NEBRASKA PARALEGAL ASSOCIATION
VOLUME MMXIX ISSUE 3
IN THIS ISSUE: From the President ..... 1 From the Editor ........... 3 Fall Seminar Recap ..... 4 Save the Dates ............ 7 BOD Officer Listing ...... 9 NePA Presents Awards, Elects New Officers ... 10 New Members ........... 11 NALA Conference ...... 12 A Funny Thing Happened ........................ 14 District News ............. 16 NALA News ................ 18 Getting to Know Your Officers ...................... 20 Mastering Core Work Traits Article .............. 22 Business Email Compromise Article ............... 24 The FTC-Facebook Settlement Article ......... 28
FROM THE PAST PRESIDENT: AMBER ROBERTS, ACP As I transition to the Past President position, I’m excited to see where our new President will lead us in the next step on our journey. Kim Brown is one of the best paralegals I know, and I’m honored to call her a close friend as well. We’ve been on the board together now for several years and it’s true what you may have heard…one of the best things about getting involved in the association is the friendships you will make. We recently held our first Board Retreat and I’m pleased to say it was a success! The goal was to make sure that our incoming board members felt welcome, learned the ropes of their new positions, and came to understand the vision and mission for NePA with a heavy bent toward where we are going in the next three to five years. We started with an icebreaker to get to know each other a bit better followed by a session from Mandy Kubicek on effective communication. We then each took a turn talking about our goals for NePA and our individual positions and committees. Some common themes that came out of the retreat were: • Make NePA a welcoming environment for members, especially new members and students • Be more inclusive and diverse in our membership • Recruit new members and provide them with resources to be engaged and successful members • Communicate efficiently and effectively with our members • Continuous technological improvements, including making the website intuitive and easy to use and providing options for distance members to actively participate in NePA remotely • Provide information and resources to increase the number of Certified Paralegals in Nebraska I don’t know about you, but these are BIG goals! They are also vitally important to the success and continuation of our association. The retreat allowed us to better understand where we want to go and where we want to invest our time and money to benefit the membership.
You may notice that many of these goals once again revolve around our members…which makes sense since you are our lifeblood and why NePA exists! One new benefit we are offering new members is to be paired with an experienced member. The goal is for the mentor to welcome the new member, get to know her/ him, offer to meet up at a luncheon (first one for a new member is free) and introduce the person around, and serve as a resource for questions about NePA and the paralegal profession. As we go to print, 22 new members in the past few months
VOLUME MMXIX, ISSUE 3
PAST PRESIDENT CONTINUED have been paired up. We have new members coming in all the time, however, and could use your help. Consider volunteering if you’ve been in NePA a few years. It’s an easy way to get involved with minimal commitment but something that will have a huge impact on the future success of our association. Another goal we’ve been working on is engaging our student members. We recently held the first Paralegal Forum at Metropolitan Community College and surpassed our goal with over 30+ people in attendance. We had 10 paralegal volunteers join us on a panel to share their experiences, offer insight and guidance to the students, and get to know each of them. Many of our 22 new members came from that event. They are excited to join NePA and get involved. This has allowed us to gain committee members to share the important work that each committee provides to our association…and start making those connections which are so vital in this profession. I’m hopeful that this will also lead to new, lifelong friendships as well. We’re already planning our next one for the February/March time-frame at College of Saint Mary. A final note in my last column before I turn it over to Kim…thank you for your support this past year for the many ideas and changes we’ve made. I asked you to step up and get involved and many of you answered the call. We have four first-time board members and two who have returned after a few years off. This will lead us to fresh views on our current programs and ideas for future ones. We live and die by our members and I couldn’t ask to be part of a better association. I choose you to stand with as we navigate the seas together, in calm or story weather, and I wouldn’t trade my paralegal family for anything. Thank you for being amazing people and I’m looking forward to what we will accomplish together in the future!
877-567-5669 Ruby Sponsor
VOLUME MMXIX, ISSUE 3
FROM THE EDITOR Hello everyone and congrats to the newly elected officers! I’m Casey Ochs and work at Baird Holm LLP. If you did not already know, I am now the Publications Editor for NePA this year! I’ve been working behind the scenes this past year getting to know how NePA works. I’m excited to participate more in this association and get to know its great paralegal members! I look forward to making a few changes in future In Brief issues and hope you will enjoy as well!
If you have any comments or corrections regarding this issue or have suggestions for future content, please forward them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy the Fall!
Letters to the Editor: Great job on this month's In Brief publication. It packed a lot of information in a concise format that kept me reading and interested. Keep up the good work! Lori Fortina, Paralegal at Baird Holm LLP
Publications Committee Members Casey Ochs, CP Kimberly Brown, ACP Kim Hansen Amber Roberts, ACP
VOLUME MMXIX, ISSUE 3
FALL SEMINAR RECAP Another fun and informative Recognition Breakfast, Annual Meeting, and Fall Seminar was held this year on September 18th and 19th at the Scott Conference Center. We kicked off the Recognition Breakfast with a keynote from NALA’s Vice President, Melissa Hamilton. Melissa spoke from experience about what it takes to be Melissa Hamilton swearing in the new NePA Board of Directors a great paralegal. She specifically noted you need integrity, empathy, and passion. Her speech was inspiring and a good reminder of what we need to bring to our jobs everyday to be truly successful. We then heard from Amber Roberts, NePA’s President, about the many goals NePA achieved this last year such as the advance planning of the Continuing Legal Education committee, the newly added Diversity and Inclusion Event, and being chosen to present at NALA’s Affiliate Exchange in Phoenix, AZ. Additionally, there was much to celebrate as we announced the Student Education Award winners who received recognition for their $500 scholarships and those members that completed their ACP designations for the 2018-2019 year. Finally, we recognized Teresa Semerena, ACP as the NALA Affiliate Award recipient for her amazing dedication to NePA over the years. Following the breakfast, the seminar kicked off with a NALA Update & The Paralegal Industry’s Future from Melissa Hamilton. Melissa advised us of all the exciting changes coming to NALA, and how our association can benefit. This included obtaining CLE through reading of Facts and Findings articles, as well as the new reduced fees for student members looking to take their Certified Paralegal Exam… which they can now do the last semester before they graduate! Following our first presentation, the NePA Annual Membership Meeting and Election of Officers was held under the direction of Amber Roberts. Amber has done a terrific job this past year and we know the organization will continue in good hands under the current leadership of Kim Brown. Past President’s table (L to R): Mindy Ware, Laurie Vik, Loretta Phillips, Janie Boswell and Kim Hansen
Kim Hansen and NALA Liaison Caryn Redding
NALA Vice President Melissa Hamilton, President Elect Angel Younger, Past President Amber Roberts and District I Director Courtney Pfeiffer
VOLUME MMXIX, ISSUE 3
FALL SEMINAR RECAP CONTINUED One thing was clear during the meeting: NePA has a lot of exciting things to look forward to as our organization grows. You can see a list of our current board members on Page 9. After taking a break for a delicious salad bar lunch, the seminar resumed with a presentation on the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) by Rick Jeffries of Cline Williams. Rick provided a summary of what GDPR is, who it applies to, and how it might affect the future of privacy and security laws in the United States. All interesting information that can help us within our companies and as we work with clients, especially internationally. The day continued with Getting Ready for the Emoji Law Revolution presented by Jessica Forch, Assistant General Counsel of the Nebraska State Patrol. Jessica provided general insight into where the courts are going with “emoji law” and explained that with the growth of technology the courts will be forced to address these issues. Figuring out what constitutes a contract as well as meaning and intent will be interesting challenges for the future in this area.
