In Brief - June 2019

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JUNE 2019

IN THIS ISSUE: From the President ..... 1 From the Editor ........... 3 Save the Dates ............ 4 District I News ............ 5 NePA Spring Seminar .. 6 New Members ............. 8 Diversity Event ............ 9 Relay for Life Event ... 11 Nala News ................. 12 Student Education Award ........................ 13 CP Scholarship .......... 13 Getting to Know Your Committee Chairs...... 16 Law Firms are Relying More on Staff ............ 21 The Hard Work of Developing “Soft Skills” ..... 23 Look! Up in the sky…it’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s OSHA? ....................... 25

FROM THE PRESIDENT: AMBER ROBERTS, ACP As I sit here watching the College World Series teams start to roll in, I’m reminded that summer is nearly here and that means the NALA Convention will shortly be upon us. I’m excited to join Kim Brown in Scottsdale, AZ this year to present Collaborating Com-

mittees: Working Together for Ultimate Success for the Affiliate Exchange. This year we

have over 15 paralegals from Nebraska making the trek to convention and there’s still time for you to join us! My first convention was in 2012, right here in Omaha, and I have enjoyed each one since…coming back renewed and with a new sense of purpose for NePA and my career. I’m thrilled to announce that our first official collaboration with the Omaha Bar Association (OBA), Unity in Diversity: Working Together to Achieve Success, was a resounding success! With right around 150 registered attendees, we blew our goal of 100 out of the water. We also netted enough in sponsorship funds to pretty much break even. The speakers and OBA were impressed with our event planning skills and we’ve started to look at making this an annual event with different diversity and inclusion topics each year. We’re also looking for additional opportunities to collaborate with other organizations where it makes sense. What’s up next for NePA? As you know, this year I’ve challenged our members to be open to change and ready to participate in initiatives that will help us move forward and make a big impact in the legal community. The Membership and Student Membership Committees are collaborating on an upcoming Paralegal Forum in September for students. The concept is to bring together paralegals to discuss their similarities and differences and offer students insight into what it’s like to be a paralegal and the different fields that you’ll find us in. We’re looking for 10-15 volunteers in a variety of practice fields and businesses to join us from 6-8:30pm (most likely on September 10, 2019). We’ll provide pizza and pop, networking opportunities, a panel discussion, and potentially roundtables related to topics of interest to the students. This will be open to all paralegal students, but particularly from Metropolitan Community College and College of Saint Mary. Our goal is to build relationships with students so they are prepared to enter the paralegal field, have mentors, and also know that NePA is here for them throughout their careers.



There are a couple other items I’m excited about. The first is Fall Seminar which is scheduled for September 18 and 19 at the Scott Conference Center. We received such positive feedback on the location last year and are looking forward to another great seminar. As always happens this time of year, we start to look ahead to elections of board officers, and I encourage each of you to consider signing up for a committee or a board position. There are many to choose from and I’m happy to discuss them with any of you. You’ll be receiving more information on the process from the Nominations and Elections Committee soon. The second is the opportunity for the board to get together for a retreat in early October to spend some dedicated time on our strategic planning for the next 3-5 years, get to know each other better, and determine ways we can collaborate and support each other in the various initiatives each position will be working on. We would like your comments and feedback to make sure we’re addressing any ideas you have for NePA as well as any concerns. Please always feel welcome to share your input as engaged membership is what makes us strong…and strength is a major component to having a thriving association! My best,



FROM THE EDITOR s Committee:

I want to note that the dates for the Recognition Breakfast and Fall Seminar were incorrect in prior editions of the In Brief. The correct dates are September 18 - 19, 2019 at the Scott Conference Center. The Committee apologizes for any confusion and we hope to see you there. If you have any comments or corrections regarding this issue or have suggestions for future content, please forward them to me at: Enjoy your summer!

Do you like what you’ve seen in this issue? Do you have questions or comments? Notice an error? Let us know at:

Publications Committee Members Kim Hansen, Chair Casey Ochs, CP Kimberly Brown, ACP Amber Roberts, ACP Shannon Persoma Claire Shada



SAVE THE DATES August 1st - CP Scholarship Application Deadline August 7th - (On Record: The Pros and Cons of Police Body Cameras, Mark Boyer of the Nebraska State Patrol – Green Gateau, Lincoln) September 10th - Paralegal Forum (Metropolitan Community College, South Omaha Campus - subject to change)

