Have You Been Cheated Out of Overtime?

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1 Summer 2012 Have You Been Cheated Out of Overtime? PLUS Medical Records and the Legal Nurse Consultant Report from the Underground: A Paralegal s Perspective of EDD/ESI/EDRM

2 Contents 4 Letter from the Editor 8 Treat Your Career Like a Business by Rodney Lumpkins 14 Stressed Out and Going Nowhere by Chere Estrin 18 International Business Travel: Mind Your P s and Queues by Stayce Wagner 22 What It Takes to Survive in a Law Firm - and Live to Tell the Tale by Jamie Collins 28 ediscovery Paralegal - A Brand New Position 30 Rosa Waller and Adrienne Henry Courts - ediscovery Paralegals 32 COVER Have You Been Cheated Out of Overtime? by Jamie Collins 38 Report from the Underground: A Paralegal s Perspective of EDD/ESI/EDRM by Debra Hindin-King 44 Medical Records and the Legal Nurse Consultant by Anne Pile 54 Continuing Legal Education: Game Changer for Paralegals by Chere Estrin 60 Protect Your New Hire Assets by Kathy Giacolone

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4 Letter from the Editor Hello Readers! Recently, I was in an interesting conversation with a seasoned paralegal who told me that someone said she was old school. She was horrified! She told me that she had been in the law firm environment so long that there probably wasn t anything that she hadn t already heard, seen or experienced. I thought that was probably true - but old school? Veteran paralegals are a primary resource for top advice for the next generation of paralegals. While technology and trends may change, the basics remain the same. In order to survive and pace with the pack, a paralegal today has to be one step ahead of everyone. And, I mean everyone. Anyone can change the direction of their career. It only takes a moment to decide that things will be better for you. The trick is to take the action necessary to start the process. Listening to senior level paralegals might be a place to start. Hopefully, you are not confusing old school with senior level years of experience. To me, old school simply means someone who refuses to change. Jamie Collins brings us some sage observations in her article, What It Takes to Survive in a Law Firm - Living to Tell the Tale. Wow. I don t know how she did it, except that she did. Rodney Lumpkins, another savvy senior level paralegal, explores career options - not the job hunting kind - the kind that keeps you in the position you re currently in. These paralegals and others, such as Debra Hindin-King in her article, Report from the Underground, share valuable insights that form the foundation for passing it forward. Advice, that is. I ve found over the years that you can read all you want to, but a paralegal s first hand knowledge is the best training vehicle you can get. This issue of KNOW covers everything from career advice to the latest in technology, substantive issues and practical application - all from the perspective of senior level paralegals. I often liken receiving advice to a waiter in a fine restaurant who holds out a dessert tray and says to the patron, here, if you wish, and the diner takes what is right for him. Enjoy this issue! And take away what s right for you! Chere Estrin Editor-in-Chief KNOW, The Magazine for Paralegals 4

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8 KNOW Can Do TREAT YOUR CAREER LIKE A BUSINESS Get a competitive advantage - separate yourself from others By Rodney Lumpkins If you want to succeed in your career today, you have to think like an entrepreneur. Most successful entrepreneurs are goal oriented, opportunity seekers and anxious to tell the world about their business. That s exactly how you have to treat your career, as if its your very own company. Your company however, is in an industry filled with type-a personalities and fierce competition and thanks to the recession, your competitors are coming in droves. With everyone tightening their professional belts, the reality you face is that there are more people looking for work but there are fewer jobs to fill. In today s market, your competition is global and you are pitted against your peers around the world, college grads, people seeking a second career after a layoff, the list goes on and on. Now that we know what we re up against, let s look at a few strategies that will positively impact your career and put you in the driver s seat. 8

