This newsletter is included in the NALS docket but we also post the articles here for your reference. Most of these articles are written by members and give you information on what is going on in the areas they work as well as trends in the legal industry as a whole. Below is a listing of past issues:
- Tips to Improve Law Firm Billing Productivity
Billing productivity is central to any law firm’s business model and viability. Whether you are an attorney or paralegal with billable requirements, or you work in an administrative or operational field like accounting or IT, the key to maximizing productivity boils down to enabling those with billable hour requirements to spend their time doing billable work.
- Does Contracting Compromise the Impartiality of a Court Reporter?
Within the last 20 years, a controversial practice has cropped up in the court reporting profession. Some court reporters have begun contracting exclusively with companies and organizations for large amounts of services. Many court reporters are against such contracting for ethical reasons.
The dictionary defines “judgment,” in part, as: The ability to judge, make a decision, or form an opinion objectively, authoritatively, and wisely, especially in matters affecting action. Good sense. Discretion.
- Workers’ Compensation
The Workers’ Compensation Act (WCA) is based upon a covenant: The employer provides workers’ compensation coverage without regard to fault and, in turn, receives immunity from lawsuit. This “no fault” concept provides an employee with compensation for injury, regardless of fault, if the injury occurs “in the course of” and “arises out of” the covered employment.
- Changing State/Local Governance System – Some Food for Thought
By this time next year, we will all be experiencing the progression of NALS with the change in its governance system from a board of directors to a governing council. A lot of time, thought, and effort went into initiating this change; subsequently, more time, effort, education of members, and solicitation of thoughts from the membership has occurred. Then the vote was made for the change, and a year lead-in time to accomplish the goals is in progress.
- Don’t Forget Medicare, Or Else!
So, you took on Mrs. Jones, a 70-year-old woman, who was in a rear-end collision and was badly injured. You have prepped the case for trial, and jury selection is about to begin. Then defense counsel makes an offer you cannot refuse—his client’s entire insurance policy in the sum of $300,000! Good news, right? Of course, it is.
- The Art of Planning a Membership Drive
Whether planning a wedding or an organization event, you need a plan, a schedule, a list—something to use as a guide. Planning consists of setting goals. However, do not plan out of your reach so that expectations are impossible to attain right from the start. Goals should be realistic and challenging but not set so low that there is no incentive.
- Law Firm Marketing
Commercials, billboards, radio spots, and signs on the sides of buses are just a few of the many ways today’s law firms choose to market their services. However, not all firms can afford the tens of thousands of dollars some of these forms of advertisement can cost. Many of those same firms still overlook one of the most efficient sources of marketing–happy and knowledgeable employees armed with information and the ability to interact with a community of potential clients.
- Attributes of Excellent Client Services
When you think of client service, what comes to mind? Think about it. Client service is all about how we treat our clients. Take a moment to think about your day. Are you providing excellent or proper client service (both internally and externally)? If you are not sure how you can improve the quality of service, here are a few attributes to consider.
- What’s New in Ethics
The NALS Ethics Series is taking a new tact this year, redirecting its focus to current ethics issues that apply to everyone employed in the legal industry, lawyers and nonlawyers alike. What has been interesting about the research for this article is the recognition that the concept of ethics is an ongoing and evolving consideration, a concept that does not always relate to the viewpoint of “new.” Our ethical guidelines have been with us long before the American Bar Association (ABA) first proposed its Canons of Professional Ethics (Canons) in 1908, which were revised in 1969 as the Model Code of Professional Responsibility, and revised again in 1983, 2002, and 2007 as the Model Rules of Professional Conduct (Model Rules). The original canons and the modifications that followed are the ABA’s effort to concisely define the concept of ethics and to describe it in words that we can all understand.
- How to Be Irreplaceable in a Tough Economy
I began my first law office job 25 years ago as a receptionist for a small firm. Along the road I learned the value of becoming the type of employee no boss wants to be without. Read my suggestions and find a way to make them apply to you and your work situation.
- Tips For Working WIth the Deaf or Hearing Impaired
Thirty-six million people, approximately 17%, in the United States are suffering from hearing loss. It is expected that this population will increase rapidly because more people are developing high-frequency hearing loss due to exposure to loud noise, new unexplained deafness, trauma, and disease, along with hearing loss due to aging. At some point in your career, the chances are good that you, your attorney, and staff will need to develop some skills on working with those who cannot hear well.
- Teamwork and the Changing Role of Legal Secretaries
Teamwork is the ability to work together towards a common vision—it is less “me” and more “we.” Teamwork improves efficiencies and manages workflows. It also builds camaraderie which makes a cohesive unit. Teamwork affords an opportunity to meet and work with new lawyers, paralegals, and other staff. You learn how to solve problems as a group or work team.
- Nondisclosure Agreements: An Overview
Nearly every legal professional confronts a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) at some point in his or her career, either as a party to the agreement, or in drafting the agreement for the parties. Law firms and attorneys tend to use NDAs to restrict information sharing by nonattorney employees. An NDA is an agreement between two or more parties outlining confidential information and restricting disclosure of the information. The agreement can be unilateral or bilateral. The parties can be as varied as two businesses partnering and sharing information or an employer sharing confidential information with its employees.
- Perils of Probate
I have never met an attorney who says “I love probate.” I do know attorneys who say “I love probate! My paralegal does all of the work and I get all of the fees.” Paralegals have an unlimited challenge in estate matters. An experienced probate paralegal will be able to process documents and follow through on most aspects of a probate procedure without being reminded or told to do so. Probate paralegals develop a personal relationship with the clients in their role as personal representatives.
- Letiquette – Netiquette
When composing a letter, be mindful of your etiquette, especially if it is a first contact business letter. Keep the recipient of your correspondence in mind, as well as what and how you want to communicate. If this is your first contact with the recipient, your goal should be to make a good “first impression.” You want to encourage the reader to actually read your message and respond in a timely manner.
- How Green Is My Valley?
“Going Green” is on everyone’s mind these days, but just what does “going green” mean? becoming an alien? making sure your grass is green? the wearing of the green? Going green means that we are doing our best to protect our environment and keep our world safe for generations to come.
- Statutes of Limitations
Most areas of the common law legal system have a statute limiting the time for prosecution or acting on a cause of action. One of the reasons for this limitation is that with the passage of time, one tends to forget that the possibility for a cause of action is still there, loss of interest, and loss of documents or evidence.
- Are You a Mentor?
- Billing: A Love/Hate Relationship
- We the People… A Summary of the United States Constitution, the Supreme Law of the Land
- President’s Messages: What the Heck Do I Write About?
- How To Motivate Yourself
- Why Do I Need Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Protection?
- Accepting the Challenge
- The Importance of Proofreading
- Is It Quitting Time Already? But I have Not Done Anything!
- Are You Sure You Are Certified?
- More Than a Comma; Less Than a Colon
- Confident Confidentiality
- Possessive v. Plural…the Never-Ending Battle Continues
- Notary Public Legal Responsibility & Liability
- I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream…
- Issuing Out-of-State Subpoenas for Deposition
- Is Your Fundraising Raffle Legal in Your State?
- REMAIN FOCUSED…ACCOMPLISH YOUR GOALS
- Fear the Middleman
- Mentors and Mentoring
- Take CARE when Hiring a Legal Services Provider
- Charitable Remainder Trust v Charitable Lead Trust
- On Interns
- How to Win At Interviewing
- Writing an Effective Resume
- Best Practices in Legal Calendaring Management
- E-Filing Primer
- Construction Law – What’s So Different About That?