Register for events at: http://

Board Meetings (5:30-7:30pm): August 6th (budget) Gavilon October 8th Baird Holm

September 18th-19th - Recognition Breakfast, Annual Meeting and Fall Seminar (Scott Conference Center, Omaha) October 23rd - District I Luncheon (Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault: Addressing Issues, Decreasing Victims, Sara Eliason of the Women’s Center for Advancement - Anthony’s Steakhouse, Omaha) November 13th - District II Luncheon (Serving as a Prosecutor: A Female’s Perspective, Nicole Hutter of the Nebraska State Patrol – Green Gateau, Lincoln) November 20th - District I Luncheon (Establishing Financial Wellness for Yourself and Your Clients, Kathleen Spencer of Operation HOPE, Inc. - Anthony’s Steakhouse, Omaha)



DISTRICT I NEWS Spring brought an exciting season of speakers for NePA! In March, David Levy, Partner at Baird Holm LLP, presented Wind Energy in Nebraska. The presentation addressed the framework surrounding the growth of alternative energies. With wind power now accounting for around ten percent of all electricity generated in the US, increased legislation and legal complexities have arisen. David’s presentation addressed those topics as well as the benefits of renewable energy, dealing with developers and landowners, easements/property issues, and the future of alternative energy. Attendees left the meeting with a deeper understanding of this unique area of law, and an hour of CLE.

May brought another interesting presentation by Sara English, Associate General Counsel for Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company, entitled Networking for Success - Creating Your Personal Board of Directors. Sara examined the differences between a coach, mentor, and sponsor and why you need each in your corner. Sara provided real life examples of the importance of networking to grow your career, and how to do it in a manageable way. Attendees left feeling energized and ready to build on the knowledge they gained. District I is in the process of starting to line up speakers for next year. If you have a topic you are interested in hearing, please reach out. Our goal is to bring relevant and beneficial content to NePa luncheons. All ideas are welcome. See the details below for our remaining 2019 luncheons. Look out for emails as the dates get closer. We hope to see you there! 2019 Luncheon Save the Dates October 23, 2019 Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault: Addressing Issues, Decreasing Victims, Sara Eliason Women’s Center for Advancement November 20, 2019 Establishing Financial Wellness of Yourself and Your Clients, Kathleen Spencer, Operation HOPE, Inc.




Nathan T. Burkman, a senior associate from Koley Jessen gives a presentation on data breaches and their legal ramifications during the NePA Spring Seminar at Mahoney State Park.

NePA Spring Seminar Paralegals Learn About Hot Topics, Technology By Antone Oseka The Daily Record

Ashland – A day of learning about legal hot topics was on tap for paralegals at the Nebraska Paralegal Association’s spring seminar last Friday at Mahoney State Park. Five different speakers touched on a variety of topics, most relating to sticky technological issues faced by the legal society. “A lot of (the speakers) focused on legal hot topics including technology,” NePA president Amber Roberts said. “We listened to one on data breaches, one on internet cyber puzzles and different amendments. All the speakers were excellent and we had a great turnout this year.” About 75 paralegals attended the day-long seminar, the best attendance in the last five years, Roberts said. The opening speaker was Sean T. Nakamoto, an associate at Baird Holm LLP. His session covered how trademarks are affected when a product becomes a household

name. For example, calling facial tissues Kleenex or googling everything you find online. The second speaker, Mark A. Weber of the Nebraska Supreme Court, addressed how to identify potential red flags for legal malpractice early to avoid further issues. Jim McGough from McGough Law P.C., L.L.O., spoke for the third session on criminal defense, walking attendees through a criminal case from beginning to end. The fourth session was run by Gus Hurwitz, University of Nebraska College of Law Assistant Professor and co-director of its Space, Cyber and Telecom Law Program. He explored problems faced in the 1st, 4th, and 5th Amendments with modern communications technology. The final speaker was Nathan T. Burkman, senior associate from Koley Jessen. His session dealt with true stories of data breaches and the legal ramifications of dealing with them. Roberts said many of the topics come from suggestions of the membership. “We get fantastic feedback, especially for our mid-year meeting because it’s free to our members and it’s an excellent benefit for them,” Roberts said.



NEPA SPRING SEMINAR CONTINUED Attendees received five hours of CLE credit for attending, especially valuable for certified paralegals or advanced certified paralegals to meet their credentialing requirement. “We also get great feedback that people are able to take the information back to their firms,” Roberts said. “Like with the true stories of data breaches, they have some action items to say hey, we heard about this at NePA and it’s something we should do here to protect ourselves.” Roberts said all the planning paid off with increased attendance and fantastic information. “Our continuing legal education committee did a fantastic job making sure our members and non-members were aware of what was going on,” Roberts said. “We had it planned well in advance.” Approximately 75 paralegals attended the Nebraska Paralegals Association spring seminar last Friday at Mahoney State Park. They earned five hours of CLE for the day-long event. (Photos by Antone Oseka) Reprinted with permission from the April 17, 2019 edition of The Daily Record. Get more information at




ACTIVE DeAnn (Dee) Saari - Ausman Law Firm Jill A. Reil - Adams & Sullivan PC, LLO Alicia Tutini - Mutual of Omaha Kateaka N. Andrews - Kutak Rock LLP Ann E. Divis - State of NE, Dept of Banking & Finance

ASSOCIATE Stephanie Holm - Koley Jessen P.C., L.L.O.

