Monthly Archives: September 2012

Paralegal Schools Dropped the Ball

Paralegal Schools Dropped the Ball

Paralegal Schools – Did They Drop the Ball or Did You?

Every single day I read how discouraged paralegal students and new graduates are. They arrive in the LinkedIn, Facebook or Yahoo paralegal groups to say how frustrated they are because of the current job situation.

The sad thing about their frustration is that they think they can’t land a paralegal job because of the economy. Yes, I know jobs are more scarce these days, however, the fact that a paralegal graduate cannot land a job in the field is not based on the number of jobs available.

Or…that new attorney grads are scooping up the paralegal jobs.

It’s based on this:

You don’t enter the legal field (in most cases) in a paralegal position.

Why not?

As a paralegal job applicant, you know the dreaded 4 words already, right?

“You don’t have experience!”

And your response is usually:

“But HOW do I get experience?”

The truth is, you wouldn’t be able to land a paralegal job even if the economy was booming.

So, who dropped the ball here?

Did the paralegal school drop the ball?

Or…did you?

Did your school offer job placement or internships so that you could get a foothold?

They should have.

Did you do your homework to find out how you were going to find employment after you finished your coursework?

You should have.

The truth is, you can enter this field.

However, you do not enter as a paralegal.


You enter as a runner, file clerk, receptionist or entry level secretary.

The truth is, the schools should offer job placement. They should have connections with law firms who will allow the students a chance to learn.

However…you would still enter the firm in a different position first.

If you attended a paralegal school/course who did offer job placement, I would love to hear from you.

And, if you’re thinking about signing up for paralegal school/courses, it’s important to do your homework first before you spend your hard-earned money or add debt through a student loan.

Relationship Building in Business

Relationship Building in Business – Grandma and Grandpa Style

Let’s picture this for a moment:

A neighborhood woman walks past my Grandparents’ deli, Grandpa runs out and yells “Hey lady, we’ve got some great sandwiches, macaroni salad and apples. Come on in NOW!!!”

Weird, huh?

Do you think this woman would have said, “Oh, ok, I’ll come right in and shop at your store from now on!”

Well, this is what it sounds like on Twitter or Facebook when we try to sell our products or services to people we have no connection with.

Ok, so how did Grandpa build his business?

Well, when a new customer walked in, he greeted them with a friendly hello, warm smile and asked if he could help in any way.

Next, he allowed the customer the freedom to roam through the store, to look around to their heart’s content. If they walked to the very back and looked to the left, they would see my Grandmother in the kitchen more than likely preparing meatballs or sauce or maybe even a huge tray of lasagna.

So, let’s think about why a customer would choose to shop in Grandpa’s store instead of in the chain supermarket across the street.

Relationships were built first through warmth and friendliness.  Oh…and the freedom to decide without being pressured.

Grandpa and Grandma’s lives were made richer because of their relationships with their customers.  When he stood with other business owners to buy wholesale produce at the train station at 6 a.m. every weekday morning, he looked forward to a day of seeing many familiar faces at his deli later on.

These would be customers who had become lifelong friends and whose children and grandchildren visited my Grandparents in their store as well.

Does it get any better than this?

Building relationships in Twitter and Facebook require the same amount of effort and care my Grandparents gave their customers.

When someone follows or connects with you, you should say “hello” and “thank you”. On Twitter, if someone mentions you, you will receive a notice as well.  It’s important that you thank them for the mention.

Begin to build relationships and your business will continue to grow.

“Connecting” means “building relationship”.

***I’d love to hear your comments regarding this blog post. Or, if you jusst want to say hello, please do! I would love to hear from you.***



Boundaries Between Work and Life

Boundaries Between Work and Life

BoundariesBoundaries Have Been Set and Sanity Kept

Boundaries between work and life must be established, but how do you do that if you work in a stressful and time consuming job?

First, let’s discuss how to streamline your work life in order to reduce stress, save time and set boundaries.

Arrive Early

If you can do it, arrive at your workplace at least 15-20 minutes early. This allows you to set up your computer, look over your work for the day and begin, hopefully, before your supervisor arrives. Arriving early is a great stress reliever and it does show the employer that you care.


One way to reduce stress and at the same time become more efficient is to streamline  the way you work everyday. Here’s how you do just that:

Do you use a “To Do” list?

If not, you need to create a list of the tasks you need to perform everyday and then check each one off when you complete it.  The sense of accomplishment you’ll feel will be amazing when you look down the list to see just how much you completed in one day!

My preference is to use an Excel spreadsheet for the “To Do” list.  If you’re not familiar with Excel but do have access to this software, I would recommend that you play around with it and then look for a video how-to video on YouTube.  Why I like Excel for this task is simple: you can easily sort the dates to see what is due next.

