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8 Paralegal Today: The Essentials, Fifth Edition Roger LeRoy Miller and Mary Meinzinger Urisko Vice President, Career and Professional Editorial: Dave Garza Director of Learning Solutions: Sandy Clark Senior Acquisitions Editor: Shelley Esposito Managing Editor: Larry Main Senior Product Manager: Melissa Riveglia Editorial Assistant: Danielle Klahr 2011, 2008, 2003, 2000, 1995 Delmar, Cengage Learning ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No part of this work covered by the copyright herein may be reproduced, transmitted, stored, or used in any form or by any means graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including but not limited to photocopying, recording, scanning, digitizing, taping, Web distribution, information networks, or information storage and retrieval systems, except as permitted under Section 107 or 108 of the 1976 United States Copyright Act, without the prior written permission of the publisher. For product information and technology assistance, contact us at Cengage Learning Customer & Sales Support, For permission to use material from this text or product, submit all requests online at Further permissions questions can be ed to Library of Congress Control Number: ISBN-13: ISBN-10: Vice President, Career and Professional Marketing: Jennifer Baker Marketing Director: Deborah Yarnell Marketing Manager: Erin Brennan Marketing Coordinator: Jonathan Sheehan Production Director: Wendy Troeger Production Manager: Mark Bernard Senior Content Project Manager: Betty Dickson Senior Art Director: Joy Kocsis Senior Technology Product Manager: Joe Pliss Printed in the United States of America Delmar 5 Maxwell Drive Clifton Park, NY USA Cengage Learning is a leading provider of customized learning solutions with office locations around the globe, including Singapore, the United Kingdom, Australia, Mexico, Brazil, and Japan. Locate your local office at: international. cengage.com/region Cengage Learning products are represented in Canada by Nelson Education, Ltd. To learn more about Delmar, visit Purchase any of our products at your local college store or at our preferred online store Notice to the Reader Publisher does not warrant or guarantee any of the products described herein or perform any independent analysis in connection with any of the product information contained herein. Publisher does not assume, and expressly disclaims, any obligation to obtain and include information other than that provided to it by the manufacturer. The reader is expressly warned to consider and adopt all safety precautions that might be indicated by the activities described herein and to avoid all potential hazards. By following the instructions contained herein, the reader willingly assumes all risks in connection with such instructions. The reader is notified that this text is an educational tool, not a practice book. Since the law is in constant change, no rule or statement of law in this book should be relied upon for any service to any client. The reader should always refer to standard legal sources for the current rule or law. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of the appropriate professional should be sought. The publisher makes no representations or warranties of any kind, including but not limited to, the warranties of fitness for particular purpose or merchantability, nor are any such representations implied with respect to the material set forth herein, and the publisher takes no responsibility with respect to such material. The publisher shall not be liable for any special, consequential, or exemplary damages resulting, in whole or part, from the readers use of, or reliance upon, this material.
9 To Larry Mayle, Throughout your life, you have always been a survivor with a twinkle in your eye. R.L.M. To the paralegal students at Madonna University. You are my inspiration. May this book be yours. M.M.U.
11 CONTENTS IN BRIEF Preface / xxi Introduction to the Student / xxxvii 1 THE PARALEGAL PROFESSION 1 CHAPTER 1 Careers in Today s Paralegal Profession / 2 CHAPTER 2 The Inner Workings of the Law Office / 43 CHAPTER 3 Ethics and Professional Responsibility / 75 CHAPTER 4 Sources of American Law / 117 CHAPTER 5 The Court System and Alternative Dispute Resolution / LEGAL PROCEDURES AND PARALEGAL SKILLS 187 CHAPTER 6 Legal Research and Analysis / 188 CHAPTER 7 Contemporary Online Legal Research / 234 CHAPTER 8 Legal Writing: Form and Substance / 269 CHAPTER 9 Civil Litigation: Before the Trial / 302 CHAPTER 10 Conducting Interviews and Investigations / 354 CHAPTER 11 Trial Procedures / 393 CHAPTER 12 Criminal Law and Procedures / 426 vii
12 viii CONTENTS IN BRIEF APPENDICES A NALA s Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility / 473 B NALA s Model Standards and Guidelines for Utilization of Paralegals / 475 C NFPA s Model Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility and Guidelines for Enforcement / 479 D NALS Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility / 489 E Paralegal Ethics and Regulation: How to Find State-Specific Information / 491 F Paralegal Associations / 493 G Information on NALA s CLA/CP Program / 499 H Information on NFPA s PACE Examination / 511 I Information on NALS Certification / 515 J The Constitution of the United States / 521 K Spanish Equivalents for Important Legal Terms in English / 537 Glossary / 543 Index / XXX
13 CONTENTS Preface / xxi Introduction to the Student / xxxvii 1 THE PARALEGAL PROFESSION 1 CHAPTER 1 Careers in Today s Paralegal Profession / 2 Introduction / 3 What Is a Paralegal? / 3 What Do Paralegals Do? / 4 A Sampling of Paralegal Tasks / 4 Paralegals Duties Vary / 5 Paralegal Education / 6 Curriculum A Blend of Substantive and Procedural Law / 6 The Role of the AAfPE and ABA in Paralegal Education / 7 Certification / 7 Continuing Legal Education / 8 Paralegal Skills and Attributes / 9 Analytical Skills / 9 Communication Skills / 10 Computer Skills / 12 Organizational Skills / 12 Interpersonal Skills / 13 The Ability to Keep Confidences / 13 Professionalism / 13 Where Paralegals Work / 14 Law Firms / 14 Ethics Watch: Paralegal Expertise and Legal Advice 5 In the Office: Use Time Wisely 10 Developing Paralegal Skills: Proofreading Legal Documents 11 Going Green: Flip It Over 12 In the Office: Stress Problems 15 Going Green: What s in That Office Lamp? 16 Technology and Today s Paralegal: More Career Opportunities for Tech-Savvy Paralegals 20 Featured Contributor: Linda J. Wolf, "Plan and Pursue Your Desired Career" 22 Today s Professional Paralegal: A View from the Inside: Assisting a Civil Litigation Paralegal 36 ix
14 x CONTENTS Developing Paralegal Skills: Confidentiality and Client Information 50 Going Green: Fewer CDs 51 In the Office: Dress for Success 53 Developing Paralegal Skills: Creating a Trust Account 61 Ethics Watch: Back Up Your Work 63 Going Green: What Are You Sitting On? 63 In the Office: Get Priorities Right 64 Technology and Today s Paralegal: Cyberspace Communications 65 Featured Contributor: Wendy B. Edson, Ten Tips for Effective Communication 66 Developing Paralegal Skills: Organizing 68 Today s Professional Paralegal: A Paralegal Manager at Work 69 Corporations and Other Business Organizations / 15 Government / 16 Legal Aid Offices / 17 Freelance Paralegals / 17 Paralegal Compensation / 17 Compensation Surveys / 18 Job Benefits / 18 Salaries versus Hourly Wages / 19 Planning Your Career / 19 Defining Your Long-Term Goals / 19 Short-Term Goals and Job Realities / 20 Locating Potential Employers / 21 Networking / 22 Finding Available Jobs / 24 Identifying Possible Employers / 24 Job-Placement Services / 25 Marketing Your Skills / 25 The Application Process / 25 The Interview / 30 The Follow-Up/Thank-You Letter / 32 Job-Hunting Files / 33 Salary Negotiations / 33 CHAPTER 2 The Inner Workings of the Law Office / 43 Introduction / 44 The Organizational Structure of Law Firms / 44 Sole Proprietorships / 44 Partnerships / 45 Professional Corporations / 46 Law Office Management and Personnel / 46 Employment Policies / 47 Performance Evaluations / 47 Employment Termination / 49 Employment Discrimination / 49 Filing Procedures / 49 Client Files / 51 Work Product Files and Reference Materials / 53 Forms Files / 53 Financial Procedures / 54
