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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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Grammar Nuggets: Enclosed Please Find a Lesson on Antiquated Phrases

Posted By Kathy Sieckman, PP, PLS-SC, ACP, Wednesday, October 26, 2016

It seems that in the legal field, it is hard to break old habits—especially in the use of antiquated phrases. One of my least favorite is “enclosed please find.” If you are enclosing something, you only need to say “enclosed is” or “enclosed are” (if you are enclosing more than one thing). That says all that you need to say. You do not need to fill up a piece of paper or an email with words for the sake of thinking you sound more intelligent when getting the point across and saving your reader time will serve the same purpose. Here are more phrases that you should stop using:

  • Above-referenced. If your communication has a “re:” line, and later in the letter you say “In the above-referenced case,” the reader has a tendency to have their eyes drift back up to the re: line and then back down to re-find their place. Instead use the re: line, but if you refer to it again, say “In the Smith v. Jones case” so your reader does not get interrupted from your message.

  • Under separate cover. If you are sending something else separately, say “I am sending you separately (or by FedEx, etc.)."

  • Please note that. This phrase is unnecessary. You do not need to ask them to note something; just tell them and they are smart enough to at least mentally make note of it.

  • I am forwarding. Saying “I am sending” says the same thing without being so formal.

  • Please do not hesitate to contact me. What you are asking them to do is to call or email you, so say “Please call me” or “Please contact me” (giving them the option for the most convenient method for them) instead.

  • At your earliest convenience. Give a specific date or just leave this phrase out.

  • With regard to. Use “regarding” instead.

  • In the event that. It is so much simpler to say “if.”

  • Pursuant to your request. “As requested” says the same thing.

  • The undersigned. You are talking about yourself, so just say “I.”

Speak in correspondence (letters and emails) more like you would speak on the telephone and much less formally. Your clients and coworkers already know you are intelligent. Speaking in such a formal way does not make you any more intelligent.

Ease up and be less formal so your reader does not have to wade through a bunch of stuff that is unnecessary to get to your message. Make it easy for them (and you) by using less formal language in your communications.

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 is currently the Administrator-Arizona for Sacks, Ricketts & Case in Phoenix, Arizona. Kathy earned her Associate of Applied Science degree in Legal Assisting (with distinction) from Phoenix College. In her spare time, when she is not spending time with her husband, two kids, and seven grandchildren or celebrating something with friends, Kathy writes a blog on proofreading tips at

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Career Corner: Understanding the Different Types of Interviews

Posted By Tashania Morris, MSHRM, ALS, CDF, CPC, Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The purpose of an interview is to find the best candidate for the position.  It is a weeding out process.  Companies use a number of different methods to achieve this.  Even with preparation, interviews can be nerve-racking because you never know what will be asked or required.  Being able to recognize the different types of interviews might help you to be better prepared.

One-on-One Interviews

Most people are familiar with this type of interview.  The interview is generally conducted with the interviewer and the candidate.  In this type of interview setting, the interviewer is interested in finding out about the candidate’s knowledge, skills, and abilities.  They may ask standard questions such as:

  • Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why did you leave your last job?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • Tell me about your dream job.

Sometimes in one-on-one interviews, the interviewer might be looking for someone like themselves.  It is a dangerous thing to only hire people in an organization who talk and look alike.  There is little or no room for diversity, and this is often referred to as “mirror hiring.”  If the person is just like you, the company might be missing out on an opportunity to bring in someone with new and innovative ideas.

Panel Interviews


For many, panel interviews are nerve-racking.  They consist of two or more interviewers and the goal is to get as many people involved in the hiring process in order to make better hiring decisions.  Each person in the group or panel plays an important role and is looking for the best match.  They all have different perspectives and questions that will be integral in the decision-making process.  This process allows a number of different people to be a part of the interview process and make unbiased decisions. 

While panel interviews can be stressful, it is important to be yourself in any situation.  Be as honest as possible and ask questions.  This might be a great opportunity for multiple people to see how you communicate and interact when placed in a group.  The panel or group interview may be your second interview and the last opportunity you may have to prove yourself. 

