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NEBRASKA PARALEGAL ASSOCIATION

IN BRIEF

VOLUME MMXVII ISSUE 3

NOVEMBER 2017

IN THIS ISSUE: From the President ..... 1 From the Editor ........... 2 Save The Dates............ 4 Board of Directors ....... 6 Relay for Life ............... 8 Fall Seminar Recap ..... 9 A Day in The Life ....... 12 Student Spotlight ...... 16 Tech Tips ................... 17 Fighting Elder Exploitation ............................ 18 Don’t Make “Uber” Promises.................... 22

FROM THE PRESIDENT: BRIDGET STUHR, ACP Wow…it’s finally here…the beginning of a new chapter for the Nebraska Paralegal Association. I hope you all are as excited as I am to start this journey together; and I mean that, literally. By no means do I intend to make this trek alone. I am very fortunate, and grateful, to be making this voyage surrounded by a Board of Directors with an amazing mixture of knowledge, experience, motivation and new energy. We have already begun to toss around ideas for promising events as well as ways to update and/or modify a few things to better represent the needs and wishes of our members. The excitement for the possibilities that lie ahead is truly invigorating! This excursion, however, isn’t exclusive to only myself and the Board. In order for this ride to be truly epic, there’s a standing invitation to all the thrill seekers of the membership to attend any and all board meetings. These meetings are open to members and we encourage your input on all matters that are brought to the table. We also invite those daring enough to help us navigate this somewhat new territory by joining a committee. We all know that strength lies in numbers and by attending the meetings and volunteering to be on a committee, you provide additional insight and get a sneak peek of what can be expected around the next bend, building a collective excitement for the road ahead. Regardless of your adventure level, whether you are an experienced guide or someone who prefers to sit back and capture the excitement through the lens of a camera, there is a committee that is perfect for you. I encourage you to not sit idly on the shoreline, commenting about the fair weather or the lack of entertainment, but to actually dive in, participate, and join the fun!

www.nebraskaparalegal.org

As I embark on this quest as your tour guide and as your President, I want to make this experience as beneficial and fun for you as I expect it will be for me. In order to accomplish this, I hope you will (and fully expect you to) tell me or any member of the Board if you are not pleased with the direction I am leading you. I want you to feel comfortable approaching me and the Board with any questions you may have about the path we are taking, or if you have any suggestions for destinations you’d like to reach. We are at the beginning of this journey and even though the trail may be a bit rocky and unknown at times, I can’t wait to work with each and every one of you to see what we can achieve together!


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FROM THE EDITOR: Greetings! I first want to take this time to thank my committee. I’m lucky to be serving on a committee with such amazing and talented women, who have graciously taken their time to teach me the ropes and help me to transition into the Editor role. I only hope that I can serve in this position as good as the women before me have. Second, I would like to take the time to tell you why I love what I do. I’ve always wanted to be a paralegal for as long as I can remember. At first, when I was going through school, I was pretty sure I wanted to work in family law. I quickly learned that my calling was litigation, however. I can honestly say that I love every aspect of litigation! The feeling of being able to find a random email or document pertaining to a specific issue out of thousands of pages of documents is rewarding. Trials...I love the feeling of going to and being at trial, the allencompassing game of litigation. I love the twists and turns of the process, advocating for our clients, and the appreciation by the clients for all the handwork and favorable results. Litigation is exciting, stressful, highly intense, always a fire drill, always surprising… and I love it. I will leave you with this last bit for now. Work hard. It pays off even when we feel it doesn’t and people DO notice. As always, please continue to write articles, send feedback and ideas, and be on the lookout for items you think are interest to our group. We appreciate your support and are very pleased to have you as readers.

Publications Committee Members Shannon Persoma, Chair Jill Lorkovic Kimberly Brown, ACP Amber Roberts, ACP Kim Hansen Nicole Day, ACP

Do you like what you’ve seen in this issue? Do you have questions or comments? Notice an error? Please let us know at: Shannon.Persoma@koleyjessen.com.


