Transcript of "Paralegal Rainmakers Digest Oct 2012"
Paralegal Rainmakers Digest Monthly Newsletter of Paralegal Rainmakers October 2012 Volume 1 Issue 2 Domestic Violence Issue Job Security Games P.1 Why She Stays P.2 Paralegal Education P.3 Upcoming Events P.4 DOMESTIC VIOLENCE NEWS Domestic Violence Law Applies to Rooming House Borders Governor Proclaims October Domes- tic Violence Awareness Month in Delaware Women killed by ex-boyfriend whileJob Security Games: Unweaving the Web at workDoes your firm or organization lack a streamlined process for managing cases or is everyparalegal left to their own to create a system that works best for them? This may seem to be ainconsequential issue but lets explore it and dissect how this practice of not having a synchro-nized system in place can hinder you from working as efficiently as possible and cause other PARALEGAL NEWS & STORIESserious issues. Lets say that you work for a firm that gives the paralegals the latitude to createtheir own organizational system as long as deadlines are met and billable hours are on target. Paralegal Rainmakers Membership &So you have your own tickler case management system set up that works for you and the oth- Social Networking Community Teamer paralegals have their own tickler case management system that works for them. This Managersseems to be working fairly well from the standpoint of meeting deadlines and meeting billable Litigation Support Today:hour requirements. Until one day one of the other paralegals is sick so you have to take over 3rd Annual Salary Surveytheir caseload. You both have the same skill level so you feel pretty confident that you can Paralegal Blows Whistle on Ex-Bossstep in and take care of the pressing matters before they return to the office. This confidence Combating the “Hire an Out-of-Worksoon fades into pure confusion when you open up your co-workers computer and see a color Attorney Trend”coded array of tasks and calendar items with at least 50 folders with no clear organizationalsystem. And it doesn’t stop there. You then go on to open the desk to find the same rainbowdisplay with the physical files. You have no choice but to read through each physical and elec-tronic folder until you determine how this Rainbow Brite system works (Cont’d on page 3).
Domestic Violence Resources & Fact Sheets National Domestic Violence Facts Domestic Violence, Reproductive Health & Pregnancy Unemployment Benefits for Domes- tic & Sexual Violence Survivors Employment Rights for Victims of Domestic Violence and Sexual Vio-Why She Stays: Dispelling the Myths lence Domestic & Sexual Violence Work-When stories of abuse are told the first re- place Policiessponse is usually why doesn’t she just leave How to Help a Friendor why doesn’t she go to the police and gethelp or file a restraining order. On the sur-face this seems like a simple solution to International Trade inwhat seems to be an easily solvable prob- Abused Wiveslem, but when taken in light of statistics thissurface level solution must be analyzed from Currently the market for mail order brides goes almost unregulated froma more pragmatic and multi-faceted ap- the standpoint of protecting theproach. Studies show that victims increase women who are “purchased” andtheir risk of being killed by the abuser by imported as brides into this country.over 70% when they leave an abusive part- This environment is ripe for thener, are compromised of immigrants who abuse of women that come mostlyfear being deported if they contact police, from poor and underdevelopedand that a large portion of homicides perpe- countries. Without reconciling thetrated against women occurred after the recent changes to the Violence Against Women Act and thewomen ended the relationship with an abu- Immigration Marriage Fraud Actsive partner. Well meaning friends, family, these women will continue to sufferand ill informed individuals may unknowing- in silence. Learn More about IMFAly expose a victim to a great deal of dangerand harm when suggesting that she “justleave” without taking into considerationthese factors. Violence Against Women ActDomestic violence is a serious and compli-cated issue that should not be addressed Domestic Violence Victims Invisible Under the Current Lawwithout the assistance of a lawyer who canadvice the victim of their rights and protec- 1. Current laws in some states exclude protecting victims of same sex relationshipstions from an abusive partner. There are (Delaware, South Carolina, and Montana have specific language excluding sameseveral organizations that provide free legal, sex relationships in Domestic Violence Laws)financial, and counseling assistance to vic- 2. Although, over 50% of Native women are in relationships with non-native mentims and should be referred to when there partners can not be prosecuted. Even if the abuse occurred on native landattempting to assist a friend or family mem- non-natives can not be prosecuted due to a 1976 Supreme court ruling that doesber that is looking for help to leave an abu- not allow non-natives to be prosecuted by natives.sive relationship. 3. Immigrant women experience domestic abuse at a higher rate than other women in this country, but lack the legal protections to safely leave the relationship.
