

Clipart from Google.  Thank you.

 

 
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Posted by on October 3, 2014 in paralegals, The Paralegal's iPad

 

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In the News This Week


Hello, it’s me again. This week has been pretty slow reading week. Besides trying to get done with the book that I’ve been reading and getting my yard ready for the fall, I have barely had the time to read much else. There were, however, a few articles that caught my eye….

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So, if you don’t know already, I have don’t watch much television. Actually throughout the day, if and when I’m home the television doesn’t even get turned on…. If it does it’s the news or some mindless home show. If I’m going to sit in front of the television, it’s normally to watch a documentary or my guilty pleasure (of which I don’t feel guilty at all), The Big Bang Theory. So on Monday, you better believe I was parked in front of the television to watch the double episode of the Big Bang Theory…. I love nerds. Which leads me to another show which I may start watching. New this season it’s called Scorpions and it comes on right after the Big Bang Theory….. why not. I’m in front of the television already.

Anyway, I much prefer reading, if I have time to kill (I don’t have much of that these days).

If you follow me on Twitter, and if you don’t you should, you probably saw when I tweeted the article from thelegalinteligencer.com, Why I Became a Paralegal in the Diverse Area of Corporate Law. Sometimes we need to take on things which may at first blush sound and look boring to us. You never know what can happen. I never thought I’d be so happy doing regulatory work at a bank but I am truly having a lot of “fun” at work….. don’t get me wrong, it’s still a job and I still get frustrated, but it is a great area to be in these days. Go ahead, take a look at the article and tell me what you think.

The Corporate Counsel also had a great article about titles. I don’t know about you, but I don’t get hung up on titles. As long as I’m doing what I like to do, I don’t really care what you call me. I know that the title usually dictates what is budgeted for raises and other compensation. However, I believe that if you are doing a good job and your manager is happy with you, he/she will find a way to circumvent the title thing. I would hate to have a title just for the sake of having one and be totally miserable every day. No thank you!!!!

I’m not really sure how I came upon this blog, A dude With a Blog, but one of the articles really caught my attention. Have you ever wondered if the people you meet on line are really what they claim to be? Apparently, in Amsterdam, this student found how how easy it is to “fool” everyone online. Sometimes the people we “know” are really not the people we know. We can be anything we want online. Zilla Van Dan Born, the student mentioned above, pretended to be traveling all through Asia and was able to lie to her entire family about it. She was not being mean at all, so don’t all start hating her. This was a project she was doing for school…… No harm was done to anyone and I’m sure they are now having a good laugh about it. Take a look at the article. I found it very interesting.

As you can see, I did not spend a lot of time reading this week. I have a lot of catching up to do. What have you been reading this week? Send it over, don’t just keep it to yourself.

Hope to see you soon and while you’re here, go check out my other blog The Paralegal At Home. See you there?

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2014 in Current Issues, Fun/Misc.

 

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Paralegals On Wall Street? Who knew?????


If you had told me a few years ago that I would be working at a bank I would have told you were crazy.  After all, was I not the kid who hated every single one her math classes?  Was I not the kid who cried while doing math homework?  I don’t remember anything from any of my algebra classes…. heck I even have trouble figuring out percentages.  Yeah, I truly am a math hater.  I fully understand the interest others have with numbers as well as how great it would be if I could understand them myself.  Alas, numbers and I are not friends.  I would even venture to say we are mortal enemies.

Today, after suffering through high school math and algebra and trying to avoid as many number related classes in college, I am a paralegal at a bank.  Really, there are quite a few of us and we have our plates so full these days, we barely have time to breath.

Admittedly, my days are totally different from yours (if you are working at a law firm).  First of all, I don’t have to bill my time.  Although I was never one who dreaded the end of the month.  I was able to figure out a process where I could keep myself organized and have all my time entered and correct by the time the end of the month came up.  See this article I wrote a few years back, in fact, I trained the new paralegals on how to enter time and how to stay organized.  These days this is not an issue at all.  That goes for all the paralegals who work in house.

These days I’m not preparing for trial or preparing or summarizing depositions or even reading medical records.  These days I busy myself with regulatory research and meetings with other lawyers.  Yes, when I put it this way it sounds sort of boring doesn’t it?  I can hear you guys saying “regulatory research” and what do you do with it?  Well, let me tell you.

