In Brief - March 2021

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IN THIS ISSUE: From the President ..... 1 From the President ..... 1 From the Editor ........... 2 From the Editor ........... 2 Save the Dates ........... 2 Save the Dates ........... 2 NALA News ................. 3 NALA News ................. 3 District News ............... 4 District I News ............. 4 Article: War Room ...... 7 District II News ............ 6 Compensation Survey Get to Know ................. Results ....................... 11 New ...... 7/15 Food Members Drive ................ 15 Article: ....................... 8 New Members .......... 17 Article: .......... 16 Article: COVID Paralegal Certification ..................... 19 Article: Paralegal Leaders ..................... 23 Getting to know your Board ........................ 26

Spring Seminar Information ...................... 27

FROM THE PRESIDENT: ANGEL YOUNGER, ACP Happy New Year! I’m really glad that 2020 is over and I have a lot of HOPE for 2021. I have enjoyed spending all the extra time with my family but now I’m ready to get back to normal or our “new normal.” We have been diligently planning NePA CLE events for this year. We will have to start the year with 100% virtual events, but I am hopeful we can end the year with some in-person or hybrid events. Our virtual Spring Seminar will be on April 23, 2021. The CLE Committee is working really hard securing speakers and making final arrangements. We now have quite a bit of experience with virtual seminars so I expect that everything will be great. This will be free CLE for our members, so I encourage all of you to attend. We have been focusing on increasing our membership for the last few years. If you aren’t currently a member, I would encourage you to join. Now is really the best time to join since membership fees are low and we are offering some great virtual CLE at no cost to our members. We have been looking at other creative ways to give back to our members. We have also been focusing on increasing our community involvement. Our first event was the Turkey N’ Fixin’s Food Drive which helped us donate multiple nonperishable food items and a $350 monetary donation to the Open Door Mission. I want to thank everyone that made this possible and we will be coordinating more events like this in the future. I want to thank the Board of Directors for everything they do. I did not really realize how much the Board accomplishes until I joined the Board a few years ago. We have an amazing group this year and I am excited to see all that we accomplish. I have learned so many new things being on the Board. I encourage each and every one of you to join a committee and become more involved. Hope all your families are staying safe and healthy. Thank you, Angel Younger, ACP



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FROM THE EDITOR What a year 2020 was! The last time we were physically in the office together has reached the one year mark. As I reflect on my year I want to focus on all the positives that came from last year and use that to start fresh this year. At NePA we look forward to keeping you all involved virtually and hopefully in person again soon. As always, feel free to reach out to any of our board members with questions, suggestions, or concerns. If you have corrections regarding this issue or have suggestions for future content, please forward them to me at PUBLICATIONS COMMITTEE MEMBERS

Casey Grennan, CP, Chair Kimberly Brown, ACP Kim Hansen Amber Roberts, ACP

SAVE THE DATES April 23, 2021: Spring Seminar (Virtual - CLE) May 26, 2021: Elder Law (Virtual - CLE) July 22-24, 2021: NALA Conference (Virtual - CLE)

September 22-23, 2021: Fall Seminar & Annual Membership Meeting (Scott Conference Center) November 10, 2021: Diversity & Inclusion Event (Scott Conference Center) Upcoming Board Meetings (5:30-7:30pm): June 2, 2021 August 3, 2021 October 5, 2021

**If you’d like to attend a board meeting, contact Angel Younger at for details.


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DISTRICT I & II NEWS: Alicia Tutini, ACP and Deb O’Brien Working for Justice for All: On November 18th, NePA hosted "Working for Justice for All", presented by Robbie McEwen with Nebraska Appleseed. Mr. McEwen currently serves as Legal Director of the organization. We learned about Nebraska Appleseed, a local nonprofit organization that fights for justice and opportunity for all Nebraskans. Mr. McEwen provided an overview of the organization's functions, purpose, and impact. Nebraska Appleseed supports communities through policy work, including research, education, and lobbying. Additionally, the organization conducts constituent contact and leadership development. Nebraska Appleseed also fights for justice through the courts. For more information, including how to get involved, visit their website at

Paralegal Panel: We heard from nontraditional paralegals at our paralegal panel on January 27th. This was a great opportunity for paralegals to learn about positions outside of law firms. Our panelists gave an overview of their current positions – our panelists currently work at the Nebraska State Patrol (Kari Schmidt), the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office (Deb O’Brien), inhouse at HDR, Inc. (Laurie Vik), and for UNeMed Corporation (Mindy Ware). We heard how our panelists got into their current positions as well as their varied backgrounds. Our panelists shared about their daily work, which includes maintaining files, research, project management, and handling document requests. Our panelists work locally, though their work has far-reaching impact. We heard about work environments, job duties, how our panelists continue growing in their career, and our panelists’ involvement with NePA. In addition to the incredible professional and personal development opportunities, we can all agree being part of NePA helps support lifelong friendships!



