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The official blog of the NALS docket, used as a timely resource for sharing content from our email newsletter. This includes Grammar Nuggets, Career Corner, NALS news, NALS Foundation, chapter and members spotlights, and more!

 

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Ask Eula Mae: What To Do When You Are Overwhelmed

Posted By NALS Editorial Board, Monday, April 24, 2017

Dear Eula Mae:

 

Can you help me?  It seems I have been getting busier at work and my workload has grown to the point that I am nearly confused.  The files on my desk have slowly piled up to where I cannot tell what is coming or going.  I am just working one file at a time and not sure where to start to get all of this straight.  I love my job, I want to do well, and the boss is depending on me to do a great job in supporting his efforts.  It is really a concern that I might be losing a grip on managing my job.  There has to be a way to figure out how to make it all run more smoothly.  Please help.

 

Overwhelmed in Omaha


 

Dear Overwhelmed in Omaha:

 

It takes a special person to work in a legal support position.  Part of having these special skills is the ability to handle a large workload, timing and scheduling everything well, and giving exceptional attention to details.  Quiet ambition and growth in the law firm can easily lead to the feeling of being overwhelmed.  Here are a few tips to help you get back to feeling in control of your duties.

 

First, you must know where you are to know where to begin.  Schedule time to clean and sort everything.  If that means staying a little late for a day or two, do it because the payoff will be great. 

 

·      Clean your work area.  Get your desk and files in order.

·      Batch like things together.  This can be a real time saver.  You only have to think out the procedure one time for what needs to be done next.

·      Make a list of your current projects and where they are in the process.  This information can help you develop a checklist so you can tell at a glance what needs to be done. 

·      Organize each batch by due dates and you will know what has to be done first.

 

If along the way you discover that there is really too much work for one person to manage, you need to have a conversation with your attorney.  Start by presenting a typed list of your current projects and the status of each.  Is it time to move some of the typing to the word processors or hire a new person, or does your boss want to pay you overtime?  Anything can happen and the goal is to do what is right and fair for all.

 

Note that if you feel overwhelmed at work, you may have that feeling at home.  The same process will work there too. Once you know where you are, you will instinctively know exactly what to do.  


 

Submit Your Questions to Ask Eula Mae By Clicking Here.

Tags:  administrative  legal assistant  legal career  legal job skills  legal office  legal professional  legal professional training 

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Your Chapter—Your Message

Posted By Charlene Sabini, PLS, ALP, Monday, September 5, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Your Chapter - Your MessageYou have a local NALS chapter. Your chapter has members, scheduled events, education classes, enjoyable projects, fund-raisers, you-name-it. And you are proud of your local chapter. So, then, who knows about you? Probably just your local members. Unless . . . you publish a chapter newsletter!

 

Oh, and do not worry about the expense of printing such a thing. The electronic world and the Internet have so completely changed our marketing, promotion, and advertising options that producing and distributing something like a newsletter is now virtually cost free!

 

The mechanics of creating a newsletter are exquisitely simple really. Just decide what to put in it and start writing. It can be a project initiated and completed by one person in your membership, a small group project, or a board of directors project. Ultimately, one person will need to coordinate and finalize the contents and design it. But, again, there is nothing difficult in doing this.

 

You are stumped for design ideas? Content? Hmm. No problem. Just research other NALS chapter newsletters for their look, their content, their frequency of publication. Better still, research beyond that for newsletters from other industry groups for style and design. You will find dozens and dozens to choose from. Perhaps your local utility companies issue newsletters or some state agency does the same. Or perhaps a local charitable agency does so. Many of them might likely be online, so you can easily research them from the comfort of your own computer. Pick up printed newsletters wherever you see them. They are very useful resources.

 

Your content can easily comprise (1) what your local NALS chapter is doing, (2) who your local members are and what their personalities and community activities are all about, (3) what your state NALS organization might be doing, and (4) guest columnists with educational or interesting articles that would benefit readers. And lots, lots more. Just look at what our national NALS docket has been doing for so long electronically. The NALS docket is a typically good example of relevant content. But be sure to examine what other newsletters contain too. Those are your real-life examples that may be worth emulating.

