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All the news that's fit to print!
  • 28 Jul 2011 6:51 PM | Anonymous

    Well, today was the elections for the vacant board positions as well as the annual business meeting for the members of the affiliate associations. The Mississippi Paralegal Association did a presentation on "Attracting and Retaining Members Through Technology and Social Media".  They have started doing simulcasts of their monthly CLE luncheons.  They use Skype for the broadcast.  Members register for the program, use paypal to pay and then the member is given access to the broadcast.  I think this is something we should look into.  According to Sarah O'Neal, their NALA Liaison, it cost them approximately $100 to buy the microphone they needed to attach to the laptop.  If there are less than 25 people hooked up, there is no cost.  Over that and there was a nominal charge.  I will image the materials when I return and distribute.  We should look into this.  My laptop has skype - I've just never used it. . .  maybe it's time to check it out.

    After this presentation there were various roundtable discussions.  Topics ranged from growing membership to how to work with the state bar associations.  All were informative and ideas where "batted around".

    After the roundtable discussions, was the presentation of the Annual Affiliated Associations Awards.  Imagine my surprise when my name was called as a recipient.  Thank you all for nominating me.  I can't tell you how much it meant to me to have my work recognized by the board.  And, Jessica, just for you . . . .

     

      More tomorrow.

  • 27 Jul 2011 6:52 PM | Anonymous

    Today was the first full day of the convention.  The opening address, by Michael Sawicki, was very informative.  He even provided the internet addresses for several free search engines to use when searching for personal information on the internet.  He also suggested searching unusual site - i.e., a site for would be vampires. . . .  He also suggested searching blogs and sited several cases where blog data was detrimental to the other side.  I am hoping I can try them out later tonight. 

    This afternoon was the affiliated associations meeting.  We were able to meet the candidates running for various offices.  There are actually two candidates for NALA District representatives for our district.  The candidates were articulate and well qualified for the positions they seek.  The candidates were asked  questions by audience members during the question and answer portion of the meeting.  Surprisingly enough, when asked if NALA would work with a specific state bar organization to help impliment licensing - the answer was - No! 

    We were also provided with a demonstration of the new site on NALA.ORG where you can review all of the CLE credits which you have submitted.  There is a link on the left hand side of the home page that will take you to the sign-in page.  You can even print out a pdf report of your credits.  It was great.

    Lastly, there was a discussion of the new computer-based CP Examination.  It seemed unanimous that all of the graders really like the new system.  NALA has set up the computer based examination so that it can be administered by a school or law firm willing to proctor the test.  Phoenix University (as in Phoenix, Arizona) agreed to hold the test at their school, at no cost to the people taking the test.  The school later decided that it wanted to hold a CP review and the local paralegal association worked with them on creating a review.  The review classes were offered as a non-credit course and was taught by the teachers at the university.  I think we should talk with Miami-Dade and FIU and see if either one of them would be willing to volunteer their computer labs so that our review students could take the test at no additional cost. 

    Anyway, that is it for today's events - except the reception - where I am headed now.

    More tomorrow.

  • 27 Jul 2011 7:52 AM | Anonymous

    Got into Dallas/Ft Worth to the 25th straight day of 3 digit temperatures - I think it was the 25th, but it might have been the 26th.

    Last night was the early registration for the convention with an early bird reception.  It was really great meeting people face-to-face that I've been emailing for the past two years.  And it was nice meeting new people and seeing people I met last year.  Some of the vendors were already set up and manning their booths.  It was nice meeting new people for vendors who sponsor our luncheons, like U.S. Legal Support.  There was a "big hair" contest which everyone loved with a 21" beehive taking first prize.  Today we begin the actual seminar.  The keynote address is by Michael Sawicki and his topic is "I saw it on Facebook . . . How do I use it at Trial?"  Sounds familiar. 

    Well, going down to convention now.  More later.

  • 24 Nov 2010 10:24 AM | Anonymous member

    Thank you to all who participated in SFPA's Thanksgiving event for SafeSpace.  The donations made by our members were warmly welcomend, and the residents truly enjoyed the feast provided! 

    SFPA will continue to support SafeSpace with donations collected during our Holiday Party on December 14, 2010 at P.F. Chang's in the Mary Brickell Village.  Hope to see you there!  Don't forget to RSVP, and sign up online if you are planning to attend: http://www.sfpa.info/ViewEvent.ashx?eventId=242703.

