The Importance of Cross Training your Team

Cross training…. Every time I see these two words I can’t help but think of some form of work out and feeling tired. In this case cross training is not a work out and it doesn’t have to feel exhausting. Cross training your team is a simple thing that a manager can do to ensure that the work will get done even if someone is on vacation or sick or in the current situation not able to come to office or work from home for one reason or another.

Cross training starts by identifying the skills that are important to keep the team running in an emergency and then training or helping each member of the team to acquire those skills. Keep in mind that the point is not to make each member of the team to be as good as the member who does the job every day. The purpose is to make sure that the most important work gets done. So if there are nuances of the particular skill that get done because the team member who normally does the work has 100 years experience, the rest of the team is not going to get those nuances and it’s ok. As long as the work is getting done.

Using me and my team as an example: The past few months I have been training my team members to do each other’s jobs in case someone or more than one person needs to step in to cover an absent employee.

let me warn you that some people will not be happy to hear that they will have to take on additional work.  However, as the manager, my job is to make everyone feel like they are an important member of the team and without them we couldn’t accomplish our goals.  I need to make them all understand that their extra work is for the good of the team and I will be available if they need the help.  It is also my job to lead them to want to do it and understand that if the team fails because they were not able to let go of the negative attitude it means they also fail.  

Create a list of jobs and projects that need coverage

I started this project by asking each team member to get me a list of every project they are currently working on, including projects that they may have taken on as a stretch assignment from another team – my company allows for this to happen in order to help employees move up or move into different roles throughout their career. I also asked them to give me list of sources (regulators, third party vendors, etc.) that they use in their day to day work.

Our job involves review and research of legal updates (legislation, regulation changes and statute changes) on a day to day basis to help the lawyers advise the clients how to manage their day to day.

Create a Summary of the Work Done being done

Once I received the list I created a spreadsheet with each of the team members in one column, their day to day work in another column and a third column showing their outside projects. I then asked each of them to take a look at the list and confirm that we had all the work on the chart and then asked them to write a short paragraph about what they do for each of the tasks they perform. So for example, when I monitor laws for the broker dealer business I make sure I look at the any news articles relating to the particular regulators that regulate broker dealers, then I go to each of the regulatory websites and start by looking at press releases and then proposed regulations. While doing that I’m updating the systems as necessary in order to make sure that the proposed items get funneled to the attorneys that need the information so they can advise the clients of the upcoming changes in case they have to change a particular process of the business.

After I am sure that I looked at all the regulatory websites I then turn my attention to the various states’ legislative bodies and begin by looking for legislation at the governors’ desks since those are the ones that are most likely going to pass within the next couple of weeks. Again I update our internal systems to make sure the lawyers are, again, notified of impending changes and prepared to advise the clients that something may be changing soon.

In my portion of the team tasks’ summary I make sure write down what regulators I look at and in what order.  I advise the team which ones are most important and therefore need to be looked at every day and lastly I tell each team member where I go to find the pending legislation. I also make sure I tell the team what third party vendors I use to track the legislation, how I go about tracking the legislation.  

For the managers this is important because you will need to know to what systems your team members will need access. For example, two of the sources I use are WestLaw and Lexis. This is important because it means that the person who will cover for me will need to have access to these two sources and also be trained to receive email updates.  .

Create a Shadow Schedule

Once all the summaries are written and put into some type of order (I call this the desk manual for the team). I make sure we schedule time to have each team member be shadowed by another team member. I only focus on a ratio of 1:1, meaning one team member will cover for another team member but this can be adjusted depending on the needs of the individual team.

This shadowing that I do is focused on how a normal day will look like. The team member who will be covering will need to know how much work is going to come in on a normal day and how it will come in as well as when the emails will be coming in. Knowing this will help the covering team member figure out how to schedule their day because they will still have to manager their own workload.