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DISTRICT I & II NEWS Continued Freedom of the Press v. Privacy Rights: On February 17, 2021, members of NePA had the privilege of listening virtually to David McGraw, Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel of the New York Times on the topic of “Freedom of the Press v. Privacy Rights”. The event was cohosted by the Nebraska Chapter of ARMA, International. Mr. McGraw serves as the principal lawyer for the NY Times and teaches at Harvard Law School. McGraw authored a book in 2019 “Truth of our Times: Inside the Fight for Press Freedom in the Age of Alternative Facts” that delved first-hand into the Times’ coverage of Donald Trump, Harvey Weinstein, national security, and the rise of political partisanship in America. The information was both enlightening and informative covering privacy rights in both the US and other countries, and even more so, since the topic was so current in our nation. It was interesting to learn about privacy rights and the major differences between our country and European countries and also between states. For example, in New York City, if you leave your curtains open in your high-rise apartment, pictures can be taken of you, and it is not a violation of your right to privacy, but in some European countries that would not happen. So, I guess the rule of thumb is “keep your curtains closed in NY City”. Mr. McGraw spoke passionately about the freedom of the press and the conflict between this and privacy laws. It was extremely interesting and probably hit home for many of our listeners, because the topic is so intertwined in what has been going on in our country presently and in the last several years. All in all, his presentation really made a person think about how we are all affected by privacy laws and the issues in our country both in the past and the present. Immigration Law Updates: On March 24, 2021, NePA members welcomed back Dan Oldenburg from Cline Williams to speak on Immigration. It was very interesting to hear updates that have taken place regarding Immigration Law since we last heard from Dan. There were many changes for sure and the law is ever-changing as Dan explained, like a pendulum, always moving. We learned how Immigration Law could be construed as an “Immigration Web” because it seems to find its way into many different areas of law. It was a good refresher course as well on the definition of a citizen, immigrant, non-immigrant, undocumented person, H1B1 Visa and the ins and outs of each. We also heard in detail about the changes that took place regarding Immigration under the Trump Administration and how some of those changes have already been rescinded under the Biden Administration. Very interesting and very political, as we are all keenly aware. Along that line, Dan left us with this thought: Reform will need to occur at the Congressional level and not merely by Executive Orders and agency policy changes. Food for thought.

Proud to support the Nebraska Paralegal Association

Koley Jessen Paralegals 1125 South 103rd Street

Omaha, NE 68124


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ARTICLE: United States: Virtual Trials and War Room Design The optimal war room is designed in a way that streamlines communication while allowing members to focus on their specific assignments. Setting up tables and workstations around the perimeter of a large room, facing inwards, allows everyone to look up and see everyone else when necessary, but also gives people the ability to focus on their own screens.

There are no treatises or handbooks on how to conduct a trial during a global pandemic, but health and safety concerns have to be your primary concern. There is still a lot we do not know about Covid-19, so it is important to focus on the basic principles we do know—stay socially distanced from the people you need to be around, and critically assess who actually needs to be in the room where it happens. In complex trials with a large team of lawyers, paralegals, hot seat operators and other support staff, setting up a trial "war room" during a pandemic is a significant undertaking. Setting Up the War Room With health and safety in mind, the first step to setting up a successful war room is meticulous planning. Contacting and involving key members of building/office operations early in the process will benefit you in the long-run. It is unfortunately fairly easy to take certain things for granted, but everything good that happens in the world happens because of someone's efforts—someone needs to turn on the lights, someone needs to turn on appropriate air ventilation, someone needs to order food, someone needs to connect monitors to printers to keyboards, the list goes on. If you take care of these details early on in the process, you will luckily reach days where all you need to worry about is putting on a compelling case.

Almost as important as the war room itself is its relation to everything else. The more everything is located in one place, the less interaction the team has with others outside of the war room. In effect, the war room becomes almost like an office version of the "bubble" similar to those created by professional sports teams. The ideal war room will be close to other rooms with other team members, the bathrooms, the printers, food, and, of course, the elevators. So, if in the office, the war room may not be on the floor the senior partner usually sits on; it may be on the conference room floor where everything intersects. Masks and personal hand sanitizers should be provided at every station in the war room. Obviously wearing masks and washing your hands is more important as ever if a team of people are going to be in the same room for every day of trial. Lastly, unlike a traditional trial war room, a virtual trial war room is where the lawyers actually participate in the trial. That means, at any given time, the trial could be in session and having the distractions of people coming in and out of the war room is a serious concern. Therefore, it is important to label all entrances to the war room with signs that alert people that a trial may be in session. War Room Conveniences Convenience is the name of the game when it comes to the war room. When not constrained by the limitations of the counsel table in a courtroom, why not take full advantage?


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ARTICLE: United States: Virtual Trials and War Room Design Continued Ideally, the war room will have several large projection screens on which you can project the virtual trial proceedings. While attorneys can pull up the video feed on their individual computers, the ability to also have the proceedings on the large screens is invaluable during witness examinations, particularly when reviewing documents introduced at trial.

Similar to a traditional trial, in a virtual trial each party is able to use call-outs and highlights to focus the attention of the witness and the court to particular language within the documents. Having documents projected onto larger screens has the obvious advantage of being much easier to read. Another perk of using large projection screens is that, while the examining attorney questions the witness, another team member can assist the hot seat operator (the third-party controlling document and video projection, who should physically be in the war room) by pointing to the sections of the documents that need to be highlighted. This practice provides clear guidance to the witness and the court and helps ensure minimal interruptions in the flow of examinations. As mentioned above, it is best practice for the attorneys in the war room to have their own workstations throughout the trial. In addition to limiting the number of people touching the same equipment, this allows the attorneys to customize their workstations to accommodate varying preferences and needs. The lead attorneys who address the court and examine the witnesses may wish to have a single laptop with the necessary video and audio capabilities, as this allows for fluid transition from one on-screen presence to another. All notifications should be disabled to eliminate distractions from the virtual courtroom. And, just like any other trial, the attorneys should still have printed copies of their outlines, transcripts, and key documents at their fingertips. This arrangement allows the examining attorneys to somewhat recreate a traditional trial setting.

Meanwhile, team members who are not video participants in the trial should take the opposite approach—the more computer screens, the better. For example, a workstation with two desktop monitors and a laptop allows for significant multitasking; one screen can be dedicated to the real-time reporting feed, the second to monitoring communications from other team members, and the third to research. Audio and Visual Considerations One Person on Camera at a Time By this point, you have likely been on a Zoom videoconference that resembled the Brady Bunch opening title sequence— full of talking heads and no one knowing where to look. Parties and the court want to avoid this at trial. Thus, unlike in a courtroom where all team members are present and visible at all times, in a virtual trial the court will likely order that only one attorney from each party be on camera. Depending on the size of the case, one to two team members should be dedicated to supporting the examining attorney. Among other things, these team members should work with the hot seat operator to ensure that the proper documents, call-outs, and highlights are presented on the screen to the witness, while also fielding in-the-moment requests to find a certain document or fact-check testimony that the witness just gave. Another team member might be dedicated to keeping track of exhibits introduced and whether the documents are moved into evidence at a time. This results in, at most, visibility of only a handful of participants in the virtual courtroom—the judge, the witness, and the attorneys for the two (or more) parties. The Zoom platform (or similar video platform) allows for smooth handoffs from one attorney to another, as the exiting attorney can simply stop their video feed and go on mute. This is the best approach to a virtual trial, as it both limits distractions and allows others to engage in a variety of tasks behind the scenes.


