Tag-Archive for » San Francisco «

It is Earth Day once again.  I try to practice Earth Day every day, not just today.  My oldest grandson insisted several years ago that I start recycling at home and taking care of the planet so that long after I was gone, (his words, not mine) that there was an earth for him and his family to live on.  I have a very small yard but I still manage to have a compost bucket and will for the first time get to use my own compost dirt in my container gardens this year.

I know, what does this have to do with being a paralegal?  Using green measures at the office is just as important as at home.  Most of us spend more time at the office than we do at home, I know I do, so why wouldn’t you do your part to help out?  One of the things I do at the office is to turn off the lights when they are not needed.  I don’t think we need lights on in rooms that are not occupied and I am forever going by a room and turning off the lights.  I even shut them off when I leave at the end of the day, there is no need to light an office that no one is going to be in for the night!  I don’t know about the state you live in, but California is energy poor and the price of using it keeps going up and up.

home made compost

home made compost (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What will you do for Earth Day?  Do you practice saving the earth every day?  How important is the earth to you?

 

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Tomorrow, April 27th is Administrative Professional’s Day!  Remember when it used to be called Secretary’s Day?  National Professional Secretaries Week and National Secretary’s Day was created  in 1952 through the work of Harry F. Klemfuss of Young and Rubicam.  Klemfuss recognized the importance and value of the position to a company or business, but his real reason was to get more women to become secretaries.  He did promote the value and importance of the job the secretary did and using his influence he created the “holiday” in recognition of secretaries.

In today’s world we rarely hear the term secretary, we now hear “Executive Administrator” or “Administrative Professionals.”  The two names mean added responsibilities and changes to the “secretary” position and can mean different things with different companies.  We no longer find just women in these positions either, there are more and more men entering these positions.

While it is great to recognize these wonderful women and men, and to have this special day for our professionals who do so much in keeping the offices running, we should remember to appreciate them every day and not just thank them once a year!

To all my Paralegal pals, don’t forget our special day is June 25, 2011, which coincides with the California Alliance of Paralegal Associations Conference being held in beautiful San Francisco at Fisherman’s Wharf!  For more information, you can check it out here.

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Ioana Petrou, a former assistant U.S. attorney for the Northern District, was formally sworn in as an Alameda County judge last night at the Claremont Country Club in Oakland.

There was no shortage of people wanting to say nice things about the newly minted judge. Attendees included Northern District Judge Marilyn Patel, U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag, former U.S. Attorney Joe Russoniello, and Berkeley criminal defense attorney Cris Arguedas.

Arguedas told the story of meeting Petrou for the first time to discuss the government’s case health care fraud case against her client. She said she was blown away after hearing Petrou converse fluently and openly about it, drawing from fields like pharmacology and economics. “I went back to the office and assigned two more lawyers to the case,” Arguedas said.

Alex Tse, a former AUSA now with the San Francisco city attorney’s office (who worked alongside Petrou on the off-label drug marketing case of InterMune CEO Scott Harkonen), advised lawyers who appear in front of Judge Petrou to be prepared. “You have to be on your toes,” he said. “She’s not going to stand by and she’s not going to wait for you, either.”

A couple of the speakers also gave the tip that Petrou loves good food – so if you ever have lunch with her, let her pick the place.

It is always great to learn about our new California judges, especially what to expect from them on the bench.  For those of you paralegals who have attorneys who practice in Alameda County and will be going before Judge Petrou, you might want to let them know to be well prepared and ready to go when they walk into her courtroom!

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I had to write about the articles that keep popping up in my Google alerts regarding home study paralegals.  Today I received notice of an article written claiming Paralegal Home Study Advantages.  Two paragraphs in particular caught my eye, they read:

“In the present day, there has been a raise in the demand of the paralegal profession. The rise in demand of such courses has led to the introduction of the paralegal home study course.”  Really, where?  Today I read that another large firm in San Francisco laid off dozens of attorneys and paralegals.  This does not say there is a raise in the demand of the paralegal profession to me.

“The reasons behind not being able to physically attend the classes can range from the simple fact that they are far from their school of choice or they work during the day and would like to study in a homely environment in the evening. That is the only difference between home study and school study of paralegal course. One may think that the home study course is very disadvantageous but the fact is that it has advantages of its own.”

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to study in a “homely” environment, lol.  I love my home and I would resent it being called homely.  Now, my neighborhood maybe, but not my home!  This same paragraph infers that the only difference between home study and school study is that you don’t have to travel to school and that home study has many advantages.  It goes on to name the advantages, which, in my opinion are ridiculous.  While I admit when I went to the ABA approved college program that I graduated from, that it was tough working a 40-50 hour a week full-time job and going to school in the evenings and on weekends.  I had no life for 18 long months, but I loved every minute of going to school and interacting with others who felt as passionate as I did about what I had chosen to make my lifelong career.  I also had a family to care for and a home and a yard, which I managed to keep running quite well by myself, thank you very much.  (Could be why I am single now, I found out I can do it by myself and love it!)  Sorry, got off track, back to where I was going with this.