As the Manager

As the team manager I make sure that I am at least somewhat familiar with the work and the processes being followed by each team member. Worse come to worse I may have to pitch in if it’s a particularly heavy week. That happens if the emergency takes place during the start of the legislative period when a whole lot of bills are being introduced or at the end of the legislative period when a whole lot of bills are being pushed through for signature by the governor.


If you are the manager, it is your job to make sure the team is performing at its best and to be the support for the team.

Five Tips to Help You Survive Working From Home During this Time of COVID-19


These are some strange and stressful times.  Not only are we dealing with a lot of change in our personal lives but also with our work schedules.  There’s been a whole lot of adjusting being done.  Some of us find ourselves back to an old way of working…. If you recall, I used to work from home full time a few years ago…. others of us have had to quickly become teachers to our children while at the same time holding down the fort at home and in the office.  A lot has been asked of all of us and it’s no surprise that some are feeling completely out of control.

I don’t have all the answers.  Although I sometimes think I do.  But, I do have some tips for those of you who are working from home.  Nope, not about how to be a teacher.  Let’s just say your kids are lucky I did not embark on that professional path.  But I think I can help those of you working from home for the first time to find a little sanity in all the chaos.

As paralegals we all know that project management and time management are two of the most important things we bring to the office.  Working from home is a combination of both.  You have got to me meticulous about your project management skills and you have to be a mamma bear over your schedule while also understanding that certain things are going to require you to be flexible.  Here are Five tips I’ve come up with during this time.

Meetings are going to increase

Your calendar is going to “explode” with meetings.  It’s probably slowed down a bit since you started working from home but you are still going to be on the phone or on video calls a bit more than you used to be when you were in the office.  Realize that while in the office there were those impromptu check-ins as you passed your attorney or one of your team members or managers in the hallway coming back from getting a cup of coffee.  Well, since that is no longer happening people feel that they have to touch base or check in more often on the phone.  This should have died down a bit since it’s been a few weeks now and most of us are getting used to the new reality.  Don’t get frustrated, make sure you are prepared for the calls and make your attorney or colleague feel comfortable that you are on top of the work.  One way to decrease the amount of check-ins is to be proactive and send updates as often as you can.  Once they are comfortable that you are on top of the work the calls should slow down.

Be Proactive About your Calendar

Related to the increase in meetings.  You are going to be more on top of your calendar.  People tend to schedule meetings according to what works for them and, if it works for them they don’t think twice about squeezing a call on your calendar when you were planning on going to grab your first cup of coffee.  They have no idea that you have been working since the early hours in the morning and you were so looking forward to that caffein jolt.  Anyway, the solution to this is to make sure you take a look at your calendar the night before and schedule blocks of time for focused work and don’t forget to schedule a few shorter times for a cup of coffee or, I even block time for lunch.  This is super important.  Especially for those of us who have team members in other time zones.  Most of the time we are not thinking about difference in time and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone without lunch when someone in a different time zone schedules a meeting on my calendar.  So, take the time to block “me” time on your calendar and protect that time as if it was a meeting with someone else.

Set Boundaries

This one is just as much for the office as it is for the people you share your home with.   At home, make sure everyone understands that you need to focus when you are at work and that unless the house is on fire or there is some other emergency you are not to be interrupted.  It is cute, sometimes, when a child walks into the view of a Zoom call but if it keeps happening it quickly becomes old and it makes the other people lose track of what they are saying causing the meeting to run longer and longer.  On the work front, make sure everyone knows that you have work-hours.  Just because you are not at the office does not mean that you are available all day and all night.  Of course, there are going to be those occasions when you will need to work a bit longer than normal but that should be the exception to the rule.  Working from home should not be any different than working from the office.

