Paralegal Certification Debate Continues!!!!!!


A plaintiff’s lawyer who repeatedly dragged his feet on discovery and missed deadlines in a federal employment case has been hit with a $13,410 fee sanction that he must pay himself.  New Jersey Law Journal, May 6, 2010

No disrespect but my first thought was “did this plaintiff’s lawyer have a paralegal?”  Just a thought.

Just an observation…..

Sometimes being a part of management is not so much fun.  I keep a very small case load just to keep my skills sharp.  As a manager I spend most of my day busy running reports, doing trend analysis, trying to figure out how to manager with less people and more work, attending meetings, re-distribution of work, and my least favorite  — HR problems.

However, being a manager has its rewards.  I like to know that I make a difference in someone’s career and that I have taught someone some thing they did not know before.  One of the best things about my job is the look on a young paralegal’s eyes when she/he discovers a new way of doing something or makes a decision based on a fact that they wouldn’t have known before.

Recently I received a call from a client about a paralegal in my team.  The client felt it necessary to take the time to call me and advise me that the paralegal about whom he was calling me had been a pleasure to work with.  He told me how she went above and beyond to get him the answers and information he needed and how responsive she was at all times.  I can’t begin to express how proud I was at that moment.  I don’t mean to sound condescending, but I was very proud of her.  For those of you who are managers, you know what I’m talking about and you know the feeling that you get when someone on your team gets the recognition he/she deserves.

I asked the client to send me an email detailing this conversation and I told him that I was going to send it to my manager.  That same day the client sent me the email and I forwarded it on to my manager with a note explaining my telephone conversation with the client.  I cc’d the paralegal and thank her for her hard work.

I’m not sure if this happens with all of you.  But being a manager I don’t get the feedback I sometimes need.  Sometimes I feel like I’m spinning my wheels and not getting anywhere.  Then something like this phone call happen and I remember why I’m doing what I’m doing.

I have learned that when my team wins, I win.  I don’t have to be the person in the front line doing the work.  It’s sufficient to know that I am the person who provides the young paralegals with the tools for the job to be done well.  When they win I win.

I love being a paralegal manager.

April 6, 2010, and Naked Access Proposal – What Does a Regulatory Paralegal Do?????

On January 13, 2010, the SEC proposed a rule (“SEC Proposed Rule”) that would make it almost prohibitive for a  broker/dealer from allowing their customers naked access to an exchange.  Naked access allows for the rapidly buying and selling of securities directly on an exchanges using a broker’s (“sponsor”) computer code without exchanges or regulators always knowing who is making the trades.  One of the things that this proposed rule would prevent would be erroneous orders like we saw on Thursday, April 6, 2010, which sent the markets into a tail-spin.

As a regulatory paralegal in a securities firm your job would be to assist our attorney in keeping track of the comments as well as perhaps assist in the research and drafting of a comment letter to be submitted to the SEC.

Unauthorized Practice of Law (UPL) New Jersey

On January 12, 2010, New Jersey Senator, Nicholas Scutari, introduced a bill in Senate Judiciary Committee (Senate, No.: 184) which upgrades the offense for the unauthorized practice of law or UPL from a disorderly persons offense and a fourth and third degree crime.

If passed, the bill, will make the unauthorized practice of law a crime of the fourth degree or a crime of the third degree if certain other circumstances are present, such as: (1) the creation and/or reinforcement of the impression that the person is licensed to practice law; (2) if the person derives any benefit from the UPL; or (3) causes injury to another person.

A crime of a fourth degree is punishable by a term of imprisonment not to exceed 18 months or a fine of $10,000 or both.  A crime of the third degree is punishable by a term of imprisonment between three to five years or a fine not to exceed $15,000 or both.

What a Crazy Day and What a Great Idea

Have you ever had those days when you feel like you did nothing you planned on doing but you’re totally exhausted by the time you finally turn off the computer at work and give your eyes time to adjust to the sunlight that you haven’t seen all day long.

Yeah, well…. that was the type of day I had.  From the minute I walked into the office I don’t think I stopped moving at all.  I think it was around lunch time when I remembered that I had not put on my heels and taken off my “commuting” shoes.  Ohhh, I’m not sure I ever mentioned this.  I take public transportation to work.  I live in the suburbs and work in the city so I drive my car to the parking lot at the train station near my house and commute by train into the City every morning.  This can be good and it can be bad.  I don’t mind it so much.  I’ve been doing it for 3 years now, almost 4.

During my 10 minutes for lunch, as I was standing in line in the cafeteria to pay for the sandwich that I would be eating at my desk, I realized that I was shorter than the rest of the “world” (no heels on).  I realized that I wanted more for this blog.  Yes, I am a paralegal and I love being a paralegal.  But I also love to discuss issues, especially issues that are relevant to what I do.

I am going to take a pages of this blog and discuss my research.  As you may already know if you follow me on Twitter that I am very involved in the Financial Regulatory Reform as well as very much involved in other aspects of broker dealer regulations and clearing broker regulations.

What do I hope to accomplish by doing this?  Well, I hope to accomplish a few things; 1) I hope that when you read my blog you understand that a paralegal is more than just someone who can maintain files can keep you organized.  It’s true, we can do that and most of us are really good at it;  2) you can learn about the regulations that surround us all; 3) I can learn from all of you because you’re going to post comments to my “rants”; and 4) I get to write and do what I absolutely love to do which is learn, research and teach.

Before I embark on this “soap box” of mine I do need to put in a disclaimer on the blog.  I need you all to know that the opinions expressed on this blog are mine alone.  They are not the opinions of my employer and not endorsed by my employer in any way shape or form.  Please refer to my disclaimer page.