Happy Thanksgiving

I want to take this time to thank you, all my readers.  Thank you all for the inspiration.  I also want to thank all the other paralegal bloggers who have inspired me to start this blog and have allowed me to be exposed and receive so many blessings.

Please, this year, while you are sitting at the dinner table with your families, take a moment to think about those who have no home to go home, for those that are fighting for our country over-seas, for those that are down on their luck and need a break.

Have a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving.


The Office Holiday Party

It’s the holiday season and for many of us that means there will be office parties, luncheons, maybe even drinks with the co-workers.  If you’re anything like me, you look forward to spending some time outside of the office with everyone.

There are a few rules you should keep in mind when taking part in these office festivities.

It is ok to be friendly and have a drink with your co-workers.  However, keep in mind that these people are not your childhood buddies and one drink is more than enough to be social.  Not drinking at all is probably the best approach but if you’re going to drink make sure you keep it to a minimum.  Remember that the next day you are still going to need to be respected and get your job done.  Going shot for shot with the boss is not going to win you a promotion any time soon.  On the contrary, it may wind up getting you fired.

What you wear says a lot about you:  You have been invited to an office function.  When choosing what to wear remember that you are not dressing for a club, hanging with your friends or a day at the country club.  Find something comfortable but appropriate.  For the guys a pair of slacks and a button down is always a safe choice.  For the women a nice knee length dress or skirt with a twin set or sweater are great choices.  This is not the time to express your individuality.

For those that are lucky enough to be able to bring their significant others to the party please remember that public displays of affection can make others very uncomfortable.

Remember to mingle.  There is no reason you should sit at your table all night.  Remember to use this opportunity to get to know people in other departments.  Maybe you’ve always wanted to know what a certain department does.   This is the time to introduce yourself to someone in that department and ask questions.  Maybe even mention that you are willing to volunteer to take on some of their work just so you can learn.  Remember that networking is very important.

There will be pictures.  Lots of pictures and in today’s social networking world a lot of those pictures will wind up on the internet, on someone’s FaceBook page or Twitter.  Remember to not give anyone reason to question your actions.

If you have to ask whether or not you should do something, most likely your should not do it.  Be popular because you’re smart and a good paralegal, not because you got someone’s number at the office holiday party.

High School Students And Internships

As I have mentioned before, I work in the legal department of a large Wall Street firm.  Like many large companies my company does a lot of work in the community.  The reasons are not important for this article and I do not wish to debate them.  Suffice it to say that we (the firm) provide many opportunities to the students of two of the local high schools which are two inner-city high schools.

Every September and October, we have a class of high school seniors come in and work at the company through our High School Internship Program.   The Program is one of the few paid internship programs still in existence.

In the legal department we normally hire one student every academic year and if it works out we may offer that student employment through the summer on a part-time basis while they are getting ready to go on to college.  All in all it’s a win/win situation.  We, the company, get some of the entry-level work done and the student gets exposure to all that is available to our full time employees.  That includes continuing education classes, industry information seminars, etc.

As the paralegal supervisor, every year I am in charge of supervising the students.  I make sure I expose them to a variety of matters and ensure that they work with every attorney on a one-on-one basis.

The first thing the firm, as a whole, does with the student, on the first day of their internship, is provide them with a full day of training about the financial industry.  Here they learn about compliance issues, anti-money laundry issues, we have speakers from each department come and give them a brief introduction of what our firm does and what services we provide.  We do not expect them to retain all the information but at least be knowledgeable enough to understand what it is that we do and know enough to understand some of the compliance red-flags, if they are faced with any throughout their time with us.

HR does a great job at this introduction into the firm.  I don’t meet the students until almost the end of the day where I go pick them up at the Learning Center to bring them up to the legal department and introduce them to everyone.

This year, when I went to pick up my intern, they were running a bit late with the end of their training session so I sat on the side-lines and had the opportunity to listen in on what was being said.

They were at the point of the Question and Answer part of the training and HR was advising them of our dress code policy and attendance policy.  I know these are high school students and some may have never been exposed to someone working in an office setting.  However, I was amazed to hear some of the questions being asked.

I thought I put out a short list of what is not appropriate to wear at work:

  1. Jeans (unless it’s denim day and you receive an email about it);
  2. If you raise your arms and I can see your belly button, you should rethink that shirt;
  3. Sneakers/tennis shoes (this is never appropriate);
  4. Spandex pants (I don’t care how cute you look in them);
  5. Nose and lip piercings (take those off if you want to be taken seriously);
  6. Tattoos (If you have one already there’s really nothing we can do about it, but if you’re thinking of getting one make sure it’s not somewhere where it will be seen);
  7. Uggs (they are cute, I wear them for my commute and they are sooooo toasty, but in the office make sure you have on appropriate footwear);
  8. Flip-flops (Again, I love them in the summer.  I probably live in them on weekends but they are not work appropriate)
  9. Skin tight or very short skirts (If the skirt is something you will be wearing to the club (and I don’t mean a country club) on a Friday or Saturday night, you should not be wearing it at work);

I hope this helps some of you who will be looking for your first job or internship in the next few months.  Good luck and let me know how it goes.