What this article and many others like it fail to say, is that taking a home study course does not prepare you for being a paralegal and I don’t know any attorneys (well, competent attorneys) who hire home study paralegals.  Actually, I did meet an attorney earlier this year who did hire a home study course paralegal (to save a few bucks) and while he was the nicest man, this “paralegal” had no clue what he was doing.  He wasn’t required to intern in a law office for the home study course, (I had to do 90 hours of internship and have an evaluation to get credit for that internship), he had no idea how to put documents together to go to court,  he didn’t know how to do an intake, didn’t know how to question a potential client, didn’t know how to, well, you get my drift.  This attorney eventually had to let this “paralegal” go due to a costly mistake made by this same nice man.

With the economy the way it is and many paralegals and attorneys being laid off, it irks me to read these articles about how great it can be taking the paralegal home study course.  These people are making money from people who have no clue how tough it is getting a job in the legal field right now.

Many paralegals with years of experience are struggling to find a decent paying job (friends and family of mine) and are being slapped in the face every day with employment adds offering only $12-$15 an hour for experienced paralegals here in California.  If you know California and our high cost of living, you know that this kind of money won’t even pay your rent, let alone put food on the table if you have a family.  So, if you know anyone who is thinking about taking one of these paralegal home study courses, please tell them to research online, talk to paralegals and attorneys about how tough it is right now to find work and help prevent them from throwing their money away on programs that don’t even guarantee that they will be hired.

If any of you reading this are working paralegals who took a home study course, I would love to hear from you, good or bad.  I always welcome comments, after all, I am a paralegal and I love a good discussion!

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Just in case you forgot or were off doing the fabulous work we all do everyday, today is California Paralegal Day!!!  Yes, you California Paralegals, you rock!   The San Francisco Paralegal Association is holding their 22nd Annual Celebration of California Paralegal Day at The Bar Association in San Francisco.

I won’t be able to attend, but from what I read on the SF Paralegal Associations website, the keynote speaker will be Michael P. Carbone, Esq. talking about the “Utilization of Paralegals.”  I am hoping that they post his speech so we can all hear how Mr. Carbone utilizes paralegals.

There will also be two hour long seminars, “Discovery, Litigation and ADR in General” and “Calendaring as a Risk Management Strategy” which will earn you Ethics and General MCLE credits.

They are also asking for items for the adopted Paralegals in IRAQ, so if you are one of the lucky ones attending today, please check out the flyer for more information on what they need.

Congratulations to all my Paralegal friends here in sunny California!

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Thanks goes to Lynne DeVenny for this post.  It is shown here in its entirety.  It was reprinted with permission of Lynne J. DeVenny, Author/Blogger atPractical Paralegalismhttp://www.practicalparalegalism.com/.

As stated on Lynne’s post:

I’ve blogged about San Francisco public defender Jeff Adachi‘s requests for additional legal staffers before, but this time his request to add a paralegal and a senior legal processing clerk is being taken very seriously by the mayor’s office.

The Associated Press is reporting that Adachi has requested the new legal staffers “to help review an estimated 30,000 cases dating back to 2005 possibly tainted by former lab technician Deborah Madden.”

The request for additional staff comes after interview transcripts obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press show that Madden had acknowledged in a police interview that she used cocaine found at work.

Madden told investigators in February that she started using drugs from her job last fall to mask a drinking problem, according to the transcript. Madden, 60, said she used cocaine that spilled at her work station after she was done testing it as evidence.

“If some of it, you know, fell on the counter after I put the stuff away rather than just throw it in the garbage, which is what I normally did, yeah I did take a little bit of that,” Madden said.

Madden helpfully told police that the crime lab’s work left a lot to be desired, “I think you’re gonna see discrepancies all along throughout the years.”

When asked about the likelihood of Adachi getting those staff positions this time, the Magic 8-Ball said, “Signs point to yes.”


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Catherine McKenzie began her legal career as a legal secretary in 1972, at the age of 20, for a Federal non-profit law services committee on Long Island, New York. In her capacity as legal secretary she was part of the team that propelled a case to the United States Supreme Court. She then was employed by many and varied law departments and firms in New York City, San Francisco, Augusta (GA), Tallahassee, and, finally, in her present residence, Vero Beach, Florida. All of these opportunities trained her in areas such as tax litigation, union/labor law, estate planning, probate, real estate, family and criminal law.

What an amazing career she has had and in various legal arenas!  Be sure and check out more about Catherine at the link to Paralegal Gateway.

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