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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, chapter and members spotlights, and more! Articles are written and provided by our own members, Resource Center Staff, and our community of legal professionals. All content and articles will be published directly to our NALS.org website and linked to the NALS docket newsletter. This email venue for NALS will inform you of upcoming deadlines and monthly education product highlights from our online store. Copy + paste this link to sign up for updates: https://visitor.r20.constantcontact.com/manage/optin?v=001JH2FKM034UVKDAYd6vkCfwIybKDCjBA-5dH7wJhSTjXN-eWSgRsnK6Q_LdfewGHvnwcVoakgipMvhoKPHed-94e5siy7js7FrJp_sV9e8Aw%3D


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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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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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Want to Know More About the Law and Your Specialty?

Posted By Allison Streepey, B.A., CRS, PLS, Monday, August 8, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, August 2, 2016

American Bar AssociationAssociate Membership in the American Bar Association Awaits You


The American Bar Association (ABA) now has a new category of membership for those who are interested in the work of the ABA.  The Associate Membership is for paralegals, law librarians, and other non-lawyers interested in the law.  The mission of the ABA is to improve the administration of justice through practical resources for its members through equally serving “our members, our profession and the public by defending liberty and delivering justice as the national representative of the legal profession.”   


Why should you do this?  If your goal is to become proficient in your chosen specialty, this is the opportunity to sharpen your skills through networking with colleagues, increasing your expertise, and expanding your opportunities.  Associate Membership is $177 per year, beginning in September.  If you join before that, the additional amount will be prorated and included with your annual dues.  For an additional charge, there are specialty groups to join with your membership which allow “more in-depth examination of issues, regulations, and national trends.”  Specialty groups include Business Law, Family Law, Litigation, Real Property, Trust and Estate Law, among many others.  There are forums available for you to “explore and monitor new areas of law as they emerge on a national scale.”  Membership includes the annual subscription to the monthly ABA Journal as well as online resources including the specialty areas.  The ABA website has a directory of ABA Approved Paralegal Education Programs should you decide to continue your legal education with a degree.  For more information, see http://www.americanbar.org/membership/dues_eligibility.html.


Allison Streepey, B.A., CRS, PLS, is currently the Departmental Business Manager for the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences’ Office of Educational Development.  She worked in research administration for many years following a legal assistant role in contract, real estate, and estate planning law.  She loves being a member of NALS and learning about the members and the activities of NALS’ legal education.

Tags:  American Bar Association  legal career  legal education  legal professional  legal professional training  membership 

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I Want To Write, But Where Do I Start?

Posted By Allison Streepey, B.A., CRS, PLS, Monday, August 8, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, August 2, 2016