Student Education Award Winners
The first day concluded with Effective Use of Exhibits at Trial by Stephanie Caldwell, Assistant Attorney General for the State of Nebraska. Stephanie explained that the purpose of exhibits is to create a sensory connection to establish engagement with a jury. She used real life examples to demonstrate how compelling the telling of a story through trial exhibits can be. She also gave practical tips for preparing exhibits and using technology during trial.
The second day of the seminar kicked off with Employment Law Basics presented by George E. Martin of Baird Holm. His presentation was a comprehensive overview of employment issues and case law that proved employment law can indeed be interesting. He used many real world examples that were engaging and was one of the highest rated speakers of the day. Violence Against Women’s ACT (VAWA) by George Achola, attorney at Burlington Capital Real Estate, provided a detailed overview of the relationship between housing and domestic violence and how the VAWA affects covered housing programs. He explained the rights of victims under the VAWA and provided practical applications for confidentiality and record keeping while complying with the law. This was an area that most in the audience weren’t familiar with, but we left with new tools to help our clients as we represent them. Ryan Hoffman of Anderson Bressman Hoffman & Jacobs provided a Nebraska Child Custody & Child Support Update that included a real-life case study that incorporated the current child custody rules. He also provided practical applications for those practicing in the field of family law. Many of our own family law paralegals were able to jump in as well with tips on how they handle specific scenarios in their offices.
George Martin of Baird Holm
Following a fantastic taco bar lunch, nobody expected to laugh as much as they did during Excel Tips & Tricks by Kyle Kaldahl, Budget & Cost Analyst for NMPP Energy. Kyle was not just entertaining, but presented useful tips, including providing the members with a detailed summary of shortcuts that makes life easier while navigating Excel. There were many “ah ha” moments during his session.
VOLUME MMXIX, ISSUE 3
FALL SEMINAR RECAP CONTINUED Back by popular demand, the Ethics Panel: Navigating the Grey Areas, Part II by Andrew Sagartz, Metropolitan Community College’s Paralegal Program Director & Sally Bisson-Best, College of Saint Mary’s Director of Legal Studies/Pre-Law Program, was a big hit. Moderated by Amber Roberts, Andrew and Sally presented solutions to ethical dilemmas and how to navigate those complex questions that may arise during the workday. Ethics can be a really boring subject Moderator Amber Roberts with Panelists Andrew Sagartz and Sally Bisson-Best but our two panelists made it engaging. The seminar concluded with a presentation by Candi Jones, a Certified Professional Career Coach for Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company. Candi presented an inspiring session about Finding Your Passion. She spoke to overcoming adversity and rising above to find your true definition of happiness and success. She discussed not only finding your success, but helping others find theirs as well. What a way to end a great seminar! We left feeling uplifted and ready to tackle the challenges of tomorrow. Not only was the education at this year’s seminar top notch, many exciting prizes were given away. A big thank you to Katie Wibbels and Carla Larson for their contributions. Katie created beautiful centerpieces for the membership to enjoy, which were also used as door prizes. In addition, Carla created wonderful themed door prizes for our winners to enjoy. Also, during the NALA Convention in July, NePA won a raffle prize and was able to pass the winnings on to the membership in the form of door prizCandi Jones es. One lucky member went home with an $80.00 gift certificate to use towards NALA education. Finally, Tom Woodrome of Capitol Services donated a $100 gift card door prize won by Sandy Banks! If you weren’t able to make it, not to worry, our next seminar is scheduled for May 15, 2020 at Mahoney State Park and is free to Active, Distance and Associate members and a low, low cost of only $20 for Student and Honorary mem- Tom Woodrome of Capitol Services with winner bers. We hope to see you there! Sandy Banks
Centerpieces by Katie Wibbels
VOLUME MMXIX, ISSUE 3
SAVE THE DATES November 13th - District II Luncheon (Serving as a Prosecutor: A Femaleâ€™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. Anthonyâ€™s Steakhouse, Omaha)
Register for events at: http:// nebraskaparalegal.org.
Board Meetings (5:30-7:30pm):
March 18th - District I Luncheon (Managing Law Firm Records in the Digital Age, Ed Carroll of Dinsmore & Shohl LLP - Scott Conference Center, Omaha) More 2020 dates coming soon!
2020 Dates Pending
VOLUME MMXIX, ISSUE 3
2019-2020 BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Amber Roberts, Angel Younger, Caryn Redding, Carla Larson, Kim Brown, Deb Oâ€™Brien, Courtney Pfeiffer, Teresa Semerena and Laurie Vik
Please feel free to reach out to any of our new Officers! President
Kim Brown, ACP
Angel Younger, ACP
Amber Roberts, ACP
Teresa Semerena, ACP
Laurie Vik, ACP
Carla Larson, ACP
Caryn Redding, CP
District I Director
Courtney Pfeiffer, ACP
District II Director
Casey Ochs, CP
Kelly Elder, ACP
Amy Olson, ACP
VOLUME MMXIX, ISSUE 3
NEPA PRESENTS AWARDS, ELECTS NEW OFFICERS AT FALL SEMINAR The Nebraska Paralegal Association recognized a Mutual of Omaha Bank paralegal for her 30 years of work in the legal field. Teresa Semerena was presented the NePA Affiliated Association Award at the organization’s 2019 recognition breakfast, which was held last Wednesday at the Scott Conference Center in Omaha. Semerena earned her paralegal studies bachelor’s degree in 1989 from College of Saint Mary, and she passed the Certified Paralegal exam in 2007. She earned her Advanced Certified Paralegal credential in 2012. Before Mutual of Omaha bank, she previously worked at Gross & Welch PC LLO, W. Curtis Hewett P.C. and Smith Peterson Law Firm LLP. Melissa Hamilton, ACP gives an overview of NALA at the Nebraska Paralegal Association’s fall seminar at the Scott Conference Center on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019. (Photo by Scott Stewart)
Semerena has also volunteered as an officer for NePA for more than 11 years, including as president in 2013-14. The Ralston resident is also an active volunteer with Catholic Health Initiatives, the National Alliance on Mental Illness and the American Contract Bridge League.