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DIAMOND SPONSOR


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SAVE THE DATES January 9th - BOD Meeting (Koley Jessen) January 24th - District I Luncheon February 7th - District II Luncheon February 28th - District I Luncheon March 6th - BOD Meeting (Kutak Rock) March 28th - District I Luncheon April 20th - Spring Seminar and SemiAnnual Meeting (Mahoney) May 9th - District II Luncheon May 23rd - District I Luncheon June 5th - BOD Meeting (Whitmore) June 27th - District I Luncheon

RELAY FOR LIFE 2018 More info coming soon!

July 11-13th - NALA Convention (St. Louis) August 8th - District II Luncheon


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EMERALD SPONSOR


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BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Below is the 2017-2018 Board of Directors. A big thank you to those who have stepped up to offer their services to NePA this year. We look forward to your leadership!

President President-Elect Past President Vice President Treasurer Secretary NALA Liaison District I Director District II Director Publications Editor Website Administrator Parliamentarian

Bridget Stuhr, ACP Amber Roberts, ACP Teri Gibbons Sandi Armstrong, CP Caryn Redding, CP Jillian Tuck, CP Angel Younger, ACP Kim Brown, ACP Laurie Montag, CP Shannon Persoma Nicole Day, ACP Katie Wibbels, ACP


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DIAMOND SPONSOR


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RELAY FOR LIFE NePA’s Relay for Life team, the Legal Beagles, raised money at the Fall Seminar for next year’s event. There were surprise boxes, cards, custom artwork, and raffle tickets for a voucher to Entrap Games in Omaha as well as a $25 gift card. Lori Froistad, pictured holding the Relay for Life trophy NePA won this year as the top business fundraising team, was our raffle winner. Congratulations! A big thank you to Entrap Games, located at 7905 L St., Ste. 110 in Omaha, for generously donating the voucher. We were also able to secure a pledge from an anonymous donor again this year. The donor will match our funds 50 cents to the dollar up to $750! This is great news and, if we can raise at least $1500 on our own, will help us to reach our goal. It’s not too early to consider donating. Our goal is for every member to donate at least $10 which can be done in a variety of ways including purchasing a luminaria in honor or memory of someone, 5 surprise boxes, 10 greeting cards, or a combination. Contact Teri Gibbons (teri.gibbons@koleyjessen.com) or Amber Roberts (amber.roberts@gavilon.com) with any questions.


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FALL SEMINAR RECAP The Annual Membership Meeting and Fall Seminar were held on September 14-15, 2017 at UNO’s Thomson Alumni Center. A big thank you to Bridget Stuhr and the Continuing Legal Education Committee for putting together a fantastic seminar this year! We started the day at the Recognition Breakfast where the Honorable Laurie Smith Camp, Chief Judge of the United States District Court gave the keynote. We heard her give a prime example of why sleep is essential to our well-being (an analysis of bats versus earthquakes and which is better for sleep) as well as what having ethics means and why it makes such a difference in the legal profession. We recognized those who earned their CP and ACP designations in the past year as Honorable Laurie Smith Camp well as presented Ruth Bahr with her well-deserved NALA Affiliate Award for all of her service to NePA over the years.

Left to Right: Angel Younger, Laurie Montag, Kim Brown, Sandi Armstrong, Caryn Redding, JC Tuck, Amber Roberts, Bridget Stuhr, and Teri Gibbons being sworn in

We then held our Annual Meeting and elected the officers for the 2017-2018 year. Teri Gibbons has done a fantastic job this past year and we’re confident that our new President, Bridget Stuhr, will continue the long tradition of leading us into the fu-

ture with innovation and integrity. The educational component of the day began with Elise McHatton, the Director of Account Management at Simply Well. She presented on “The Importance of Sleep and Stress Management for Paralegals” which was very engaging. We went through a great breathing exercise as well as steps to recognize stressors and what we can do to stop stress: Call a Time-Out, Breathe, Reflect, and Choose how to deal with the source of the stress. We then broke for lunch which was a very nice spread of salad, fruit, mashed potatoes and a delicious creamy chicken. Jennifer Woodrome, Director of Operations at Capitol Services, had a very difficult position to fill being the speaker right after lunch but she was up to the task! Her presentation on “UCC Searching and Filing – Best Practices and Common Misconceptions” was the best presentation I’ve ever attended on UCCs. She took a typically dry subject and made it engaging and fun. Noise words and the uncertainty of ever-changing search logic make it a scary endeavor to take on by yourself. Our final speaker of the day was Scott Hahn from Hightower Reff. He spoke on “The Ethics of Limited Scope Representation” which was an interesting look at this emerging area based on making legal services more affordable and accessible to those who either don't have the means to pay a retainer or only need help with one area/task. Scott did a great job of passing along the requirements if your firm/attorney plans to do this type of representation including avoiding scope creep.