STUDENT Stacy Garges - Bellevue University Katherine MacHolmes - Metropolitan Community College Lisa M. Ludwig - Metropolitan Community College Briana Stelling - College of Saint Mary Brooke Lowis - Metropolitan Community College Roberta Brooks - Metropolitan Community College Jamaica Young - Metropolitan Community College Maeriner (Mae) Adkins - Metropolitan Community College




Approximately 150 Omaha community attorneys, paralegals, and human resource professionals attended the inaugural Diversity Event co-hosted by the Nebraska Paralegal Association and the Omaha Bar Association. Ryan Sallans, a renowned transgender speaker, author, and advocate who works to help institutions create inclusive environments that support their LBGTQ employees, students, clients, and patients kicked off the event. Ryan began his presentation with a description of sex, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation. He engaged the crowd by asking what came to mind when it heard words such as "masculine" and "feminine." Ryan also shared the definitions of a Trans woman, Trans man, Cisgender, and the Gender Pronouns. Ryan then described his experience as a young girl who knew she was not meant to be in a female body. He engaged the audience when he described his positive and negative experiences with an eating disorder early in his life and relationships with his family, friends, and significant other throughout his transgender process. Ryan then shared great insight in supporting transgender employees and clients and discussed their right to share, or keep private, information about their gender identity. He also asked the audience to honor their co-worker's name (new name) and pronoun and to use them when addressing the co-worker. Ryan's compassion, knowledge, and enthusiasm to educate our community are astounding. Joni Stacy, a nationally known transgender speaker and attorney specializing in family law and estate planning, continued the inclusion discussion by reminding us that we all have conscious bias and unconscious bias. Joni reported surprising statistics regarding employment discrimination for the LGBTQ community (90% of those surveyed reported harassment, mistreatment, or discrimination at work; 47% reported being fired, not hired or denied a promotion because of being transgender, etc.). Joni continued the discussion with a United States map describing each state that has passed law explicitly prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Joni described the policies employers should consider for LGBTQ employees. Joni rounded out her discussion with a statistical chart describing the percentage of LGBTQ members who have been denied equal treatment, harassed or disrespected, or




physically assaulted in public accommodations (such as by a police officer, a government official, a judge, or a legal services clinic). Finally, Joni shared her personal story of her daughter's transition from male to female, the trials and tribulations of her daughter's elementary school, and the outpouring of love and support from her local high school. Finally, the day ended with a Panel Discussion on Policies, Procedures and Programs: Successes and Lessons Learned from the Trenches. The Panel included Angela Cooper (Mutual of Omaha), Keaton Mercer (TD Ameritrade), Susan Ann Koenig (Koenig Dunne), Joni Stacy (Sena, Polk & Stacy Law Partners), and P. Brian Bartels (Kutak Rock). Ryan Sallans moderated the Panel and asked pre -planned diversity and inclusion questions as well as questions from the engaged audience. We celebrated the successful Diversity & Inclusion Event with appetizers and refreshments following the Panel Discussion. Ryan Sallans also remained in the foyer to answer additional questions from the attendees and to promote his book, Second Son, Transitioning Toward my Destiny, Love and Life. His second book, Transforming Manhood: A trans man's quest to build bridges and knock down walls will hit the shelves on September 16, 2019. Please visit and for additional information.

Sapphire Sponsor



RELAY FOR LIFE EVENT NePA again sponsored the Legal Beagles team which participated in the 2019 Sarpy County Relay for Life for the benefit of the American Cancer Society. This year’s event was held on Saturday, June 8, 2019, at the City Park in Papillion, Nebraska, from 5:00 to 10:00 P.M. We had an absolutely beautiful night for Relay for the first time in several years. This year’s theme was “Hope is All You Need.” Following the opening ceremony and the Survivor and Caretaker Laps, Relay participants moved around the designated path to the sounds of Come Together, a Beatles tribute band. The luminary ceremony was held at dusk and was as moving as ever. The fight back ceremony put participants through some fun and energetic Zumba moves led by a fitness instructor. To conclude the night, final totals were announced, and the Sarpy County Relay for Life raised over $33,400. Our team raised over $2,207.00 which was due in great part to our wonderful team captain, Teri Gibbons, and our anonymous donor! We had some new team members this year which was very exciting and we hope to continue that trend for next year. Our raffle winner of the patio planter was a member from another Relay team and she was happy to have the beautiful planter to show in her garden. NePA should be proud of our ongoing commitment to give back to our community and to those who are in the fight of their lives. Please plan on joining us next year!



NALA NEWS Summer is almost here and I am so glad the warmer weather has finally arrived. As the NALA Liaison, I endeavor to keep you up-to-date with NALA happenings. Have you registered for the national convention? I hope so! The deadline for discounted rates was June 1 st. However, you can still register online. The convention will be July 11-13, 2019 in Scottsdale, AZ. There will be over 25 educational sessions, up to 13 hours of CLE, networking opportunities, and an interactive panel discussion with NALA Leaders. There will also be a Technology Workshop on Sunday, July 14 th from 9:00 to 2:00. NALA has fee options available for students to attend the convention at a discounted rate. You also have the option of going just one day, if you are interested. Check out NALA’s website for all the details. Don’t miss this opportunity! NePA will be presenting at the national convention again this year. Kimberly A. Brown, ACP and Amber Roberts, ACP will present “Collaborating Committees: Working Together for Ultimate Success” during the Affiliate Exchange. This is another fantastic opportunity for our organization to be seen nationally. New this year, and for the first time in NALA’s history, NALA will be implementing electronic voting. Electronic voting will start prior to the convention, and end on July 10 th. There will be no on-site voting this year during the conference. All active members in good standing 45 days prior to the annual conference will be able to vote. Detailed voting information and validation of voting status will be sent via email to NALA members prior to the opening of the polls. At the Mid-Year Meeting in April, Teresa Semerena, ACP was voted as NePA Affiliate Association Award recipient for her contributions to NePA. She will receive a plaque and special recognition at the convention in July. Congratulations, Teresa! In addition, Bridget M. Stuhr, ACP has been nominated for NALA’s Affiliate Association Secretary. Since voting will take place prior to the convention, make sure you vote! Did you know: You can earn CLE credit by reading articles (and writing them) in Fact & Findings. There will be five articles in each issue. You read the designated articles, then take a short test. You must earn at least an 80% score to receive credit. Please look at the website for more information. You can earn up to 2 CLEs per year and 5 CLEs during each certification renewal. Don’t forget to check out NALA’s website for all upcoming webinars, on-demand webinars, and many more educational opportunities. Never miss an opportunity to learn something new. You never know when it might come in handy. Have a wonderful Summer! Caryn Redding, CP NALA Liaison





Your Future is So Bright, You’re Going to Need Shades! The Nebraska Paralegal Association (NePA) Wants to Invest in Your Future

Apply for the CP Scholarship by August 1, 2019

Visit the NePA website at :


The Pros and Cons of Police Body Cameras

Speaker: Mark Boyer Nebraska State Patrol

August 7, 2019 11:30am to 12:30pm

Green Gateau 330 S. 10th St. Lincoln, NE 68508 Cost: $12 Members $17 Non-Members Register at before August 5th



GETTING TO KNOW YOUR COMMITTEE CHAIRS KRIS MCMAHON, AUDIT COMMITTEE CHAIR I am currently a Paralegal Specialist at Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company ("Mutual"), where I have worked for the last 35 years. I support 3+ attorneys on matters relating to group insurance issues, retirement plans and employee benefit plans. My job duties include drafting contracts, conducting research, performing due diligence, and handling other projects as needed. I have a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I became a Certified Paralegal in 2006 and received my Advanced Paralegal Certification in Contracts Administration/Contracts Management in 2011. I have served on NePA's Audit Committee since 2006. How did you end up in the paralegal field? After graduating from college, I applied for a job at Mutual because my father-in-law had worked at Mutual for many years. I got a job in the Law Operation in 1984 initially as a legal secretary. Over the years, I was gradually given more responsibilities and was eventually promoted to paralegal. I have worked as a paralegal since 1997. How did you become involved in NePA? Other paralegals at Mutual encouraged me to get involved in NePA. What made you decide to join the Audit Committee? Janie Boswell was the President of NePA and recruited me and a couple of others at Mutual to perform an audit of NePA. Little did I know that I would still be doing the audit 13 years later. What advice do you have for those looking to enter the paralegal field? I encourage them to learn as much as they can—in class, from attorneys, from other paralegals, from NePA, from NALA, etc. I am a big advocate of continuous learning; you can never know too much. What is/was your favorite job? I am currently in my favorite job. I enjoy the variety of work that I do. The attorneys, paralegals and staff that I work with at Mutual have encouraged my professional development and are like a family to me. What is one of your professional weaknesses that you struggle to overcome? I sometimes have difficulties delegating work to others. I know how I want something done so I often just do it myself. This is something I am working on both in my personal life and my professional life.