Competing with Attorney-ParalegalsLeveling the playing field with higher educationRecently there have been numerous stories A paralegal is not being utilized for their ad-and discussions about attorneys taking jobs ministrative abilities but are being used toas paralegals in order to land jobs in law reduce the cost to a firm. The lower cost isfirms. Some have attributed this trend to the advantage of using a paralegal instead ofthe economy and others have cited it to an attorney. This advantage diminishes Paralegal Rainmakers Spotlightattorneys that have been disbarred looking when attorneys are taking jobs as paralegals Trina N. Brownfor ways to remain in the legal field. Alt- and allowing a firm to bill their expertise ashough, most paralegals do not see this new an attorney at the rate of a paralegal. With This month’s Paralegal Rainmaker Trina N. Brown works in the areastrend as a threat to their ability to land jobs this view in mind paralegals may want to of corporate/transactional law andor advance in their careers it is a trend that rethink the notion that attorney-paralegals contracts litigation within the oilshould not be so easily dismissed. Paralegals do not pose a threat to their careers and and gas field.may want to consider what the ramifications look for ways to place themselves on the She has studied legal proceduresof this new trend can mean to the current same playing field as their attorney-paralegal since 1993 and has practiced as aparalegal role. counterparts by adding education and/or Paralegal since 1996. Her back- ground includes (but is not limited paralegal credentials to their experience.Unlike attorneys who must go through ex- to) corporate law/litigation, corpo- rate governance, contract law/tensive training and licensing to practice law Job Security Games litigation, labor and employment,a person can become a paralegal simply by insurance defense and mass toxic (Cont’d from page 1)working for a firm that bestows the parale- tort litigation. In order, to decipher the color coded systemgal title upon them. This title can be earned She received a Legal Studies Certifi- to locate any pressing matters you work anwith no prior education and with little or no cate in 1993 from Liberty Academy additional 30 hours that week, where half of Business; a Paralegal Certificateexperience. From an employers standpoint your time was spent trying to figure out the in 1997 from ACTAS; a Bachelor’sif they can hire a person with the expertise system your co-worker had in place. Degree in 2004 from Immaculataand knowledge that has been gained University (with high honors) and isthrough a rigorous law school program and a This is not an unfamiliar situation. It hap- currently working towards a Mas-person that has experience with no educa- ter’s Degree in Paralegal Studies pens in a lot of offices when an employee is from George Washington Universi-tion or education but no experience the em- out for an illness or leaves the company ty.ployer may see the attorney-paralegal as a voluntarily or involuntarily and the other She was commissioned as an Amer-better investment. Now it can be argued staff members are left to manage their work- ican Alliance Certified Paralegal thiswhether an attorney trained paralegal has load. Creating some sense of job security is year and is a member of the Statethe necessary skills needed to successfully oftentimes the reason why some employees Bar of Texas’ Paralegal Division andwork as a paralegal but in essence the only an Associate Member of the Amer- create systems that only they can under- ican Bar Association.real difference between what a paralegal stand, but this is not a business practice thatthat is being used to their fullest capacity She is very active within the Parale- should be mimicked. It can lead to sanc- gal profession and has acceptedand an attorney is that the attorney can pro- tions, complaints, and other issues when various Board appointments andvide advice to clients, set fees, and appear in appointments, hearings, and deadlines are chair positions throughout the Dal-court on their clients behalf. As far as the not met if you’re out of the office due to an las Forth Worth Metroplex area.other functions like managing caseloads, illness or other unforeseen issue. Instead of In addition to all of her other ac-typing documents, and calendaring hearings creating complex systems that no one can complishments she was sworn in asthese are all administrative tasks that can be a Tarrant County Court Appointed understand the best job security is being Special Advocate in 2010 and cur-easily learned by reading articles on the sys- knowledgeable about your job and allowing rently volunteers with the Nationaltems website and referring to how to manu- your employer to see the contributions you Ovarian Cancer Coalition.als and guides. make to the organization or firm.
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