NePA announced two of its members will serve on its affiliated national group, NALA – The Paralegal Association. Kimberly Brown will be the NALA certifying board chair, and Bridget Stuhr will be the NALA affiliated associations secretary. Skylar Finch and Yesica Lara-Reyes, both College of Saint Mary’s students, received NePA Student Education Awards.
Five NePA members were also recognized for attaining their ACP designation: Maren Collins, Rebecca Kay, Terri Peetz, Amber Roberts and Gloria Turner. Following the NePA recognition breakfast, the group elected new officers at its annual meeting. Brown is the group’s 2019-20 president, and Angel Younger was unanimously elected to be presidentelect. Semerena was elected membership director, Cara Larson was named secretary and Laurie Vik became the treasurer. Caryn Redding was elected as NALA liaison. Courtney Pfeiffer was named District 1 director, and Deb O’Brien was named District 2 director. The director positions for Districts 3-5 were left vacant. Melissa Hamilton, a paralegal for the North Dakota Office of Attorney General, spoke at the NePA breakfast and in a later session about NALA, the national group affiliated with NePA. Hamilton told NePA members they can benefit from free continuing education credit from NALA by reading articles in its Facts & Findings magazine. That process used to involve a quiz, but going forward, members will just have to attest to reading the articles to receive their free credits. NALA is also now offering an organizational membership for law firms and other offices that want to purchase membership for all of its paralegals at one time. “It saves you money,” Hamilton said. “You pay one flat fee at the beginning of the year.” Hamilton said NALA has also added some new benefits for paralegal students, including allowing them to register for the Certified Paralegal exam while in their final term in college. For information about NePA, visit nebraskaparalegal.org. For more about NALA, visit nala.org.
Written by Scott Stewart. Reprinted with permission. The Daily Record is a locally owned legal newspaper serving Douglas County. To subscribe, visit omahadailyrecord.com or call 402-345-1303.
VOLUME MMXIX, ISSUE 3
ACTIVE Brenda Frederick - Union Pacific Railroad Amy Gausman - Union Pacific Railroad Darling Handlos - Jackson Lewis PC Brittany Neville - Rembolt Ludtke LLP Erin Perry - Lamson Dugan & Murray LLP Alexandra Philipps - Rembolt Ludtke LLP Vern Schulte - Rembolt Ludtke LLP
ASSOCIATE Sarah Greer - Koley Jessen P.C., L.L.O. Magee Kopecky - Koley Jessen P.C., L.L.O. Rashal Sanders - Koley Jessen P.C., L.L.O.
STUDENT Brittany Banks - Metropolitan Community College Rae Bodner - Metropolitan Community College Stacie Copple - Metropolitan Community College Khadija Dixon - Metropolitan Community College Jessica Garcia - Metropolitan Community College Eve Gilbert - Metropolitan Community College Melissa Linn - Metropolitan Community College Bob Loukota - Metropolitan Community College Logan Palumbo - Metropolitan Community College ChĂŠ Peak - Metropolitan Community College Erica Schwery - Metropolitan Community College Jacqueline Short - Metropolitan Community College Patrick Teeples - Metropolitan Community College Emma Wagnerâ€”Metropolitan Community College Jack Ward - Metropolitan Community College
VOLUME MMXIX, ISSUE 3
2019 NALA CONFERENCE AND EXPO RECAP This was only the second NALA conference I attended. The first being the 2012 conference here in Omaha. I was so excited but wasn’t sure what to expect since it had been awhile. I arrived on Wednesday, July 10th, very late…in fact, it was actually Thursday. That’s a whole other story. All I can say is Wow! What a conference! If you love our NePA Seminars, attend a NALA conference. You will be blown away! I learned so much from the various sessions, my mind was on overload by the end of each day. Meeting members from affiliates across the country and gleaning as much as I could from them so I could apply this new found knowledge to NePA was immensely valuable. There is no way to explain or describe all that transpired during the conference, but I will try to give you a glimpse. Thursday was the affiliates’ day. It was all about the affiliate associations with a keynote speaker, the affiliated award recognition ceremony, voting for the new Affiliated Director and Secretary, and the Affiliate Exchange presentation by our own Amber Roberts and Kim Brown. That evening was dedicated to the affiliate associations booths and reception where various affiliates chose to display something about their association or state. This is the time where we could visit each table and converse with representatives from that association. I had a small window to walk around and speak with paralegals from New York to Florida to California to Alaska. I learned so many new things about improving our association and increasing membership that I can’t wait to share them.
Friday and Saturday we could attend various sessions throughout each day. This year, NALA had a variety of classes to choose from. We did not have to register for a specific path or a set of sessions ahead of time. When we received our name tags, there was a barcode at the bottom. We simply scanned the badges as we entered each session. Our attendance was recorded for us. I chose several different classes to expand my horizons, such as Legal Technology, Data-What is it, Generational Gap, Constitutional Law, and the Dark Web, to name a few. I was taken aback with each session as they were so informational! Throughout these two days, there were many opportunities to meet fellow paralegals (during our breaks, meals and evenings). One thing I found particularly helpful was the NALA conference app. This app was packed with everything you needed to know about the conference, such as where the sessions were located, daily schedules, and various message boards. I hope each of you will consider attending next year’s conference. It will be held in Atlantic City, NJ, July 9-11, 2020. I promise you that it is well worth the time and expense, and it is an experience you won’t soon forget!
NEBRASKA. THEREâ€™S NO BETTER PLACE TO THRIVE
Gavilon is a proud sponsor of the Nebraska Paralegal Association!
