May 2011 – virtual paralegal newsletter magazine™


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The virtual paralegal newsletter magazine™ is the industry leading information resource for virtual paralegals and assistants to stay current on the latest news, regulations, technology and new development in the virtual law practice.

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May 2011 – virtual paralegal newsletter magazine™

  1. 1. [Not Actual Cover Page – Just didn’t want a blank page☺]
  2. 2. Virtual Paralegal Newsletter Magazine™ A Letter from our EditorHello and welcome to the Virtual Paralegal TrainingCenter™. My name is Cordina Charvis and I am thePresident of this organization where our goal is to trainparalegals and legal assistants on how to use their skillsand experiences to become entrepreneurs. Cordina Charvis, EditorFirst, let me take a moment to say thank you to our members and subscribers for your continued support. It has givenus the motivation to challenge ourselves to meet our promise to you which is to provide you with the best training andresources to help you start and grow your businesses.We believe that the best way to accomplish this is to get our members and subscribers involved; after all you are ourreaders. In this issue you will notice that we have created several new columns and features that we hope will be ofinterest to you.Our goal is to bring more exposure and recognition to the virtual paralegal-assistant business and to connect ourmembers and subscribers with attorneys and small businesses who are interested in hiring and working with virtualparalegals and assistants.I hope you will enjoy reading this issue as much as we enjoyed putting it together.Please feel free to email us your suggestions and feedbacks on how to make the newsletter magazine better andmost importantly, we need your contribution.Thank you again for your support. If you need to reach me please email me at Sincerely, Cordina Charvis Editor at Large 1
  3. 3. Virtual Paralegal Newsletter Magazine™Volume 13, 05/04/11 In This Issue Contributors: Interview with a Virtual Paralegal – William William Burley, Managing Member – Burley- Burley Wilson & Associates Branding your virtual paralegal-assistant business? Gloria McCallum, Litigation Paralegal Steps to take before your Skype interview Contractor Virtual Paralegal Profile – Gloria McCallum, Freelancer Union Litigation Paralegal Contractor National Notary Association What type of software is necessary for your practice areas? Virtual Paralegal Training Center™ 8 Reasons why most virtual paralegal- assistant businesses failed Virtual Paralegal Blog Posts Legal News: Freelancer Payment Protection Act Legal Elites Events: Annual National Notary Association Conference Today’s quote Ask VirtPara Welcome to VPTC new members Virtual paralegal and assistant resources Virtual paralegal and assistant networking Connect with virtual paralegal clients Promotions Writers/bloggers wanted 2
  4. 4. Virtual Paralegal Newsletter Magazine™Our Sponsors Evolution Parajuristes™ The Evolution of Paralegal Services™ For many years, Evolution Parajuristes™ ("EP") has been providing expert paralegal assistance with an experienced team of specialized paralegals that have held positions at top law firms and in-house legal departments for more than 10 years. We are known in the legal community for our reliability, skills, experience and professionalism; most importantly, EP understands the importance of confidentiality in your business. Follow us on Twitter - EvolutionPara Virtual Paralegal Client Services™ Virtual Paralegal Client Services™ (“VPCS”) was created for attorneys and business owners who would like to learn more about the benefits and savings of working with virtual paralegals and assistants in their legal practice. VPCS understands that our clients are looking for experienced, highly skilled virtual paralegals and assistants who are reliable, professional and most importantly they understand the importance of confidentiality in the legal business. Post your Job Assignments If you are interested in listing a job opportunity with us, please click here or email us at to complete our request form. We will post your listing on our job board and interested candidates will contact you directly. Follow us on Twitter - VirtLawyer 3