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FALL SEMINAR RECAP We got the day off to a great start with “Women's Legal Rights” and Sally Bisson-Best, Director of Paralegal Studies from College of St. Mary. She shared information about one of the most important, yet unknown women in the suffrage movement, Doris Stevens, who was from Omaha, NE. I plan to read the book Jailed for Freedom which she wrote and was used as the basis for a movie. Our second presentation of the day was from Dominique Morgan, Adolescent Health Educator at Charles Drew Health Center who gave a fantastic presentation entitled “LGBTQ Youth in the Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice System(s)” which was a real eye opener. One of his questions was if we could name three historical figures (not Ellen Degeneres) who were LGBT and how it could change the world if we start showing our youth there are people they can relate to and feel connected to. Amber Roberts, Sr. IT Support Analyst at Gavilon had the tough spot of presenting right before lunch but did a great job with “It’s Your Career...Own It!” Learning some tips and tricks to enhance your work environment and get what you want out of your career was really beneficial. Some key takeaways were to figure out what you want, what it will take to get there given your current skills, and then communicate your goals to everyone you meet. Lunch was great again on Friday. Caesar salad, fruit and lasagna were on the menu and very filling. Senator Burke Harr of Nebraska’s District 8 gave us a behind the scenes look at the Unicameral which was very interesting. The issues the senators and representatives face are not small. Education, prisons, and social services are all hot topics to get through but how the Unicameral addresses these will impact the state for years. Our last presentation was from Ronald Woerner, Director of Cybersecurity Studies at Bellevue University. His presentation on “Cyber Safety & Security - Tips to Keep Your Client’s Information Safe” was a good reminder to all of us that it’s imperative we take responsibility for our own personal information and monitor it as well as take precautions to prevent it from getting out. Our companies and firms may even have strict rules and regulations that require them to comply in order to protect our clients. Encryption and Redaction are two methods used to accomplish these requirements. All in all, this was one of the best seminars I’ve attended for multiple reasons but especially the quality of speakers which were just fantastic and of the highest quality.


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FALL SEMINAR RECAP - A PICTURE ESSAY

Centerpieces

Recognition Breakfast attendees

Elise McHatton

Ruth Bahr and Angel Younger

New CPs in the past year

Jennifer Woodrome

Scott Hahn

New ACPs in the past year

Amber Roberts

Amy Olson and Tom Woodrome of Capital Services. Amy won the Capital Services gift card!