9 Fully Understand Your Vision. Most successful businesses start with a business plan. One of the key components of a good business plan is the Vision Statement. The same holds true for your career. Identify what you would like to accomplish in your career. Where do you want this thing to end up? How will you measure your own success when it comes to your career? Just like a good Project Manager, it s always a good idea to start with the end in mind. Having a clear understanding of the end goal will help you balance the day-to-day projects with your long-term road to success. In his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Steven R. Covey, lists Beginning with the end in mind, as Successful Habit No. 2. This is no simple task as most of us will find it difficult to see something that s not physically in front of us, but even more difficult to envision where we want to finish at the end of our careers. Once you have that vision in your mind, put it in writing and keep it handy so you can refer to it often. This will help you stay focused on the ultimate goal. Develop Your Core Competencies. In business, core competencies are the items a company offers that gives it a competitive advantage in a certain industry, items that create and deliver value to customers in any field. For example, in business, McDonald s is known for its quality standards while at the same time remaining open to new ventures. Burgers are their specialty and everyone knows that the Big Mac you order in Brooklyn will taste great just like the Big Mac you order in Honolulu. Mickey Dees may specialize in burgers but they grow their product base and try new things as well. The McRib is one of the classic ventures but the new kid on the block, the Fruit and Maple Oatmeal, is making a name for itself. The same holds true with your career. Fundamental skills in your field are elementary. To separate from the competition, you need to develop unique and consistent competencies to 9 the level that you are deemed the go-to-person in your office for certain tasks. Furthermore, in this hi-tech, microwave society we live in, its imperative that part of your tool belt contains sharp and up-to-date technical skills. There are loads of technical training materials available online that cost next to nothing, but to the extent that you have to come out of your pocket for training on a certain topic, consider it an investment in your career. Provide Excellent Customer Service. We have all had that experience of poor customer service as consumers. You know that place that you swear to never step foot in again because of the horrible service. In fact, most of us have probably been to places where the actual product was okay at best, but the excellent customer service kept us coming back for more. In our line of work, its normally the attorneys and the clients that are our customers, while your workspace and your attire make up your store front. It s important to not be that person with all of the know how and technical skills that no one wants to work with because you come off as rude or disorganized.

10 You must also know and understand your customers. Knowing their likes and dislikes while understanding their needs and expectations will help you provide the customers exactly what they need and will keep them coming back. Market your product and plan to promote. Whether it be during a quick elevator ride with the Senior Partner in your group, or at a networking mixer with industry decision makers, always be prepared to talk about who you are and what you are doing that sets you apart and brings value to your organization. Also known as the elevator speech, you should shoot for words to make your audience want to know more about you. For example, if I met you for the first time, which of the following introductions would stand out more: Hello, my name is Rodney Lumpkins and I m a Senior Litigation Paralegal at Morris, Manning and Martin or Hello, my name is Rodney Lumpkins and I m a Senior Litigation Paralegal at Morris, Manning and Martin. I ve worked on multi-million dollar class action cases defending retail giants like Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Target. I write articles for a National Paralegal Publication. Once you ve nailed down your plan to promote, its important that you stay current with industry news and trends. This will require a lot of reading but tools like Newsgator, Google Reader and Google Alerts make it easy to stay informed by following blogs, websites, and news feeds that are important to you. Whatever you do, do not be that person who sets up a LinkedIn profile and does not log back in for months at a time. Having a great profile and not actively leading or participating in group discussions in your industry is like going to a networking mixer or office party and spending the entire evening in the corner disengaged. Yes, you are present at the event, but no one knows who you are or what you bring to the table. I recently heard the story of a highly regarded Senior Vice President at a Global Media giant confess to his class of mentees that he spends at least 6 hours a week networking. If this Senior VP can fit that much time in, surely you can put in 30 minutes a few times a week. Another aspect of your marketing plan should include social media management. In 2012, a business without a social media outlet is likely headed nowhere fast. With tools like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, you can easily expand your contact list and flip it into a global network. Whatever you do, do not be that person who sets up a LinkedIn profile and does not log back in for months at a time. 10