    Here are some pictures from the event for you to enjoy:

         

          

  • 17 Nov 2010 1:07 PM | Anonymous member

    From Florida Bar News:

    “FRP grandfathering provision to sunset on March 1, 2011” - The grandfathering  provision of the eligibility requirement to become an FRP will sunset March 1, 2011. After March 1, 2011, a paralegal will not be able to use grandfathering to register as an FRP and must meet the education/work experience or certification requirement for eligibility. For more information about the FRP program and the application for becoming an FRP, visit www.floridabar.org/frp.

  • 22 Oct 2010 11:01 AM | Anonymous member

    The Florida Bar held its annual convention from June 23rd through June 26th at the Boca Raton Resort and Club in Boca Raton, Florida. Below is a summary of that meeting along with some updates that have transpired since.

     

    The Committee officially (although briefly) announced the proposed Resolution presented to the Board of Governors regarding the implementation of a study committee to recommend whether or not to regulate the paralegal profession by establishing mandatory guidelines.

     

    Recently, the Florida Bar’s Board of Governors voted in favor of forming the sub-committee. The committee is composed of 9 members -- 3 attorneys appointed by the president, 3 paralegals appointed by the president and 3 members of the Board of Governors. You may read the Florida Bar’s announcement and the committee’s charge here. According to Scott Rubin’s recent discussion of Rule 20 and the sub-committee at the Dade County Bar Association Florida Registered Paralegal Committee meeting in October, of most importance is the question of whether the Supreme Court has authority to regulate paralegals (which initial investigation by the committee indicates that it does). In January, the sub-committee will discuss their findings on whether the Supreme Court can regulate paralegals. Additionally, according to Rubin, the sub-committee will determine how Rule 20 may be mandatorily implemented, but it will not write the rules as to any particular scheme (that will go to another Bar committee). Also, please take a look at the August 3, 2010 Daily Business Review article regarding this recent change for more details.

     

    Additionally, the following issues were discussed during the meeting:

    • (1)         Would a grandfathered paralegal need to re-apply if their designation is suspended and/or revoked?
    • (2)         Can government-employed FRPs pay dues in installments?
    • (3)         Should an FRP program informational brochure be distributed?
    • (4)         What were the results of FAPA’s FRP survey?

    I.             Would a grandfathered paralegal need to re-apply if their designation is suspended and/or revoked?

    The Committee considered whether an unemployed grandfathered-in FRP needs to re-apply as a new applicant. As the rule currently reads, a paralegal must work under the supervision of a Florida bar attorney. The concern is if a grandfathered-in FRP who has to re-apply only qualifies under work experience, they could potentially be barred from obtaining their FRP designation.

     

    The Committee discussed that a grandfathered-in applicant will still need to meet the “5 out of 8” requirement, that is, working as a paralegal under the supervision of a Florida Bar attorney for the last 5 out of 8 years. However, the Committee noted that should an FRP lose employment, they have the option of deferring renewal until December 31st by filing a renewal extension request (along with the appropriate late fee).

     

    While a rule change has not occurred, it was discussed that a paralegal who leaves the workforce, should be able to return as long as they maintain their CLE and provide a new attestation (note: CLE hours cannot be reported until the designation is restored). In other words, once grandfathered, always grandfathered. To be clear, the sunset of the grandfather provision is for eligibility -- not for renewal --purposes (the grandfathering provision will sunset in March, 2011).

     

    As a side note, an interesting question came up, likely to be an issue in the future. If the FRP program becomes mandatory, would the requirement to work primarily as a paralegal be the same? Attorneys who obtain their juris doctorate often do not practice law, but, rather, maintain an inactive status. Similarly, CLAs who maintain their CLE do not lose their eligibility.

     II.           Can government-employed FRPs pay dues in installments?

    The Committee considered the current language of the Rules Regulating the Florida Bar 20-4.1(e), “Annual Renewal, Content and Registration Fee,” and 1-7.3, “Membership Fees,” in light of a governmental paralegal’s request to be allowed to pay dues in installments. The request contended that governmental agencies do not pay for their paralegal employee’s dues. The Committee discussed that, similar to a governmental attorney, the paralegal’s job description must require an FRP designation in order to be eligible to pay in installments.