Stop Feeling Guilty

This one is almost the same as the “setting boundaries” above but I think it needs to be said.  We often feel guilty about being home and feel as if we are home already so there is really not reason why we can’t do that one other thing.  When those feelings come up check yourself and ask “Have I really given my 100% today?”  Maybe there’s something there.  Maybe you really didn’t.  If that’s the case perhaps that day you can work a little longer.  But most of the time we are probably feeling that others may be wondering if we actually did what we were supposed to be doing all day and our way of making sure they know we are working hard is to work all day and all night.  This is a sure way to burnout.  So….. I think a good way of dealing with those guilty feelings is to send a memo to your manager or to your attorney once a week with a report on what you have done.  Or take the opportunity to schedule a 1:1 with our attorney or manager and let them know what you are working on and manage expectation (both yours and theirs)

Be Flexible and Compassionate

We are all going through our own stresses and you don’t know what someone is going through unless you are walking in their shoes.  And since we are not walking in anyone else’s shoes we need to take a deep breath and realize that emergencies are going to come up.  This one is addressed more at managers but it can be applicable to anyone.  Sometimes an employee or a team member is not going to be able to focus for one reason or another.  Make sure you are there to help and understand.  As a manger, my job is to make sure we are all rowing the boat in the same direction and we are all healthy and able to keep the boat stable and moving in the right direction.  I have learned that there are times when one member is not able to row as fast as others so it’s my job to align the work accordingly even if that means I will take on a bit more of the load (that’s why they pay me the big bucks right?)…. Right.

I hope this was helpful.  Let me know if you have questions and please feel free to give me some of your tips that you’re using while working from home.

I hope you are all staying healthy and safe.  See you all very soon.



That One Time at the Holiday Party

It’s that time of the year again.  Yep, you know the one, the office holiday party time.  We all now it all too well.

On the way back home from my office holiday party, as I sat on the train with the battery on my iPhone at 18% I decided that perhaps listening to a book or music or a podcast would not be a good idea.  Considering my charger was also depleted of charge.  I took the time instead to close my eyes and just think or maybe nap.  In front of me sat a young woman and next to her a man of, I would guess around her age.  The man started a conversation with the young woman and at the first “hello” I knew that I would probably not be getting that nap after all.  The conversation was harmless but it was definitely a topic that caught my attention.  I couldn’t tell if they knew each other and I couldn’t see their faces but soon I would get to know both of them a little better than I had expected.

Turns out the two of them were coming from their respective holiday parties. He, a small company in Jersey City, New Jersey and she from a large company located in the heart of Manhattan.  After the proper hello’s the man announced that he was coming from his holiday party and had a few too many too drink and was feeling buzzed.  She chuckled and announced that she, too, was coming from her holiday party but that this year corporate had decided to make the holiday event a dry event.  Apparently there had been a few “incidents” when people had a bit too much to drink and considering all  news lately corporate decided that it would be best to not have alcohol available.  If you ask me, it’s good news.  Sad, but a necessary step these days.

At some point they both got off he train and I was left with my thoughts.  So what are my thoughts?  Well, we are all adults.  At least in chronological years.  There should be no reason for someone to tell us what we can and can’t do but it appears that for some reason not all of us are able to behave like adults which causes the need to have others decide for all of us what is appropriate.  In other words, treat us like children.  When you go to a holiday party hosted by your employer you must behave professionally.  The fact that the party looks like fun and there are tons of people moving around, laughing, wearing funny sweaters or glittery outfits should not distract you.  Remember that you are in a fishbowl and management is looking at you.  You must be able to show them that you can act appropriately in all circumstances.  If you are looking to be promoted, even more so.  You must demonstrate that you are up to the task and you are a good representative for the firm.

I understand that some may need some help feeling relaxed in order to deal with the stress of networking — I confess that walking around talking to “strangers” and feeling judged is not my cup of tea (conversation for a different time).  Some times a glass of wine may help make me a bit more relaxed and able to approach the boss.  However, one glass is different from many glasses and for the love of whatever you consider holy, please eat something.  Being a little uncomfortable is not such a bad thing all the time.  If you don’t think you can stop at one glass, please do not go near the bar or if you must go, order a soda or a water.  I find that having something in my hands helps me feel more a part of the event.  You’d be surprised how even if just holding a glass of club soda or water will help you feel more at ease.  It gives you something to do with your hands while you’re planning your networking strategy (also a topic for a later discussion).  It’s also a good excuse when you need to get away from some boring conversation….. “excuse me, I must get a refill.”

Keeping in mind that some careers are made and some are broken at holiday parties.  I’ve seen a few instances where this is true.  Don’t be the one they’re talking about the next day unless it’s going to be a good kind of talk.  Keep your professional persona intact and enjoy the party.

Thank you all for reading and following my blog


Finally Here

It’s been a very very very long time since I have posted here.  I am pretty sure it was something I did but for over a year I was not able to find the blog.  I’m not sure what I did but I most likely clicked when I should have kept myself from clicking ….. the blog went missing.  I kept seeing your comments and your questions but I was not able to interact.  I’m so sorry.

Again…. not sure what I did today but here I am.  I have regained access to the blog and I am ready to go.

So……… without dwelling in the past and trying to figure out what happened, I want to concentrate on the future and figure out where to go from here.  I know I want to post more about what it is that we, as paralegals do.  I want to help you navigate the career development maze and help you learn from my mistakes so that hopefully it won’t take you as long as it has taken me to get ahead.  Most of all, I want to work with you and be here for you.  Please continue to send me your emails and your thoughts and your requests.  I am sincerely happy to be back and I can’t wait to have a cup of coffee and a chat.


Paralegals are your greatest asset

Ok, so this is just my humble opinion but it’s based on facts which as a paralegal, I am trained to do.  So what are the fact?  Why are paralegals your greatest asset?

What are the facts?

Fact – Paralegals cannot represent clients in court.  Yes, that is true.  We cannot go to court with the client and represent them by ourselves, that is.  I have been to plenty of courts with my attorneys and sat right next to them through the entire proceeding.  We can and do assist during a trial by providing research on the spot and since most of the time we know the file inside and out we can pull out discovery while the attorney is on his feet and make his/her life easier by having all the documents marked and ready for review by the witness.  Makes the attorney’s life so much easier.  At least that’s what I’m told.  Another fact, we do all this at a lesser cost than a first year associate.  That is welcomed news for the client.  Imagine, having a helping hand in court who is knowledgeable about court proceedings and the file for half the cost, most of the time.  Trained properly a paralegal can provide more help than a first year associate when she/he sits next to the attorney in court.

Myth – Paralegals can be more costly because I’ll still have to use a lawyer to sign the paperwork prepared by the paralegal – You’re right, an attorney has to supervise the activities of the paralegal.  However, the paralegal prepares the documents.  I’ve prepared complaints, answers to complaints, requests for productions, motions of all kinds, trial notices, subpoenas, briefs……you name it, I’ve prepared it.  Some of this documents can take hours and sometimes days to prepare and are billed out at a paralegal rate…. again, half of what the first year associate’s rate.  The attorney will then take an hour to review and sign and the rest is history.  The paralegal prepares the cover letter, makes the copies files the documents away and all this has taken an hour of the attorney time.  Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of other things the attorney can busy himself/herself with.  Paralegals are never going to take the place of the lawyer and we don’t want to, let’s just be clear here.  Most of us do not …. let me repeat that…. DO NOT want to be attorneys.  We are perfectly happy being paralegals.  Can you imagine getting to the end of the month and sending your client a bill for half of what it would have cost him if you didn’t have a paralegal working on the file?  Yeah, I’ll give you a little bit of time to think about that. Let me illustrate:

Bill to client for an initial meeting and filing a complaint in Superior Court in New Jersey:

Lawyer only bill $600 per hour:

Phone call  or meeting with client 1 hour billed at $600

Draft Complaint 3 hours $600 X 3 = $1,800

Cost for filing the complaint $200

Grand total = $2,600


Lawyer with one paralegal, lawyer billed at $600 and paralegal billed at $300

Phone call or meeting with client for initial intake 1 hour Paralegal Time – $300

Draft Complaint 4 hours (let’s say it takes the paralegal longer) $1,200

Attorney review and sign complaint 30 minutes $300

Cost for filing the complaint $200.00

Grand Total = $2,000

So, as you can see you have saved your client $600 and in the process you, the lawyer, have been able to do something else while your paralegal is taking care of the work in the office.  Instead of spending 5 or 6 hours handling this case, it has taken you only 30 minutes to review the complaint, give your paralegal instructions for filing the complaint and the client has saved $600, which to me looks like a happy ending.