I Want To Write But Where Do I Start?Writing is like a muscle. You have to use it, work it, grow it. Like any other skill, it can be learned but it take lots of practice.  Nowadays, anyone can be “published” immediately through any social media, blog, or YouTube.  Maybe you want more than that.  Think and dream about what your purpose in writing could be.  Is it to report events and activities or to educate others in NALS?  Do you dream of writing the great American novel?
Where do you start to do this?  Start where you are.  You could start quietly by journaling—just for you—and look at it later with “fresh eyes,” i.e., like you have never seen it before.  Or be brave and join the editorial board of your local, state, or national NALS group.  You will see lots of writing and get the hang of it.  Be braver and consider writing for your local NALS chapter.  Talk about something you know and tell us the story.  You probably have something to teach or are an expert on something that has not been presented before and you could really help a lot of people. 
Suddenly, opportunities will appear.  You might notice a topic that has not been covered in your local NALS chapter meetings or the NALS state chapter events.  Maybe you have a different take on a topic or know an easier way to do something.  Maybe there is a subject that you are curious about and want to learn more and would be interested in doing research and interviews to discover the answers to your questions.  Others probably have the same questions and want answers too.
Think of it as a puzzle.  Basically, it is taking an idea and expanding it, giving it purpose.  Sometimes purpose comes first or is in the publication’s plans—sometimes it comes after you work on your information for a while.  Think about what you are trying to accomplish with your article. Are you trying to motivate, ask a question and get the audience to think, or are you just reporting?
Writing is really about editing.  What happens is that you write a while and let it rest, go back and look at it and edit.  Repeat that process many times until you think it is your best effort and the article is complete.  Your job is to make the words say exactly what you mean for them to say.  That is where the work comes in.  Sometimes the information comes to you fast and sometimes it does not.  Sometimes the editing and rearrangement is clear and sometimes it is not.  That is why deadlines help—whether they are self-imposed or from the editor of the publication.
What are you afraid of—that you might be criticized?  Okay.  Think of it as an experiment.  It usually takes many tries to succeed.  Try again.
Start simple and look for an opportunity to write a short article, just a paragraph to report about a class or event you attended for your local NALS chapter newsletter.  Remember that those who were not able to go to the event really want to hear what you have to say.  After producing several short reports, you will find that writing gets easier and you will soon begin to write longer pieces.
There are so many books and resources to help you with your writing.  Having a good grammar base is very helpful.  Use The Gregg Reference Manual [1] or websites like Proof That Blog, [2] written by NALS' Kathy Sieckman, PP, PLS -SC, ACP, or Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Grammar Tips. [3]
One of the best books to have readily available is Strunk and White’s The Element of Style, [4] which is simple and beautiful, suggested by many colleges and law schools.
But that brings up another good point—how to grow your skill.  Practice.  A lot of practice. This means you will need time, effort, and a recording device like a tape or message recorder, a computer, a journal, a notebook, or whatever works for you.
You might need to schedule time to write.  Serious writers write every day. (Can you imagine?)  Some have an idea for an article and schedule 30 minutes a day and work on one section at a time.  Some writers use free-style journaling by just letting the words flow and reviewing later to see what comes out of it.  And there are writers that start with an outline or a question that they would like to answer. 
Having someone review and give real feedback (more here, less here, and asking questions like, “What did you mean here?”) is one of the most important parts of writing.  Please understand that the editor’s and proofreader’s jobs are to make you look good.  So you see, advice is always welcome.  Do not take it personally.  Your paper is not about you—it is a thing, a product to be polished enough to shine.
It is good to have a filing system to keep your good ideas and build on them, to have a list of article ideas, to keep articles you are working on handy, and to hold your research.  Some writers never throw out any writing that was edited out of an article, but recycle it into something else.  This would be good if all your work is in one highly defined and unique area—like an expert!
What are you waiting for?  You can do this and you might surprise yourself and discover that you just need to build that muscle.  I know you have something to say and there are plenty of us who want to hear it.  Go for it!  It is an adventure.  Try it, then wait and see what develops from your effort.

Allison Streepey, B.A., CRS, PLS, is the Business Administrator for the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Office of Educational Development. She has over 15 years’ experience in pre- and post-award research grants administration and in serving as the Senior Grants Administrator for the UAMS Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.  She also served as an IRB Administrator in the Institutional Review Board office for the protection of human subjects in research.  Her current legal experience involves federal and state grants and contracts, employment law, and federal research grants administration. Allison is thrilled to be a member of the NALS Editorial Board and enjoys reading all the articles and writing.


1 Sabin, W. (2010). The Gregg Reference Manual: A Manual of Style, Grammar, Usage, and Formatting Tribute Edition 11th Edition. New York City, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.
2 http://proofthatblog.com/about-proof-that/
3 http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/grammar-girl
4 Strunk, W., & White, E.B. (1999). The Elements of Style. London, United Kingdom: Pearson PLC.

Tags:  career corner  editing legal papers  legal access  legal assistant  legal career  legal education  legal networking  legal professional  nals  paralegal  paralegal career  writing legal documents 

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Career Corner: Staying Positive During a Job Search

Posted By Tashania Morris, MSHRM, ALS, CDF, CPC, Monday, August 8, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Career Corner: Staying Positive During a Job SearchI’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed. ~ Michael Jordan

Being in the job market can be hard; it comes with a lot of uncertainties, especially when you have financial obligations.  The butterflies you get during an interview mixed with the anxiousness right after may cause some anxiety.  Then there is the deafening silence—waiting to hear back from the company—anticipating whether you got the job.  You have read every article about how to land your first job, spoken to every mentor, and have been networking like crazy.  Still nothing.

The phone is not ringing and, when it does, it is not from a recruiter—more like a bill collector. Your inbox is filled with emails from companies and it was not because they chose you.  It is a generic email informing you they have chosen to go with another candidate.  This can affect a person’s self-esteem and confidence level.  Let’s be honest.  It is hard to stay positive during a job search that has become stagnant.  You have done everything you can do, having checked all the boxes and still nothing.  

I recently watched an interview with Meryl Streep on The Graham Norton Show talking about her audition for a part in King Kong.  She stated she was brought in to see Dino De Laurentis, Sr. by his son.  Upon seeing her, he asked his son (in Italian), “why did you bring me this ugly thing?”  She responded by saying, “I understand what you are saying.  I am sorry I am not beautiful enough to be in King Kong.”  Luckily she did not hold on to his opinion and let it destroy her to the point of never auditioning again.  She continues to have a very successful career in the film industry and has won many awards since.  During your job search not every employer will see your talent and you might get a lot of no's because you are not what the employer is looking for.  It does not mean that you are not good.  It just means they do not think you are a good match for their organization.  Developing a thick skin, nursing your wounds quickly, and not dwelling on it will do wonders for your career.  It is a learning process. 

Do not give up

No matter how hard it gets DO NOT GIVE UP.  Keep applying, networking, and remaining persistent.  When I decided to change my career and start over, I was really motivated by an alumnus who spoke at one of our monthly events.  She encouraged us not to get deterred by the no's and I have not forgotten this.  She reminded us if we stay in the game we will eventually get a yes.  She was right.  Apply for jobs even when you do not feel like it.  Tell people in your network you are looking even if you are a little embarrassed.  Whatever you do, do not give up. 


Create a strategy

Creating a job search strategy can be very effective.  Confront it like a challenge you must win.  Simply put, this should become your full-time job until you find a job.  Think about the different avenues that you want to take and the companies you want to work for.  Get organized and keep track of the jobs you are applying for.  Target companies and research the hiring managers.  Get creative—this is a game you must win.  Get dressed as if you are going to work and take your laptop to the nearest Starbucks and/or library and do your job search there.  A change of scenery might do wonders for your attitude.   

Tell everyone and network

Let everyone know you are actively looking for a job.  For some, this is the hardest part, especially if you are an extremely private person.  If you keep it to yourself, how will anyone know that you need help?  Tell your friends, family, and the people with whom you do business.  You would be surprised how many people your barber or beautician may know.  They might be able to introduce you to a few connections. 

Get outside of your comfort zone.  Networking is a great way to meet people and make some valuable connections.  Some of the people you meet along the way might become instrumental in your job search, in mentoring you, and in coaching you.  Networking should be genuine; it should not be self-serving and/or superficial.  People can sense this a mile away.  While networking, be ready to help others as well.  Do not network only when you need a job—do it periodically throughout the year because if you only show up when you need a job, your credibility might be questioned.  Be intentional about the people you meet.  Some networking events are free.  Try attending a couple of the free events if you cannot afford the paid events right now.  Here are some great sites that might help you when looking for a networking event.  Sometimes being with like-minded people can give you a well-needed energy boost.

  • Meet up.  This consists of a number of different groups in a number of different areas.  Think of a group and it is probably on the website.  According to their website, they currently have 26.57 million people—248,265 meet up groups in 182 countries.  Their website boasts they currently have 606,096 monthly meet-ups, 3.82 million RSVPs, and 2,185 meet-ups happening now.  Search for groups and opportunities on this site that might be good for your career.  http://www.meetup.com/
  • Eventbrite.  This is an amazing resource for free events that are currently happening in your city.  According to their website, they host at least 2 million events yearly.  Networking with people inside and outside of your industry is a great idea because you never know where your connections may lead.  www.eventbrite.com

  • Network after Work.  These are networking events with a varied group of people representing different industries.  The cost is normally $15 if paid in advance or $25 at the door.  www.networkafterwork.com

  • Local Bar Associations.  Your local bar associations will also host networking events.  This might be a great way to network and meet other individuals within the industry.  Use this link to access the various bar associations in the United States:  http://goo.gl/eEyfui

  • Local Paralegal Associations.  If you are a member of your local paralegal association, you might be able to meet people there as well.  Paralegal Today has a listing of local paralegal associations and their chapters:  http://goo.gl/Rki2YG 

  • NALS…the association for legal professionals also has local chapters that you may want to visit.  It is a great organization with a lot of resources for its members.  http://goo.gl/zmcm7v 

It is hard to stay positive during a job search if you keep applying and nothing is bearing fruit.  You have gone on a couple of interviews and nothing.  Napoleon Hill once said, “Everyone faces defeat.  It may be a stepping-stone or a stumbling block, depending on the mental attitude with which it is faced.”  Having the right attitude can make a big difference.  If you go on an interview with a bad attitude, the interviewer can sense it.  Surround yourself with friends and family who can help to motivate and bring out the best in you.  Avoid being around negative people.  Make sure you have the right expectations.  Not every job lead or interview you attend is going to be successful, but do not get bogged down by the no's.  Remember, perseverance will take you places that talent will not.  There are many talented unsuccessful people who do not have the drive or will to go out there and grind.  Try to stay positive even when it becomes difficult.  All the best on your job search.

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 Tashania_m@hotmail.com.

NALS Career Center

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Amylyn Riedling PP PLS-SC2019 NALS Board of Directors
Mathew M. Sagum2019 Board of Directors

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