 

You also have the privilege of creating your own mailing list and sending your newsletter to whomever you please. I actually created our mailing list from scratch. It started with about 600 recipients and is now hovering at about 900. Admittedly this mailing list creation was the publishing element that took a little time and patience, but it was the only way to develop the mailing list—one that targets attorneys, judges, and their support staff. What made my list creation easier was access to a local printed directory of all attorneys, judges, and other legal community references which is published annually by an independent process serving company. I simply entered them one by one, but you can create a list from scratch any way you please. 

 

You can publish your newsletter as frequently or as infrequently as you wish. Ours goes out without fail every other month on the first day of those months. We have not missed a publication date since we began the project in August 2012. Some NALS chapters publish every month; others only quarterly. It is your choice. Our local newsletter, NALS in Motion, began as a humble two-page affair, and quickly ballooned into a nine-page extravaganza. We have received numerous compliments on the format and content and gratitude for putting our chapter on the map nationally. And that is a major point: putting your chapter’s profile before the public eye on a consistent and regular basis! What our newsletter has done for our local chapter’s membership levels—and attendance at our monthly education meetings—has been noteworthy, to say the least. We have developed a reputation for consistency, quality, and content. And people are paying attention to it.

 

I will admit there are a number of software types that could be used for your newsletter production—even MSWord—but I have used MS PowerPoint as a design foundation for years. The flexibility in PowerPoint is delightful and the application is more powerful than ever (I am using MSOffice 2013 applications). When I am finished creating the PowerPoint file, I simply use Adobe Acrobat to convert the file to a PDF that nearly anyone can receive without difficulty or distortions, and it can be attached to email messages with ease.

 

Newsletters work! They really do. The electronic option is nearly limitless. Do you have a creative person in your chapter who needs an outlet for their talents? There is your editor. A well-edited newsletter will offer a valuable visual profile to your chapter and may start a chain reaction in your area—or across the country—if your newsletter is seen by others who were looking for just such inspiration. Newsletters can be growth enhancers for your chapter. That alone is reason enough to initiate one.

 

Your chapter has a character and an image, whether you realize it or not at the moment. It is your privilege to tell everyone how alive your chapter is! Do not hesitate to give your chapter a national image with its own dynamic newsletter!


 

Charlene Sabini, PLS, ALP, is legal assistant for attorney David Vill in juvenile law matters in Eugene, Oregon. She is Director of Education for her local chapter, NALS of Lane County in Eugene, and has enthusiastically occupied that position for over four years. She is editor of her chapter’s bimonthly newsletter, NALS in Motion, which has been published unfailingly for nearly four years. She has earned three successive NALS CLE Awards and plans to sit for the PP exam in September 2016. She is a proofreader on the NALS Editorial Board and has contributed articles for the NALS docket and @Law. Charlene is an affiliate member of the Lane County Bar Association and was responsible for initiating that level of membership with the bar for nonlawyers in 2014. She also petitioned the Oregon State Bar Association to allow guest speaking attorneys at nonlawyer education meetings to receive CLE credit (which was formerly not allowed in Oregon) and was successful. She is also a 13-year volunteer with the Lane County Sheriff’s Office in Eugene, has served as the county sheriff’s newsletter editor, and is currently serving as the county jail librarian. The Oregon State Sheriff’s Association/Jail Command Council awarded Ms. Sabini the Jail Volunteer of the Year award in 2009.


Tags:  administrative  legal education  legal professional  nals chapters  paralegal 

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Changing Font and Font Size Globally

Posted By Susan C. King, Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Happening with Fonts

A document has been opened and the fonts are different throughout the document. Why and/or how does this happen? How does one quickly fix the issue?


The problem begins when someone chooses CTRL+A and changes the font and/or font size (a fast and immediate solution, but not for the ongoing editing involved with the document). From this point forward, text pasted into the document reverts to the original normal font and font size format. This is because the Normal Style was not overwritten but manually changed. 


The Normal Style is the base formatting of every editable document. It just starts the process with no indents, bolding or paragraph characteristics. All styles implemented throughout a document start with the characteristics of the Normal Style. 


The following is the process to globally change a Normal Style: 


Insert a RETURN (Provides base—no text paragraph style is applied)

Change the "Normal Style" (CTRL + SHIFT + S)

In the style name box {Type} Normal

CLICK Modify

Change font or font size

 

Style One 

 

Microsoft Word Styles 

 


 

Susan C. King, Legal Word Processor, was hired by Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, LLP as a floater secretary in 1994 and soon thereafter advanced into a legal secretarial position. Three years later, she transferred into the Word Processing Department and is continuing her journey toward becoming a software specialist with strong ties to training and macro development.  If you would like Susan to cover a particular Word topic or have any questions, please email her at Susan.King@wallerlaw.com.