GETTING TO KNOW YOUR COMMITTEE CHAIRS JOYCE BULLER, STUDENT EDUCATION AWARD CHAIR How did you end up in the paralegal field? A former co-worker of mine told me she thought I would be well suited for the paralegal field. I explored the program at Metro Community College (MCC) and completed that program going to school part-time. How did you become involved in NePA? I joined while I was a student at MCC after members of NePA visited one of my classes. I applied and was accepted as a student member. I became an active member once I graduated from MCC. What made you decide to join the Education Award Committee? Teresa Barnes, now Teresa Semerena, reached out to me in 2014 and asked if I would be interested in serving on the Student Scholarship Committee, now known as the Education Award Committee. I accepted her invitation and have been on the aforementioned committee since 2014. What has been the greatest benefit of being a member of NePA? It is hard to select only one top benefit but I would have to say the networking opportunities. To me it is invaluable to talk to peers about working in the legal field. What advice do you have for those looking to enter the paralegal field? Skills that will serve you well are being detail-oriented and organized.

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Law Firms Are Relying More on Staff - and Treating Them More Like Lawyers Professional staff are gaining responsibilities and returning value to their firms, and firms are responding by extending benefits once reserved for attorneys. By Dan Packel | January 28, 2019 at 03:30 PM | Originally published on The American Lawyer It wasn’t long ago that attorneys could sit down to sumptuous lunches inside their firms’ private dining rooms. There, staffers—the paralegals, secretaries and other worker bees crucial to the smooth running of a firm’s operations—were nowhere to be seen.

Nowadays, lawyers and professional staff—whose roles have transformed dramatically over the past two decades—find themselves brushing shoulders midday in firms’ open-access cafeterias. “I don’t know a firm that has a lawyer-only dining room anymore,” says Winston & Strawn chief talent officer Sue Manch. That’s just one telling example of how traditional distinctions between lawyers and staff have collapsed in recent years, as firms have begun to rely on the latter more heavily, from management roles to technology and even litigation support. “Law firms, and my firm in particular, see professional staff as integral to the entire system of our law practice,” explains Hy Pomerance, the newly minted CTO at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton. Both Pomerance and Manch are the first to hold the CTO role at their firms. The proliferation of these titles demonstrates the increased attention being paid not just to the associate experience, but also to the staff experience. Historically, the latter has been an afterthought, creating what Dechert CTO Alison Bernard—who’s also the first to hold her seat—has called an “upstairsdownstairs culture.” That’s a fundamental issue for any professional services firm with fee earners and non-fee earners, according to Manch. “These firms are designed to run around fee earners: recruiting them, making them happy and able to work with clients. It’s our business model,” she says. “You can live without a particular staff area for some time, but you can’t live without a practice leader or a person who’s handling a giant case for a firm.” While that dynamic has not disappeared, it’s being altered by changes in how law firms operate. Lawyers leading firms are increasingly turning to professionals in CSuite roles to make strategic decisions, not just execute on plans made by others. Further down the pyramid, legal administrative assistants have shifted focus from dictation and typing to partnering with attorneys in areas like billing, communications and client management. They’re handling more litigation support tasks traditionally handled by starting associates, like trial preparation and e-discovery. “They’ve gone from 100 percent clerical to a much more strategic role,” Manch says. “They add value by making sure the client experience is high-value.”



LAW FIRMS ARE RELYING MORE ON STAFF CONT. On the IT side, professionals have been in the driver’s seat, identifying innovations for using data more efficiently that partners have likely not even contemplated. “We’re not expecting attorneys to figure out what is the best way to do things when you have people who have made a science of process efficiency and process management,” Manch adds. With staff members taking a more substantive role in firms’ operations, it only makes sense to treat them more like attorneys. That includes both phasing out restricted zones like lawyersonly dining rooms and also making perks and programs more inclusive. “The movement at Cleary has been toward a blurring of the lines between the legal side of the house and the professional side of the house when it comes to professional development and benefits at the firm,” Pomerance says. Cleary is investing in two separate tracks of professional development for staffers. One, the technical track, allows staffers to upgrade skills in areas including technology, project management, finance and human resources, so that they can advance in their careers. Employees are supported in their efforts to go outside the firm and gain advanced degrees or certifications to fuel their forward motion. The other, the management track, recognizes that professional staff are being asked to manage at more senior levels than in the past, as senior lawyers devote more attention to practicing law. Winston & Strawn has similarly collapsed some distinctions in professional development between staff and lawyers. Its new staff curriculum shares the same three core competencies that are also a priority for the firm’s lawyers, even if the performance factors evaluated by the firm differ. And for the first time, senior leadership on the professional staff side is taking part in an intensive management conference focused on skill development. “To stay competitive for the best people, we have to offer a deep and comprehensive curriculum so that people can get better at what they do and also add qualifications to move to the next level,” Manch says. The walls are crumbling in other areas, too. It used to be that firmwide events welcoming summer associates were for lawyers only; now, those doors have been opened to staff. At many firms, affinity groups aimed at improving the experience of diverse attorneys were initially conceived

