Archive for » January, 2010 «

I am honored and pleased to announce that I am now a certified Paralegal through the American Alliance of Paralegals, Inc., “(AAPI”). I am not one to brag but I am so thrilled to finally have reached this milestone in my paralegal career!

AAPI was formed in 2003 by a group of paralegals who wanted to promote and improve the profession of paralegals; to advance the educational and literary standard of the paralegal profession; and to foster, encourage and disseminate information concerning the profession.

The American Alliance Mission Statement and Goals:

The goals and standards are to:
• Establish minimum educational criteria
• Adhere to ethical standards
• Provide networking opportunities
• Create a resource center
• Associate with national and local organizations

The American Association for Paralegal Education (“AAfPE”) has adopted a policy statement on short-term programs. AAPI agrees that short-term programs do a disservice to the paralegal profession and opposes any program that does not meet minimal standards as set forth by AAfPE (www.aafpe.org). AAPI strongly recommends quality paralegal education provided by formal institutions that are ABA approved or are in substantial compliance with the ABA guidelines. AAPI applauds and supports AAfPE for its statement regarding short-term programs.

AAPI has a strict Code of Ethics as well, which in reality are the standards that the Paralegals I know already adhere to.

As a Certified Paralegal with AAPI, I now can add “AACP” to my name. I have taken a little flack from my friends this week (you know who you are, lol) adding AACP to my letterhead, business cards, etc., but it has been well worth it. I promise I won’t let it go to my head and I won’t brag anymore, I will just sign off as Lori J. Paul, AACP and get back to work!

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State Seal of Montana
Image via Wikipedia

A Paralegal and former state Sen. in Montana, Jerry O’Neill, has prevailed in a recent court case that the attorney general had filed against him for his advertising as “deceptive as a matter of law.”

it seems the Montana Attorney General’s Office filed charges in June 2007 alleging that O’Neil violated the state’s Unfair Trade and Consumer Protection Act, seeking summary judgment in the case. This week the ruling denied the Attorney General’s summary judgment motion and supported O’Neill’s arguments.

O’Neill offers low cost preparation of documents for divorce and step-parent adoptions in Montana with attorney review supervision. O’Neill has since changed his advertising to make sure the public knows that there is an attorney reviewing his paperwork before his clients see the completed results. The Attorney General is seeking steep penalties against him: a $10,000 fine for each alleged violation; forfeiture of all fees received through the alleged unauthorized practice of law; forfeiture of his business phone number and a permanent injunction banning him from advertising or doing any legal work that only licensed lawyers can perform; and a $10,000 penalty for any future violations.

O’Neil said he is countersuing the state for “interfering in my business,” a pursuit he claims is motivated by resistance to any threat to the state’s lawyer “monopoly.”

I will update you as more information is received on this case. In California, as Paralegals we cannot complete paperwork on behalf of ‘clients’ without an attorney’s review and approval, unless we are a Legal Document Assistant, known as LDA. An LDA is not the same as a Paralegal. Pursuant to Business and Professions Code §6401(b) a Paralegal does not have to register as a Legal Document Assistant while acting on behalf of a member of the State Bar. A Paralegal, acting independently of an attorney, must register as a Legal Document Assistant if performing services to the general public.

As an LDA, you are regulated by Business and Professions Code Section 6400 et seq. You must register as an LDA in every county you will be performing services as an LDA. Once registered and upon preparing documents, you must provide the following per Section 6408 of the Business and Professions Code:

Your name, business address, telephone number, registration number, and county of registration shall appear on any solicitation or advertisement, and on any appropriate papers or documents prepared or used by the registrant, including, but not limited to, contracts, letterhead, business cards, correspondence, documents, forms, claims, petitions, checks, receipts, money orders, and pleadings.

It is unclear in the information available at this time, if LDAs are recognized in Montana or if a Paralegal must work under the supervision of an attorney. If any of you know the answer to this, please let me know.

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The California Bar Journal hopes to save $1.5 million annually by going digital. The cost to print the publication is $35,000 to $50,000 each month and with mailing, another $75,000 each month. Not to mention printing is not very green and we in the legal field go through quite a bit of paper as it is.

There will also be the monthly MCLE test which will become interactive, making it easier for lawyers to take the test and enabling the bar to process payments and issue MCLE certificates online.

Don’t forget that California attorneys need to provide their e-mail address to the Bar as well.

For more information about the publication, MCLE and e-mail address requirements, click on the link above.

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This is not the only case this week that deals with attorney fees and judges not happy with the requests. There was a case in Minnesota last week in which excessive email reviews were denied. These cases remind us that we all need to watch our billing. This is a top complaint from clients, by the way for you new paralegals.

Legal Pad: Judge David Flinn Got Really Hard-Nosed With Fee Request in $1.5M Case

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Category: Legal News  2 Comments

The Mendocino County Superior Court branch in Willits, California has been closed and all cases and case files have been transferred to the Ukiah Court.

Covelo (Round Valley) cases previously handled by the Willits Branch will be handled by the Ukiah Branch. Hearings will still be held in Covelo at the Round Valley Community Center.

The Ukiah courthouse is located at the corner of State and Perkins Streets in the center of downtown Ukiah. The physical and mailing address is:

Superior Court of California, County of Mendocino
100 North State Street
Ukiah, CA 95482

Phone: (707) 468-2000

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As a paralegal at a Louisville, Ky., law firm, Merrell Williams snatched research exposing cigarettes’ addictiveness and potential to kill long hidden by tobacco giant Brown & Williamson.

I ran across this article today in the St. Petersburg Times and it caught my eye. Not only because the man mentioned in the article was a paralegal, but because I was flipping channels on the tv the other day, ( it is one of my families pet peeves about me, I watch 2-3 programs at once) and the movie with Russell Crow was on about taking the tobacco industry down.

The article is interesting and Mr. Williams is definitely a contradiction, bouncing from he doesn’t care anymore to how the attorneys only cared about making money in this suit. For more on the article, click below. I am sure you will find it as interesting as I did.

Whistle-blower in Big Tobacco case seeks quiet life in Dunedin – St. Petersburg Times

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I found this fascinating quote today:

If you are looking for a legitimate link to a donation site, the you may want to check out the link here to Oxfam.  While I have no affiliation with Oxfam, as I was writing this article, I received a tweet on Twitter from former Vice President Al Gore (whom I follow) asking everyone to donate to the disaster relief efforts.  I followed the link and it is the legitimate Oxfam site, online donation form, with appropriate security.cyberesq.wordpress.com, Cyber-Esq., Jan 2010

You should read the whole article.

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Category: Uncategorized  Comments off

Have you ever had one of those days when you need the copies NOW and the darn machine just won’t do what it is supposed to do? Me too. Most of us won’t go this far, but we sure want to sometimes, lol. Enjoy.

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Category: Family Law  Tags:  Comments off

I found this fascinating quote today:

Over the years, courts have – with increasing frequency cited Wikipedia – as authority for some aspect of the case at hand.  In preparation for writing this article, I logged onto Westlaw and did a quick search for the word “Wikipedia” in the ‘all federal cases’ directory (ALLFEDS).  This quick search returned 281 results.  The federal courts, it would seem, are becoming more comfortable with ‘wikis’, at least with Wikipedia.cyberesq.wordpress.com, Cyber-Esq., Jan 2010

You should read the whole article.

How many of you are using Wiki for research? I would love to hear from you about the good and the bad.

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Category: Legal News  Tags: , , ,  Comments off

The following Podcast can be found at MyLegal.com on the BlogTalkRadio. I think you will find it informative.

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