Group Interviews

Group interviews generally consist of a couple of candidates being interviewed at the same time.  This is even more nerve-racking than being in a panel interview because your competitor is sitting next to you and you can hear each other’s responses.  If you mess up, not only will the interviewer know, but the other candidates will as well.  It is important to relax, be positive, and stand out from the competition.

Behavioral Interviews

The goal of the behavioral interview is to use past performance to predict future performance.  They want to see if you have the right competencies to be a good fit for the position.  The questions are normally structured around situations you have had to deal with in the past.  These questions provide the interviewer more information into the candidate’s thought processes. 

  • Tell me about a time you had to deal with a difficult client.
  • Please give me an example of a time you had a conflict with a coworker.  How did you handle it?
  • Tell me about a time you failed and/or struggled on the job.  What did you learn as a result of that?  What did you do to overcome it?
  • Give me an example of a time you led a project at work.  How many people did you lead and what was the outcome?
  • How has your education prepared you for this job?  Give some examples.

Phone and Video Interviews

During a phone interview, it is important to sound upbeat.  Practice with a friend.  Since you are not in front of the interviewer, your personality needs to shine through.  If you sound dull and mundane, the interviewer might get the wrong idea and think you are not interested in the job.  Phone interviews are a great way to conduct pre-interviews.  They give the candidate some information about the job and the interviewer gets to learn about the candidate. 

Video interviews are becoming commonplace.  They are a great way to conduct interviews in the comfort of one’s home.  It is important that even though you are at home you dress the part.  Do not show up to an interview looking like you just got out of bed.  Imagine you are wearing a great top and a pajama bottom and something happens where you are forced to stand up.  This could cost you a chance at the job.  Do everything you would do in an in-person interview.  Make sure your computer is working and sit in a section of your house that has great lighting.

If possible, find a friend to practice with.  The more practice you get, the better you will become.  Researching behavioral interview questions and getting comfortable answering them will help you during the interview process.  Your responses should give the interviewer an idea of how your work product would positively impact the organization.  At the end of the day, companies are in it to make money and they want to see how hiring you is going to improve their bottom line.  Be likeable and smile.  Remember, people tend to want to do business with someone they know, like, and trust. 

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.  She 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

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Email Security

Posted By Lydia A. Goodner (Galaz), Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Updated: Thursday, October 20, 2016

Email Security

As I am attempting to find a way to introduce this article on cyber and email security, I just received an email from the "admirable" Dr. Novo Depa. The email contained the following line of text: "I would like to ask your permission to receive the transfer of 33,150,000 dollars, as a close relative of one of our clients who die in plan crash and who the account is currently on standby for reclamation in one of Bank. If you want to treat this matter with me contact me and reply me immediately."

Although this scam is a bit obvious as to its malicious intentions, there are several sneaky ones that you should be aware of. Recently it has been brought to NALS’ attention that a member received an email that looked as though it was from her chapter president but, in fact, it was a scammer. The email requested bank account information to transfer funds and ended with an email signature of the chapter president’s name.

In light of that, NALS would like to inform you of some ways to protect yourself and those you email.

Where a scammer steps, we must leap!

The first leap we make is through prevention. Watching the warning signs and using precautions can keep you protected. When it comes to receiving emails, please take note of the following:

  1. If it is out of the ordinary, question it
    If a contact typically does not use email as a primary or typical contact, confirm that it is them. Ask them a security question that only THEY would know or ask them to give you some personal information in order to confirm. A sure way is to pick up the phone and call or text them to check the email's validity.

  2. Save trusted contacts into your contact application or email client
    When you receive an email from a trusted source, save that email to your contacts. This will help you differentiate from what you should question and what you can likely trust.

  3. Mass emails from one email contact
    A surefire sign to determining if a trusted email account is hacked is if you start being included in mass emails with multiple recipients. Inform the person that their email has been hacked and advise them to change their password.

  4. Treat email attachments from unknown sources with extreme caution
    NEVER download an attachment from an unknown source; this opens your computer and hardware to hackers. I have personally received an email from "FedEx" saying I missed a package delivery. The email included an attached compressed folder. I typically will mark these emails as "Junk" and delete them from my system. The reason I know these are scams is because FedEx missed deliveries are in the form of paper notices.