11 Being an entrepreneur requires a lot of hard work and so does getting the most out of your career. The great thing about treating your career like a business is that you are the owner, you re the boss, the head honcho and you are in complete control to decide the direction of the business. Too often, we find ourselves caught up in completing the current project or transaction that we lose focus of the big picture. Everyone will tell you that their career development is important to them, yet it s the thing we spend the least amount of time working on, but it remains the key to growth and success. If your career is truly your business, then tell me, what are you doing to make sure the doors stay open? Always be prepared to talk about who you are and what you are doing that sets you apart and brings value to your organization. About the Author Rodney Lumpkins is a Senior Litigation Paralegal at Morris, Manning and Martin, where he sits on the firm s Diver sity and Pro Bono Committees. He has over 22 years of legal experience with an emphasis on litigation, e-discovery and class action cases. Rodney has worked with attorneys on numerous complex litigation and product liability matters, employment disputes and breach of contract claims. Mr. Lumpkins began his legal career at the Judge Advocate General s Academy in Indianapolis, Indiana. After serving as a Military Paralegal in Europe and Hawaii, he left the JAG Corps to join Hawaii s largest employment law firm, where he successfully served as the lead Paralegal in Hawaii s first sexual orientation discrimination case. That victory for Boeing Corporation, led to an offer to move to Atlanta. Mr. Lumpkins gained further experience as an in-house Paralegal for two national staffing companies headquartered in Atlanta. Rodney has also worked at the international law firm of Jones Day in Atlanta as the Senior Employment Paralegal, managing class action discovery and dispositive motions for retail giants like Wal-Mart and Target Corporation. Since 2002, Mr. Lumpkins has worked closely with dozens of E-Discovery vendors and attorneys to process and manage millions of ESI records. Rodney s e-discovery experiences include spoliation control, forensic analysis, large scale web-based document reviews, online repositories, and electronic productions. Rodney is a leader in the Atlanta Paralegal community and has been a guest speaker at events for Herzing University, Kennesaw State University, the Georgia Association of Paralegals and the Gate City Bar Paralegal Section. 11

12 Paralegal Knowledge Institute brings you on your own time, within your own schedule. Order tod Paralegal s Role at Trial Class #2: Trial Preparation Trial Subpoenas and Witnesses, Trial Binder Your Case Bible, Paralegal Tool Kit aka Trial Box Dealing with Court Personnel (Security, Bailiffs, Court Clerks, Court Reporter), The War Room (Set up, Management, Logistics) Class #3: The Main Event The Day Before Final Day of Preparations, Jury Selection/Voir Dire, The Jury Chart Note Taking, Exhibits - Marking and Admitting, Jury Survey Whether you are an entry, mid-level or senior paralegal, being valuable in the courtroom is essential. This recorded online seminar gives you the tools you need to ensure mutual clarity and understanding. WHAT YOU WILL COVER Class #1: Trial Preparation Summary Jury Trials, Witnesses and Exhibits,Working Within the Trial Team (Planning, Objectives, Expectations, Tasks), Pre- Trial Motions, Judicial Research (Judge, Local Rules, Rules of Court) Legal Project Management Order Today! Faculty Linda McGrath-Cruz, Senior Litigation Paralegal, Miami office of Arnstein & Lehr, LLP. Linda received her B.A. in Legal Studies from Barry University and her Advanced Paralegal Certification from the National Association of Legal Assistants, Inc. 3 Classes: Part I, II and III Price: $ all 3 classes. Includes PowerPoints Each class: 90 minutes Recorded March, 2012 Product ID 2500 In this course, you are introduced to management approaches, knowledge standards, scope, managing resources, estimating techniques, communications planning, managing risks, enabling good team dynamics, and project closure. Six sessions including: Legal Project Management Framework Project Management Information Systems Monitoring and Controlling Costs Integration Management of Risk and Quality Order today! Price: $ including PowerPoints Each class: 90 minutes Recorded April 2012 Product