Easy, right?

Lunch Breaks

Take them. Seriously. Once you begin working through your lunch hour, the employer will begin to expect you to continue.  If you’re already doing this, it’s time to reverse this unhealthy habit. It’s an important boundary to set for yourself.

Lunch breaks are necessary. Try meeting some friends for a quick lunch or simply get away by yourself and relax. You’ll return to work refreshed.

List of Accomplishments for the Week

Cut and paste the items on your “To Do” list that you have finished and place those items into this document.  Leave the document on your desk for your employer to see.

Leaving Work on Time

Try to leave at the normal quitting time, if possible. It’s important to put in a full, productive day at your current job, however, it’s also vitally important to protect your personal/family time.

It’s called balance.  And that’s a good thing.

Set those work/life boundaries and you’ll develop good habits that will benefit both your employer and your family.

Please post your comments below. I would love to hear from you.

Paralegal Mentors Give Back

Paralegal Mentors Give Back

Paralegal Mentors provide great support

Over 22 years ago, I began my paralegal career. I had just closed my plant nursery and felt a bit lost. The nursery was a very hard business to run but when it was over, I missed it.

So, what to do?

I checked the local job ads and it seemed that the higher pays were in either the medical or legal fields.

One problem.

I had no experience in either field. None at all.

What I decided to do was call an employment agency 40 miles away (nearest large city). The agency consultant asked if I could come right down to take a typing test. I didn’t want to miss this opportunity, so I drove to the appointment (with 102 degree fever!) and took the test.

The following week, I called to follow up and was told that they had a job interview for me at a small law firm. Long story short, the interview went very well and I was hired on a temporary basis. Within a month’s time, this temporary job turned into a permanent one.

One of the main reasons everything went so well was because the paralegal there became my teacher/mentor. She answered my questions very patiently and enjoyed seeing me learn something new every single day.

Honestly, I have to tell you – all of this was tough. Starting a new job is not easy – so much to learn when you enter a new field. However, this paralegal made it much easier. And…she cared very deeply that I make it.

So, my question to you is this: how are you giving back to the profession that has given you so much?

Have you reached out to any paralegal students or recent graduates lately? No? Well, it’s time. Time to take someone under your wing to “pay it forward”. Time to teach that new paralegal how to work efficiently, accurately and with high integrity.

Tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary

Tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary.

How Do We Minister to the Surviving Parents?

I walked in the front door after spending a couple of hours with my beloved Grandson and my husband broke the news concerning the literal massacre of innocent children and staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

Right now, the parents are dealing with horrific news and a very gross reality. Their children are gone.

Let me tell you, their lives are forever changed. As President Obama said, “No weddings, no birthdays, no graduations”.  No new news.


We lost our wonderful daughter, Kate, at age 21 in a horrific car accident. There is no such thing as closure when you lose a child. That loss is felt until you meet again in Heaven. And, even though I know where Kate is and that we will see each other down the road, it’s very difficult.

I remember attending a friend’s wedding a couple of years after Kate’s death. The church ceremony was beautiful. However, about 15 minutes into it, I was overwhelmed with emotion because I would never see Kate walk down the aisle. I would never see the joy on Kate’s face telling me that she found that special forever man. And there will be no grandchildren with a mother named “Kate”.

This is grief. And it hits when you least expect it. It doesn’t appear when it’s convenient as some of your family or friends might wish.  When your child’s birthday rolls around, very few people acknowledge it. When Christmas arrives, the child you would have wrapped presents for is just not there.

What the parents and grandparents will experience now is, of course, loss but they will feel emotionally overwhelmed. They will try to do something as simple as going to a restaurant and it will feel surreal. They will feel guilty enjoying the simple pleasures of life because their child is dead.

So, what can you do when a friend or family member has lost a child?

1.  Pay attention to them. Ask if you can stop by for an hour. Refuse to play the avoidance game.

2.  Hug them and tell them you’re available day or night. And mean it.

3.  Continue to talk with them about their child, if they’re ok with that. Ask them if it’s ok.

4.  Remember their child. Remember their child on their child’s birthday, during holidays and on the day they passed to be with the Lord.

5.  If you live within driving distance, don’t phone it in.

6.  Don’t say, “Are you over it yet?”  or “It’s been several months, time to move on.”

7.  Think of creative ways to remember your friend or family member’s child. How about sending balloons off on their birthday every year? Perhaps they would appreciate it if you gave a gift to Toys For Tots in remembrance of their child.

With just a little caring and love, you can make a difference in the lives of these parents.

Today’s the day.

Just do it.