  5. Do not trust financial transactions requested from unknown sources
    Any financial transaction requested out of the blue should ALWAYS be questioned.

Oh no! I’ve been hacked or I received a scam email.

  1. If you received a scam email, mark it as "Junk" and/or delete it. Do not click links or open attachments.

  2. If your email has been compromised, change your passwords to something more secure. Use secure 8-10 character password that includes a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and other symbols, if the system allows. Then notify your contacts that if they receive any more spam emails from your address to let you know.

Email and web are wonderful tools that assist us in our jobs and life. It is not something to be afraid of, but we should be cautious on where we click and what information we give out.

Cyber Security Resources:

Tags:  cyber security  email security  online safety 

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Word Tips & Tricks: Table Tricks & Shortuts

Posted By Susan C. King, Monday, October 17, 2016
Updated: Thursday, October 13, 2016


Microsoft Word: Tips & Tricks Header 



Place Cursor within Table -
ALT + 5 (on numeric pad) + RIGHT CLICK + Table Properties + Alignment to the Right + Change Text wrapping from None to Around


Inserting Tabs & Indents


Insert a tab into a table


Insert an indent into a table



[Hover beside row until the white arrow appears + CLICK = Select Row]


[Hover over column until the black arrow appears + CLICK = Select Column]






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


Tags:  editing legal papers  microsoft word 

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I Quit! (Do You Really Want to Do That?)

Posted By Charlene Sabini, PLS, ALP, Thursday, October 13, 2016

Who among us has not thought about changing jobs, looking into a new job, or simply walking out on the one we have? Does the phrase “Take This Job and Shove It!” suddenly have meaning? It is normal to feel this way about our work at times, and it is definitely an emotional experience. But quitting a job actually requires emotional control—and the application of practical skills. Len Schlesinger, author and professor at Harvard Business School, maintains that how you end your tenure at a job is just as important as how you begin that tenure.


Something I have done in the past to temper my impulse to leave a job is to actually write down two columns of my current job characteristics: the PROs and the CONs and be really, really honest about them.  If you are questioning your current situation, try stringently screening how you feel about your job. Equally examine the comfortable things about your work alongside the uncomfortable things.


Here are some random things I have asked myself in the past and placed on a PRO-and-CON list:

  • How long have you been on the job? Is that important?
  • Is the pay worth staying for?
  • Does your boss talk more than listen?
  • Are you learning new skills?
  • Have you utterly maximized your learning there?
  • Does this job bring integrity to the legal community?
  • Is your boss (or a colleague) an emotionally troubled person?
  • Do you have coworkers or are you solo in the office? Which do you prefer?
  • Are you being asked to do anything unlawful, unethical, or unhealthy? Are you being threatened?
  • Do you have better options elsewhere?  Or not?
  • Try focusing on the PRO side of your evaluation: pick one or two good things and ask if these are truly valuable.
  • Be honest about the CON side and see if there is ANY room for improvement on your part.
  • Are you allowing emotions to make your decisions? Can you substitute intellect instead?

You may think of more questions to ask yourself. Feel free to create your own list. Meanwhile, experts suggest that you consider some of the following in the process:


Is your job boring? Long-term feelings of boredom at work—or awkward periods of idleness—could be a warning sign that you are not doing what you want to be doing. Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert, leadership coach, and author says, “If you are no longer challenged in your position and have tried communicating with your boss to no avail, this may be a sign that it is time to leave.” 


Is your boss insufferable? As a management professor Merideth Ferguson once said, “Most people quit bosses, they do not quit jobs.” Your boss’s demeanor could affect your personal life as well as your workplace life.


Your skills are not being put to use and you are not growing. This is an extraordinarily frustrating problem in some workplaces. You educated yourself, you have acquired valuable skills, you have ambitions—and there is no place to use them all on the job. This parallels the problem of no-growth on the job. You want to become more and you cannot. It might be time to seek work elsewhere.