So remember a few years back when our financial world took a nose dive?  When there was so much uncertainty as to whether or not our money would still be in the bank when we woke up the next mooring?  Well, the regulators – these are the people who make the laws for the various industries – were also worried and therefore started making new rules/regulations as well as tightening up existing rules.  There are so many new rules and regulations coming out that at times it’s hard to keep up.  So my days go something like this……

  1. Find new laws and analyze them for impact on the particular area of service (the industry term is line of business) that I cover;
  2. Have some coffee;
  3. Summarize and present at monthly meeting with the business;
  4. Have more coffee;
  5. Track changes to existing laws and advise business and risk about these changes;
  6. Attend meetings and have some coffee;
  7. Ensure that policies and procedures are in place (working with compliance); and
  8. Have some more coffee;

So the above are just things that I do on a day to day except for number 2 that one happens on a monthly basis but I still prepare for it on every day.  Meetings in the corporate world are packed with power point presentations (the business doesn’t want to or have to the time to have to learn a law) power point presentations make it easier to understand what legal is saying.  They couldn’t be bothered with us….. the business is there to make money and they feel we are there to stop them……. It’s actually fun to be a part of this.

My days don’t end with that.  In between getting all that done I work with compliance – compliance is there to ensure that the business is actually doing what legal has advised them to do.  At the end of the day my job ends when I the business as been advised of what the law is saying.  I am not responsible for the steps they take to accomplish that.  That is the job of compliance and risk together.  Those two groups measure the risk associated with a particular part of the business and they decide how to comply with the law.

Think of the particular businesses within a bank as my clients.  The difference is, my clients don’t walk in from the street.  They walk the same hallways I do, eat in the same cafeteria (yes, the food is actually very good there) and sometimes are even colleagues with whom I go out for drinks or coffee.  Like you, I am not responsible for what my client is doing after they walk out of my office.  However, I have to be prepared to defend my client even if he does not follow my advice…. Does that make sense?

I hope this helped you understand a little bit about what goes on in the legal department of a bank.  Let me know what you think.  I would love to hear from you.

 
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Posted by on September 23, 2014 in paralegals, Professional Issues

 

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Let’s all Save the Economy


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We often hear how much the paralegal profession has changed.  True, it has.  We have come a long way from when no one knew exactly what we did or what we were capable of doing to, in most law firms and legal departments being an indispensable part of the legal process.  This does not come without a cost.

These days, because so many more attorneys are aware of what we can do and how efficiently we can turn out work product we find ourselves completely overworked.  However, this is not a bad thing at all.  Don’t get me wrong….. I feel your pain.  I know how much it hurts to have to put in that insane amount of hours, but think of this.  The fact that so many of us are getting buried under a pile spreadsheets and power point presentations and research, medical records, business records, filings, and …. you name it, means that we have the opportunity to open doors to other fellow paralegals.

How about we all bring up the possibility of hiring more paralegals to the hiring manager at our office?  No, I don’t mean replace attorneys, but how about you bring up to your boss that by hiring paralegals they are getting more work done and saving money at the same time.  What lawyer doesn’t want to hear that?  Not just that… how about also letting your employer know that if they hire more paralegals they can bill more hours and have the time find more clients?  the amount of time they spend doing paper work can be spent entertaining future clients or going to court or doing all the things they went to law school for.  Hiring more paralegals is what is right for the firm and what is right for the economy.

Let your boss know that they can be just what the economy needs.  When the paralegal ratio is increased in a law firm the lawyer ratio usually goes up as well because once that happens the managing partners can be rainmakers and bring in more business which causes the law firm to get busier and in turn causes more work for the lawyers and paralegals.

Wow, more paralegals equals a better economy!!!!!!!!!!  Just a thought!!!!!!!!

Ana

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2014 in paralegals

 

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Sunday Fun – Paralegal Funnies


Happy Sunday everyone.  Hope you are all having a great weekend.  This week I thought I’d dedicated to all my friends who have to keep billable hours.  I remember those days.  Take a look at this post I wrote a few years ago and then this one and if you still want more, there’s this one also.

'When I said you had a number of outstanding timesheets, it wasn't a compliment.'

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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