13 all new, online, on demand recordings. Listen and learn ay. Take back the information to your firm tomorrow. Practical Legal Ethics for Paralegals Every year, more and more paralegals are facing critical ethical decisions and more and more responsibility for alleged negligence. In a litigious society, no one is immune. Knowing what is required and how to identify problems before they happen is vital. Available in one, two, three or four sessions 1. Confidentiality 2. Unauthorized Practice of Law 3. Conflict of Interest 4. Advertising, Zealousness & Client Funds Recorded: May, 2012 and June 2012 Product No This intensive ethics program will provide you with proactive strategies for spotting and avoiding potential areas of liability. Find out how simple changes to your routine can make ethical legal practices second nature - Price: $99.00 per session including PowerPoints All four recordings: $ Save $100! Order Today! Take one, two, three or all four webinars. Each class: 1 hour Role of the Trial Technician Technical issues of trial presentation, ethics,and proper protocols Order Today! Learn both the technology and the legal process. This course is divided into two segments: Trial Technology and The Legal Process Relationship to Trial Presentation. Just a few of the topics: Range of options from boards to full tech support Concepts for demonstrative evidence development Presentation options based upon case or legal argument Audio and video facts affecting your presentation Setting up the courtroom Applying the legal process to your trial presentation Communicating basic concepts: facts, evidence, and proof Practical tips for handling evidence Price: $ including PowerPoints Six Sessions. Each class: 2 hours Recorded Dec

14 KNOW Way Stressed Out and Going Nowhere When reading articles (or anything else, for that matter), I m always looking for an interesting topic, a well-written and insightful piece, and a writer who leaves me hanging on their every word, curious about where I m headed, and how we ll get there. Oh, who am I kidding? That s what we re all looking for, right?! Of course it is! Well, we found it. We saw this article on The Estrin Report a few months back on the topic of drum roll, please stress, and felt inclined to share it with all of you. Wonder why? Um, it s because the paralegal profession can be a tad bit stressful, as you well know! So sit back, sip that fabulous, cold/hot beverage, bask in the fact that it s Friday [insert paralegal happy dance here], and read this terrific article by Chere. Being a tad stressed out lately, I decided to research the topic and, unfortunately, came up with the same old boring routine run-of-the-mill suggestions. There s nothing worse than for stressed out paralegals and legal professionals to read another article on stress that tells you to: a. Take a break. (Right. With that pile of work on my desk, my boss breathing down my neck, I m gonna take a break.) b. Take a walk outside. (It s 115 degrees here. You take the walk.) 14 c. Meditate. (That brings me right back to obsessing on what s stressing me.) d. Take a bubble bath. (I have arthritis in my knees. You get in and out of that tub. Me? I m not getting in there and then have to have the fire department come and get me out. No sir.) e. Eat chocolate. (Sure. What s another 50 pounds?) I thought I d stumbled upon something new when I read one article that said to keep a log. The log should have three columns: Time, My Plan, What Actually Happened. So I started the log: 9:00 - My Plan: Write a Press Release. What Actually Happened: Client calls. Yaks for an hour. What could I say? It s a paying client. 10:00 - My Plan: Write syllabus for OLP ediscovery Training Course. What Actually Happened: Husband pulls back out of whack while trying to demonstrate how he used to do the limbo when he was five. Try getting a 6 - foot, 249 pound, 58 year-old man up off the floor. Took an hour.

15 You get the picture. It was only making me more stressed. So, I came up with my own ways to just eliminate stress altogether. 1. Figure out what stresses you. That s right. Half the time we don t even recognize it. For example, it took me a long time to realize that it wasn t going swimming every day that stressed me out. It was the idea that I had to get in the car, drive 20 minutes to the Y, get changed in the locker room in front of 47 very elderly women, all with bluish-gray hair, Cobby Cuddler shoes, and bodies a 20-year old would die for. 2. Eliminate unnecessary commitments: Why, oh why, do we say yes to things when we mean no? I don t like having lunch with (Jane). She bores me to tears. Yet, I can t say no. So once a month I m off to have lunch with her at a restaurant I don t like, can t afford, and swear I won t go to again. It s unnecessary. I ll go every six months instead. 3. Stop multi-tasking: The buzz word of the 90s and naughts. Who came up with that word, anyway? Everyone multi-tasks. It seems to me that if we didn t multi-task, rather did one thing at a time until we ve finished it, we might get more done. I m getting a little bit tired of talking on the phone, drafting an , eating my lunch and listening to an ediscovery webinar all at the same time. My conversations don t make sense, I make too many typos in my s, I don t know what I just ate, and, furthermore, I haven t a clue what the webinar was about. Try getting a 6- foot, 249 pound, 58 year-old man up off the floor. Took an hour. who is passive-aggressive in their s to you someone who gives you heartburn just because they can? No to that. Avoid em. Being nice isn t working anyway, and you wouldn t want what you really feel to be in print. Nope. No answering here. 4. Unschedule: That s right. Stop scheduling so much. Before Outlook days, we used to make a phone call to someone when the urge or need struck us. Now, we have to compose an to ask for an appropriate time, send the , wait for the return reply, go back and forth a bit, book the teleconference and then confirm spending half an hour just to get 7 minutes with someone on some unimportant confab we didn t need to begin with. Make an appointment to make the telephone call? Puleeze. 5. Avoid difficult people: Just avoid them. Who needs that anyway? Some ranting, raving, power-hungry person 15