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A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A CORPORATE PARALEGAL In the wee hours of Sunday morning, August 20, 2017 over 19,000 residents of Lincoln, Nebraska were left without power as violent thunderstorms crashed through the city, felling huge shade trees and flooding streets. Dawn revealed a city littered with debris. Our home had no lights, no hair dryer, no cell phone power source, no Internet access, no microwave, no refrigerator or deep-freeze power. 16 long hours later, our side of the street was still one of scores of neighborhoods on the city’s blackened power grid without electricity. We gathered curbside with neighbors in the deepening dusk, watching mutual aid agreement line crews from Loup Public Power District (Columbus, NE) repairlin our street’s downed transmission line. We all clapped and cheered for our visiting power heroes when their efforts finally restored the connection between the Lincoln Electric Services line and our “points of delivery” (individual homes). The Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”) defines Mutual Aid Agreements (“MAAs”) as “agreements between agencies, organizations, and jurisdictions that provide a mechanism to quickly obtain emergency assistance in the form of personnel, equipment, materials, and other associated services.” (www.emilms.fema.gov). Florida sent out urgent mutual aid requests following Hurricane Irma’s Category 4 landfall, and Nebraska was one of many states to respond. On September 11, 2017, Nebraska Public Power District alone dispatched a fleet of 14 vehicles and equipment to assist Tampa Electric with restoring power to its 2,000 square miles of service territory (Seward County Independent, Seward, NE, September 13, 2017). The core of my being needs to help other people, and know that I’m making a positive difference. The August 20 experience gave me a personal appreciation of MAAs, but that type of contract represents only a sliver of my overall job managing the life cycle of corporate contracts at NMPP Energy. NMPP Energy is a “nonprofit, member-owned coalition of four organizations providing electricity, natural gas and utility-related services to nearly 200 member communities across six Midwest and Mountain states.” (www.nmppenergy.org). The four organizations are: Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska (“MEAN”) – wholesale electric supply Nebraska Municipal Power Pool (“NMPP”) – utility services National Public Gas Agency (“NPGA”) – wholesale natural gas supply Public Alliance for Community Energy (“ACE”) – retail natural gas supply NMPP Energy’s Legal Department consists of three (3) attorneys, one (1) compliance analyst, and one (1) paralegal: me. We meet as a full team every other week. I meet as a smaller team with my supervising attorney, Michelle, weekly, to go over the status of pending tasks and discuss upcoming projects. One aspect of my work that I absolutely love is the incredible degree of autonomy: Michelle is physically in the office only on Mondays. Although she is available by phone or email Tuesday through Friday, I am otherwise on my own to prioritize and execute my workload. I truly relish that independence.


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A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A CORPORATE PARALEGAL CONTINUED In my first year at NMPP Energy, I struggled to successfully navigate the company’s not-intuitive paper and electronic filing systems, grasp rudimentary principles of the very complex energy industry, absorb contract lingo (a foreign language to me as a former medical malpractice litigation paralegal), and of course learn “the dance” of coordinating Michelle’s and my divergent personalities and expectations. As the company’s contracts database administrator, about 25% of my time is spent creating entries, scanning and uploading contracts, creating and distributing monthly comprehensive contract reports to staff, following up on the status of contracts, training new hires to read-only access the database, processing daily tickler notifications from the database triggered by looming rollover dates and coordinating with staff to determine necessary actions to preserve a contract’s integrity. In my second year, I am now writing, for attorney review, the initial drafts of Letter Agreements, Notices of Termination, Amendments and Exhibits, and communicating with counterparties to effect full execution of contracts. I occasionally research state statutes (in particular the Nebraska Nonprofit Corporation Act), municipal ordinances, the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (“PURPA”), the United States Code (“USC”), and other sources. I analyze the results and draft research memos. Casemaker is my go-to research tool because of user-friendliness, but I have also occasionally Shepardized case law in LexisNexis. My litigation experience has proven helpful as our team fielded a couple of public records requests and prepared for a mediation. After working on a lengthy document-intensive discovery process last year, I received the very pleasant surprise of a Performance Bonus awarded by our General Counsel. Daily I monitor Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) docket activity and notify Michelle of filings relevant to about 24 tariffs of key interest to NMPP Energy and our industry. I file doc-less interventions with FERC, attend meetings of the regulatory body Nebraska Power Review Board (“NPRB”), and relay detailed summaries of NPRB proceedings to our General Counsel. I monitor complaint filings with Nebraska Public Service Commission (“NPSC”), state and federal reporting and filing deadlines, and timely file Quarterly and Annual Lobbyist Reporting forms with the State of Nebraska. I create and administer procedures to ensure compliance with State Records Retention Schedules, and file Records Disposition Reports with the Secretary of State. When we commission or decommission wind turbines, I file the mandatory reports with the Nebraska Department of Aeronautics (“NDA”), the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”), NPRB and PSC. No small part of this job has been memorizing industry-specific alphabet soup! As administrator of the company’s Member Resolutions database, I also monitor expiring terms of statutorily required appointments to the MEAN Board of Directors. I am involved with some governance issues, and assist with revising Bylaws. My eyes used to glaze over when I heard someone say “Contracts Law,” and it seems a universal stereotype that contracts work must be dull and boring. However, I have discovered every single day’s workflow is different from the one before, and there is always something new to learn, which keeps the work interesting and challenging. This position is a very good match for my “in the weeds” attention to detail, organizational instincts, ability for persistent follow-through on minutiae that would drive others crazy. The OCD part of me that desires things to match, align, balance is also applicable to coordinating electronic and paper files and connecting the dots between base agreements, their amendments and pdf attachments. Michelle said one reason I was offered this job is that my resume was 100% error-free: my employer interpreted it as a strong statement that accuracy matters to me.


