Finding Law Online

Young woman browsing internet at homeThe following link to the Library of Congress website has some good information and links to law resources online.

Guide to Law Online

You may want to keep a list of websites where you can find information about the law for use while you are in school studying to be a paralegal and even after you graduate.  You could certainly keep useful websites in your Favorites on your desktop for ease in finding them.

Be aware that websites are constantly being changed, updated and revised.  What you found on a site today might not be available tomorrow.  One way to capture information is to take  a screen shot and in case you cannot locate it again later.

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Published in: Uncategorized on January 30, 2014 at 8:32 am  Leave a Comment  
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What types of things does an Estate Planning Paralegal do?

Estate Planning attorneys prepare documents for people like Last Will and Testaments, Trusts, Powers of Attorney, Durable Powers of Attorney, and Health Care Directives.  The paralegals working for Estate Planning attorneys will be asked to do many of the following tasks:

  • Follow up with clients regarding missing informationtrust image
  • Follow up with clients regarding missing documents
  • Order Property Profiles/copies of deeds
  • Prepare estate planning documents
  • Prepare letters to clients with drafts of documents
  • Prepare letters to clients with final documents for signature
  • Meet with clients to sign and notarize documents
  • Meet with clients to clarify terms and provisions of estate planning documents

If you are considering working for an estate planning attorney, you may want to become a Notary Public.  This is a great asset for an attorney who practices in this area.  For more information on estate planning, visit my website at MaryEMullinAttorneyatLaw.com.

Published in: on January 28, 2014 at 8:25 am  Leave a Comment  
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What’s an Employer Looking for?

slacker 2I cannot speak for the others in my trade, but I know what I as an attorney want in a paralegal.

Not everything I want has to do with their training or education.  Some of the things I look for have to do with who they are as a person.

  • Honesty
  • Personal Integrity
  • Self-motivation
  • Professionalism

Often, I like to bring someone on first as an intern to see their work ethic in motion. Nothing like observing paralegal at work to determine whether he or she will fit into the team.

Drafting Interrogatories

The following is a blog post from the CEB (Continuing Education of the Bar) on the subject of how to draft interrogatories:

7 Rules for Drafting Interrogatories

Enjoy!

It is always good to be reminded of the basics.

Published in: on October 14, 2013 at 8:47 am  Leave a Comment  
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Being a Paralegal

Here’s a recent article from Paralegal Today which gives some good information about getting started on the Paralegal Path. It highlights the different educational requirements, how to evaluate schools and other information for those just beginning to consider a career as a Paralegal.

Getting Started as a Paralegal

Published in: Uncategorized on September 5, 2013 at 10:37 pm  Comments (1)  
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California Civil Procedure (Standing to Sue)

lawbooksBefore filing a lawsuit in California, there are several preliminary issues which the plaintiff must consider.
These include standing to sue, capacity to sue, personal jurisdiction, subject matter jurisdiction and venue to name a few.
 
In California, the law requires the plaintiff be the “real party in interest”. The “real party in interest

” is the person who has the right to sue under the applicable substantive law. This is the person who owns the property, holds title to property or some other claim that is involved.

 
The purpose of this requirement is to protect defendants against whom a judgment may be obtained from being sued again by some other claimant for the same underlying obligation or debt.  If one wants to challenge standing to sue or allege that the plaintiff is not the real party in interest, they would file a General Demurrer which will be discussed in more detail in other posts.
Published in: on January 28, 2013 at 8:56 am  Leave a Comment  
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Job Opening – Legal Secretary

JOB OPENING … Part-time (30 hours/week) legal secretary position for prominent personal injury law firm. Spanish speaking very helpful. Must be proficient in MS Word and Outlook, and have a certified typing speed of at least 40 wpm. Tasks will include receiving incoming calls, new client intake, investigation tasks, filing, file set up, miscellaneous correspondence, photocopying, and other secretarial tasks. Hourly rate is $10/hour; No benefits. If interested, e-mail resume to bhass@chainlaw.com.

Published in: on November 14, 2012 at 3:45 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Contracts: Conduct Invalidating Assent

When considering whether there is “mutual assent”, sometimes called a “meeting of the minds” which is required for a contract to be formed, one of the issues is the existence of conduct that invalidates assent.  

Conduct Invalidating Assent:

Duress

  • Any wrongful or unlawful act or threat that overcomes the free will of a party, e.g. physical compulsion or improper threats

Undue Influence

  • taking unfair advantage of a person by reason of a dominant position based upon a confidential relationship

Fraud (Intentional Misrepresentation)

  • in the execution – misrepresentation that deceives the defrauded person as to the nature of the contract; renders the transaction void
  • in the inducement – fraud (Elements:  false representation, of fact, that is material, with knowledge of falsity and intent to deceive, and justifiable reliance)

Mistake

  • Mutual – both parties mistaken as to the same facts
  • Unilateral – one party is mistaken (no relief granted)

What is the Statute of Frauds?

The Statute of Frauds sounds like it should have more to do with Tort law than contract law, but it is a central issue in contract enforcement.  Specifically, it address the enforceability of certain oral contracts.

  • The Statute of Frauds is a doctrine that only applies to oral contracts.  It requires that there be sufficient evidence of certain types of oral contracts or it causes them to be unenforceable.
  • The Statute of Frauds applies to specific categories of oral contracts which include the following:
  1. Suretyship contract (promises to pay the debt of another)
  2. Promise to pay personally the debts of a decedent
  3. Promise made in consideration of marriage
  4. Land contracts
  5. Contracts that, by their terms, cannot be fully performed within 1 year from the date of their making.
  6. Contracts for sale of goods over $500.00.

All the above categories of contracts need to be in writing or be evidenced by performance or a “memorandum” or other sufficient writing.  The issue of the statute of frauds is ones of enforcement and not formation.  The contract may be properly formed, but because it is an oral contract which falls into one of the prohibited categories, it cannot be enforced in a court.

Are all contracts the same?

Not all contracts are created equal.  Contracts can be divided into different classifications based on their characteristics.

Express vs. Implied

  • Express – assent is manifested (or shown) directly
  • Implied – assent is implied from the conduct of the parties

Unilateral vs. Bilateral

  • Unilateral – Only one of the parties make a promise; a promise for an act or forbearance to act
  • Bilateral – both parties are both a promisor and a promisee; a promise for a promise

Valid, Void, Voidable & Unenforceable

  • Valid – meets all the requirements of a binding contract (mutual assent, consideration, legality, capacity)
  • Void – no contract at all; without legal effect (e.g. adjudicated incompetent person attempts to contract)
  • Voidable – contract capable of being made void, voidable by one party (e.g. contracts with minors)
  • Unenforceable – a contract for the breach of which the law provides no remedy (e.g. contracts violating the statute of frauds)

Executed vs. Executory

  • Executed – fully performed by all the parties
  • Executory – “unperformed”, one or more promises by any party to the contract are yet unperformed

Knowing which type of contract is involved in your case can help you to determine if a contract is enforceable, when would be the right time to file suit, as well as other important issues which affect your legal rights under the contract.

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