  5. 5. Virtual Paralegal Newsletter Magazine™ Interviewing your Virtual Paralegal featuring William BurleyName: William BurleyBusiness Name: Burley-Wilson & Associate’s, L.L.C.Website: www.burley-wilson.comPractice Areas: Personal Injury, Labor and Employment,Estate Planning, Family, Social Security Disability and CivilLitigation.Contact Information:(713) 551-8689 | “Clients may either have Microsoft Confidentiality Agreement and How long have you been a Office software products, Privacy Policy Statement.” paralegal and how long have WordPerfect, a fax machine or you been offering your services How do you communicate with simply an e-mail address to work virtually? your clients? with Burley-Wilson.” “I have been a paralegal for more “Typically, we communicate with How do you handle than eleven years and have been our clients in a variety of ways, confidentiality and conflict of offering those services virtually for including e-mail, telephone, interest? approximately a year.” regular mail or facsimile. E-mail “Confidentiality and conflicts of has proven to be the most popular How do you avoid unauthorized interest are two other areas of form of communication.” practice of law? great focus. First, each client is “The unauthorized practice of law What type of tasks should your made aware if there is a potential is a very serious topic here at clients delegate to you? conflicts concern. We will send a Burley-Wilson. We avoid this by letter to the last known address to “Clients may assign tasks such as keeping an open line of a former client that the conflict drafting pleadings and discovery, communication between the may affect. We await permission client interviewing, scheduling of company and our clients. We to begin work on the new matter. depositions and hearings, always get final approval from Confidentiality is taken very electronic file management attorneys who hire us before filing seriously at Burley-Wilson. Each maintenance work and any other anything with the courts or client receives a Confidentiality job they would like to delegate agencies.” Agreement that discusses our that will allow them to actually working relationship. Each virtual practice law.” What type of software and paralegal that contracts with us equipment do your clients need must sign a in order to work with you? 4
  6. 6. Virtual Paralegal Newsletter Magazine™ Branding your virtual paralegal-assistant business By Cordina A. Charvis Confidentiality – As virtualBranding is a form of creating a paralegal-assistants you mustreputation for your business. It understand the importance ofdepends heavily on the way you confidentiality in the legaloperate your business as well as business. Your clients will needthe way your clients view you as Price – The way you price your to know what systems ora business owner. Your branding services will be a determining methods you have in place toshould include the following: factor on who will use your protect their clients’ sensitive services. If your prices are very information.Mission Statement – What is low your business may be knownyour commitment to your as the cheap virtual paralegal- Reliability – Without reliability,business? What should your assistant, if your prices are too you do not have a businessclients expects from you? high you may be viewed as especially with the advancementVision Statement – Where do overpriced unless your services of technology. Meeting deadlinesyou see your business in the can justify your prices. Your and giving your clients frequentnext ten years? What will be your business need to find its right status reports must always bebusiness legacy? pricing model to be known more your priority. as a reasonable or fair pricedSlogan – Your slogan should Professionalism – virtual paralegal-assistant withdescribe your business in five Professionalism is the way you the right skills and experiences.words or less. It is like a jingle. treat your clients. It is a Customer Service - Great combination of your customerLogo – Your logo should help service, your work product, how customer service is essential foryou stand out among your you handle confidentiality, the success of any business.competitors. It is often used in reliability and the way you You have to find a way to makeplace of your business’ name. present your business to your each client feel like they are your only client and not just a number clients and the public.Work Quality -The quality ofyour work is very important when or an afterthought. What branding methods havebranding your business. Your you used to create a reputationwork product will speak louder for your virtual paralegal-than you when selling your assistant business?services to your clients. 5
  7. 7. Virtual Paralegal Newsletter Magazine™ Steps to take before your Skype interview By Cordina A. Charvis Skype interviews are similar to the traditional “in-office” interview with few exceptions and adjustments due to the advancement in technology. The rules of traditional interviews still apply including the following:• First you need to make sure your • Before the interview Skype subscription is valid for the begins, turn off all time the interview is scheduled. telephones that will not be in use for the• Read the instructions and ask the interview. necessary questions on how to set up the software before the interview. • Have a pen, note pad and a copy of your• Check all equipment such as resume with you for the camera and microphone to make • If you have children and pets make interview. sure they are working before the the necessary arrangements for interview. them to avoid interruptions. • Have a list of questions for your client and be• Experts suggest that you have good • Cancel all professional and personal ready to explain your lightening to eliminate shadows. visits during the time of your services and how you interview. operate your business.• Skype may ask you to set up a user name. You should create a • Dress professionally as you would • Make note of the professional user name for your for an interview in an office. names of the people business. Traditional conservative colors are who are interviewing highly recommended such as: black you and always• Create a professional space to and navy. Remember you will be address them by their conduct the interview. You will need judged on your appearance. names. to designate a space where there are no distractions such as a poster • Always be on time. of your favorite artist’s shirtless How do you prepare for your online hanging on the wall behind you. interviews? 6
  8. 8. Virtual Paralegal Newsletter Magazine™ Virtual Paralegal Profile Featuring Gloria McCallum Name: Gloria McCallum Practice areas: Civil LitigationBusiness name: Totally Talented Paralegal Services Mobile: 312-730-4515 | Phone/Fax: 888-501-7587 1. Why did you decide to 4. How do you market your launch a virtual paralegal- 2. How long did it take you to sign your first client? services? assistant business? “My first paralegal project came while I “I market my services through “I actually began my career as a was still pursuing my Associates Degree networking in the legal community, paralegal after making a career as a paralegal 1993. So for me it was responding to classified ads, change in 1993. My first immediate. To this day I continue to working with placement agencies paralegal job was as a secure work assignments and projects and promoting my website: contractor paralegal on a very through staffing agencies as well as large scale document market my services directly to http://totallytalentedparalegalservic production. At one point the attorneys.” I also use project staffed over 150 which is by far one of contractors including attorneys, the most powerful marketing and 3. What type of software would you paralegal, and copy business development tools on the recommend for your practice areas? clerks. From that initial project internet.” I was able to effectively network “I would for sure recommend the basics 5. What advice would you give to with many of the paralegals and including word processing, multi-function someone who is thinking about continued adding to my portfolio copier/scanner, timekeeping, and launching their own virtual of assignments. I preferred invoicing software. Depending on your paralegal-assistant business? having the control, variety of practice area you should then purchase tasks, and challenging work additional software to fit your tasks environments that contracting needs.” allowed. Working as a paralegal in Dallas where I began my career there was never a shortage of firms and corporate legal departments that needed quality paralegal support. So I discovered early in my career that if I provided a quality service the project assignments would come and they did.” 7
  9. 9. Virtual Paralegal Newsletter Magazine™ Virtual Paralegal Profile Featuring Gloria McCallum Biography“Today, due in great part to a shortageof hiring and layoffs at law firmsaround the country and at the same In her capacity as paralegal shetime schools are continually training has experience in drafting andand educating paralegals for a filing pleadings; correspondence;shrinking direct hire market, becoming scheduling, noticing, anda virtual paralegal is an alternative way summarizing depositions; clientto earning a living in this tough and witness interviews;economy. However, to survive as a preparation of discovery and Gloria McCallum, Civil Litigatorvirtual paralegal you must set yourself responses to discovery;apart from the rest of the pack by investigation; legal research; as Gloria J. McCallum is astaying educated on the latest legal well as detailed knowledge of the Litigation Paralegal who hastrends/technology, always providing a court system at both the state and been employed as a contracttop quality service, building a solid federal levels. paralegal for more than 15network, generating referrals based on years. Ms. McCallum has Ms. McCallum obtained a BSa strong reputation, and continually extensive knowledge of trial Degree in Broadcast Televisionmarketing your services.” management and has assisted Production, with a minor in6) Are you