1331 Capitol Ave | Omaha, NE 68106 | T 402.889.4000
VOLUME MMXIX, ISSUE 3
A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE NALA CONFERENCE... As I mentioned in my other article, I was excited and nervous about attending my second conference. I made my plans, reserved the hotel, registered for the conference, and purchased my plane tickets. Everything was going fine. I got to the airport on time. I had plenty of time to check in. I boarded my flight on time. We left Eppley on time. So far so good, right? It was, until we were close to Dallas (my connection to Phoenix). The pilot came on the intercom to tell us that there were thunderstorms and lightning in Dallas which isn’t all bad, but the lightning knocked out power to the airport. We were re-routed to Lubbock. By the time we landed in Lubbock, the storms had passed through Dallas, so we refueled and headed to Dallas. We finally made it to Dallas (YAY). Most flights were delayed leaving Dallas…mine, on the other hand,…well, I missed my connecting flight by 2 minutes. Shoot! Now what am I going to do? I checked with the everso-helpful agent who gave me three horrible choices. I could fly to L.A. then onto Phoenix, arriving at 4:40am Thursday morning; I could fly back to K.C., then to Phoenix, arriving 2:30am Thursday morning; or, I could stay in the airport overnight and wait until mid to late Thursday morning to “hopefully” get a flight to Phoenix... Yep! I thought the same thing! In the meantime, I confirmed with the agent that my luggage would be coming with me, being assured that an hour layover would be plenty of time to get my luggage on the corrected flight. (Yes, I checked my bag.) So, I decided to cut my losses, take the shortest route (haha), go back to K.C., then Phoenix. I headed off on my late-night tour of the central states, getting into K.C. around 11:30pm. With a quick turn -around, we were off to Phoenix. Finally! We arrive in Phoenix at 2:30 am, local time. Yes, local time. Phoenix is 2 hours behind Nebraska. As it turns out, there were 8 of us from that original flight from Omaha that were going on this field trip. As you can imagine, we all just wanted to find a bed at that point. As the luggage carousel went round and round, my luggage was nowhere to be found. In fact, no one from that original flight received their luggage. Conspiracy?...I think so! At 2:30 in the morning, I march my angry self to the lost luggage desk where I was assured my luggage (which went to San Antonio) would arrive first thing in the morning. What was their definition of “first thing,” I asked. 6:30 or 7:00 am I was told. Wonderful, no harm, no foul! I headed to the hotel, got my room, crawled in bed, and fell asleep within minutes. Just when I thought all was going to be fine...I call the front desk and ask them if my luggage has arrived. Yes, it has, someone will bring it up. I then get a phone call from the airline who said my luggage just arrived from San Antonio and would be loaded on to a van and delivered to me within the hour. I questioned her about the arrival, expressed my concerns, and was, once again, assured my luggage would be at the hotel by 8:00am. So I wait, and wait, and wait, and still no luggage. All I can say is thank goodness for hotel toiletries! I cleaned myself up, purchased an overpriced muffin and juice from the hotel convenience store, went back to my room, and waited. I missed the keynote speaker at the conference but I wasn’t about to go out in public with day-old clothes, no makeup, and no hair products! Finally, out of desperation, I called the telephone number that I thought was the airline’s to see what on this planet was going on. I didn’t have a call back number, so I guessed. I had the right number. And what happened next can only be described as what my pastor says, “I lost my testimony with the poor soul who answered the phone.” I was mad, angry, furious. It was after 9:30 am and still no luggage. She put me on hold. Eventually, I talked to a manager who told me that everything that everyone had told me from 2:30 am to 9:30 am was wrong. Yep, that’s right, wrong! My luggage was on a van, yes…but the van has a window of 4 hours within which to deliver all lost luggage in the Phoenix area. Guess what number I was...last! Not really, but it might as well have been. My luggage didn’t arrive until 11:30 am. In the meantime, I did attend the Affiliated Associations Annual Meeting & Awards, and the luncheon, looking like a hot mess. Well, just a mess. I didn’t want to miss the entire morning. After lunch, my luggage and I had a reunion party! Then I noticed the “rush” tag on my luggage. Seriously, this actually happened! I wouldn’t believe it if I didn’t live through it. But, despite all the shenanigans trying to prevent me from experiencing the NALA Conference, I wouldn’t trade this trip for the world as it was an amazing journey of learning, making new friends, and coming back rejuvenated and proud to be a paralegal!
Serving as a Prosecutor:
A Female's Perspective
Speaker: Nicole Hutter, Attorney Nebraska State Patrol
November 13, 2019 11:30am to 12:30pm
Green Gateau 330 S. 10th St. Lincoln, NE 68508 Cost: $12 Members $17 Non-Members Register at http://nebraskaparalegal.org by November 8, 2019
VOLUME MMXIX, ISSUE 3
DISTRICT NEWS Please join us for the upcoming District I (Omaha) and District II (Lincoln) luncheons!
November 13th (Lincoln) Serving as a Prosecutor: A Female’s Perspective (CLE) Nicole Hutter of the Nebraska State Patrol Green Gateau November 20th (Omaha) Establishing Financial Wellness for Yourself and Your Clients Kathleen Spencer of Operation HOPE, Inc. Anthony’s Steakhouse PLEASE REMEMBER, all those attending luncheons must Register AND Pay to attend. Members are $12 and Non-members are $17. New this year, new members will receive their first lunch for free. All new members must register for the event prior to the deadline, select a meal, and email Courtney Pfeiffer (District I - Omaha) or Deb O’Brien (District II - Lincoln) prior to the luncheon to let them know you’re coming and to mark your lunch as free. Events will be listed on the homepage of the website in the middle column. Simply scroll down to find the one you’re looking for. We have multiple events, so be sure to register for the correct one. District I is Omaha and District II is Lincoln. Once you register, you’ll be taken to a separate page that allows you to pay online through PayPal or provides instructions on where to mail payment. You may also pay with a check (preferred) or cash on the day of the luncheon. If you register correctly, you’ll receive an email confirmation.
For all questions, please contact: Courtney Pfeiffer, District I Director at email@example.com or Deb O’Brien, District II Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Establishing Financial Wellness for Yourself and Your Clients Speaker: Kathleen Spencer Operation HOPE, Inc.
November 20, 2019 Cost: Member $12 Non-member $17
Anthony's Steakhouse 7220 F. Street Omaha, NE 68127 11:00-11:30 Networking 11:30-12:30 Education & Lunch Register at http://nebraskaparalegal.org
VOLUME MMXIX, ISSUE 3
NALA NEWS Can anyone believe that Fall is in full swing? This is my favorite time of year. It is still mostly warm, but without the heavy humidity and extreme heat. Plus, football! It has been a busy summer and fall! The NALA Conference was held on July 11-13. It was fantastic! NePA had 17 members attend the conference! How awesome is that! Teresa Semerena, ACP attended the conference and received her Affiliate Award. Bridget M. Stuhr, ACP was elected as the Affiliate Secretary. Conference recordings are now available as on-demand webinars on NALA’s website. Please check NALA’s website for more information.
