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.

Published in: Uncategorized on January 30, 2014 at 8:32 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

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

Published in: on January 28, 2014 at 8:25 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

Filing an Answer?

If you or your client has been served with a Summons and Complaint in a civil matter in California, here are some things to remember:

1. Time is of the essence. You have 30 days to respond unless it is an Unlawful Detainer action (eviction), in which case you have 5 days.

2. An “Answer” is one of several responsive pleadings that can be filed in response to a civil Complaint. The others include a General Denial, a Demurrer, and a Motion to Strike. If you are not sure which one to file or you have received unclear instruction from your supervising attorney, you should do a little research to find out which is the best choice under the circumstances.

3. The filing of the Answer requires a filing fee (check the court web site).

4.  The Answer must be served on the plaintiff and all other parties who have appeared in the action.  A proof of service showing a copy of it was served on the Plaintiff should be attached to the Answer when submitted for filing. counsel.  The Answer can be served on the plaintiff or counsel (if represented) by mail.

4. The Answer needs to be verified by the defendant if the Complaint was verified.

Be sure to follow the California Code of Civil Procedure and California Rules of Court when preparing, serving and filing your Answer or other responsive pleading.

Job: Corporate Paralegal (Mountain View, CA)

Corporate Paralegal Location: Mountain View, CA Type: Contract to Perm (For the right candidate) Contact: Randy –

Job Description:
Support all aspects of potential spin-off, any mergers and acquisitions transactions, any other transactions, including due diligence, document preparation, closing mechanics and post-closing administration; provide legal support in collecting, preparing, retaining and organizing legal documents,

Required skills/experience:

3-5 years relevant experience

Bachelor’s degree; prefer certified paralegal
Hiring manager is looking for candidates that have Corporate Paralegal experience.  Someone who knows how to write drafts, familiar with SEC compliance.

Published in: on February 15, 2012 at 4:08 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

Portfolios . . . why have one?

Having a relevant and well-polished portfolio can push you to the top of the heap in the interview process.  It may help to make you memorable to the interviewer (for good reason rather than because you were annoying or ill-prepared as many applicants can be)

Of course, a portfolio alone will not land you the job, but having a well-developed portfolio with examples of work product that you are capable of creating with limited instruction/supervision will speak volumes about you that your resume may not.

When you bring your portfolio to an interview, it may be best to hold it for the end of the interview rather than letting it be a distraction too early when you want to be able to create a strong first impression.  As good time to bring it out is when you are asked the question, “Is there anything else you would like us to know about you?”

You can respond (humbly, of course), “Well, I did bring some samples of my work.  Here is my portfolio.”  I would offer to leave them an electronic copy of the documents in the portfolio.  Don’t leave the original.  You should invest in having great presentation for the hard copy original of your portfolio,  and it would be too expensive to leave every potential employer an original, but do allow them to go through it, and be ready to discuss the work that you have produced.

Interviewers love portfolios!  It gives them something more on which to base their evaluation of you and recommendation to hire you.  Of course, the caveat is that you should only include work you did and are capable of doing.

Published in: on February 14, 2012 at 1:03 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , ,

What’s a FIRAC?

If you have never briefed a case, you have missed the “fun” and frustration of trying to map out a court’s answer to a legal question.  In order to sort out case law, the case brief is used as an outlining tool.  It is an outlining method specific to the legal field.

In the legal field, there are many new vocabulary words, but FIRAC?  Really?

FIRAC actually stands for FACTS, ISSUE, RULE, APPLICATION and CONCLUSION.  It is a method of briefing cases, which is something every student of the law must attempt on some level.

The method that I have found easiest to remember and to use is F-I-R-A-C.  The “F” stands for “Facts.”  You need to outline both the procedural and legally significant facts (those necessary to the court’s reasoning and holding).  The procedural facts are things like prior hearings, prior order, prior history on appeal.  Legally significant facts are the facts the court looked to in making its decision.

The “I” stands for “Issue.”  The issue is the legal question presented.  It is the question being asked of the court.  A case may have (usually does have) more than one issue.

The “R” stands for “Rule.”  This is one of the areas where the novice case briefer can get confused.  The rule is the precedent – the judicial opinions that have come before which are binding on the court making this decision.  The rule is typically a quotation from a prior case which is usually given away by the quotation marks and the citation.  There may be more than one rule per issue, so don’t write down only the first one that you come across; keep looking.

The “A” stands for “Analysis” or Application.”  This is the section that outlines the court’s reasoning, how the court reached its decision in the pending case.  It should be quoted in the brief but will probably not be in quotations in the case itself.  Often policy discussions, economic balancing and discussions of the intent of the legislature will be included in this section.  It will also include an application of the rule (precedent) to the facts of the pending case.

The “C” stands for “Conclusion.”  The conclusion is what the court did with the lower court decision (e.g. affirmed, remanded, reversed) as well as the real life result.  I like to make sure that I understood the case result by stating in clear and concise terms what happened to the people involved in the case.

Briefing is core to the training of any legal professional’s mind.  It is a skill involving higher reasoning and analysis, so it is not acquired without some effort and practice.  Keep on briefing!  It will get easier.

Corporate Paralegal Job – Mountain View, California

Here’s the link for the Corporate Paralegal job in Mountain View, California (near Sunnyvale)

Published in: on December 6, 2011 at 8:10 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

Legal Ethics – Conflict Screening

The following is a good discussion of the issues related to screening for a potential or actual conflict of interest and how it affects one changing jobs.  In California, attorneys cannot represent clients where there is an actual conflict of interest.

Conflict Screening and our right to job Mobility

Discovery – Who can be deposed?

In California, some discovery devices such as  Interrogatories and Requests for Admissions can only be served on parties to a lawsuit, e.g. plaintiff and defendant.  However, the deposition is one of the more flexible tools of discovery to the extent that a deposition can be taken of a party or a non-party.

Party Depositions

A party may be a natural person, a business entity, a non-profit organization or a governmental agency.  Any and all of these may be deposed (have a deposition taken).  With a party which is not a natural person, the party must produce employees, officers, directors or other witnesses that are affiliated with the party.  If the party serving the deposition notice is not sure of the person with the requisite knowledge, the notice can specify that the “person most knowledgeable” should appear to testify.

Non-party Depositions

A non-party witness may also be deposed.  The non-party may be a witness to the events related to the litigation or even a person with knowledge as to business records.  With a non-party, the deposition notice must be served with a subpoena and cannot be simply mailed as with the notice sent to a party.


Both party and non-party deponents can be compelled to bring documents to the deposition.  The documents requested must be described with reasonable particularity in the Notice of Deposition served.

Discovery – When can an oral deposition be taken?

When can a deposition be taken?

California Code of Civil Procedure  2025.210.

Subject to [other sections] an oral deposition may be taken as follows: (a) The defendant may serve a deposition notice without leave of court at any time after that defendant has been served or has appeared in the action, whichever occurs first. (b) The plaintiff may serve a deposition notice without leave of court on any date that is 20 days after the service of the summons on, or appearance by, any defendant. On motion with or without notice, the court, for good cause shown, may grant to a plaintiff leave to serve a deposition notice on an earlier date.

Depositions are subject to the pretrial discovery cutoff. However, expert depositions may be taken up to 15 days before trial.

%d bloggers like this: