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Grammar Nuggets: I Feel Good But Not Well

Posted By Kathy Sieckman, PP, PLS-SC, ACP, Monday, September 5, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Grammar NuggetsI don’t get sick very often, but every once in a while something comes along to kick my butt and force me to slow down a little bit. The latest “cold” has done just that. Being sick opened a whole new topic!

Good and well are misused a lot.  Good is an adjective.1

  • She did a good job on the project the boss gave her.

Well is usually used as an adverb2 with action verbs, but can be used as an adjective when referring to someone’s health.

  • She ran well

It is not proper, however, to say “She ran good” because “ran” is an action verb.

  • He said he didn’t feel well when he woke up that morning.

Good can also be used with linking verbs. For instance, in the response to “How are you?” it is perfectly acceptable to answer “I am good” when they are asking about your general status. If you are recovering from a long illness and someone asks how you are, saying “I am well” lets them know that you are healthy.

To feel well means “to be in good health” and to feel good means “to be in good spirits.” Think James Brown. I don’t think his song “I Feel Good” was about being healthy, I think it was about being ready to party.

Once I get completely over this illness, I am hoping to be a healthy person. Healthy means to be in good health and healthful is to promote health (like healthful food).

One more illness-related set of words that are confused a lot are nauseous and nauseated. Nauseous means to induce nausea so a pile of something disgusting in the corner makes you feel nauseous. If your stomach is upset, you feel nauseated.

So I am good, I feel well (at least better anyway), and I do not feel nauseated. Things are looking up!


1 A word that modifies or describes a noun.

2 A word or phrase that modifies or qualifies an adjective, verb, or other adverb and answers one of the questions How? When? Where? and Why?


 

Kathy Sieckman, PP, PLS-SC, ACP, has been a member of NALS for over 30 years, is the current President of NALS of Phoenix, and is the Vice Chair of the NALS Editorial Board. Kathy has a blog on proofreading tips at http://proofthatblog.com. If you have specific grammar issues you would like covered in future issues, please send them to Kathy at proofthatblog@gmail.com.


Tags:  editing legal papers  grammar  grammar nuggets  legal  legal professional  microsoft word  writing legal documents 

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Grammar Nuggets: Headings By The (Blue) Book

Posted By Kathy Sieckman, PP, PLS-SC, ACP, Monday, August 22, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, August 16, 2016

I learned something interesting recently. As much as you think you know about something, every once in a while it is good to check your resources. While I covered this topic according to the Gregg Reference Manual in the July 12 NALS docket in an article entitled “Things Are Coming to a Head(ing)” about exceptions to the “capitalize everything except articles, conjunctions, and prepositions shorter than four letters” rule, a recent search through The Bluebook showed me that rule was not correct for headings in a legal document done in “Bluebook style.” According to Section 8 of The Bluebook, in headings and titles, the first word in the heading or title and the word immediately following a colon in a heading or title should be capitalized. However, do not capitalize articles, conjunctions, and prepositions of four or fewer letters unless they fit the criteria in the immediately preceding sentence (they are the first word of the title or immediately follow a colon).  

 

The Bluebook does, however, refer you to The Chicago Manual of Style or the Government Printing Office Style Manual if there are questions about specific capitalization issues not answered in The Bluebook. Here are the rules on capitalization according to The Bluebook:

 

  • Always capitalize nouns identifying specific persons, officials, groups, government offices, or governmental bodies.
    • The Securities and Exchange Commission was closed for the holiday.
    • Members of Congress worked late into the night.
    • The President lives in the White House.
  • BUT:
    • The congressional hearings seemed as if they would never end
    • The presidential veto is a tool available to the President.
  • Exceptions (you know there had to be some):
    • Act is capitalized when referring to a specific act.
      • The Civil Rights Act was enacted in 1964.
  • Circuit is capitalized when used with the name or number of the circuit.
    • Arizona is part of the Ninth Circuit.
    • The circuit court will not rule on that issue.
  • Code is capitalized when referring to a specific code.
    • The Internal Revenue Code
  • Constitution is capitalized when referring to the United States Constitution or naming any constitution in full.
  • Court is capitalized when referring to the United States Supreme Court, when referring to any court in full, or when referring to the Court where your documents will be filed.
    • The Miranda court decided . . .
    • The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals . . .
    • This Court should deny the Motion to Dismiss.
  • Federal is capitalized when the word it modifies is capitalized.
    • The Federal Constitution establishes the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government.
    • High on the list of Congress’s priorities is federal spending.
  • Judge or Justice is capitalized when referring to a specific judge or justice by name or when referring to a Justice of the United States Supreme Court.
    • Did you know that Justice Sandra Day O’Connor sat as a judge in the Maricopa County Superior Court in Arizona?
    • The judge ruled against defendants in the White case.
  • State is capitalized when it is part of the full title of the state, if the word it modifies is capitalized, or when referring to the state as a party to a litigation or a governmental actor.
    • The State of California was the first to allow the use of medical marijuana.
    • He brought an action against the State for unlawful imprisonment.

I guess I will have to read through The Bluebook again just for good measure to see what other “rules” need to be adjusted.

Kathy Sieckman, PP, PLS-SC, ACP, has been a member of NALS for over 30 years, is the current President of NALS of Phoenix, and is the Vice Chair of the NALS Editorial Board. Kathy has a blog on proofreading tips at http://proofthatblog.com. If you have specific grammar issues you would like covered in future issues, please send them to Kathy at proofthatblog@gmail.com.