Tags:  administrative  grammar  legal education  legal professional training  microsoft word  nals 

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Chapter Spotlight: NALS of Tucson & So. AZ (NTSA)

Posted By Allison Streepey, B.A., PLS, and Wendy Carpenter, PP, PLS, Tuesday, June 14, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Chapter Spotlight: NALS of Tucson and Southern Arizona (NTSA)

About the Chapter 

 

NALS of Tucson & So. AZ (formerly Tucson Legal Secretaries Association and Tucson Legal Support Association) has over 50 years of history serving the Tucson and Southern Arizona legal community. The chapter’s membership has legal professionals who work for sole practitioners, mid-size law firms, large law firms, the courts, and other related legal areas. At least 10 to 12 firms in the Tucson area are represented. 

 

What makes this chapter of NALS strong is the diversity of the members’ ages, experiences, legal knowledge, and skills. Each member is unique and special. They learn from each other and are building lasting friendships. (Isn’t that what NALS is all about?) 

 

There is a lot to learn from NALS of Tucson & So. AZ (NTSA). They keep their association fresh through various educational opportunities, member suggestions, chapter celebration events, meeting other members of the legal community, and working together for charity. 


Service in the Chapter 


This chapter leads by example in holding education of members as one of the central activities. Twenty-two members are certified and most have achieved multiple certifications. NTSA strives to keep everyone sharp by offering many opportunities of continuing legal education for seasoned members and exam preparation for newer members. NTSA holds monthly general/CLE meetings and offers other educational events for their chapter. They also coordinate CLE with other legal professional associations in the area. 

 

NTSA shares their love of education and the legal profession by holding a raffle at every monthly meeting to support their annual Scholarship Program. This scholarship assists with books, registration fees, and other school needs, as well as awarding a one-year NALS membership. Invitations with the application for the NTSA scholarship are sent once a year to high schools, trade schools, and local colleges that teach legal courses. 

 

The monthly NTSA email of announcements to members has proven to be very fruitful for the chapter. The newsletter includes an open request for ideas from the members. Some of the members’ ideas include training sessions and valuable brainstorming sessions. The members post the NTSA flyers in their office or share with other staff in their firm. This is a great way to share “what NALS can do for you” with others. 

 

NTSA celebrates members through annual events like the Awards & Appreciation Banquet and Installation of Officers in April, the Summer Social in August, and the Holiday Mixer in December. These themed events are a way for the members to unwind, play, and visit, free from the pressures of the job. 

 

NTSA has had success in growing their chapter by hosting an annual membership drive in February and/or March of each year. There is always a theme, such as Mardi Gras, Western, and others, and games such as bingo or legal trivia are played. Influential court personnel are invited to speak at these meetings. NTSA also hosts a breakfast get-together to introduce other legal secretaries, legal assistants, and paralegals to the association. 

 

National NALS Service 

 

Many NTSA members have gone on to serve in state, regional, and national positions—even as high as President of NALS. Currently, several members are serving on the national NALS level. Audrey Saxton, PP, PLS, is serving NALS as a Board Member; Bonnie Hole, PP, PLS, RP, CNSA, CPCA, ACP, is serving NALS as the Chair of the Certification Board; and Nancy Anderstrom, PP, PLS, AACP, is serving NALS as the Co-chair of the Certification Board. 

 

Building Their Name and Membership 

 

NTSA works to promote their association to other law firms in many ways. They have a liaison with the Pima County Bar Association (PCBA). This is a reciprocal relationship. The liaison prepares information on NTSA activities for The Writ, the monthly publication for the PCBA members. It is free advertising of all the great things NTSA is doing for the Pima County Bar, opportunities for the NTSA members, and how NTSA supports their community. NTSA also donates time to the PCBA for functions requiring assistance. For instance, the PCBA and the Young Lawyers Division hold an annual Judicial Reception. NTSA has volunteered to manage the registration table at this reception for so many years that the judges and attorneys know the NTSA members by name! 

 

Relationship With Other Associations 

 

NTSA has some members who belong to other professional and legal associations and serve to coordinate and share CLE with other legal groups. In 2015, NTSA co-sponsored the Tucson Paralegal Association’s Annual CLE Seminar, which was very well received by all attendees. 