16 6. Eliminate energy drains: What is draining your energy? Eliminate it, or them, in your life. People who insist on drama, situations that call for much more input than you want to give. Yep. Eliminate all of it. Of course, I consider going to the dentist an energy drain. I might want to reconsider that. 7. Help others: It just gives you a great lift. I found that by helping others I felt great. Even if it was a temporary lift: giving out a scholarship to a course, helping someone with a resume, sending a note with a few names that could help someone who is having a rough time. All of that. Takes your focus off of you, even for just a little while. 8. Slow down: Instead of rushing through life, learn to take things just a little bit slower. Enjoy your food, enjoy the people around you, enjoy nature. This step alone can save tons of stress. Where I live, I see road runners, bunny rabbits, crows, owls, and coyotes. Never, ever saw that in the big city when I lived there. Well, okay, so I have to carry pepper spray when I walk the dog in case the coyotes want to come after him. But the intent is there. 9. Be grateful: Developing an attitude of gratitude (I sound like a rapper) is a way of thinking positive, eliminating negative thinking, and reduces stress. Learn to be grateful for what you have, for the people in your life, and see it as a gift. With this sort of outlook on life, stress will go down and happiness will go up. What could I possibly be grateful for? Hmmmm for one, you took just a few minutes out of your busy day, just to read this post. For that I am grateful, and my life is just a little bit less stressful. Why, oh why, do we say yes to things when we mean no? 16

17 Today s paralegal demands sophisticated management, but few paralegals have the comprehensive training it takes to manager others. That s why our Paralegal Management Program focuses on connecting you to the industry in a way that no other program can. Your professors will be the field s foremost management experts, including topranking Paralegal Managers, industry leaders, HR experts, case managers, attorneys, professors and industry-leading recruiters. It s a comprehensive Paralegal Management education like no other. Program highlights Certificate in Paralegal Management Designed, developed and delivered by preeminent experts and practitioners in the field, our online Paralegal Management Certificate program takes you inside the issues that really matter. In our interactive, cutting-edge online classrooms, your courses will cover: Organizational Development Effective Team Building Insider s Guide to Recruiting The Evaluation & Review Process Cost Controls & Realistic Budgets Managing Billable Time Orientation Programs to Ensure Longevity Developing Smooth Running Paralegal Depts. Motivation & Rewards Professional Development & Training Programs Hiring and Terminations Utilization of Paralegals Project Management and Workflow Systems High Stake Negotiations For more information and to register: Class size is limited. 17

18 KNOW Where International Business Travel Minding Your P s and Queues By Stayce Wagner You ve exchanged countless s with your global business partner and you ve followed her social media content. You feel like you know her - you can rattle off her work history for the past 5 years, her good reads, her favorite musical artists and where she vacationed last summer. So when it s time for a face-to-face meeting, you re ready to go, right? Not exactly. 18