15 CONTENTS xi Fee Arrangements / 54 Client Trust Accounts / 57 Billing and Timekeeping Procedures / 57 Ethics and Client Billing Practices / 62 Communicating with Clients / 64 Law Office Culture and Politics / 68 CHAPTER 3 Ethics and Professional Responsibility / 75 Introduction / 76 The Regulation of Attorneys / 76 Who Are the Regulators? / 76 Licensing Requirements / 77 Ethical Codes and Rules / 78 Sanctions for Violations / 79 Attorney Ethics and Paralegal Practice / 80 The Duty of Competence / 81 Confidentiality of Information / 84 Confidentiality and the Attorney-Client Privilege / 89 Conflict of Interest / 91 The Indirect Regulation of Paralegals / 95 Paralegal Ethical Codes / 96 Guidelines for the Utilization of Paralegals / 97 The Increasing Scope of Paralegal Responsibilities / 99 The Unauthorized Practice of Law / 102 State UPL Statutes / 102 The Prohibition against Fee Splitting / 103 Giving Legal Opinions and Advice / 103 Representing Clients in Court / 105 Disclosure of Paralegal Status / 105 Paralegals Freelancing for Attorneys / 106 Legal Technicians (Independent Paralegals) and UPL / 106 Should Paralegals Be Licensed? / 108 General Licensing / 108 Limited Licensing / 109 Direct Regulation The Pros and Cons / 109 Other Considerations / 110 A Final Note / 112 Going Green: Saving Juice 84 Developing Paralegal Skills: Adequate Supervision 84 Developing Paralegal Skills: What If You Learn Your Client Is Planning to Commit a Crime? 86 Ethics Watch: Social Events and Confidentiality 88 Going Green: Out to Lunch? 88 In the Office: Am I Clear? 89 Technology and Today s Paralegal: Electronic Communications and Confidentiality 92 Developing Paralegal Skills: Building an Ethical Wall 95 Featured Contributor: Lisa L. Newcity, Ten Tips for Ethics and the Paralegal 100 Developing Paralegal Skills: The Dangers of the Unauthorized Practice of Law 104 In the Office: Productive Meetings 108 Today s Professional Paralegal: Working for the Attorney Discipline Board 111
16 xii CONTENTS In the Office: Daily Cleanup 120 Technology and Today s Paralegal: Cases of First Impression and the Internet 122 Going Green: Recycle Electronic Junk 124 Developing Paralegal Skills: Requirements for Specific Performance 125 Ethics Watch: The Statute of Limitations and the Duty of Competence 133 Featured Contributor: S. Whittington Brown, The Interrelationship of the Various Areas of Law 134 Developing Paralegal Skills: State versus Federal Regulation 138 Developing Paralegal Skills: Approval to Practice Before the IRS 140 Today s Professional Paralegal: Working for an Administrative Agency 145 Developing Paralegal Skills: Choice of Courts: State or Federal? 156 In the Office: Watch Those Deadlines! 160 Going Green: How Do You Drink Your Coffee or Tea? 162 Developing Paralegal Skills: Federal Court Jurisdiction 166 Technology and Today s Paralegal: Courts in the Internet Age 168 CHAPTER 4 Sources of American Law / 117 Introduction / 118 The Framework of American Law / 118 What Is the Law? / 118 Primary Sources of American Law / 118 Case Law and the Common Law Tradition / 119 The Doctrine of Stare Decisis / 119 Remedies at Law versus Remedies in Equity / 121 The Common Law Today / 124 Statutory Law and the Common Law / 125 The Terminology of Case Law / 126 The Adversarial System of Justice / 128 Constitutional Law / 129 The Federal Constitution / 129 State Constitutions / 132 Statutory Law / 132 Federal Statutes / 133 State Statutes / 137 Local Ordinances / 137 Uniform Laws / 138 Administrative Law / 139 Agency Creation / 140 Rulemaking / 141 Investigation and Enforcement / 141 Adjudication / 141 National and International Law / 142 National Law / 142 International Law / 143 CHAPTER 5 The Court System and Alternative Dispute Resolution / 152 Introduction / 153 Basic Judicial Requirements / 153 Standing to Sue / 153 Types of Jurisdiction / 154 Jurisdiction of the Federal Courts / 155 Jurisdiction in Cyberspace / 158 Venue / 158 Judicial Procedures / 159 State Court Systems / 160