interested in hiring or in both law firm and corporate journalism, from the University ofpartnering with another virtual law departments during the pre- Nebraska. She obtained an AASparalegal or assistant? If so, how litigation and litigation phases. Degree in Paralegal Studies fromshould they contact you for more Ms. McCallum’s areas of legal Tarrant County College where sheinformation? expertise focuses on civil was awarded a spot on the Deans litigation including large case Lists for academic achievement.Not at this time. matter management, document She has been a past member of production management, the Dallas, Washington State, and document review, trial Illinois Paralegal Associations. preparation and overall attorney support. 8
  10. 10. Virtual Paralegal Newsletter Magazine™ What type of software is necessary for your practice areas? By Cordina A. Charvis be delegated to paralegals andThe type of software that is assistants under thenecessary in a virtual supervision of an attorney.paralegal- assistant practice Virtual Paralegal Client Blogwill depends heavily on theirgeneral practice areas. For The virtual paralegal client blogexample, I am a corporate discuss questions andvirtual paralegal and in order concerns attorneys may havefor me to complete my about hiring and working withassignments which are virtual paralegals andprimarily legal entity assistants. Topics may include Experienced virtual paralegal-management and company but are not limited to assistants often recommendformations/dissolutions; I do confidentiality, software, fees, that newbie’s hold off onnot use any specific marketing, conflict of interests, purchasing their practice areassoftware, instead I rely on and paralegal ethics among software at least until they haveservice companies such as other things. a contract client. Most clientsCSC or CT Advantage. will give the virtual paralegal- Virtual Paralegal Directory assistant access to their practice areas software as well VPTC provides a virtualHowever in general, most as research licenses such as paralegal directory wherevirtual paralegal-assistants Lexis and Westlaw. attorneys and business ownersuse Microsoft Office, Adobe may search free of charge toAcrobat and some form of What type of software is be connected with virtualbilling and time keeping necessary for your practice paralegals and assistants fromsoftware to help them areas? all practice areas throughoutoperate their businesses. Virtual Paralegal & Assistant the world.Other business operating Resourcessoftware may include task or Click here to become a member of ourproject management Virtual Paralegal and Assistant virtual paralegal directorysoftware and conflict of Tasks Click here to browse our virtualinterest database. paralegal directory Please click here for a list of approved tasks by accredited paralegal associations that may 9
  11. 11. Virtual Paralegal Newsletter Magazine™ 8 Reasons why most virtual paralegal-assistant businesses fail By Cordina A. Charvis 4. Personal use of business1. Lack of experience; it is funds. It is highly highly recommended that recommended that you open a you have worked as a separate account for your paralegal for 3 or more business to help you keep years before launching a track of your business virtual paralegal-assistant expenditure and to let you business. know whether or not your 7. Making it difficult for your2. Not having written contracts business is on good financial clients to find you. If your and agreements. Written ground. clients have to search for contracts and agreements you they will find it easier to are necessary to protect go to your competitors. you, your clients and your 5. Continuing to put money in an Include all your contact business. advertising method that hasn’t information on your worked for you. If you are3. Not pricing your products marketing materials using a marketing method that and services properly. You including your website and has not generated any sales should research the market email signature. or clients; stop using it. You to learn what others in your are only wasting your money. 8. Not marketing at all. If you industry are charging for do not market your business, similar services. Then you 6. Changing a marketing method how will anyone know about need to take into that has proved to be working your services? consideration your for you. If a marketing method expenses and break-even you are using is bringing in Are you making any of the mistakes point when pricing your business do not change it; mentioned in your virtual paralegal- services. instead consider investing assistant business? more in that method to help you increase your revenue. 10
