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.

So You’ve been asked to Write a Memorandum of Law . . . stay calm and read this post

Pulling hair out

It was all fine and dandy in your legal research class, but now your boss is asking you to write a memorandum of law for a motion for discovery (it could be for any motion), and you are having a panic attack.  You have gotten so desperate that you started surfing the internet.  It happens.

Just stay calm, and remind yourself that you are a trained professional.  You can, with a little guidance, do this.

Writing a memorandum of law in support of a motion is much like putting together a puzzle.  You must identify what goes where.  For example, you will have facts to include.  There will be law that is relevant and needs to be included, and there will be the need to be persuasive at some point, so the judge is convinced of your position.  Finally, you will need to tell everyone when the motion is being heard and prove that you served it.

To that end, we have the following parts of the Motion to consider, all of which impact the memorandum of law:

  • Notice of Motion (separate document with caption/signature line)
  • Memorandum of Law, aka “Memo of Law” (attached to Motion/usually doesn’t have a separate caption/does have signature line)
  • Supporting Declaration(s) (usually attached behind Memo of Law (at least one declaration required)
  • Exhibits (usually attached to Declaration and referenced therein)
Published in: on October 9, 2013 at 10:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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Paralegal Meeting in the News

Check out the following article about the recent Paralegal Conference in Los Angeles:

Paralegals Meet in LA
depo

Published in: Uncategorized on July 2, 2013 at 9:39 am  Leave a Comment  
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Computers at Work

Here’s a recent article of the CEB on the issue of your employer’s computers:

Don’t Mess with Your Employer’s Computer

Managing emails . . . keeping your head above water

The following article from The LEGACO Express for Paralegals has some good ideas about managing email which can be an overwhelming job, especially on Monday:

Buried Alive?  Tips for Mastering Email Overload

Unauthorized Practice of Law (UPL)

An area in which California paralegals often get into trouble if they are not careful is UPL (Unauthorized Practice of Law). According to California Business and Professions Code section 6450, paralegals in California shall not do the following:

Provide legal Advice
Represent a client in court
Select, explain, draft or recommend the use of any legal document to or for any person other than the attorney who directs and supervises the paralegal.
Act as a runner or capper, as defined in Sections 6151 and 6152.
Engage in conduct that constitutes the practice of law
Contract with or be employed by, a natural person other than an attorney to perform paralegal services.
In connection with providing paralegal services, induce a person to make an investment, purchase a financial product or service, or enter a transaction from which income or profit, or both, purportedly may be derived.
Established the fees to charge a client for the services the paralegal performs. . .

Paralegals need to learn this list of “shall not” conduct in order to avoid crossing the line into UPL. Paralegals, by definition, work for attorneys. They do not work for members of the public directly. Those who work for the public directly may not call themselves “paralegals.” This may be unpopular among some who call themselves “paralegals,” but it is the law.

Discovery: What is the Scope?

In litigation, after the pleadings are filed, the parties begin “Discovery”, the exchange and gathering of information in preparation for settlement or trial.

The scope of discovery is very broad.  The scope includes anything relevant to the subject matter, admissible or reasonably likely to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence, which is not privileged.

The words “anything” and “reasonably likely to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence” let you know that in discovery, going on a “fishing expedition” is entirely acceptable (assuming no privilege applies).  Almost anything can be shown to be “reasonably likely to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.”

The take away from this discussion on the scope of discovery is that almost everything is within the scope.  The main boundary will be privilege.  In other words, an objection to discovery on the grounds that the items or information being requested are not relevant is likely to fail.

Venue: Knowing where to file

The proper place to file a lawsuit is called “venue”, and it is not always intuitive.  It is possible; however, to get venue information relatively easily and painlessly.  For Los Angeles County, you follow the following link:

http://www.lasuperiorcourt.org/FilingLocator/UI/filingSearch.aspx

It is only a matter of entering the relevant zip code or city name.

For Orange County, you need to access the court web site and go to the link for locations:

http://www.occourts.org/locations/index.html

From there, you can click on the Court Designation List and  find out what cities are served by each location and then file your matter in the correct location.

Filing in the wrong venue does not invalidate your lawsuit, but it might result in considerable expense and delay if the other side files a motion for change of venue because you filed in the wrong court.

Tips on Writing Briefs

The following are a series of blog posts with tips from a judge on writing briefs:

A Brief Browse on Briefs (Part 1)

A Brief Browse on Briefs (Part 2)

A Brief Browse on Briefs (Part 3)

Legal research and writing are two very important areas for a paralegal to develop especially if he or she desires to earn a higher salary.

Litigation – What’s involved?

Litigation (resolution of disputes through the legal system)

Pleadings

Discovery

  • Scope (any matter, not privilegedrelevant to the subject matter, admissible as evidence or reasonably calculated to lead to admissible evidence)
  • Interrogatories (Form and Special)
  • Demand for Production of Documents
  • Request for Admissions
  • Mental/Physical Exam
  • Request for Statement of Damages
  • subpoena

Motions

  • Summary Judgment
  • Discovery (Motion to Compel/Motion for Protective Order)

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

  • Arbitration
  • Mediation

Pre-Trial

  • Motions in limine
  • Final Status Conference
  • Jury Selection (voir dire)

Trial

  • Opening Statements
  • Direct Examination
  • Cross-Examination
  • Re-Direct
  • Closing Argument
  • Jury Instructions

Post-Trial

  • JNOV
  • Motion for New Trial
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