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A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A CORPORATE PARALEGAL CONTINUED result, Of course, there is no perfect job, and the biggest drawback for me with this one is having to set my linear thinking pattern on a shelf. I no longer get to enjoy the satisfaction of uninterrupted 4-5 hour stretches poring through medical records, or drafting a settlement demand letter from start to finish. Instead, my job now requires summoning up the patience of Job to field rapid-fire “popcorn” in the form of what feels like constantly interrupting phone calls, emails, staff requests, member inquiries, all underscored by the stress of deadlines and regulatory requirements. People are used to hearing me say “I’d be glad to do that, I’ll add it to my list!” Most of these layered requests don’t have simple yes-or-no solutions, but often require lengthy pursuits down a maze of rabbit holes to come up with a complete, accurate answer. The plus side, however, is that most work days go by quickly, and I can usually plow through a dauntingly long list of tasks before 5:00. Perhaps I am in the process of redefining parameters by which to measure job satisfaction. NMPP Energy’s motto is “Our product is energy. Our mission is service. Our power is people.” I am humbled to work among a professional cohort of highly intelligent engineers, rate analysts, power technicians, attorneys and even one meteorologist. Nearing my 2-year employment anniversary, I am beginning to recognize that a contracts management paralegal serves the role of an entity’s electrical junction box: organizing and housing a complex grid of documents which provide the legal framework for the organization’s success. You can’t get more “plugged in” than that.

- Carla Larson, ACP, was employed with Cline Williams Wright Johnson & Oldfather, L.L.P. for 11 years as a medical malpractice and personal injury litigation paralegal, and 18 months with Remboldt Ludtke, LLP. She has worked part-time for several years with Reagan Melton Delaney, L.L.P., keeping her foot in the litigation door by preparing personal injury demand packages. She has been employed full-time since December 2015 with NMPP Energy, as its sole contracts management paralegal. In that capacity, she has happily discovered the healthy work culture of a corporate environment, in a beautiful 4-year-old building that is flooded with natural light, and enjoys a mere 8-minute commute.

877-567-5669 RUBY SPONSOR


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EMERALD SPONSOR


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STUDENT SPOTLIGHT - JENNIFER HANSEN-RICHMOND Jennifer was born and raised in Lincoln, NE and graduated with her AS from Lincoln School of Commerce in 2003. She began her career at the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Court and then went into private practice. In December of 2012, Jennifer received an offer for her “dream job” with the City Attorney’s Office in Lincoln, as a Paralegal in their Civil Division. She’s been with the City of Lincoln ever since. Jennifer will graduate in March 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts in Paralegal Studies from Doane University, Lincoln Campus. She’s married with 2 beautiful children, Logan Matthew and Morgan Jo who keep her very busy.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS What is your secret talent? This was hard for me because I really have no idea, but I believe my secret talent is great instincts.

What do you look for in an employer? There is no perfect employer out there, but one who wants their employees to succeed is key. Worklife balance opportunities are extremely important along with great benefits.

What interests you about the paralegal field? The paralegal field is so dynamic! I have learned so many different areas of the law the last 14 years and still discover new things every day. The paralegal field is ever-changing.

Is there a particular area of law that you’re interested in and why? I know a lot of people who do not like litigation (even attorneys), but I do. Litigation is a process that sometimes starts out slow but is a marathon that you can’t sprint through. In the last 3 years I have been diving into learning more about eDiscovery and using a platform to organize, utilize, and produce eDiscovery from. At my position with the City, I primarily work on discovery and eDiscovery for all of the City’s federal and state court actions.

What advice would you give to those looking to go to school for paralegal studies? The law has always interested me since I was a child. For a while I wanted to be police officer, then an attorney. Knowledge from understanding the law is a great tool in everyday life. I always say that “knowledge is power…no matter what that knowledge is.”