17 CONTENTS xiii Trial Courts / 160 Appellate, or Reviewing, Courts / 161 The Federal Court System / 163 U.S. District Courts / 163 U.S. Courts of Appeals / 164 The United States Supreme Court / 165 Alternative Dispute Resolution / 166 Negotiation / 167 Mediation / 167 Arbitration / 171 Other ADR Forms / 176 Yet Another Approach Collaborative Law / 176 Court-Referred ADR / 177 Providers of ADR Services / 178 Online Dispute Resolution / 179 Developing Paralegal Skills: To Sue or Not to Sue 171 Featured Contributor: Fernaundra Ferguson, Mediation: Career Opportunities for Paralegals 174 Ethics Watch: Potential Arbitration Problems 177 Going Green: Stay Home 177 In the Office: Protecting Client Information and Client Interests 178 Today s Professional Paralegal: Arbitrating Commercial Contracts LEGAL PROCEDURES AND PARALEGAL SKILLS 187 CHAPTER 6 Legal Research and Analysis / 188 Introduction / 189 Researching Case Law The Preliminary Steps / 189 Defining the Issue / 189 Determining Your Research Goals / 191 Finding Relevant Cases / 193 Legal Encyclopedias / 194 Case Digests / 194 Annotations: American Law Reports / 196 Other Secondary Sources / 199 The Case Reporting System / 200 State Court Decisions / 201 Federal Court Decisions / 209 United States Supreme Court Decisions / 209 Analyzing Case Law / 210 The Components of a Case / 210 Analyzing Cases / 216 Summarizing and Briefing Cases / 217 IRAC: A Method for Briefing Cases / 217 Researching Constitutional and Statutory Law / 219 Finding Constitutional Law / 219 Developing Paralegal Skills: Defining the Issues to Be Researched 190 In the Office: Efficiency in Research 193 Ethics Watch: Using Secondary Sources 201 Featured Contributor: E. J. Yera, Ten Tips for Effective Legal Research 202 Going Green: Save a Tree 216 Developing Paralegal Skills: Reading Statutory Law 222 Technology and Today s Paralegal: Looking Ahead 226 Today s Professional Paralegal: Mapping Out a Research Strategy 227
18 xiv CONTENTS Finding Statutory Law / 219 Analyzing Statutory Law / 221 Rules of Construction / 222 The Plain Meaning Rule / 223 Previous Judicial Interpretation / 224 Legislative Intent / 224 Researching Administrative Law / 225 The Code of Federal Regulations / 225 Finding Tools for Administrative Law / 228 Featured Contributor: Matt Cornick, Tips for Doing Online Legal Research 236 Going Green: Save by Snoozing 239 Developing Paralegal Skills: Internet-Based Research 243 In the Office: Clean Electronic Files 244 Technology and Today s Paralegal: Be Prepared for Disaster! 245 Going Green: Flip that Switch 246 Ethics Watch: Finding Ethics Opinions on the Web 247 Developing Paralegal Skills: Cite Checking on Westlaw 252 Developing Paralegal Skills: Medical Research on the Internet 258 In the Office: Online Privacy 263 Today s Professional Paralegal: Locating Guardians and Wards 264 CHAPTER 7 Contemporary Online Legal Research / 234 Introduction / 235 Going Online An Internet Primer / 235 Internet Tools / 236 Navigating the Internet / 239 A Threshold Question: Is the Internet the Right Research Tool for Your Project? / 242 Free Legal Resources on the Internet / 242 General Legal Resources / 242 Specific Legal Resources / 242 Government Sites / 244 Lexis and Westlaw / 246 Accessing Westlaw or Lexis / 247 Conducting a Search / 248 Checking Citations / 248 Shepard s Citations / 249 KeyCite / 251 Selecting a Database / 252 Searching a Database / 253 Searching within Results / 254 Is Westlaw or Lexis Better? / 255 Alternative Online Programs / 255 PACER / 255 Fastcase / 255 Loislaw / 256 Casemaker / 256 VersusLaw / 256 Conducting Online Research / 257 Plan Ahead Analyze the Facts and Identify the Issues / 257
19 CONTENTS xv Online Research Strategies / 257 Evaluating What You Find / 261 Updating Your Results / 262 Locating People and Investigating Companies / 262 CHAPTER 8 Legal Writing: Form and Substance / 269 Introduction / 270 Legal Writing The Preliminaries / 270 Understanding the Assignment / 270 Time Constraints and Flexibility / 270 Writing Approaches / 271 The Importance of Good Writing Skills / 272 Organize and Outline Your Presentation / 272 Choice of Format / 272 Structural Devices / 272 Write to Your Audience / 274 Avoid Legalese: Use Everyday English / 274 Be Brief and to the Point / 275 Writing Basics: Sentences / 275 Writing Basics: Paragraphs and Transitions / 277 Avoid Pronoun Confusion / 277 Be Alert for Sexist Language / 278 Proofread and Revise Your Document / 279 Pleadings and Discovery / 279 General Legal Correspondence / 280 General Format for Legal Correspondence / 283 Types of Legal Letters / 285 The Legal Memorandum / 289 Heading / 291 Statement of the Facts / 291 Questions Presented / 292 Brief Conclusion / 292 Discussion and Analysis / 292 Conclusion / 295 Developing Paralegal Skills: Creating a User-Friendly Document 273 Going Green: Recycle In and Out 272 Technology and Today s Paralegal: Online Plain English Guidelines 276 Going Green: Don t Work So Often 278 Featured Contributor: William Putman, Tips for Making Legal Writing Easier 280 Developing Paralegal Skills: Effective Editing 282 In the Office: Time Management 283 Developing Paralegal Skills: Reviewing Attorney-Generated Documents 290 Ethics Watch: Letters and the Unauthorized Practice of Law 291 Today s Professional Paralegal: Preparing the Internal Memorandum 296 In the Office: Listen Up 297