Fact – Training paralegals is less expensive in the long run than training lawyers how so, you may be asking.  Well, it’s normal for a first year associate to be looking to make partner at some point.  What does this mean?  it means that the associate eventually will be making almost as much per hour as you are billing him/her out.  Adding partners to your practice can be costly and if you decide that you are not going to make them partner they will go and find that partnership somewhere else.  This means that you have spent time and resources training that first year associate only to watch him/her leave your firm and go somewhere else with the knowledge you have given them.  Paralegals?  We don’t want to be partners.  It’s a fact that most of us stay at our jobs longer than attorneys do.  As long as the work is challenging and we are treated well we will stay and continue to provide you with 100% of our dedication.  The longer we stay and the more time you invest in us the better we become and those 4 hours that it took us to draft that complaint up there…. eventually it will only take us 2 or 3 hours.  We are resourceful and our goal is to make you look good.  Training a paralegal to be the best she can be can only benefit you.  We also develop great relationships with your/our clients.  If you notice, we are the ones on the phone with them most often, more often than not we get to know their families, medical histories and we become the first people they call when they feel they need a lawyer.  It costs them less money to speak with us so why not? So what’s a client going to do when they need a lawyer?  They are going to call someone they know and trust and most of the time it’s your paralegal whom they have gotten to know and trust.

So, have I given you enough reasons to hire a paralegal or more in your practice?  I can tell you that you should have one or two paralegals per lawyer in your office and if you do that you would come out on top. A well set up paralegal department, even if it’s only two paralegal with a well organized and divided work load can be the….. actually will be the greatest investment you can make today in your firm and set yourself up for the future.  Don’t take my word for it…… work out the figures yourself or if you prefer, contact me for more information.








RedactIt Software

Last month I received an email from, Jessica, a representative of Burk & Company LLC, asking me if I would do a review of a software application called RedactIt.  At the time I was getting ready to go on vacation so I asked that she contact me after vacation and I would look into it.  As promised, Jessica emailed me when I got back and we scheduled a meeting with a representative of RedactIt.  The meeting took place over another application called GoToMeeting, and because I work a full-time job and cannot be available during the day while I’m at work (I don’t think the boss would appreciate it) we scheduled it for Good Friday.  I know, I know, not very christian of me.  But one’s gotta do what one’s gotta do.

I want to thank all that were present at the meeting for taking the time on a holiday weekend to walk me through the application, which I have to say; looks amazing.

For about one hour I was able to see and experience a small sample of what the software is capable of and came away not regretting my decision to agree to do the review.  So why have I not done a review yet?  I still have not had the time to download the application onto my computer.  I am hoping to do that this weekend and then test it for 15 days.  Jessica did mention that if I needed more time I could just call and they would allow me more time on my trial period.  I intend on taking full advantage of the application and provide you with a thorough review of it. Just give me a few weeks.

My initial thoughts?  Well, during the meeting I was advised that the software is not Mac compatible and although I can download Parallels on my Mac, I do not want to go that route.  In this house we are Mac people and the only PC I currently own is a notepad that I absolutely hate.  I stressed that this is a very important upgrade for me and if it is important to me, some of my readers may feel the same way.  Despite this Mac compatibility problem my first impression of the application is good and I am looking forward to testing it on my own.

So, what’s been going on?

It feels like forever since I’ve been here.  There has been so much going on which should not be an excuse but…. since this is my blog I’ll make it an excuse just so I can feel better about not being here :).

I want to thank all of you who have stuck around waiting for the next post and I promise that this time it will be coming very shortly.  I’m working on doing some software reviews and will be doing some reviews of Apps on the iPad.  I may even review some fun apps just because I can.