    III.          Should an FRP program informational brochure be distributed?

    The Northwest Florida Paralegal Association proposed a pamphlet for the Committee’s consideration, targeted mainly at legal administrators, attorneys and the public on explaining the FRP designation. The association requested approval to (1) distribute the information by posting it on the Bar’s FRP website and (2) use it in law offices throughout the state.

     

    The Committee stated that the pamphlet will need to be approved by the Bar’s Communications Committee. Prior to that, it will need to be re-drafted, as the pamphlet has to be the actual product of the Committee. Put plainly, the Committee must write any information meant for the public on the FRP program (with Bar approval). The Committee welcomed the use of the already created pamphlet and requested it in editable format in order to request approval from Communications to move forward with an FRP program informational pamphlet.

    IV.         What were the preliminary results of FAPA’S FRP Survey?

    The preliminary results of FAPA’s FRP Satisfaction Survey were presented by FAPA president Mark Workman. Please view FAPA’s website for further details on the results. (www.FAPAinc.org)

     

    Workman further stated that the current balance of the paralegal fund, in excess of $500,000, should be independently maintained apart from the Bar’s general fund, and used to benefit the program alone in order to reap benefits other than a mere designation, including CLEs and perhaps a paralegal convention someday.

     

    Ultimately, the results indicated that paralegals desire more control over the direction of the profession.

    V.           Adjournment

    The Bar’s Midyear meeting is scheduled for September 22nd - 25th at the Hilton Orlando. Meeting was adjourned at 3:25 p.m.

  • 16 Jul 2010 4:23 PM | Anonymous member

    Well, it is Friday afternoon and I just came up from the annual meeting of the NALA members.  This has been a very interesting and informative trip.
     
    Yesterday's afternoon session was the Affiliates Meeting.  The Alabama Association of Paralegals gave a presentation on Growing Your Membership which was not only very informative but contained some very creative ideas.  Some of the suggestions presented for increasing membership were "meet and greets" held either before work or after work and on a Tuesday or a Thursday.  Venues suggested to hold the meet and greet were law firms, college campuses or vendors offices, targeting working paralegals, former members, college students, lawyers, judges and their clerks, corporations, state agencies (i.e., Motor Vehicle, State Attorney).  Suggestions for advertising our seminars were with the County Bar Association, State Bar Association, local television and radio station websites under their Public Service sections.
     
    During the question and answer period, the Mississippi Paralegal Association discussed how it increased its membership by utilizing all of the "personal" mediums  (i.e., Facebook, twitter, etc.) to promote its association.  They flooded the electronic media sites 3 or 4 times a week; simulcast its month CLE luncheons and provided its CLE on line.   Using this method, they increased their membership by 22 percent this year.
     
    The second presentation, Developing Leaders Within Your Association, was presented by the Northwest Florida Paralegal Association.  This is a project that we really need to institute.  I will be bringing this handout back as well.  Their program encouraged its members to participate in an on-line leadership program.  Again, this was a very motivating presentation.  All of the training is conducted on the web.  All members of the association were required to obtain a "gmail" address.  Web conferencing, blogs, and pod casts were utilized during the training.  All of the sites they utilized were free to both the organization and its members.  Check out, www.affiliateexchange.blogspot.com
     
    I attended the legal analysis workshop this morning pesented by Virginia Koerselman Newman (author of the CLA Review Manual).  At the conclusion of the class, we were discussing the new book and I mentioned that we presented 10 week reviews (the longest I found any other association did it was 4 weeks) and that one of the tools we used was www.quizlet.com.  I mentioned that when I took the review class I was told about the site and input various sections to practice testing.  I also mentioned that other students had followed our lead and have other sections in.  I want to let all of you who have participated in the CLA Review classes and input data in other sections into the "quizlet" site.  All of the associations represented know about the site and plan on using it.  Thank all of you that have input there.
     
    Other news is that October is the release date for the revised CLA Review Manual - hooray!!!!!  We should pre-order so that we get a 25% discount on the cost. 
     
    Signing out from Jacksonville.