You are not being paid enough. It is easy to worry about money, but you do not want that to haunt you every day of the week. If your management does not see fit to raise your pay after a long time with the firm, it might be time to research other employers. If the job is tolerable, however, and the pay rate is good, you might wish to hang in a while to gather a nest egg. If you are not making even a slight profit, consider alternative employment.


You cannot trust coworkers or even your boss. Are they engaged in unethical or illegal activities? Never, ever do anything that could harm your career. Period.


And there is always job burnout. Mental exhaustion from work can lead to many other problems: loss of performance, loss of energy, and health issues. You can only keep up that kind of work for just so long. It is time to take a serious look at the concept of change. You have physical needs, emotional needs, mental needs, and even spiritual needs. Is your job interfering with these?


People are changing jobs more frequently than they used to. The rise of temporary employment agencies and entirely new technology industries has produced a new approach to employment and entirely new types of careers. According to recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average worker today stays at a job for just 4.6 years. That is a long way from the career-long, lifelong factory jobs our forefathers had. This has led to more frequent job terminations and the sensitivity it takes to plan these exits without destroying yourself or burning bridges unnecessarily.  


How to depart gracefully. If you are unhappy with your position, do not overtalk it among coworkers. Do not tell different stories about it to different people—be consistent. Inconsistency can start waves of gossip that will confuse the employer and ultimately cause an atmosphere of awkwardness. Former coworkers, too, are a critical part of your network and you want to maintain and respect those relationships. If it is comfortable to do so, thank certain colleagues who have helped you along the way while you were there. You might even write them a formal thank-you note. Again, gestures like this help cement relationships along your professional journey.


Give at least the traditional two weeks’ notice. You might even offer to work longer if that will create a smoother transition. Notify your boss in person. Ask him or her how best to use your remaining days at the job. That is both polite and professional. Leaving a good impression behind your departure is a good investment in your future. Also, you need not be secretive about where you will be working next. Everyone will find out anyway.


How not to quit. The following 21 job terminations, which easily could have been labeled “How Not to Quit Your Job,” come from a survey of more than 600 HR managers at companies with 20 or more employees in the United States and Canada. The survey was done by Menlo Park, California-based Office Team, a staffing company that specializes in placing skilled administrative professionals:


  1. An employee baked a cake with her resignation letter written on top.
  2. A marching band accompanied one man in his announcement. A worker threw a brick through the window with the words “I quit” written on it.
  3. An employee left a sticky note explaining he was quitting.
  4. An individual sent an email blast to all staff.
  5. A worker threw a cup of coffee and walked out.
  6.  One employee bragged to his colleagues that it was his last day, but failed to let the HR manager or his boss know.
  7. One woman created a music video to explain she was leaving.
  8. A worker sent his boss a text message.
  9. One person quit via Facebook.
  10. An employee submitted a message through the company website.
  11. Someone resigned on a video conference call.
  12. One person made his wife call to say he was not coming back.
  13. A worker sent a text to his colleague and asked her to forward it to management.
  14. An employee’s parents let the company know their son was resigning.
  15. A person went to the bathroom and did not return.
  16. One worker packed up her belongings and walked out without a word.
  17. Someone left for lunch and never came back.
  18. A worker stormed out in the middle of a meeting without explanation.
  19.  An employee said she was stepping out to buy new boots, but was never seen again.
  20. An employee just stood up and said, “I quit.”


Robert Hosking, Office Team’s executive director concludes, “How you quit a position can leave a lasting impression, so make sure to exit on the best terms possible. Doing a great job when you start a new role is expected. Doing a great job as you leave cements your reputation for professionalism.”



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. She is a proofreader on the NALS Editorial Board and has contributed articles/essays 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.


Inspirations were variously obtained from the following sources:

Sallie Krawcheck, LinkedIn, July 10, 2014, 10:25 a.m.

Aaron Guerrero, Contributor, U.S. News & World Report, Aug. 12, 2013, at 9:35 a.m.

Rebecca Knight,, How to Quit Your Job Without Burning Bridges, Dec. 4, 2014

Olivera Perkins, The Plain Dealer, February 16, 2015, at 5:15 p.m.

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