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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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Career Corner: Workplace Bullying

Posted By Tashania Morris, MSHRM, ALS, CDF, CPC, Monday, August 22, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Career Corner - Workplace BullyingWorkplace bullying is a serious problem which affects many individuals on a daily basis.  Sometimes people are not even aware that they are being bullied or are too afraid to speak up out of fear of being fired.  Did you know that workplace bullying can have a direct impact on your work performance and can hinder your career?  It is defined as a “repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons (the targets) by one or more perpetrators.  It is abusive conduct . . .” (http://www.workplacebullying.org/).  We can all agree that kids in school should not be bullied; however, it is constantly tolerated in an office.  Listed below are some traits of abusive conduct:

  • Threatening, humiliating, or intimidating, or
  • Work interference—sabotage—which prevents work from getting done, or
  • Verbal abuse

(http://www.workplacebullying.org/)

 

No one should have to go to work every day being afraid of what might happen, work in fear of making a mistake, and worry about losing their job. 

 

How Can You Identify Workplace Bullying? 

 

Sometimes it is easy to spot workplace bullying.  It may be the boss who constantly yells at his legal secretary and belittles her/him.  It is ostracizing an employee at work simply because he or she is a bit different.  It is throwing things, withholding resources, gossiping, and sabotaging someone’s work. Sometimes it is hard to identify when you are being bullied.  After all, we are all adults and bullying is for kids, right?  Wrong.  I once worked at a firm where most of the paralegals had been at the firm since its inception and they felt there was little or no space for newbies.  They would groan and moan loudly about the growth of the firm and reminisce about the days when the firm was much smaller.  My department was new and consisted of another young lady and me.  Upon being hired, we expressed our interest relatively early about how we would love to learn and grow with the firm.   


The attorney loved our enthusiasm and began inviting us to the paralegal meetings so we would feel a part of the team.  I remember going to one of the meetings and hearing one of the paralegals whisper loudly to the next, “What are they doing here?  They are not paralegals.”  An awkward silence followed.  Most of the time we would ignore the comments.  We did not want to lose the opportunity we were given and, most of all, we were young, inexperienced, and needed the money.  I remember asking questions and being told, “You did not learn that in paralegal school” or “You cannot print over here” simply because the printer we were using was broken and we had to print somewhere.  We had to get the work done even if it meant listening to someone complain the entire time we were using “their” printer.  Eventually the way we were being treated was brought to the attorneys’ attention and a meeting was held.  As a result, we were often given the cold shoulder.  My coworker decided to quit before the 90-day probation period was over.  It was not an environment in which she felt she could thrive.  I stayed a little while longer because I kept looking at the bigger picture and eventually the rude comments occurred less frequently and the working environment changed for the better.  They had to accept the fact that the firm was growing and there was nothing they could do about it. 


Statistics show that:

  • 49% of adult Americans have been bullied or witnessed it.
  • 80% of bullying is legal, but still occurs.
  • 72% of bullies outrank their targets.

(Healthy Workplace Bill)

 

Physical Impact of Bullying


Bullying in the workplace not only affects your career, but it also affects your health.  Bullying may cause serious health issues including, but not limited to, anxiety, stress, and panic attacks.  If an employee already has serious medical conditions, having to cope with a stressful work environment can be deadly.  Due to the high stress they are experiencing, an employee could suffer a stroke or a heart attack as a result of being bullied at work. 


Bullying can impact someone’s work, causing them to lose their job.  If a person is being ostracized and not given any work, ultimately this will affect their work morale.  If employees are constantly being belittled, they feel they are not good enough and may start producing less out of fear of making a mistake or being yelled at.  They may not volunteer, speak up, or share ideas as frequently because doing so may get a reaction from the bully they are trying so desperately to avoid—especially if the person hates conflict or is extremely introverted. 


Not only does bullying impact the worker, but it also affects the company’s bottom line.  If a manager has a bad temperament, very few people will want to work with that individual.  The team will constantly have a high turnover until something is done about the manager’s behavior.  The cost of absenteeism will increase because the employees do not enjoy being at work and in the hostile environment that the bully has created.  Absenteeism can account for a loss in productivity.  Bullying can cost the company a lot of money because the employee who is being affected might need to go to the doctor more frequently.  Stress affects the body in a number of different ways.  It pays to have a healthy working environment where people enjoy coming to work and getting the job done.


Workplace Bully Institute found that:

  • 27% have current or past direct experience with abusive conduct at work.
  • 72% of the American public are aware of workplace bullying.
  • Bosses are still the majority of bullies.
  • 72% of employers deny, discount, encourage, rationalize, or defend it.
  • 93% of respondents support enactment of the Healthy Workplace Bill.