  12. 12. Virtual Paralegal Newsletter Magazine™Today’s Quote: “We must reject the idea that every time a laws broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.” - Ronald Reagan Image Courtesy of National Notary Association Legal Elites Events Freelancer News Annual National Notary Association Conference The “Notary Event of the Year” offers educational and Freelancer Payment Protection Act industry specific workshops and an interactive learning lab to build your skills, grow your business, Republicans and Democrats have finally found manage your risk and protect your reputation; and something they can agree on: freelancers should provide you with the world’s largest arena for Notary always get paid. networking. In New York State, Republican State Senator Martin Golden and Democratic State Speaker Sheldon Silver just introduced the Freelancer Payment Protection Act. Freelancers Union needs your help to get this bill passed. Please contribute today to make sure the bill becomes a law? 11
  13. 13. Virtual Paralegal Newsletter Magazine™Virtual Paralegal Networking Blog Do you know the other virtual paralegal- assistants who work in your practice areas? What type of software is necessary for your practice areas? What surprised me the most about marketing my virtual paralegal-assistant business? What surprised you the most about working as a virtual paralegal-assistant? What are the benefits of starting a virtual paralegal-assistant business? Ask VirtPara How to use direct mailing to market your virtual paralegal-assistant business? Is it necessary to formerly incorporate your virtual Growing your virtual paralegal-assistant paralegal-assistant business? business Experts believe that if your company makes under Unauthorized Practice of Law (UPL) is the $100,000 you may consider a sole proprietorship, if it responsibility of the virtual paralegal and the attorney. makes under $200,000 a C corporation may be best to take advantage of the tax benefits and if your company Virtual paralegal-assistant job posting links brings in more than $200,000 per year you should consider The virtual paralegal-assistant accounting S Corporation or a limited liability company. system To learn the best business structure for your type of 8 Ways to create and develop your virtual business; you should consult with a tax attorney or advisor. paralegal-assistant business’ niche Do you have a question about the virtual paralegal- assistant business? Email VirtPara and let us discuss it. Follow VirtPara on Twitter 12
  14. 14. Virtual Paralegal Newsletter Magazine™ Virtual Paralegal & Assistant Networking Get listed in our virtual paralegal VPTC New Members directoryA special welcome to VPTC’s new members: Subscribe to our free online virtual Karen Abron paralegal newsletter magazine™ Karen Alridge Subscribe to our virtual paralegal Elisabeth Alvarez-Fager Joseph Brewster networking blog Donna Cruz Join the discussion on our virtual Eric Duncan paralegal networking forum Elena Etienne Charlotte Glennie Join our Virtual Paralegal Training Frank Glover Center™ group on Linked In Gennady Gorelik Renee Hamlett Follow us on Twitter – VirtPara Wanda Howell Like the Virtual Paralegal Training Regina Hudson Center™ on Face book David Kocher Tracey Kupferberg Get your copy – virtual paralegal Joanne Mauriello eBooks Sabrina Moss Kimberly O’Quinn Jennifer Penrose Lori Powell Shonda Robinson Tina Thelen Marvin Travick Tiffany Tucker George Weinert Avis White 13
  15. 15. Virtual Paralegal Newsletter Magazine™ The Ultimate Virtual Paralegal Guide – eBook Now only $8.99 – Click here for your copy Writers/bloggers wantedThe Virtual Paralegal Training Center™ is looking for volunteer contributors for our Virtual ParalegalNewsletter Magazine™ and blogs.Contributions may come in the form of blog posts, articles, interviews, tips and resources relevant to thevirtual paralegal-assistant business.We aggressively advertise our newsletter magazine using several forms of marketing methods to makesure it gets in front of legal professionals including but not limited to attorneys, paralegals, legalmanagers, assistants and legal educators. Read More 14
  16. 16. Virtual Paralegal Newsletter Magazine™ Volume 13, 5/4/11About - Virtual Paralegal Newsletter Magazine™The virtual paralegal newsletter magazine™ is the industry leading informationresource for virtual paralegals and assistants to stay current on the latest news,regulations, technology and new development in the virtual law practice. Free virtual paralegal directory Virtual paralegal survey Virtual paralegal-assistant e-Books Network with virtual paralegals and assistants Contact VPTC Connect with Virtual Paralegal Clients Subscribe to our virtual paralegal client blog Join our Virtual Paralegal Client Services group on Linked In Like the Virtual Paralegal Client Services on Face book Follow virtual paralegal clients on Twitter – VirtLawyer © Virtual Paralegal Training Center™ Virtual Paralegal Newsletter Magazine™ 15