Tags:  career corner  grammar  grammar nuggets  legal assistant  legal career  microsoft word  paralegal 

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Word Tips & Tricks: Convert Auto-Numbering Styles to Text

Posted By Susan C. King, Monday, August 8, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Microsoft Word: Tips & TricksMicrosoft Word: Tips & Tricks Header

 

Below are instructions for converting auto-numbering to text (freezing the current value):

To convert ALL auto-numbering:

  1. Save the document(s) to the hard drive**
  2. With the document open, press ALT + F11 to access Visual Basic.
  3. Press CTRL + G to access the immediate window (at the bottom of screen).

    Convert Auto-Numbering Styles to Text
  4. Type the following in the exact case shown:  ActiveDocument.ConvertNumbersToText [NOTE:  Be sure to hit ENTER after typing]
  5. Click on the blue floppy disk icon to save the changes;
  6. Exit Visual Basic.

**This allows you to keep the auto-numbering intact in your document.

 To convert specific instances of auto-numbering:

  1. Follow instructions 1-3 above.
  2. Type the following in the immediate window (at the bottom of screen): Selection.Range.ListFormat.ConvertNumbersToText.
  3. Continue with instructions 5 and 6 above. 


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:  grammar  grammar nuggets  microsoft word  office procedures  technology training 

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Grammar Nuggets: Things Are Coming to a Head[ing]

Posted By Kathy Sieckman, PP, PLS-SC, ACP, Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Grammar NuggetsThere are two types of headings—a run-in heading and a freestanding heading. A run-in heading is one where the substance of the paragraph starts immediately after the heading. Run-in headings are usually set off by bold font and/or underlining. A freestanding heading is one which is on a line by itself, sometimes as part of an outline in a document.

 

run-in heading will always be followed by a form of punctuation depending on the type of heading. If the heading is a question, it will end in a question mark. However, in a freestanding heading, use no punctuation unless you need to use a question mark or an exclamation point because the heading demands it.

 

As for capitalization, under the Gregg Reference Manual rules, you should capitalize all words in the heading over four letters and capitalize all words in the heading under four letters EXCEPT:

a an and  as
at but by for
if in of off
on or out nor
the to up  

Of course, as in all things grammar, there are exceptions to that rule. If a word on the “don’t capitalize” list begins or ends the sentence, it should be capitalized. If a word on that list comes after a dash or a colon, it should be capitalized. Capitalize short prepositions like upinon, and for when they are used with prepositions having four or more letters.

Rafting Up and Down the Colorado River

Driving In and Around the City

New Store Opening On or About March 1

I have printed this list of words that should not be capitalized except in special circumstances and taped it to my work computer so that it is easier for me to remember. I honestly think titles look better with each word capitalized, but who am I to argue with Gregg? If that is the rule and my attorneys do not have a problem with formatting headings “by the book,” then I will adjust. But are there different rules under the BlueBook? Hmmm. We will check that out the next time.


 


Kathy Sieckman, PP, PLS-SC, ACP, has been a member of NALS for over 30 years, is the current President of NALS of Phoenix, and is the Vice Chair of the NALS Editorial Board. Kathy has a blog on proofreading tips at
http://proofthatblog.com. If you have specific grammar issues you would like covered in future issues, please send them to Kathy at proofthatblog@gmail.com.


Tags:  grammar  grammar nuggets  legal assistant  legal education  legal professional  legal professional training  microsoft word  nals 

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Grammar Nuggets

Posted By Kathy Sieckman, PP, PLS-SC, ACP, Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Grammar NuggetsFont Size Does Matter

 

I am always amazed at the amount of information I receive at the NALS Annual Education Conferences. One of the things that really stuck with me from the conference I attended in Portland was a name that perfectly describes something I see a lot—Frankenbrief. A Frankenbrief is a brief that has had many people working on different parts of it and then it is all put together into one document. There are many problems with a Frankenbrief, including the flow of the document from so many different styles of writing by different authors, consistency with defined words and capitalization, justification issues, and different font sizes. When working on a Frankenbrief, you should automatically check the big things like the defined terms and consistency issues, but it is also important to check the little things, including justification or non-justification (being consistent with author preference) for each separate paragraph and font size. There may be just a slight difference between 12-point and 13-point font, but someone who looks at a lot of typed documents (like a judge or a law clerk) can tell when there are different font sizes. If you get a judge who is a real stickler who might find some 12-point font mixed in with the 13-point font required by the court rules, the possibility does exist that he or she would not accept your document and reject it as deficient because of the font size. It is just one more thing that makes a difference and shows the reader that you are paying attention to the details that will make their task of reading your document just a little bit easier.

 

Also while we are talking about fonts, do not assume that all courts are now using 13-point font. If there is one thing I have learned from ECF filings in many different courts, it is that there is no “common” rule about anything. Even federal courts in the same state differ on rules such as font size and courtesy copies to judges. You need to review the local rules for the jurisdictions you are working in. I usually make a checklist of the things I need to remember in order to format a document to be filed outside of my local court. Actually, I have checklists for those courts too since I electronically file in several jurisdictions and do not always trust my memory with those details. It makes it easier to confirm details such as if your font size is correct, that you do or do not use the word “[Proposed]” with Orders, and that you deliver the judge’s courtesy copy in the correct format. 

 

Details such as the size of font really do matter. A document that switches size or style of font throughout a document is difficult to read and detracts from the actual message in the brief. It is not difficult to make it easy for your reader to comprehend what your lawyer is telling them if they do not have to struggle with how your document looks overall.


 

Kathy Sieckman, PP, PLS-SC, ACP, has been a member of NALS for over 30 years, is the current President of NALS of Phoenix, and is the Vice Chair of the NALS Editorial Board. Kathy has a blog on proofreading tips at http://proofthatblog.com. If you have specific grammar issues you would like covered in future issues, please send them to Kathy at proofthatblog@gmail.com.

Tags:  grammar  grammar nuggets  legal  microsoft word 

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