You may remember, NALA implemented a new way to obtain CLE credits last year by reading 5 designated articles from Facts & Findings. This year, Certified Paralegals are no longer required to complete a test before obtaining their credits. Simply enter the information into your NALA account within one year of the publication date. As a reminder, you can only submit up to 2 hours of CLE per year this way, with a maximum of 5 hours within your certification period. In addition, there are many new things that NALA is instituting this year. First, NALA will be updating the website to a bold, modern, professional theme. I can’t wait to see the new look! There is no minimum time length requirement for receiving CLE credit. NALA will accept any time increments. However, there will be no carry-over hours for your CLEs. If you obtain more than 50 hours of CLE during your certification period, those extra hours will not carry over to the next period. Coming soon, NALA will be rolling out a members-only collaboration site...a platform to learn and engage in informative dialogue with fellow paralegals. NALA members will have access to exclusive Members Only content on the website, such as benefits only available to members. You will need to log in to your personal account to access this content. For organizations with multiple members, NALA has a new Organization Membership. It will offer one flat rate for multiple paralegals within the law firm or company with several different staff sizing options. NALA is offering 3 course bundles to give you an opportunity to learn, grown, and develop personal leadership skills: Leadership Basics Course (free to active NALA members), Personal Leadership Bundle, and Organizational Leadership Bundle. Make sure you visit NALA’s website for more information on all the new happenings as well as upcoming events, webinars, and educational opportunities. Finally, start planning now for the NALA Annual Conference in Atlantic City, NJ, July 9-11, 2020. It would be fantastic to see another large group from Nebraska at the conference!
VOLUME MMXIX, ISSUE 3
The Nebraska Paralegal Association Wants to Invest in Your Future!
Visit the NePA website to learn more about the Student Education Award and
CP/ACP Scholarships at : http://nebraskaparalegal.org/scholarships.php
VOLUME MMXIX, ISSUE 3
GETTING TO KNOW YOUR OFFICERS - CARLA LARSON, ACP In 2015, Carla Larson, ACP made the leap after 15 years in law firm environments into the corporate world, and is currently the contracts management paralegal with NMPP Energy in Lincoln. She also serves on the Board of Directors of her homeowners association, as Neighborhood Watch coordinator with Lincoln Police Department, as an English language tutor with Lincoln Literacy, and as on-call resident caregiver to her youngest grandkids, Liam (age 6) and Zoe Ann (age 2). Carla’s personal passion has become assisting resettlement of refugee and immigrant families. She especially enjoys refinishing used furniture for refugees, setting up apartments for new arrivals, and “matchmaking” donated furniture/household items with recipient families. She is looking forward to serving NePA again in the capacity of Secretary. How did you end up in the paralegal field? In 2001, I answered a Cline Williams newspaper ad for someone with a B.A. in English (I’m a University of Minnesota grad), plus nursing background (I hold an inactive LPN license), plus human resources experience (at the time I was working in HR support with Transcrypt International). I scored very high on Cline Williams’ screening exam, so they took a chance on hiring me, and trained me on the job. I will always be grateful for that opportunity. How did you become involved in NePA? Loretta Phillips (past NePA President) was in the audience of a paralegal class I was teaching. Afterwards, she introduced herself and invited me to join NePA. It turned out to be a pivotal decision in my professional and personal life. What made you decide to join the board? I very much admired Loretta and several other Board members at the time, and the more my involvement in NePA expanded my horizons both professionally and personally, the more I wanted to give back to the organization and hopefully help other paralegals in their development. We all stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. What has been the greatest benefit of being a member of NePA? Expanding my capacities, getting to know other paralegals in multiple practice areas, and enjoying the feeling of belonging to a wonderful organization (I couldn’t limit my answer to just one greatest benefit!). What advice do you have for those looking to enter the paralegal field? Explore what your strengths are and actively pursue ways to build on them; be honest about your weaknesses and create effective workarounds to help to compensate for them. Also, proactively seek out mentors you admire who can help you become a better person. The better person you become, the better paralegal you will also be. What is/was your favorite job? Creating personal injury (PI) demand packages, utilizing software graphics, timelines, medical records excerpts and inserting witness Affidavit statements to enhance settlement outcomes for injured clients. When I retire from NMPP Energy, my plan is to continue working part-time with a PI attorney in Omaha. What is one of your professional weaknesses that you struggle to overcome? I have become MUCH better at this, but will always have to work on not taking everything too personally, whether it’s receiving negative comments from a critical supervisor, fielding a hostile call from an impatient client, or collaborating with a stressed-out in-house team to meet deadlines.
Contact Amber Roberts at email@example.com to learn more.
VOLUME MMXIX, ISSUE 3
GETTING TO KNOW YOUR OFFICERS - LAURIE VIK, ACP Laurie Vik earned her Associate in Applied Science Degree â€“ Paralegal Studies from Metropolitan Community College in 1995. She went on to earn the CP designation in 2000 and ACP in 2012. Her area of focus is corporate international law. She has held numerous positions within NePA, including as the current Treasurer and is proud to be a Past President. She is also a member of NALA. How did you end up in the paralegal field? Right out of high school I was taking classes for medical transcription and a local law firm was advertising for a legal secretary. I needed a job, applied, was hired and the rest is history! I have always had an interest in the legal field. My Dad was the county sheriff while I was growing up, so my family was exposed to that area of the legal field early on. I have worked in three different law firms as a legal secretary. I moved from South Dakota to Nebraska and began working at Kiewit in their legal department where I stayed for 23 years. It was my first exposure to the in-house corporate world which I love. I have now been at HDR, Inc. for six years in their corporate legal department. How did you become involved in NePA? I started by attending a couple of seminars and lunches. As I became more interested in obtaining a paralegal certificate, I became more involved with NePA. I took classes at Metro, took the CP exam and thereafter earned the ACP credential. The study group for the CP exam and support of NePA was, and continues to be, amazing. What made you decide to join the board? The more NePA functions that I attended, I became more familiar with the members. Loretta Phillips and Stephanie Henson made me feel welcome and encouraged me to become more involved. I first volunteered for the seminar committee. From there, the Board was the next big step, in my mind, and I took the appointed role of Parliamentarian and continued from there. What has been the greatest benefit of being a member of NePA? Networking, friends, experiences. It is so fulfilling to talk to other paralegals who experience the same things as me and to hear from the paralegals that practice in other areas of law that I have not. I truly have made life-long friends through NePA. It is such a supportive organization. What advice do you have for those looking to enter the paralegal field? Get the formal education so that you have your paralegal certificate and then become certified right away. More and more employers are looking at certification as a plus for hires. Even if the certification is not taken into consideration, you will feel so much personal satisfaction for having taken those extra steps for yourself. What is/was your favorite job? Early in my career I was exposed to estate planning. I worked for a small law firm at the time and loved that area of law. Now, I work as a corporate paralegal in HDRâ€™s international arena and it is very interesting and exciting. There is always something new. What is/was one of your professional weaknesses that you struggle(d) to overcome? I used to be timid about speaking up in a group or speaking in front of a group of people. I believe that NePA, in part, helped me to overcome that fear. Certainly, joining the Board helped me gain confidence in that area. Currently, there are times when I struggle with reaching out and joining groups/activities. I have to mentally push myself at times to get out there!
VOLUME MMXIX, ISSUE 3
MASTERING CORE WORK TRAITS - ESSENTIAL TRAITS FOR A PARALEGAL What does it take to be good at your job? There are classes, certificates, and trainings for nearly every skill we use in our jobs, but underneath all of those abilities, there are some core traits that we can hone. As we face projects, in addition to focusing on the minutiae of the task, take some time to reflect on the traits you have that will help you succeed.
tion in its track, ask yourself how you can slow your response and maybe come at the situation with a cooler head. Take time to breathe. List tasks that you need to accomplish so you can keep your focus on the project as a whole rather than just your frustration, anger, or other strong emotion.
Humility – We often think of humility as being meek or submissive, but the secret to humility is knowing how much space to take up in a room, conversation, or project. There will be times when your practice of humility means being open to suggestions and directions. At other times your humility will mean speaking up, honoring your experience and knowledge, and sharing your thoughts.
“The strongest of all warriors are these two – time and patience.” – Leo Tolstoy
Build your trait: Start by examining your interactions with other people. When assigned a project, how much space do you naturally take up? Do you step in and take the lead or wait for someone to instruct you? If you lean towards too much humility, it is time to speak up. Try to list your strengths and skills. What areas do you have expertise, in either subject matter or task? If you lean towards too little humility, try to reflect on the skills of your coworkers. Where do they excel and what can you do to support their growth? Take time on your next project to ask yourself who else can take up some space. Ask for input from team members to identify other people’s strengths, weaknesses, and interests.
Impact: Patience in the workplace gives you more time to focus on the problem at hand without the distraction of your own impulsive responses.
Enthusiasm – What is the difference between doing a task begrudgingly and doing a task with enthusiasm? What impact can your enthusiasm have on your coworkers and clients? Somewhere between laziness and rashness there lies a perfect balance of enthusiasm. This trait reminds us that we can find pleasure and spread joy by taking time to enjoy our tasks.
Build your trait: When starting any project, large or small, take time to reflect on which parts of this project bring you joy. It can be in the satisfaction of doing a task well, the pleasure in helping someone else, or even the simple joy of being done with an unpleasant task. When making your to-do list, put stars next to your favorite parts. Tell someone else about your enjoyment or enthusiasm. “That was a great project” or “I was happy to help” lets people know what parts you enjoy and can help improve Impact: The trait of humility gives your coworkers morale at any workplace. and clients a moment to not only be heard but to Impact: Enthusiasm can be contagious, spreading shine. The act of courtesy by listening and inviting light in the workplace and giving all members of the input can give the people around you greater owner- team an understanding of the benefits you are ship of the end result and more thorough participa- bringing to clients and coworkers. tion at every stage of a project. “There is real magic in enthusiasm. It spells the dif“True humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s ference between mediocrity and accomplishment.” thinking of yourself less.” – Rick Warren – Norman Vincent Peale Patience – Being patient does not mean that you Empathy – While some argue that law should be are unaffected by events, but that you can bear un- free from passion, we know that the practice of law comfortable emotions and situations without imme- involves a great many passions. Regardless of the diately reacting. Be it a coworker, client, or judge, type of law you practice, we are all working to help we often face difficult and stressful situations. You our clients and coworkers seek justice. Some of our can control your reaction by slowing down and fo- most compassionate work can start by listening with cusing on your core behaviors and values. This is an open heart and mind. Hear not just the words, not to say that you should ignore something that but the emotions, and focus your energy on helping you know to be wrong, but you should allow pa- the whole person. tience to help you slow down, focus on the problem, Build your trait: Many times, the first step to building and create a plan for change. empathy is being able to put aside your own feelings Build your trait: Hostage negotiators often recom- while listening to another’s. Listening is a multimend that in intense situations, your goal should be sensory experience. Listen with your ears, what are to slow things down. As difficult moments arise, fo- they saying; listen with your eyes, how are they cus first on slowing your reaction to them. There holding their body; listen with your heart, what are may be a client or coworker who brings out strong the feelings at the core of their message. Once you emotions in you. Rather than trying to stop the emo- have heard the problem and the feelings, it is time
VOLUME MMXIX, ISSUE 3
MASTERING CORE WORK TRAITS CONTINUED how much progress has been made in addition to what still needs to be done. Impact: Order can be a powerful tool to help an entire team work together smoothly. Order can also be a way to reassure clients that their matter is being handled professionally. “Chaos is merely order waiting to be deciphered.” – José Saramago
to validate the other person’s experience. Try phrases like, “This sounds like a difficult problem,” or “I imagine this is frustrating.” Finally, be flexible in your response. You may need to simply solve the immediate problem, while other times you may need to address the underlying feelings. It is possible that the person you are talking to simply needs to feel heard and acknowledged. Empathy can help guide you to solve the holistic problem rather than simply completing a task. Impact: By offering empathy, people may feel more fully heard and can bring greater focus to solutions rather than feeling the frustration of being ignored, misunderstood, or slighted. “No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Focusing on Essential Traits – This can be a lot to tackle at once. If you want to start building your core traits, take it slow. Pick a new trait each week on which to focus. Try any of the strategies below to hone your trait of choice. -Put a post-it note on your desk or computer with a simple phrase that you can come back to. You can use the quotes above or even google for other quotes about the trait of the week. -As you write your to-do list, write down the traits required for each task. When you are tackling a task that uses your trait of the week, take a moment at the beginning and end of the task to acknowledge the trait and reflect on how it helped you succeed. -Start a journal at home where you reflect on how you experienced and practiced your trait during the day. This does not have to be an extensive writing exercise. Give yourself permission to write as much or little as you need to help you. -Take a few moments during the day to meditate on your selected trait. Mediation has been specifically shown to help increase skills like empathy and patience. -Talk about your goals. Sometimes stating your intentions out loud can help bring focus to your work as well as help you recognize your growing skills.
Order – There are some days when it feels like the biggest task of a paralegal may be bringing order to a chaotic world. Whether it is organizing files, reading local rules, formatting a document, or taking notes, you can infuse your day with positivity by fo- Reprinted with permission. cusing on the order you are able to bring to your work. As with all of the traits above, there is a balancing that must occur. Order need not be inflexible and rigid; it is one of many tools you have at your command to help serve our larger goals.
Build your trait: Take time to reflect on how order can help your work and coworkers. Does it bring peace to a chaotic situation? Does it make the workflow easier? By focusing on the benefits of order, you can approach the task with greater clarity. Writing lists of tasks along with the goals for each task can help you focus on order. Share your lists of tasks and goals with team members and ask for input. Regularly update lists of tasks so that all members are aware of what needs to be accomplished and on what time frame. Take time every week to review your list and see if it captures everything that needs to be accomplished. When a task has been accomplished, keep it on the list so you can be aware of
Kate Tribbett has worked as a paralegal for the U.S. Department of Justice for 12 years. She has a Masters in Library and Information Sciences from San Jose State University and a Certificate of Judaic Studies from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She lives in Lakewood, CO. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
VOLUME MMXIX, ISSUE 3
BUSINESS EMAIL COMPROMISE
FINANCIAL FRAUD KILL CHAIN
Written by Robert L. Kardell and Eli A. Rosenberg of Baird Holm LLP. Hackers and scammers have attempted to hijack email accounts and convince unsuspecting victims to transfer money overseas using multiple scam scenarios: lottery scams, the grandparent scams, dating scams, and more. But recently the number of scam emails focusing on hijacking the emails of executives of larger companies has significantly increased. These targeted phishing attacks (i.e., spear phishing or whaling) has a single purpose – to take over the account of an executive and use the email account to convince other employees to transfer company money overseas. The scam is known in federal law enforcement as the CEO scam or more generically as the Business Email Compromise (BEC). The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) estimates that billions of dollars have been lost to email schemes since the inception of the scam. For example, in 2015 alone, over $263 million based on over 7,800 complaints were reported to the FBI through their internet complaint portal ic3.gov. This information is based on the FBI’s ic3 report on statistics and losses due to cybercrime. Types of Scams The BEC scam generally can take several different forms:
The CEO scam In this form of the BEC scam, the email of the CEO is compromised. The email can either be the personal email or the business email of the CEO, but the scam is most effective if the email which has been compromised is the email account the CEO uses to communicate with the company’s bank or with the company’s financial officer. Thus, a compromised email account can be used to ask a bank or a financial officer to facilitate the transfer of money overseas to an unknown account under the belief that the money is being used to facilitate a business deal. This type of scam is even more effective if it is done while the CEO is traveling and is unavailable via phone to confirm or deny the legitimacy of the transactions.
The Supplier Scam In this version of the BEC, the email of a vender is compromised. The compromised email account is then used to convince the company that there has been a new bank and new account established to receive transferred funds. The scam is usually discovered only after the legitimate vender complains that payment has not been received which could be several months later depending on the terms of purchase.
The Vendor / Customer Scam In the final version of the scam, a company’s customer list is compromised and the fraudster uses the address list to request that all future payments be forwarded to a different bank and account. Instead of just targeting one vendor or supplier, this fraud targets all the customers of a company. The fraud is usually not discovered until payment is not received for an item. Recently, the BEC scam has targeted title companies. Title companies often have one or two large wire transfers to close on a loan. The fraudsters target those transfers and request the closing parties forward their payments to a new bank and account number. The fraud is usually discovered at closing time and can have quite an impact on an individual closing on a home. Another growing trend is for the fraudsters to target attorney’s offices and attorney’s emails accounts as well. The attorney email may ask for a victim to act quickly for a time-sensitive matter, request the attorney to accept a transfer as part of a settlement, or simply use an attorney to add legitimacy to one or more of the other BEC scams.
VOLUME MMXIX, ISSUE 3
BUSINESS EMAIL COMPROMISE CONTINUED Uniform Commercial Code Article 4A of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) sets forth general rules for wire transfers a bank conducts on behalf of its customers. While UCC 4A contains useful provisions allowing a bank to pass liability onto its customer – provided commercially reasonable procedures for initiating a wire transfer are established, agreed to, and utilized – the article is less helpful in helping banks navigate how to address fraudulent transactions, and recoup funds, without having to pass liability onto their own customers. Because of this, it is helpful for banks to have an understanding of how wire transfer fraud takes place, what can be done to prevent it, and what steps the bank may take in the aftermath to recoup funds. The FBI Response The losses have generated such a large outcry that the FBI formed a plan based on utilizing the contacts at the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network or FinCEN. FinCEN is the financial crimes intelligence group of the United States. As such, it collects information on scams within the US and shares that information through its networks of financial intelligence groups around the world. To facilitate this information sharing, the intelligence groups of over 140 different countries combined to form the Egmont group. The Egmont group is a world-wide organization of intelligence units to share information on the latest money laundering information and scams and schemes. As part of the Egmont group, FinCEN is able to request the help and aid of member countries and to seek a return of the money transferred to the country as part of a fraud. The FBI has maintained a liaison at FinCEN for over 10 years to facilitate the transfer of intelligence between the two organizations. In response to the BEC scams the FBI has begun to use the liaison to assist in the recovery of money lost during a BEC scam. Time is of the essence in the recovery of the money. Because of the FBI’s relationship with FinCEN, the FBI is in a unique position to attempt to freeze the transfer and in some cases get the money transfer reversed. Since the FFKC was initiated in February of 2016, the FBI reported the following numbers through January of 2017:
• • •
The FFTK Total Request Initiated: $139,984,922 Total Amount Returned to Victims: $66,802,680 Total Amount Frozen in Place: $34,512,303
In order to promote this ability the FBI issued an outreach statement outlining the time frame and the type of information needed to recover the money. The information required by the FBI includes:
• • • • • • • • • • •
Originating Name: Originating Location: Originating Bank Name: Originating Bank Account Number: Recipient5 Name: Recipient Bank Name: Recipient Bank Account Number: Recipient Bank Location (if available): Intermediary Bank Name (if available): SWIFT Number: Date of the Transaction:
In addition to the above information, it should be noted that the FBI threshold for attempted retrieval of the money is $50,000. The above information needs to be reported to the FBI within 72 house of the transfer in order to either freeze or reverse the transfer. After 72 hours the FBI, FinCEN, and the Egmont Group through their related FIUs will be unable to stop the transfer.