20 xvi CONTENTS In the Office: Hacking Legal Files 306 Developing Paralegal Skills: File Workup 308 Featured Contributor: Janet M. Powell, Litigation Paralegal 309 Going Green: Toward the Paperless Office 314 Developing Paralegal Skills: A Checklist for Drafting a Complaint in a Federal Civil Case 315 Ethics Watch: Keeping Client Information Confidential 329 Developing Paralegal Skills: Deposition Summaries 336 Technology and Today s Paralegal: Who Bears the Costs of Electronic Discovery? 342 Developing Paralegal Skills: Electronic Discovery 344 Today s Professional Paralegal: Witness Coordination 347 Going Green: Getting to the Office 358 Featured Contributor: P. David Palmiere, Ten Tips for the Effective Use of Interrogatories 364 CHAPTER 9 Civil Litigation: Before the Trial / 302 Introduction / 303 Civil Litigation A Bird s-eye View / 303 Pretrial Settlements / 303 Procedural Requirements / 304 A Hypothetical Lawsuit / 304 The Preliminaries / 305 The Initial Client Interview / 305 Preliminary Investigation / 306 Creating the Litigation File / 306 The Pleadings / 307 Drafting the Complaint / 310 Filing the Complaint / 316 Service of Process / 317 The Defendant s Response / 321 The Scheduling Conference / 325 Amending the Pleadings / 325 Pretrial Motions / 326 Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings / 326 Motion for Summary Judgment / 327 Traditional Discovery Tools / 327 Interrogatories / 328 Depositions / 329 Requests for Production and Physical Examination / 336 Requests for Admission / 337 The Duty to Disclose under FRCP 26 / 338 Initial Disclosures / 338 Failure to Disclose / 339 Discovery Plan / 339 Subsequent Disclosures / 339 Discovery of Electronic Evidence / 341 The Advantages of Electronic Evidence / 341 The Sources of Electronic Evidence / 344 The Special Requirements of Electronic Evidence / 345 CHAPTER 10 Conducting Interviews and Investigations / 354 Introduction / 355 Planning the Interview / 355 Know What Information You Want / 355
21 CONTENTS xvii Standardized Interview Forms / 355 Recording the Interview / 358 Interviewing Skills / 359 Interpersonal Skills / 359 Questioning Skills / 359 Listening Skills / 362 Interviewing Clients / 363 The Initial Client Interview / 363 Subsequent Client Interviews / 366 The Informational Interview / 367 Summarizing the Interview / 367 Interviewing Witnesses / 368 Types of Witnesses / 368 Questioning Witnesses / 371 Checking a Witness s Qualifications / 372 Winding Up the Interview / 373 Witness Statements / 373 Planning and Conducting Investigations / 374 Where Do You Start? / 375 Creating an Investigation Plan / 375 Locating Witnesses / 380 Accessing Government Information / 381 Investigation and the Rules of Evidence / 381 Summarizing Your Results / 385 CHAPTER 11 Trial Procedures / 393 Introduction / 394 Preparing for Trial / 394 Contacting and Preparing Witnesses / 394 Exhibits and Displays / 398 The Trial Notebook / 399 Pretrial Conference / 400 Jury Selection / 401 Voir Dire / 402 Challenges during Voir Dire / 403 The Paralegal s Role during Voir Dire / 404 Alternate Jurors / 404 The Trial / 404 Opening Statements / 405 In the Office: Handling Client Documents 367 Technology and Today s Paralegal: Communicating through Graphics 369 Ethics Watch: Interviewing Clients and the Unauthorized Practice of Law 370 Developing Paralegal Skills: Checking the Accident Scene 378 Developing Paralegal Skills: Accessing Government Information 383 Today s Professional Paralegal: Interviewing a Client 387 Developing Paralegal Skills: PowerPoint Presentations 395 Going Green: What Are You Wearing? 398 Technology and Today s Paralegal: Courtroom Technology 400 Ethics Watch: Communicating with Jurors 405 Going Green: What am I Breathing? 405 Featured Contributor: Dwayne E. Krager, Litigation Paralegal 406 In the Office: Protecting Confidential Information 413