How to Deal With a Bully

 

It is important to bring it to your supervisor’s attention and document everything.  Keep detailed notes of what has taken place.  If there are witnesses, jot this down as well.  This might be needed in the future if the person seeks to disclaim what you are saying.


Stand up for yourself in a professional manner.  Do not stoop to the level of the bully hurling insults.  At the end of the day you do not want to be remembered for starting a brawl in the middle of the office.  If the bully is your supervisor, get HR involved as quickly as possible.  If the bully is your boss, I would suggest looking for employment elsewhere especially if that person has no intention of changing.   If you are able, mediate the conflict.  It is a good thing to move on and count it as a learning experience.  Sometimes people might not realize they are bullies especially if they have a type A personality. Getting a third party involved is always essential.  It might not be something you can solve by yourself.  It might make the situation worse.


If you are an office bully, it is important to evaluate your actions and really think about the other person’s feelings.  Start working on alternative ways to get your points across.  It is never okay to belittle others.  Workplace bullying should not be tolerated.



Tashania Morris, MSHRM, ALS, CDF, CPC, started her career as a paralegal.  She has over six years’ experience in the legal field specializing in the areas of foreclosure and bankruptcy.  She recently completed her master’s degree in human resource management which has equipped her with the tools needed to think strategically and develop creative solutions to problems in the workplace.  As a Certified Professional Coach and Career Development Facilitator, she loves all things career and personal development.  Tashania is able to recognize people’s skills and abilities and enjoys working with individuals to figure out their “why.”  Her mission is to engage, empower, educate, and promote change from within.  If you have any questions about any of the articles written, suggestions about something you would like Tashania to write about, or enjoyed reading the article, send her a quick note.  You can reach Tashania at Tashania_m@hotmail.com.

References:



Tags:  career corner  legal career  legal education  nals  paralegal  paralegal career 

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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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Rules of Engagement

Posted By Kerie S. Trindle Byrne, PLS, Monday, August 22, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Rules of EngagementI attend continuing legal education for my career as a paralegal—a lot of continuing legal education. Besides being a requirement of the two legal certifications I have, I am also a member of my professional association, and involvement in the association means participation in the events we present. I am a natural sponge and love learning about new topics, exploring new ideas, and finding new ways of doing things. I like to try on concepts, see if they fit me like a comfy pair of pajamas or if they are like an itchy wool sweater in Phoenix in the middle of summer. Luckily, most of the continuing legal education seminars and meetings I attend are interesting, but there are those that are not. I find, however, that if my mind begins to wander off of the topic I am listening to, typically it wanders to a grocery list, work or life to do list, or my next vacation. Sometimes when I am really not engaged, my mind wanders to those big ideas I have. You know the ones, the goals that have not seen any action in a while. Those really big life altering projects I wish I would start chewing on a bite at a time. When those things start to happen, I remember there are rules of engagement that require me to buckle down and plug back in. These concepts do not apply only to continuing legal education, but to any situation in which you are not fully present—meetings, presentations, seminars, driver’s education training, educational classes, phone calls, and webinars. I will share my rules of engagement here with you, so the next time you catch yourself checking out, you can reconnect and impress not only your boss, teacher, or coworkers, but yourself.  


It is not solely the presenter’s job to entertain you and keep you engaged. Don’t get me wrong. There are things a presenter can do to keep her audience engaged in the topic, and maybe I will write about that next, but it is not solely her job. There is a part that each member of the audience must play. The onus is on you, the audience member, to stay committed and focused. Chances are you are there for a reason. Either you are being paid to be there, in the case of a work meeting or phone calls from clients; you are required to be there, in the case of driver’s education training or school; or you are paying to be there, in the case of continuing legal education, seminars, or webinars. No matter the reason for you to be there, be there and be an active listener.


Active listening is an art form that, once mastered, will keep you connected to people in a way that will enhance your professional and personal life. Active listening involves being present in the moment and taking in everything the other person has to say without waiting for your own chance to speak or interject. You are not just listening for the words the other person is saying, but you are listening to understand and retain the concepts. Watch body language, listen to intonation, rate of speech, and other nonverbal cues that the person is using to convey their message. Look at the other person and let them know you are engaged and focused. If you agree with something, nod your head. If you think of something or you have a question, write it down quickly and go back to listening. Smile and use other facial expressions to communicate that you are actively listening. It will make a difference.


If you are starting to feel your mind wander, figure out what is in it for you. To do that, ask yourself a series of questions. I start off by asking myself, “How does this apply to my daily work?” Could this topic be tangentially related to the work I do on a daily basis in the future? If the answer is no, or it is yes but it is still not enough to keep me motivated to actively listen, then I move on to my next question. 