for lawyers. Last fall, Reed Smith announced it was relabeling its version as “business inclusion groups” and opening them to all employees. When Dechert in October revamped its parental leave policy, doing away with the distinction between primary and secondary caregivers, it applied the change to staffers as well as associates. And as mandatory arbitration agreements are increasingly proving toxic to incoming associates, Kirkland & Ellis and Sidley Austin have garnered headlines for putting an end to the practice for staff as well. Staffers are also being included as firms take steps to combat what some are calling a mental health crisis in the industry. As part of its 2019 “year of mental health,” Winston & Strawn is holding monthly activities for both lawyers and staff addressing topics like stress management, healthy eating and coping with the challenges that come from working in a high-pressure environment. It has trained more than 20 key staff leaders in mental health first aid. Cleary has embraced the Sibly mental health app for its attorneys and staff and brings in nutrition counselors and health care providers. “We want to help keep physical and mental health on people’s radar. It’s a real important part of running a successful firm,” Pomerance says. “There’s a correlation between a healthy workforce and a productive workforce.” Jamy Sullivan, executive director of staffing firm Robert Half Legal, has observed a slew of other perks, both in law firms and corporate legal departments: on-site amenities like fitness facilities and child care, greater telecommuting and compressed work weeks that allow for four 10-hour days, and paid leave for volunteer activities. And firms are likely just scratching the surface. With staffers becoming more crucial to firms’ operations, competition for top performers will intensify.

“You’re going to see organizations be forwardthinking and thought-provoking, not only to attract talent but also to keep talent,” she says.

Email: “January 28, 2019 edition of the “The American Lawyer”© “2019” ALM Media Properties, LLC. All rights reserved. Further duplication without permission is prohibited, contact 877-257-3382 or



THE HARD WORK OF DEVELOPING “SOFT SKILLS” BY AMY L. DRUSHAL ON APRIL 12, 2019 Recently, the ABA Journal published an article by Susan Smith Blakely titled “Law Firms Shouldn’t Overlook Value in Soft Skills,” encouraging law firms to assist young lawyers in developing “soft skills” to increase their value. Here are a few suggestions for how young lawyers can do just that. 1. Improve your communication skills (by using your voice). Stop with the email! Talk to people! Everyone’s inboxes are flooded with emails these days. Pick up the phone and call your colleague, client and/or opposing counsel. More problems can be discussed and resolved through a 10-minute phone call than by exchanging 30 emails. Further, communicating directly with people will help you develop how you deal one-on-one with challenging situations. When confronted with a question, you need to learn how to think on your feet and answer, rather than sitting behind your computer thoughtfully crafting an email. Depending on the situation, tone and delivery are critical. If you must deliver bad news to a client, it’s much better having a conversation about that news in real time; preferably in person. Yes, email is the easier way, but it’s not the best way to communicate. 2. How professional do you need to be? As lawyers, we are “professionals,” but that doesn’t mean you can’t inject humor or emotion into particular situations. As a lawyer, more often than not, you deal with human problems. Take off the serious, “professional,” lawyer hat. Listen to your client. Talk to your client about things other than the matter you are handling for him or her. Be nice to opposing counsel and try to develop a relationship that is not merely as “opposing parties.” Be empathetic, be funny, be yourself… be human. 3. Find a mentor. Everyone needs mentors. You don’t need a formal structure or program. You simply need someone to talk to; someone who has been where you seek to go. If you are a litigator who wants to do trial work, find a partner you can work with or talk to about cases, experiences and how to try cases. If you are a solo practitioner, find another seasoned solo lawyer to meet with who can assist you with issues unique to your practice, to serve as a sounding board and to be a referral source. If you are at a law firm, find a partner who can educate you about office politics, procedures and the like so that you can better understand how the firm works, as well as how to deal with matters like promotions and salary issues. And don’t stop at one mentor. All lawyers have unique experiences, stories, and tips, and most lawyers like to share their experience and knowledge. 4. Step up and lead. Leadership skills are some of the most overlooked abilities necessary to be a good lawyer. Being a lawyer is more than giving advice, doing research and drafting documents. You must be a leader. If you are a trial lawyer, you have to be able to lead your trial team. If you are a corporate lawyer, you need to be able to manage a team to get deals done. If you are a real estate lawyer, you have to direct a team to get a transaction closed. Some people have natural leadership skills.