22 xviii CONTENTS In the Office: Clarifying Instructions 417 Developing Paralegal Skills: Locating Assets 418 Today s Professional Paralegal: Drafting Voir Dire Questions Like a Pro 419 Going Green: Sharing Work Online 436 Developing Paralegal Skills: The Prosecutor s Office Warrant Division 448 Featured Contributor: Pamela Poole Weber, Paralegals and Criminal Litigation 450 Developing Paralegal Skills: Discovery in the Criminal Case 458 Ethics Watch: The Importance of Accuracy 459 Developing Paralegal Skills: Preparing Graphic Presentations 460 Technology and Today s Paralegal: Evolving Technology, Security, and Evidence 462 In the Office: The Benefits of Good Record Keeping 463 Today s Professional Paralegal: Working for the District Court 465 The Plaintiff s Case / 408 Motion for a Directed Verdict / 410 The Defendant s Case / 411 Closing Arguments / 413 Jury Instructions / 413 The Verdict / 414 Posttrial Motions and Procedures / 415 Posttrial Motions / 415 Appealing the Verdict / 416 Enforcing the Judgment / 420 CHAPTER 12 Criminal Law and Procedures / 426 Introduction / 427 What Is a Crime? / 427 Key Differences between Civil Law and Criminal Law / 427 Civil Liability for Criminal Acts / 428 Classifications of Crimes / 429 Jurisdiction over Crimes / 430 Elements of Criminal Liability / 430 The Criminal Act / 430 State of Mind / 431 Corporate Criminal Liability / 431 Defenses to Criminal Liability / 431 Types of Crimes / 433 Violent Crime / 433 Property Crime / 434 Public Order Crime / 435 White-Collar Crime / 435 Organized Crime / 437 Cyber Crimes / 438 Cyber Theft / 438 Cyberstalking / 438 Hacking / 439 Prosecuting Cyber Crimes / 440 Constitutional Safeguards / 440 The Exclusionary Rule / 441 The Miranda Rule / 441 Criminal Procedures prior to Prosecution / 442 Arrest and Booking / 444 Investigation after the Arrest / 445
23 CONTENTS xix The Prosecution Begins / 446 Complaint and Initial Appearance / 448 Preliminary Hearing / 452 Grand Jury Review / 453 Arraignment / 454 Pretrial Motions / 454 Discovery / 455 The Trial / 458 The Presumption of Innocence / 459 The Privilege against Self-Incrimination / 460 The Right to a Speedy Trial / 461 The Requirement for a Unanimous Verdict / 461 Sentencing / 461 Diversion / 464 Appeal / 464 APPENDICES A NALA s Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility / 473 B NALA s Model Standards and Guidelines for Utilization of Paralegals / 475 C NFPA s Model Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility and Guidelines for Enforcement / 479 D NALS Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility / 489 E Paralegal Ethics and Regulation: How to Find State-Specific Information / 491 F Paralegal Associations / 493 G Information on NALA s CLA/CP Program / 499 H Information on NFPA s PACE Examination / 511 I Information on NALS Certification / 515 J The Constitution of the United States / 521 K Spanish Equivalents for Important Legal Terms in English / 537 Glossary / 543 Index / XXX
25 PREFACE The economic crisis that has dominated headlines and Americans lives from 2008 to today heralds a new era in this country. One aspect of the new era involves an attempt to reduce costs. Americans, as producers and consumers, have figured out new ways to live without spending as much as they used to. It follows that when people must seek the help of attorneys, they expect those attorneys to proceed in the most cost-effective way. Consequently, paralegals, or legal assistants, are being asked to do more work than ever before. It is not surprising that the paralegal occupation has been rapidly growing. We have tried to impart the excitement that surrounds the paralegal profession throughout the pages of this textbook. This new edition is both accessible and motivational. The many features and striking design encourage learning. Paralegal Today: The Essentials, Fifth Edition, is replete with pedagogical aids that guarantee that students will maintain their interest in this subject. We use real-world examples, plus numerous boxed features. Those of you who have used the text before already know that it has perhaps the most extensive supplements package ever offered. All of the basic areas of paralegal studies are covered in Paralegal Today: The Essentials, including careers, ethics and professional responsibility, pretrial preparation, trial procedures, criminal law, legal interviewing and investigation, legal research and analysis, computer-assisted legal research, and legal writing. In addition, there are a number of key features, which we describe in this preface. TWO NEW FEATURES This