How does this apply to my personal life? For instance, I have found myself sitting in on more seminars about estate planning than I care to attend. I am not an estate planning paralegal. I am not close to retirement age and feel as though I do not have enough assets to worry about estate planning at my age. Whether that is true or not remains to be seen; however, my parents are both close to retirement age. Is there something in the estate planning continuing legal education that I can learn that would make me better situated to help my parents navigate retirement?


If I am still unable to find a way that the interaction relates to my work or personal life, I ask myself how it relates to my extracurricular activities. Maybe I am a member of a homeowner’s association and need to learn about city ordinances. Maybe I am a member of my kids’ Parent/Teacher Association and need to know about school zoning. Maybe it is not the topic itself that pertains to my extracurricular activities, but the manner in which it is being presented. Did the presenter tell you about some computer program or tool you could use? If asking these questions does not reengage your brain, I have some other tips.   


Treat the interaction as a class. If you do not understand the concept, or you are unable to relay key facts, ideas, and principles to someone else by the end of the interaction, you have failed. This appeals to my competitive nature. I feel it is my job in the world to know as much as I can about as many things as I can. So, if someone is talking to me on the phone and I am having difficulty staying focused, I will sometimes employ this tactic. If they mention a word or phrase that I have never heard before, I ask them what it means. This happens all the time in the legal world, especially with acronyms. People use different words and phrases and I do not always know what they mean, so I ask. Also, if I think I have understood what someone is saying, but I want to be sure that my brain was engaged the whole time, I will repeat the key phrase or concept back to them and ask them to verify that I got it right. Asking questions frequently during an interaction is another way to trigger your brain to stay in the game.


Take notes. When I find myself disengaging, this is the singular thing that helps me stay engaged. I take voracious notes. Sometimes, I test myself to see if I can write down everything that is said. When I am participating in a client meeting, I am listening not only for the facts of their case, but I am also listening to subtext instructions from my attorney. I sometimes come out of an hour-long meeting with a client having gone through an entire legal pad. This helps me not only to stay focused on what is being discussed, it also helps refresh my memory when something from that meeting comes up again during the case. 


When I am attending a seminar for my professional association, one way for me to stay engaged is to be a force for marketing. I can easily connect to Facebook and/or Twitter, which I have linked to each other, and type quick 144-character key concepts about the seminar I am attending. So long as my device is charged and I am not actively engaged in another way, I am likely engaged in social media marketing for my association. If I am listening for the concepts I think other people might be interested in, they may read my Facebook post or my tweet and decide to attend our next event. It is a way for me to stay plugged in, engaged, and do something proactive. Sometimes, I post something that leads to questions I can ask the speaker in real time and respond to on social media. This type of engagement keeps me focused on the interaction and allows me to feel like I am sharing important information with my contacts. Understand, this type of engagement is not appropriate in many situations, so use your best judgment.


Remembering these rules of engagement can help you get the most out of every interaction. Focusing on being an active listener, determining how the interaction relates to your work life, personal life, or extracurricular activities, treating the interaction as a class you must pass and not fail, taking notes, and marketing when appropriate will keep you focused and help you soak up as much information as possible. The next time you find your mind wandering to what you need from the store, what work deadlines you have to complete, or your next European vacation, consider employing one or more of these methods to keep you involved and help you be all there.


 

Kerie S. Trindle Byrne, PLS, has been a legal professional for 19 years and has worked in many different capacities in the law firm environment.  Through determination, hard work, and on-the-job training, Kerie gained the background knowledge and skills to perform as a legal support professional.  Believing education to reinforce her skills was important, Kerie attended Phoenix College and earned her Associate of Arts Degree in Paralegal Studies, obtained her PLS certification from NALS, and obtained her CP certification from NALA.  Kerie has practiced in many areas of law and is currently employed as a family law paralegal with David Horowitz of May, Potenza, Baran & Gillespie, P.C. Kerie is a self-proclaimed Disney addict and when she is not working, teaching, or volunteering with NALS, she is spending time with her husband, kids, family, and friends at Disneyland. 

 

Tags:  CLE  CLE sessions  continuing legal education  legal  legal professional  paralegal  volunteerism 

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Word Tips & Tricks: Comments - Adding & Deleting

Posted By Susan C. King, Wednesday, August 17, 2016

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

 

To insert a Comment:

SELECT Review Tab

SELECT New Comment

   Word Tips and Tricks One

ENTER text in the Comment area.

   Word Tips &Tricks Two

To DELETE a comment: SELECT Comment {example [sk1]} and DELETE or SELECT Delete All Comments in Document.

 
   Word Tips & Tricks

To change name of comment owner i.e. [sk1] to [JD]:

SELECT Review Tab

SELECT Track Changes - Change User Name

 

Replace User name Susan to Jane and Initials:  sk to jd

 

Add a new comment [instructions above] and copy comment information from sk to jd and delete sk comment box.

   Word Tips & Tricks


 

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.

 

 

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