Do you plan to take the CP exam once you graduate, and if yes, what do you hope to gain from it? You know, I haven’t decided yet. I would really like to get my certification from ACEDS, the Association of Certified eDiscovery Specialists. They have a Certification for eDiscovery Specialists that applies to what I do. Regardless, I believe that you should never stop learning and growing within your career or life.


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TECH TIPS - AMBER ROBERTS, ACP The old adage of “working smarter, not harder” is always a goal to be working toward. It allows us to get more done in the day without adding overhead. Companies love that! Technology is one road you can use to achieve this goal. There are tons of tools available as well as classes that offer tips and tricks on getting more efficient in your daily tasks.

the snip so you know where it came from. You can also email the snip. The above link also contains keyboard shortcuts to use when the Snipping Tool is open to speed up the process even more. While the Snipping Tool may be a great place to start, I’d also recommend checking to see if your company has OneNote® which is a Microsoft® product. If you have Word®, Excel®, and PowerPoint®, you likely have OneNote® as well. It comes free and is basically an electronic notebook with so much more to offer. I found the article at https://blogs.office.com/en-us/2013/11/12/top-10 -things-you-didnt-know-about-onenote/ informative with great tidbits.

One category of these tools is screen capture technology. If you use Google® to locate “Screen Capture Tools,” you’ll get a plethora of suggestions ranging from free to around $100. One of the most recognized is Snagit® at $49.95. It’s often rated as the best screen capture software on the market, but for most of us, we just need the occasional ability to grab something on our screens. One of the best things about this tool is the ability to do screen captures by clicking the Window key There is always the Print Screen button but the + S. You can then draw a rectangle around what issue is that it grabs the entire screen and makes you want to capture. It saves it to OneNote® it difficult to annotate on the image. One of our where you can write, type, and add other notes members, Laurie Montag, sent me to https:// to the image. You can also email the image, the support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/13776/ OneNote® page, or the entire notebook to others. w i n d o w s - u s e - s n i p p i n g - t o o l - t o - c a p t u r e - Notebooks can be shared so that multiple people screenshots which is the Windows® Snipping can access and edit the information making it a Tool. In her words, “I would really like to see it great collaboration tool. shared - because most people I talk to don’t even know it’s available, and it’s so easy to use! I just Maybe the best part about the notebooks is that pinned it to my tray, and when I need to copy they are searchable. So, instead of having to look back through your files for what happened at that something - voila! SO superior to PrintScreen…” meeting the other day, you can simply type in a The Snipping Tool allows you to capture all or keyword you remember discussing and it takes part of your computer screen, add notes, save the you right to the location of that note. It also has snip, or email it. You can capture snips free- the ability to record audio, do math, create tables form, as a rectangle, as an entire window or dia- and lists, and track tasks. Depending on the verlog box, or as a full-screen. For Windows® 7 and sion, it can create tasks that show up in Out10, just select the Start button and type “snipping look®. tool” in the search box. Once it comes up, open the tool and you can pin it to your taskbar for All in all, there are some great tools you can use easy access in the future. to do screen captures which will help you be more efficient in your daily tasks. Check them Once you’ve captured a snip, you can write or out, but also make sure to talk to your IT Departdraw on or around it by using the Pen or High- ments about any confidentiality concerns you may lighter buttons. You can then save the snip. If have! you capture a snip from a browser window and save it as an HTML file, the URL appears below


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FIGHTING ELDER EXPLOITATION AN INTERVIEW WITH BEN KOEZE OF THE NEBRASKA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