edition of Paralegal Today: The Essentials breaks ground with two new features that you will find in every chapter. Going Green We all know that everyone should do her or his part to help preserve our environment. To this end, we present Going Green tips throughout the book. These tips explain to students how, when they are working in a law office, they can conserve natural resources and act in other ways that are environmentally sound. As we all know, Every little bit helps. This is certainly true for helping the environment and that is what this new feature emphasizes. FLIP IT OVER Drafts of documents and other work can be printed on the back of paper that has been used on one side. So long as the paper is not wrinkled, it can be used again for drafts. Of course, you must make sure that the discarded work is not sensitive legal material that should have been destroyed. xxi
26 xxii PREFACE 78 PART 1 The Paralegal Profession GET PRIORITIES RIGHT Staff members in a law office are frequently under pressure to meet deadlines. A paralegal can get caught between attorneys with competing demands or even between the demands of cases being handled by one supervising attorney who is under pressure. Do not let conflicts for your time build up. Discuss which tasks should be accomplished first. Identify conflicts between you and your supervisor about the best use of your limited time. Other people may forget, or may not know about, other work you have to accomplish and may unintentionally be unreasonable in their expectations. Clear communications about what is needed, when work is due, and what gets priority will help you to avoid appearing unresponsive. agreed to bill solely on the basis of time spent is obliged to pass the benefit of these economies on to the client. Although ABA opinions are not legally binding on attorneys unless they are adopted by the states as law, they do carry significant weight in the legal community. Courts, for example, have tended to follow the ABA s position in resolving fee di t T i ll t ill t d tt f th t it fi d t b In the Office Paralegals work in offices, and paralegal students should gain skills that will help them make those offices run better and, secondarily, that will impress their bosses. This new feature presents practical tips to help paralegals better organize their work, protect client confidentiality, and reduce stress in their day-to-day jobs. A PRACTICAL, REALISTIC APPROACH There sometimes exists an enormous gulf between classroom learning and on-the-job realities. We have tried to bridge this gulf in Paralegal Today: The Essentials, Fifth Edition, by offering a text full of practical advice and hands-on activities. Exercises at the end of each chapter provide opportunities for your students to apply the concepts and skills discussed in the chapter. Many of the book s other key features, which you will read about shortly, were designed to give students a glimpse of the types of situations and demands they may encounter on the job as professional paralegals. A special introduction to the student, which appears before Chapter 1, contains practical advice and tips on how to master the legal concepts and procedures presented in this text advice and tips that your students can also apply later, on the job. Paralegal Today: The Essentials, Fifth Edition, also realistically portrays paralegal working environments and onthe-job challenges. Each chapter, for example, describes challenges to a paralegal s ethical obligations. These realistic situations give students a better understanding of how seemingly abstract ethical rules affect the tasks performed by attorneys and paralegals in the legal workplace. TECHNOLOGY We have attempted to make sure that Paralegal Today: The Essentials, Fifth Edition, is the most up-to-date text available in today s marketplace. To that end, we have included in this edition materials and features indicating how the latest developments in technology are affecting the law, the legal workplace, and paralegal tasks. These features and materials will help your students learn how to take advantage of technology to enhance their quality and productivity as paralegals. A Chapter on Contemporary Online Legal Research Chapter 7 is devoted to contemporary online legal research. It shows students how to do legal research and investigation using the legal databases provided by Westlaw and Lexis, as well as many other online information sources.