Seriously, though.  I have been really busy at the office and even though I probably could have found the time to post here, I have to admit that I am so tired by the time I get home that I am not able to think of anything to talk to you about.  We have had a few paralegals leave to pursue other opportunities and for a while there we were trying to hire as well as keep up with the influx of work.  It looks like we’re ok now and my head is finally above water.

It has been a really busy couple of months in the financial industry.  1) a lot of the laws that were passed due to the financial “fiasco” have come to fruition this year, so we are being bombarded with regulations and audits; 2) Because the economy is bound to get better (keeping my fingers crossed) we are positioning ourselves to take advantage of the upturn as soon as it happens and this leads me to why the past 4 months have been feeling like I was run over by a Mac Truck.

An opportunity presented itself for me to take on a new type of work.  Currently, along with being the paralegal supervisor and the lead paralegal on all regulatory matters I have also developed a new role as a corporate and foreign registration compliance paralegal.  The position never existed at the firm and I have been lucky enough to make it into what I want.  Although I’m having a really good time with it and learning a lot, I am exhausted by the time I get home.  There are a lot of things to learn and plans to put into practice.  I am hoping to be able to write a couple of posts about it but still don’t know exactly how to do that.

Anyway, I just really wanted to say hello to all of you and thank you for sticking around.  Please feel free to come by and kick my tired butt so I get on here, Facebook and Twitter more often.  After all, I really do enjoy talking to you all and should make the time to do it.

For now, I’m going to have some dinner and I will try to work on a post for next time.


Add a paralegal to your team


The trial notice just arrived.  You found it on your desk along with a whole lot of other notices you can’t even begin to think about until you finish your first cup of coffee. Ok, go on, finish your cup of coffee but you have to promise me that you will come back here. You can’t afford not to. I have an idea… No, a solution to keep you organized and on track.

Well, welcome back. Now that you’re more awake let’s discuss what your paralegal can do for you. What? You haven’t hired a paralegal?  Well that’s the first order of business. Your business is growing and you cannot be the only one handling everything. Hiring a paralegal does not mean you’re going to lose control of your practice. Hiring a paralegal is going to give you more control of your practice.  Let me explain how.

That notice or notices which are currently staring you in the face? They all need to be entered on your calendar. Yes, I know your secretary did that. I see it, it’s there.  The trial starts in 3 months. That’s not much time. Surely during life of the case you have taken depositions, collected medical records, interviewed witnesses, propounded and responded to interrogatories and, I’m sure there were a fees motions in between. All of these are now in the file or would I be more correct if I said FILES. Chances are that the file has grown into a drawer or two of a whole lot of stuff which was compiled with this end in sight.

In the next three months you will have to review all those files and put them in some type of order so you can represent your client as only you can. All those depositions you took?  Yeah, the ones that the court reporters send to you all bound and pretty?  They need to be reviewed and indexed and, a good paralegal can even summarize them for you and highlight the most important parts. That way all you need to do is turn to the page indicated and know what to concentrate on at trial or during trial prep.

Ohh and that’s not all. What about all the things that have to be done prior to the trial starting?  Prep the witnesses, meet with experts, serve your witness list on the adversaries, prep the client and keep the client calm. All these things take time. All these are things that paralegals have been trained to handle and can take away from your plate so you can concentrate on facts, strategy, being the best litigator you can be and wow everyone in court just like you always dreamed of in law school.

Best of all? You don’t even have to have the paralegal in your office. Have you heard of virtual paralegals? No? Hmm well … Call me, we can talk.

Associate or Paralegal

when you graduated law school and hung that proverbial shingle outside of your small office you hoped against all hopes that one day you would find yourself in the situation you are in today. There was a very small chance that your practice would grow so much that you had to face the decision of hiring some help.