19 While it is true that the information you ve gleaned from social media and s will be very useful, you also need to focus on a few important details to position your business trip for success. So, before you pack your carry-on and squeeze into that (not so) comfy airline seat read and consider these 6 essential tips for international business travelers. Tip No. 1: Language Skills (Do You Speak English?) Your global business partner will understand that you may not be fluent in her native language. What she won t understand is your assumption that this limitation will be accommodated at all costs. Take a class, download an app, enlist the help of a friend, but by all means, make sure you know how to say key words and phrases that will help you to communicate with those around you. It shows respect. A good starter vocabulary will include staples such as how do you do, please, thank you, good morning, check please, my name is, and the always useful I m sorry, but I don t speak Xhosa, Mandarin, Arabic, etc. Tip No. 2: Greetings and Introductions (Hi There, Can I Call You Mel?) Americans commonly embrace the use of first names in the workplace. Abroad, however, the use of first names is usually reserved for non-business relationships, so count on calling your colleagues Mr. or Ms. Also, depending on the situation or country that you are visiting, a title such as doctor may take precedence. If you are unsure, consult an etiquette expert or reference tool to ensure that you are following local customs. Honor and Respect: The Official Guide to Names, Titles, and Forms of Address by Robert Hickey is a highly respected and useful resource regarding the protocol of titles and addressing others. When making introductions, the name of the top ranking person is said first. Keep in mind that your 19 client ranks higher than your colleague. For example, Ms. Top Ranking Person (or client), may I introduce to you Mr. Lower Ranking Person (or colleague). Always say to you as in happy birthday to you because saying you to reverses the name order. A firm, two-pump handshake is appropriate in most business settings. Substitute greetings such as hello and pleased to meet you for the ultra casual greetings hi or hey. Tip No. 3: Conversation Do s and Don ts (The Queen Reminds Me of My Aunt Edna) In the USA, we think nothing of telling new friends and colleagues about our jobs, families and love lives. However, the rest of the world doesn t share our infatuation with over-sharing. Acceptable conversation topics while traveling abroad for business include sports, positive current events and that tried and true standby - the weather. Learn simple facts about the economy, geography and culture of your host country. This knowledge will do double duty - your global business partner will be charmed because you cared enough to learn a few facts about her country and you will have appropriate conversation topics to share at the lunch or dinner table. Never discuss the monarchy of your host country. An innocent comment could cause great offense, so if the Queen of England reminds you of your Aunt Edna, please keep it to yourself. Tip No. 4: Dining with Dignity (Which Fork Do I Use?) Your international colleagues will eat using the Continental style in which the fork is held in the left hand, tines turned down. The American style, in which the diner switches the fork from the right to the left, went out of fashion in Europe in the late 19th century. Although much has been written about the merits and faults of both methods, either is appropriate abroad. If you choose to eat in the American style, rest your wrists on the table between food bites - in Europe it is considered rude to keep your hands in your lap while dining.

20 You will be faced with unfamiliar foods. Whether you view this fact as a challenge or a perk of international business travel, try some of everything that is offered to you unless you are allergic to it or have dietary restrictions - you keep kosher or are a vegan, for example. If you are hosting the meal, make sure you observe the proper seating protocol for your guests. Generally, a guest of honor sits to the right of the host, but do your homework as customs vary. If your head isn t spinning yet, learn to use chopsticks. It is a must if you travel to Asia for business because showing a client or business partner that you cared enough about her culture to learn some of its customs is the right thing to do. Of course, the currency will be different. Be aware of monetary exchange rates and plan accordingly. Also, take a credit card that uses smart chip technology instead of a magnetic strip as the magnetic strip is outdated abroad and may present a problem at some businesses. Finally, expect the metric system to be used. Even if you are good with math and can easily convert kilometers to miles, take a conversion calculator or download an app for ease of reference. It is surprising how the brain can quickly become overloaded when dealing with jet lag, cultural and language adjustments, unfamiliar food and new surroundings! Tip No. 5: Dress for Success (Business Casual Not Allowed!) The concept of business casual is not as widely accepted abroad as it is in the USA. As a result, international business attire tends to be conservative. Suits and ties for men and suits, dresses or skirts for women are the norm. High quality fabrics and subdued colors such as black, gray and navy blue are always good choices. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, so take the time to find out what is appropriate. What works in Helsinki may not work in Dubai. Tip No. 6: Time and Money (What Time Is It and Why Am I Late?) Be prepared to use military time, which is actively used throughout the global business community. Keeping military time is simple if you remember that 1:00 p.m. is 13:00 hours, 2:00 p.m. is 14:00 hours and so on. A word of caution about dates: In the United Kingdom dates are written DD/MM/YY instead of MM/DD/YY. For example, the short form for January 2, 2012 will be written 02/01/12. 20

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