As the population ages, more people are falling victim to elder exploitation. In fact, according to the Department of Justice, 1 in 9 Americans over the age of 60 have experienced some form of elder abuse in the past year. Our bankers encounter this issue more than we would like. In order to ensure that the bank is doing all that it can to assist in these matters, the Retail Legal department recently met with a number of people to discuss how banks can help fight elder exploitations. One of the participants in the meeting was Ben Kroeze of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). After meeting with Ben, I thought it would be useful to share what he does at DHHS and some of the challenges that he and his department face. Please see more below. Can you tell us about your current job, including what you do, your responsibilities, and how long you have been with the company? I am the supervisor of a team of 7 Adult Protective Services workers and one Case Aide covering 14 counties in Southeast Nebraska: Lancaster, Gage, Cass, Otoe, Johnson, Nemaha, Pawnee, Richardson, Saline, Jefferson, Thayer, Fillmore, Nuckolls, and Clay Counties. I am responsible for ensuring the APS caseworkers perform adequate and forthright investigations of abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation of vulnerable adults in this area, in accordance with the Nebraska APS Act and with our internal DHHS policies. I am also responsible for advising staff on appropriate services and interventions to be taken. Our caseworkers are located in Lincoln, Beatrice, and Nebraska City. I have been the supervisor for a little over two years. Before that, I was an APS caseworker for about 10 years. What is a typical workday for you? My workday is usually very busy, which is normally the way I like it. The first thing I do in the morning is review any new intakes received from the Abuse Neglect Hotline in the last 24 hours which have been triaged as meeting criteria for an active APS investigation and then assign them to an individual APS investigator/caseworker. Normally after that, I review our database to ensure the workers are meeting timeframes established by our policy. We have a database that tracks when workers make home visits, when they talk to alleged victims and perpetrators, when they have made a formal finding on an investigation, and so forth. Our policy dictates timeframes about when we have to make first face to face contact with an alleged victim after the initial call has been made (8 hours to 10 days, depending on the severity of the allegations), and when we have to make a formal determination about our findings in regard to the allegations made (normally 60 days after the call was made, 90 days for financial exploitation allegations). I also have to read through the narratives of every case and sign off on them, after an APS worker has made a formal determination of our findings in relation to the allegation. I go to a lot of meetings, and I have taken a special interest in doing public presentations about APS issues, as there isn’t a lot of information out there about what it is we really do. The bulk of my time though is spent consulting with the caseworkers. I consult weekly with each APS worker on my team on an individual basis about every case that is assigned to them, and we basically have to problem-solve each of them. Statutes and mandates are black and white things, but there are no concrete guidelines about how to effectively address and mitigate the complex problems the caseworkers are seeing every day out in people’s homes. We spend a lot of time discussing all the variables that come into play, such as how to keep the caseworker safe, how to improve safety for clients while respecting their rights, and how to address and mentally handle the pressures that come as a natural part of doing a job like this.


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FIGHTING ELDER EXPLOITATION CONTINUED What is the biggest challenge to your job? The biggest challenge for me in this job, honestly, is maintaining professionalism. I care a lot about what we do here, and I am blessed with a team of caseworkers that really cares as well. There are a lot of expectations about APS which we have neither the resources nor the statutory authority to adequately address. There are a lot of interested parties involved in our cases who have conflicting perspectives that they are naturally very vehement about, because that’s how people get when loved ones are getting hurt. APS is very limited in the information it can share about what is going on in a given case, and only shares information to guardians, victims, or on a need-to-know basis to service providers as part of a plan to rectify abusive/neglectful situations. This dynamic can sometimes lead to a lot of frustrations and misunderstandings that the caseworker bears the brunt of, even when they are earnestly doing everything within their power to do something about a given situation. Part of this job involves accepting that there will be a lot of anger and misunderstanding directed at the APS worker, and to handle it with professionalism. We take on a lot of blame, and sometimes we would like the opportunity to better explain ourselves, but we can’t without divulging confidential information. What is something that would surprise most people about your job? The thing that surprises people most is how much I love my job. People act like I must be kidding them when I say it. People expect that it would be depressing, but it isn’t. It is rewarding and meaningful to me, despite the bureaucratic frustrations and so forth. I am proud of what we do here. I always felt that way as a caseworker, and feel even stronger that way now that I’ve been given the opportunity to oversee this great group of people. You work together with banks and other community members to address elder exploitation. What is a piece of advice you would give bankers or community members when dealing with elder exploitation? I have 2 pieces of advice in regard to elder exploitation. The first is to understand that isolation is virtually always the root cause. Whether it is an elder who is being scammed by strangers over the phone or internet, or one being exploited by relatives living in the basement, isolation is what allows it to happen, and what allows it to perpetuate. Of course, it’s easier to intimidate an elder who is isolated into giving money they don’t want to give, simply because no one else is around to defend the elder. When you look at it deeper, though, you see how isolation and loneliness permeate every aspect of the matter. You see how the elders got involved in some scam in the first place out of loneliness, and you can start to see why they are reluctant to give up on the idea that the nice lottery people who have been calling them are just using them. We have seen a lot of different scams, but it seems that the one scam we see persisting and increasing are “Sweetheart” scams, in which a scammer makes an emotional/romantic connection with a vulnerable adult online and then convinces them to wire money repeatedly. It is especially sad to see a lonely, vulnerable adult come to the realization that the person they thought they were in love with online doesn’t exist, and that they were being duped for money. All the most effective scams are designed to exploit the loneliness of our seniors, because the scammers know that’s the most common variable to expect. The second piece of advice I would give is that if you see evidence that an elder has been the victim of a professional scam, odds are very good this isn’t the only scam they have fallen victim to, and even if this is the first scam a person has fallen victim to, the fact they fell victim greatly increases the odds they will fall victim again. Obviously, someone who has done it once is more likely to do it again than someone who has never fallen victim. Add to that the fact that, once an individual falls victim to a scam, their name gets sold and reused for other scam attempts. I have worked with people who were scammed once, learned