THE HARD WORK OF DEVELOPING “SOFT SKILLS” CONTINUED Some don’t. Some leadership skills develop over time as you gain more experience, but you also can develop skills by volunteering your time and energy. The easiest is to get involved in your firm or with an industry or legal organization. Volunteer for committees, chair positions or projects with a bar association or other volunteer organizations. If your firm has committees or groups, participate, volunteer to take part and lead a project, or join a committee. 5. Learn how to handle criticism. We all love positive feedback—what’s not to love? But, we don’t improve without constructive criticism. And, if you can’t accept criticism, people will stop giving you feedback altogether. My favorite and least favorite question to ask my colleagues is “what could I have done better?” I don’t necessarily want to hear what I did wrong, but I want to know how I can improve. Learn how to ask for criticism, how to accept negative feedback and how to use it to grow. 6. Build a network. Everyone will tell you practicing law is “not like it used to be” in terms of developing work. Business development is hard work, and law firms are focusing on business development and marketing more than ever. Firms are also getting their younger lawyers engaged in business development earlier than before. “Networking” in the traditional sense isn’t for everyone. But, you can develop your own successful network without being at cocktail parties every night. Start thinking about your goals for business development. How do you want to network? What do you like to do? What are your interests within the law and outside of it? Who are the types of people you enjoy being around? Who are your potential clients or people who could connect you to clients? Get involved in those activities and with those people, and your network will begin to grow. ©2019. Published in Law Practice Today, April 2019, by the American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association or the copyright holder.




By Erik Dullea on June 13, 2019 and Tracey Oakes O’Brien was a contributing author of this content.

An internal DOL memorandum last year to OSHA regional administrators confirms that OSHA can deploy Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) otherwise referred to as “drones” equipped with cameras to assist with its enforcement and regulatory functions. What do employers need to know? How should you respond to a drone inspection? In 2018, OSHA reportedly conducted nine inspections that were supported by drones. Those inspections predominately, if not exclusively, involved situations where access to certain portions of the jobsite posed a substantial safety risks to OSHA compliance officers. While OSHA’s use of UAS technology in those situations sounds logical, the agency’s use of UAS raises several questions for employers: - When and where can OSHA use its drones? - Will this ‘atypical’ use of drones will be expanded to routine inspections? - What risks does this new tool present for employers? OSHA’s plans for drone inspections raise new issues for employers According to the memo, OSHA has identified several uses for drones including but not limited to: - Collecting evidence at work sites including areas that are inaccessible or pose a safety risk to compliance officers (currently, OSHA’s memo limits the drone’s sensors to traditional cameras, but commercial drones already support non-visual sensors); - Providing technical assistance during emergencies and after accidents; - Providing compliance assistance; and - Providing support to training exercises. OSHA also disclosed plans to potentially file an application with the FAA for a Blanket Public Certificate of Authorization (COA) which would enable OSHA to operate its drones for a specified purpose on a nationwide basis. The memo’s language leaves open the possibility of OSHA adding more applications to this list.