A Surprise in my In-Box

The day began like any other day, except for the fact that I just started my well deserved (if I say so myself) stay-cation.  I ran some errands, went shopping, watched some mindless television and sat at my computer to read and write some emails.

To my surprise I had an email from Paralegal.net nominating my blog as one of the best paralegal blogs as well as an email from Rasmussen College featuring my blog as one of the 15 blogs paralegals will love.  I didn’t know what to say.  Actually, I still don’t know what to say.   Thank you to Paralegal.net and thank you to all of you who have read and continue to read my blogs.  I am truly happy to be among some of the best paralegal bloggers EVER.  Some of the blogs I am very familiar with and are a part of my morning reading routine on the way to the office while I sit on the train with my iPad.  Some I am not familiar with but plan on becoming very well acquainted with them from now one and adding them to my RSS reader.  I ask you to please take a few minutes of your day, each day, and read these blogs.

I often hear people say that if you do what you love you never have to work one day in your life.  It is true.  Being a paralegal, although at times frustrating, is more of a passion to me than a job.  I chose this career, it did not choose me.

Thank you all again for spending time reading my blog and I hope you continue to enjoy it as much as I enjoy writing it.

Now, I’m going back to my vacation.  I may even write a blog post or two…. who knows.

How I use my iPad

My iPad has recently become my new obsession.  I cannot get on the train without it and I’m sure in the summer, while on vacation, I won’t be able to go to the beach or the pool without bringing it along.  I’m wondering if my husband is going to start getting jealous.  In order to appease him we got him his own shiny black iPad (his without 3G, since he doesn’t go more than a few minutes without internet access).  Gosh I can’t wait until New Jersey Transit gets free WiFi on their trains.

So, how do I use this great Steve Jobs’ invention, you ask?  Millions of ways.

  1. I read the WSJ, NY Times, Bloomberg, Legal Periodicals.  There is a great free app  for the WSJ you can buy in the AppStore and for $17.00 per month you can download the daily content of the Journal.  It gets updated every time there is some news update.  If you don’t have the 3G version of the iPad you can download it at home before you leave the house to go to the work and you can then read the paper just as if you bought the paper version.  The New York Times and Bloomberg are free applications with no monthly charge and the legal periodicals normally have a charge and I read those on the Internet.
  2. Vizio.  I promised myself a few months ago that I would go green.  I can’t stand all the magazines laying around the house and all the paper that gets wasted and thrown out every week in the recycling bin.  Who knows what they are doing with it? Zinio is another application for the iPad and iPhone that you can download for free and purchase most of the magazines you currently read in paper version.  You can then either save them or discard them once you are done with them.
  3. Social Networking. Although there is no application for Facebook yet, because I am able to get on Safari I am able to keep in contact with my friends and family.  Twitter, I have downloaded the free application called “Twitter” how clever hahaha, and am able to keep track of all the tweets and keep annoying all my followers with my updates on a regular basis.  LinkedIn, there is also a free app which I downloaded and enables me to keep in touch with my contacts as well as check out recent updates.
  4. iBooks.  Hands down maybe one of my most favorite applications.  I love to read.  I probably read two to three books a month.  Currently I’m reading “The Hellhound of Wall Street.”  iBooks is such a great experience.  I also have the Kindle application (also a free application on the iPad) but I have to confess that the iBooks reader is so much prettier.
  5. FarmVille, We Rule, Restaurant, City Story… For the kid in me, I have downloaded as many games as I can possibly keep track of.  My husband laughs every time the iPad bings (I have it set to let me know when my crops are done).  A girl has to have a good time too right?
  6. YouTube.  I love to check out new YouTube videos on how to use things.  Most recently I’m trying to find reviews for the iPad and games that I like so I can learn to play them better and use my iPad to it’s highest potential. 
  7. The Internet. Yeah I troll the web for new content and ideas and I’m now doing it more and more on my iPad.  I’m starting to think that I’m cheating on my Mac book but the iPad is just so much more convenient.

So these are all the ways I use my new toy.  Remember, I’m always read to hear your comments.  Any other thoughts on how I can use my iPad?  Leave a comment.  I’d love to hear from you.

The Paralegal