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FIGHTING ELDER EXPLOITATION CONTINUED their lesson, and never did it again, but I have worked with an equal or greater number of elders who have fallen victim repeatedly, despite not having any obvious problems with their cognition. Pride gets involved. Once the money is lost, more money is spent in hopes of getting it back. I hope you found this interview with Ben helpful and can use some of his insight in your fight against elder exploitation.

- Stephanie Tiritilli is a senior attorney in the Retail Legal Division at First National Bank of Omaha.

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Don’t Make “Uber” Promises You Can’t Keep The advice we always give to clients regarding privacy policies is: “say what you do and do what you say.” It seems simple, but simplicity can be deceiving. Companies want to reassure consumers that their personal data is safe and secure; however, in today’s world, no one can make failsafe representations of security. Uber’s recent settlement with the FTC illustrates this problem. Uber claimed in privacy policies and statements that it “closely” monitored internal access to consumers’ personal information on an ongoing basis and provided “reasonable” security for consumers’ personal information stored in its databases. Uber stated that “we use standard, industrywide commercially reasonable security practices”; “we use the most up to date technology”; “we’re extra vigilant in protecting all private and personal information”; and “all your personal information… is kept secure and encrypted to the highest security standards available.” The FTC alleged that Uber violated Section 5 of the FTC Act by failing to live up to these statements. For example, the FTC claimed that Uber did not take reasonable measures to prevent a data breach because Uber did not implement basic access controls, such as multi-factor authentication, to safeguard data stored in the cloud, and Uber failed to encrypt certain consumer personal information and stored such information in plain readable text. Even though Uber claimed to use the best technology available to protect consumer data, the FTC alleged that Uber failed to take certain low-cost measures that could have helped prevent a data breach. And while Uber at one point developed an automated system for monitoring access to consumer personal information, the FTC said the company stopped using this system and rarely monitored internal access to personal information. As a result of Uber’s failure to comply with its privacy statements, the company suffered a data breach and an intruder was able to access consumers’ personal information. The FTC’s settlement with Uber demonstrates that even an industry-disrupting technology company can overpromise in its privacy policy in an effort to encourage consumers to do business with the company. The claims Uber made in its privacy statements are claims that companies often include in privacy policies, such as “highest standards available” and “most up to date technology”. Companies would be wise to review their privacy policies to ensure they are not making superlative, overbroad, or absolute statements they cannot substantiate. And companies should ensure that, if they claim to use “reasonable” or “standard” security practices, the company understands what regulators view as reasonable or standard in the industry.

This post first appeared 8/24/2017 on the legal blog Byte Back, written by Meghan Rohlf, copyright © 2017, Husch Blackwell LLP. Reprinted with permission. Get more information at www.huschblackwell.com or www.huschblackwell.com/professionals/meghan-rohlf.

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November 2017 In Brief  

This is the e-zine of the Nebraska Paralegal Association (NePA).

November 2017 In Brief  

This is the e-zine of the Nebraska Paralegal Association (NePA).

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