VOLUME MMXIX, ISSUE 3
BUSINESS EMAIL COMPROMISE CONTINUED Even if the transfer is past the 72 hours or under the monetary threshold, it is still a good idea to file a complaint with the FBI through ic3.gov. The information provided by you in a scam can be used to possibly identify a subject of another scam, prevent another scam, or even identify an account used by a fraudster. Some of the information collected and tracked by ic3.gov includes: • IP and/or e-mail address of fraud-
• Date and time of incidents • Incorrectly formatted invoices or
• Requests for secrecy or immediate • • • • • •
action Unusual timing, requests, or wording of the fraudulent phone calls or e-mails Phone numbers of the fraudulent phone calls Description of any phone contact to include frequency and timing of calls Foreign accents of the callers Poorly worded or grammatically incorrect e-mails Reports of any previous e-mail phishing activity
All of this information is useful and relevant if not for your own complaint then for the scams to which others may be a victim. For further information on the BEC scam, statistical information, and/or to report a fraudulent transfer please visit ic3.gov.
Reprinted, with permission, from the September 2019 edition of Baird Holm LLP’s Technology & Intellectual Property Update. Robert Kardell is a member of Baird Holm LLP’s Technology and Intellectual Property Section. Get more information at www.bairdholm.com.
Proud Supporter of the Nebraska Paralegal Association
Business & Corporate | Litigation | Public Finance | Real Estate 1650 Farnam Street | Omaha, Nebraska 68102 | 402.346.6000 kutakrock.com Emerald Sponsor
VOLUME MMXIX, ISSUE 3
THE FTC-FACEBOOK SETTLEMENT SIGNALS MAJOR SHIFT IN US PRIVACY REGULATIONS In 2010, Mark Zuckerberg famously stated that privacy was no longer a “social norm.” Today, the Facebook founder is no doubt viewing social norms around privacy a bit differently, as are U.S. regulators and consumers. On Wednesday, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) confirmed that it agreed to a settlement with Facebook, Inc. stemming from Facebook’s alleged privacy violations in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. In the settlement order (Order), Facebook agreed to pay a record-breaking $5 billion penalty to resolve the FTC’s claims that Facebook violated a prior FTC order by repeatedly using deceptive disclosures and settings to undermine users’ privacy preferences and allowing Facebook to share users’ personal information without prior consent with third party applications. IS THE FINE ENOUGH? Some argue that the $5 billion fine is not significant enough given Facebook’s revenue and value. However, the fine is unprecedented and objectively large by every measure. It is not only the largest penalty ever imposed on a company for violating consumers’ privacy rights, it is twenty times greater than the next largest privacy or data security penalty ever imposed on a company. And, given that Facebook had $56 billion in total revenue last year; the fine comprises 9-10% of Facebook’s global revenue, which is more than double the recoverable amount possible under the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”). This is a massive fine, and should be a wake-up call to any company that is not complying with a previous FTC order or is playing fast and loose with consumer data. PRIVACY RESTRICTIONS Unsurprisingly, the Order also requires Facebook to implement more stringent privacy practices and procedures, including: 1. Not misrepresent to its users what information Facebook is collecting, the information Facebook makes available to third parties, and the steps a user has to take to verify the privacy of the user’s Facebook account; 2. Disclose a privacy rights statement to its users and obtain affirmative express consent from its users prior to sharing or disclosing a user’s personal information with a third party; 3. Delete a user’s personal information after a reasonable period of time, no longer than 30 days, from the time the user deletes the information from his or her account OR deactivates his or her account; 4. Provide clear and conspicuous notice of its use of facial recognition technology, and obtain affirmative express consent prior to any use; 5. Not disclose a user’s telephone number, without prior affirmative express consent, for the purpose of advertising in which the user disclosed his or her phone number for the specific purpose of adding security to his or her Facebook account; and 6. Obtain initial and biennial assessments of its privacy program from an independent third party professional
VOLUME MMXIX, ISSUE 3
THE FTC-FACEBOOK SETTLEMENT CONTINUED NEVER BEFORE SEEN GOVERNANCE REQUIREMENTS In addition to the massive fine, the even more groundbreaking provisions of the Order are the sweeping new privacy governance restrictions. These restrictions are designed to radically overhaul the way Facebook manages its privacy program, and to implement external oversight of Facebook’s privacy program. Unlike any other FTC order concerning data privacy, this Order aims to create greater accountability at Facebook’s Board of Directors’ level. Within 120 days of entry of the Order, Facebook must create an independent privacy committee and adopt a committee charter. The privacy committee must only consist of independent members from Facebook’s Board of Directors, meaning that none of Facebook’s executives may be on the committee. Further, an independent nominating committee will select the privacy committee’s members. The privacy committee will have oversight responsibilities for Facebook’s privacy program and will need to work in conjunction with an independent assessor, who will evaluate the effectiveness of Facebook’s privacy program through fact-gathering and testing. The independent assessor must be a third party, not associated with Facebook. Once established Facebook’s charter for its privacy committee must include the following qualifications and responsibilities: 1. Hold at least four meetings each year; 2. All members of the privacy committee must be independent directors; 3. Have four briefings a year with Facebook’s Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) Mark Zuckerberg concerning the state of Facebook’s privacy program, Facebook’s compliance with the Order, and Facebook’s material risks with privacy and confidentiality; 4. Review independent assessor reports concerning Facebook’s privacy program; 5. Once a year, the privacy committee must review Facebook’s privacy program and assess Facebook’s plans and procedures to mitigate privacy risks; and 6. Meet with an independent third-party assessor on a quarterly basis. The Order authorizes the FTC to use the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure’s discovery tools to monitor Facebook’s compliance with the Order. PERSONAL LIABILITY FOR CEO MARK ZUCKERBERG The Order also imposes accountability at the individual level. As CEO, Mark Zuckerberg now will have personal liability for any false certifications made to the FTC, independent assessor, or the privacy committee. Personal liability also extends to any compliance officer or director for false certifications made to the FTC. TAKEAWAYS While the U.S. does not yet have a federal comprehensive data privacy regulatory framework, the FTC is sending a clear message that its involvement in privacy enforcement actions will have teeth, particularly after their prior orders have been violated. The Facebook settlement includes governance requirements and imposes a penalty that far exceed the requirements and potential penalties possible under the GDPR, which are widely thought to be substantial. All companies – including U.S. companies who may have previously believed privacy regulations were not as strict in the U.S. – should review their privacy practices and procedures to not only ensure they are operating in a reasonable manner, but to also catch up to the rapidly evolving data privacy and security landscape.
This post first appeared July 26, 2019 on the legal blog Byte Back written by Mindi Giftos and Ephraim Hintz, Husch Blackwell LLP. Reprinted with permission. Get more information at www.huschblackwell.com.
This is the e-zine of the Nebraska Paralegal Association (NePA).