    Linda Nottestad, CP, FRP

    NALA Liaison for SFPA

  • 15 Jul 2010 2:01 PM | Anonymous member
    Yesterday afternoon's meeting opened with an introduction of all of the candidates with a question and answer session. 
     
    Melissa Vander Weide and Karen Trumpower discussed the new procedure for the CLA Examination, although we were continually referred  back to the NALA website for a clearer understanding of the new process.  In addition to the fee which is paid to NALA, the applicants will have to pay a fee to the testing centers.  The applicant will have to pre-register with the testing center for each session.  For example, the applicant will have to register for a session for 1 hour to take the Ethics portion of the exam; 1 and 1/2 hour for both the legal research and communications sections; 2 and 1/2 hours for the Judgment and Analytical Abiloities portion and 2 hours for the substantive law section.  Each section of the test must be completed on the test date.  The applicant can't complete 1 hour of the substantive law section one day and come back another to complete it.   There are no schedule breaks during the session - if a break is necessary, the clock continues to tick down.  With respect to the essay portions of the examination, the applicant will be provided with the question on typewritten pages.  Space is provided on the computer to input the answer.  At least, the applicant will not get writer's cramp.
     
    In the evening there was a reception where attendees were afforded the opportunity to network and meet new people.
     
    This morning, I attended the conclusion of the Essentials workshop on General Law and then the workshop on Communications.  The handouts for the communications section were very helpful and I believe that that our reviewees would benefit from them.  Karen Newman, Esq. was the presenter and it was obvious that she is very passionate about the written language. 
     
    This afternoon is the annual meeting of the affiliate associations NALA liaisons.  Hopefully, that will be both helpful and informative.
     
    Signing off from Jacksonville - Linda Nottestad, NALA Liaison for SFPA
  • 14 Jul 2010 3:13 PM | Anonymous member

    The 35th NALA Convention offically started this morning with keynote speaker Dan Bean.  He discussed the legal community within the Jacksonville community and how it has grown since he moved here in 1997.  He discussed the change in climate as it has affected paralegals within that community.

     

    We broke into individual sessions.  I am taking the Essential Skills Tract because I wanted to be more effective as a presenter  in our CLA review programs.  Karen Sanders-West, ACP, JD, was the speaker on the "American Legal System:  Part I" section.  She was very knowledgeable and had some interesting tid-bits about the history of our legal system.

     

    At the luncheon, various NALA past Presidents discussed how NALA has evolved during the last 35 years.  The new CPs and ACPs were introduced.  I found it interesting to note that no mention was paid of the fact that it broke away from the "other" organization, although the "other" organization was mentioned in passing.  The implementation of the testing program was discussed.  NALA currently has over 16,000 certified paralegals in the U.S.

     

    The various original founding members talked about the early meetings with representatives of the American Bar Association and how its representatives did not believe that paralegals should have the right to govern itself - that only attorneys should have that right.  Boy, a lot has changed since those early talks.

     

    Linda Nottestad,

    NALA Liaison for SFPA

  • 24 Mar 2010 9:01 AM | Anonymous member

    SFPA has the honor of administering two scholarship funds which were independently established by the families of Sandra L. Keith, and Marisa Maugeri, to commemorate their work as paralegals in the Miami community after thier lives were cut short by tragic circumstances.  Each year, SFPA sponsors a writing contest for paralegal studies students to award the scholarships that honor the lives of these two paralegals.  The winners of the writing contest are awarded either the Sandra L. Keith Memorial Scholarship (First Prize) or the Marisa Maugeri Memorial Scholarship (Second Prize). 

    This year we had the most entries the board members could remember in recent years, and it was difficult to pick winners from so many excellent entries.  We want to thank all the participants for their submissions, as we know there was a lot of time and effort put into the crafting of the entries.

    The SFPA Board of Directors was pleased to announce the winners at our Annual Meeting on March 23, 2010.  In addition to the scholarships, each winner is provided a year's student membership in the South Florida Paralegal Association.  The hyperlinks on the contestant's names is a link to the winning entries.

    The Sandra L. Keith Memorial Scholarship was awarded to:Yaima Gonzalez

    The Marisa Maugeri Memorial Scholarship was awarded to: Jessica Giraldo 

    Congratulations to the winners!  The SFPA Board of Directors hopes that we will have this high level of participation next year again.

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