Yes, you have a secretary. She’s great. You really lucked out when you hired her. You have a great relationship with her. You hear the horror stories about some secretaries and thank your lucky starts that yours is professional and always willing to help. However, there are things that she just can’t do. Not because she’s not intelligent enough to do them but that’s not what’ she’s been trained to do. Draft motions, review discovery, research and write memos, all the things you did before this huge client hired you to represent him. You really hit the jack-pot this time. You have arrived.

You need to find someone to do all those things. Otherwise you will be in the office 24 hours a day with no hope of ever seeing day light again and, worst of all, not being able to drum up business and keep the momentum going. There are business meetings to attend, conferences to prepare for and travel to and … horror of horrors, there’s that trial starting in a few weeks that may take a month or more in court. What will you do then? How will you work on your other cases? You have, after all, more than one client. Shhhhh don’t tell that one client. He/she doesn’t know that yet.

So now you have two choices. You can hire a first year associate and bill him/her out at $300. The clients will think it’s a bargain. After all, it’s less than what they are currently paying you. Sounds good doesn’t it? You’ll have to hire someone right out of school because you can’t pay them that much and after all, you’re running a business and the goal is to have more money coming in the door with both of you billing. Or you can hire a paralegal. You can’t bill her as high as you would a first year associate and you will have to supervise her work and still spend some time at the office. However, you can hire an experienced paralegal because paralegals make less than attorneys and with your budget you can pay a pretty competitive rate. You can then bill her out at $200, and all you have to do is review her work and supervise her activities in the office and with the rest of your time you can drum up more business.

Recently, while you were sitting in court you heard someone talk about the paralegals in their office. Even the guy down the street has one first year associate and two paralegals working for him. He seems to be doing well and his practice seems to be growing at a much faster pace than you. He also seems to have more time to go to seminars and meet with clients. You’ve always wondered how he did that.

Paralegals That’s how he did that.

Let me put into perspective for you. Let’s compare what you can do in both scenarios.

Remember when you first graduated law school? How many motions had you filed? Did you know how to navigate the court system? What clerks to call? Response schedules? Filing dates? You know, all the procedural stuff that you learned while working at that other law firm for the first two years of your career? Yeah, that’s what you’re going to get when you hire a first year associate. You will have to fully train that person. When you hire an experienced paralegal you don’t have to spend your time doing that. The paralegal already knows how to navigate the system, which motion to file when, what documents to sent with which motion, how to e-file and even, at times, which clerks are easier to work with.

Has your choice become easier now? How about this? The paralegal can prepare all the pleadings you need, reach out to clients and interview witnesses, draft your memos, organize your medical files, have all your discovery ready and organize before you come back from court at the end of the day. The beauty of that is that you will be paying this individual, with experience, probably half of what that first year associate would be asking.

Don’t get me wrong. I think that eventually you will and should hire that first year associate. Next year you can hire the associate and the paralegal can train him/her and the office will never miss a step.

Now, to develop a program where a paralegal can thrive? That’ll be my next post. Stay tuned.

Here to help you

I love to write and at times writing for the sake of writing can be very therapeutic to me.  I get to put all my feelings and at times frustrations on paper and for some reason after all is said and done I feel better about whatever the issue may have been at the beginning of the post.  Sometimes, as I write I come up with a solution to whatever the problem was.  This is all good but it’s all about me.

The problem now is this:  When I set out to create the blog I was not interested in it being about me.  My main focus was you, the paralegal who may be just starting out and trying to figure our her/his way around the office. The paralegal who has been in the business for a while but wants a new perspective or a new solution to some everyday issue.  The attorney who may be interested in developing a paralegal program or, the attorney who may be hiring a paralegal for the first time.  I need to get back to the original idea.  This blog is here to help you and in the process to help me.

From time to time I will be putting up a few polls to help me figure out where the needs are.  I will be asking you to please interact more with me on this blog on Twitter my Facebook page.  I’d love to hear from all of you.  If I promise to always respond, will you promise to stay in touch?

Stay tuned for the first poll dedicated to the paralegals…. Don’t worry lawyers, yours is coming soon too.  I would never forget you.

Thank you so much for taking the time.