 

For the past two years NTSA hosted the NALS of Tucson & So. AZ annual December Holiday Mixer. The purpose is to enable professionals from all areas of the Tucson legal community to meet and network in a social setting; to mix, mingle, and celebrate the holidays. NALS of Tucson & So. AZ finds sponsors for the event, generally legal vendors and supporters of the organization, to assist with providing the food and drinks. One of the caterers was Caridad Community Kitchen, associated with the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona. A group of local attorneys provide live music. 

 

Another fun event NTSA has is the Collaborative Networking Happy Hour coordinated with the Association of Legal Administrators (ALA), and the Tucson Paralegal Association (TPA). The happy hours are well attended and a nice time to relax and get to know other legal professionals. 

 

Service to the Community 

 

NTSA has always had a commitment to yearly charity projects. The NTSA Board gives the members a choice of three to five charities and the members make their collective choice. Then the NTSA members collect items throughout the year specifically for that charity.

 

One year, the NTSA members chose the Veterans’ Association and collected clothing, books, purses, shoes, personal items, puzzles, wheelchairs, and many other items to give to the local VA Hospital for the veterans. It was a very successful and greatly appreciated project. 

 

Another NTSA choice for community service was the Bowling for Backpacks! event. This event had members, family, and friends attending a fun evening of bowling after collecting school supplies and backpacks to donate to local area schools in need. This project was enjoyed by all for three years, when it was time to try something new. 

 

The most recent charity activity for NTSA was Make Way for Books. The mission of Make Way for Books is to provide quality early educational experiences by giving books to under-resourced sites and offering early educational workshops for educators and parents. Each year, MWFB serves more than 30,000 children and families and 700 educators in nearly 300 preschools in the Tucson area. The members of NTSA collected 233 new and gently used books during the year-long book drive to donate to Make Way for Books. On March 30, 2016, Wendy Carpenter, PP, PLS, President of NTSA, and Nancy Anderstrom, PP, PLS, AACP, Parliamentarian and Local Finance Chairperson, delivered the books to the organization. 

 

Working together on a large project is the “glue” that keeps the chapter going. This core group has a commitment to NALS, to legal education, the legal community, and charity service too. NTSA clearly demonstrates how interesting and fulfilling the journey of NALS can be. 

Tags:  administrative  legal  legal professional  nals  nals chapters 

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Word Tips & Tricks: Hard Drive Folder Shortcuts

Posted By Susan C. King, Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Microsoft Word: Tips & Tricks

Microsoft Word: Tips & Tricks Header 

 

Here are two forms of shortcuts to access folders on the hard drive:

 

1. USE FAVORITES

 

CLICK on the folder at the bottom ribbon of the Desktop.  

 

Microsoft Word: Tips and Tricks 

 

Locate a favorite folder.

Microsoft Word: Tips and Tricks

 

CTRL {Hold} + CLICK on folder.

 Microsoft Word: Tips & Tricks

LEFT CLICK {Hold} Mouse and scroll up to hover over Favorites.

Microsoft Word: Tips and TricksRelease  

Folder will be listed under favorites.  

Select “Favorites” and double click your favorite folder.    

Note:  Folder on bottom of ribbon will open to the last folder accessed.    

 

 

 

2. TO ADD A SHORTCUT ON DESKTOP

CLICK on the folder at the bottom ribbon of the Desktop.  

 

Microsoft Word: Tips and Tricks 

 

Microsoft Word Tips & TricksMinimize Window {This will keep your folder window but also give access to the Desktop – you will need to minimize or shut down all other applications.}  

 

On Desktop, scroll to Folder which needs the shortcut.  

Microsoft Word: Tips and Tricks 

 

CTRL {Hold} + LEFT CLICK.

[CTRL {Hold} DRAG Folder to the Desktop + RELEASE.]

Shortcut for folder is now on Desktop.  DOUBLE CLICK on Desktop Folder to access Folder and files.

  


Susan C. King, Legal Word Processor, was hired by Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, LLP as a floater secretary in 1994 and soon thereafter advanced into a legal secretarial position. Three years later, she transferred into the Word Processing Department and is continuing her journey toward becoming a software specialist with strong ties to training and macro development. If you would like Susan to cover a particular Word topic or have any questions, please email her at Susan.King@wallerlaw.com.  

 

 

Tags:  administrative  legal education  legal professional training  microsoft word  technology training 

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