LOOK! UP IN THE SKY … IT’S A BIRD, IT’S A PLANE, IT’S OSHA? CONT. Understandably, the potential expanded use of drones to conduct aerial inspections raises concerns among employers regarding their rights and risks with respect to drone inspections. These concerns include: - Does the use of drones, which can quickly provide a broad aerial view of a workplace, expand the workplace area that OSHA compliance officers consider to be in plain sight (since they may inspect and cite violations that are in plain sight)? - Do drone inspections broaden the scope of the entire inspection and increase the number of hazards potentially detected by the compliance officer, resulting in more citations issued? - Does the use of drones jeopardize trade secrets because the visual evidence is not labeled as confidential (as confidential documents would be)? - Should employers deny consent to OSHA’s drone inspection, or work collaboratively with OSHA? - Will a blanket public COA change OSHA’s obligations to obtain employers’ consent before beginning a drone inspection? OSHA’s not entirely free – FAA drone regulations and the OSHA memo restrict drone inspections to a degree In June 2016, the FAA published initial regulations for commercial drone operators, which include public entities such as OSHA. In 2018, OSHA developed its own, more restrictive internal guidelines. Under OSHA’s guidelines, each of the ten OSHA regions must designate a UAS Program Manager to oversee the regions’ implementation of the OSHA drone program. Regional UAS Program Managers are instructed to provide a cost/benefit analysis and hazard assessment in its recommendation to the Regional Administrator prior to deployment of drones. The OSHA memo also requires OSHA to: - Develop a flight plan prior to deployment of the drone. - Work in teams typically consisting of a certified remote pilot in command, a visual observer, and a safety monitor. - Obtain the express consent of the employer to use the drone on the property. - Inform personnel at the work site of the aerial inspection prior to launching the drone. - Coordinate with local law enforcement to comply with state laws and local ordinances regarding drone operations. At this time, unless and until OSHA pursues a Public Blanket COA and the FAA grants the COA, or unless OSHA obtains a waiver, it must continue to comply with Part 107 of the FAA rules as follows. Drones must: - Weigh less than 55 lbs. - Operate within the visual line of sight of the remote pilot in command. - Not exceed the maximum groundspeed of 100 mph. - Maintain an altitude of 400 feet or lower from the ground unless the drone is flown within 400 feet of a structure, and then it must maintain an altitude of not higher than 400 feet above the structure. - Not operate over any persons not directly participating in the operation, not under a covered structure or in a covered vehicle. - Operate only during daylight hours, or twilight hours if operating with anti-collision lighting. - Not operate a drone from a moving aircraft or vehicle. How should you respond to a drone inspection request? The use of drone technology to conduct safety inspections of employer facilities is evolving. Given the reductions in costs and time associated with the use of drones, it is likely that aerial inspections will expand beyond high-risk situations and be used during routine safety inspections.



LOOK! UP IN THE SKY … IT’S A BIRD, IT’S A PLANE, IT’S OSHA? CONT. 1. Check the plans and consider consent. Certain situations, however, justify withholding consent to drone inspections. Just as compliance officers present their credentials at the start of an inspection, employers should insist on seeing the drone pilot’s certifications as well as the route of flight for the drone before any drone operations begin. 2. Safety hazards in the flight plan? Employers should examine the planned route of flight to look for locations where the flight might create a safety hazard for employees engaged in their normal work practices. There is no guarantee in the memo that OSHA will exonerate an employer from a general duty violation arising from a recognized hazard that the drone operation created. 3. Confirm neighbors’ approval. Employers should consider asking OSHA if the pilot has obtained written approval from adjacent property owners so that the employer does not become entangled with invasion of privacy complaints or nuisance claims. Similarly, at multi-employer worksites, OSHA’s memo does not discuss the agency’s course of action if there is a disagreement between the employers over giving consent for the inspection. 4. Protect trade secrets. Employers may want to consider withholding consent if the aerial inspection poses a risk of revealing processes or equipment that constitute trade secrets or poses a safety risk to processes or equipment or operations. Under these circumstances, employers should provide information concerning the risks to justify their refusal to provide the consent requested. 5. Work cooperatively and supervise. Absent such concerns, employers should be aware of local and state restrictions on the use of drones and should collaborate with OSHA at the outset to develop a flight plan, limit the scope of the inspection to the hazards at issue, evaluate whether the drone poses a hazard to the facility, and obtain a copy of the footage videoed by the drone. As with a traditional inspection, a company representative should accompany the OSHA inspectors operating the drone. At this time, it’s unclear whether OSHA will proceed with plans to obtain a Blanket Public COA or whether the FAA would be inclined to grant the request. Have questions or need help? Husch Blackwell’s Safety Law and Unmanned Aircraft Systems teams include former airline and military pilots, as well as former safety professionals. This experience uniquely positions us to help employers navigate unfamiliar legal territory, strategically prepare for an OSHA drone inspection as well as the accompanying unforeseen privacy impacts. In addition, I recently participated in the FAA’s 2019 Unmanned Aircraft Symposium. If you have questions about complying with FAA rules, starting a UAS operation at your workplace, or OSHA’s drone inspections, please contact me or your Husch Blackwell attorney. Reprinted with permission of the Husch Blackwell workplace safety and health team, whose latest updates and tips for employers can be found at

Erik Dullea A member of Husch Blackwell’s Technology, Manufacturing & Transportation team, Erik focuses on administrative/regulatory law, with an emphasis on heavily regulated industries and government contractors. He represents mine operators in MSHA enforcement actions, energy and industrial companies in OSHA enforcement actions, and advises airlines and their pilots challenging FAA and DOT enforcement actions. Erik advises government contractors on transactional matters, bid protests and civil litigation. He holds an active security clearance and has 20 years of experience in the aviation industry as both a Navy pilot and a commercial pilot. Erik is a co-chair of Husch Blackwell’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems practice group.