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ARTICLE: United States: Virtual Trials and War Room Design Continued Limit Distractions Another recommendation for a successful virtual trial is to utilize a virtual background. It serves the practical purpose of hiding the mountains of binders and boxes that will inevitably be in the war room. But, more importantly, it can be used to provide visual references for the court. Consider creating virtual backgrounds that include the name of your client. That way, even when one attorney cedes the virtual podium to another, it is always apparent to the other participants in the virtual courtroom which attorney represents which party.

sented on the screen to the witness, while also fielding in-the-moment requests to find a certain document or fact-check testimony that the witness just gave. Another team member might be dedicated to keeping track of exhibits introduced and whether the documents are moved into evidence.

At various points throughout a trial (in-person or virtual), the parties will make various objections on which the court then requests briefing. In a virtual trial war room, when this occurs, trial members can immediately begin the necessary legal research and drafting. This ability to multiNoise-canceling headphones are also a must- task allows the trial to move forward without have. With everyone else in the war room wear- delay, as the parties are in the best position to ing headphones, the examining attorney can complete the requested briefing promptly. present the case normally without their computer's microphone picking up on the feed- Again, the need for likely only one attorney to back from six other computers also broadcast- be on screen at any given time frees up other ing the same virtual proceeding. Meanwhile, team members to conduct witness preparation the other team members in the war room are for later stages of trial, which affords the ability able to comfortably listen to the proceedings to work around witnesses' schedules. This sort of through headphones, negating the need to flexibility is crucial if you are dealing with out-ofrely on the speakers of the examining attorney's state witnesses and preparing them to testify in computer being loud enough to project a virtual trial. throughout the war room. Communications Inside and Outside the War Room Multi-Tasking Perhaps the most significant advantage of a A hybrid approach to the war room is ideal— virtual trial is the flexibility it allows the trial team. meaning, some members of the team will occuBecause likely only one member of the team py the war room, some are in offices or locawill be visible to the court at any given time, the tions nearby, and others are completely remote. rest of the team can engage in a number of Within the war room itself, attorneys can comother activities simultaneously. Contrast this with municate with one another normally, so long as the traditional trial, where the attorneys sit im- the one attorney actively participating in the passively in the courtroom during that day's virtual proceedings remembers to mute their miproceedings, and then spend their nights in a crophone. Alternatively, note-passing and flurry of research, drafting, and continued prep- emailing are other fine options for relaying realtime feedback. Regardless of the form of comarations for future stages of trial. munication, a well-designed war room provides Depending on the size of the case, one to two for the ability to react fluidly and immediately to team members should be dedicated to sup- issues as they arise. porting the examining attorney. Among other things, these team members should work with the hot seat operator to ensure that the proper documents, call-outs, and highlights are pre-


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ARTICLE: United States: Virtual Trials and War Room Design Continued Attorneys in the war room necessarily need to communicate with team members who are stationed elsewhere. It is practical to have a set of attorneys located physically nearby, who can be contacted in person or through email and come in and out of the war room as needed. Similarly, it is important to have a set of essential staff members physically nearby—i.e., audio/ visual technology specialists and members of the firm's printing department, among others— who can quickly provide assistance to those in the war room.

Health and safety should always be a priority. The optimal war room setup allows for people to stay socially distanced but also be 100% engaged in the proceedings.

There can also be a subset of attorneys and case team support who operate completely remotely. This practice works so long as those team members closely monitor communications and are ready to relay information as appropriate to the in-office team. It is recommended that attorneys that will be video participants in the virtual trial be in the war room rather than operate remotely. This eliminates potential issues such as household distractions and ambient noise. Additionally, being in the war room allows attorneys to consult their team members and make real time strategic decisions.

Technology is everything. The computer setup must be functional and meticulous, the internet connection stable, and have a plan for if (and when) technology fails. Strive to have your audio and visual technology specialists nearby and ready to assist. And, work closely with your hot seat operators or whomever controls how documents and video get presented in the virtual trial—they steer the ship, but you direct the course.

Practice Points and Takeaways Again, while nothing is certain during a global pandemic, you should keep in mind and strive for the following:

A well-designed virtual courtroom facilitates offline communications among in-office team members and online communications to other team members (either physically nearby or remote), which allows for dynamic strategy calls and the flexibility to engage in a number of activities simultaneously.

This article first appeared in November 2020 in Bloomberg Law, written by Kingdar Prussien, Samantha Lovin, and Allison Markowitz, Milbank LLP. Reprinted with permission. Get more information at

HIGH-LEVEL COMPENSATION SURVEY RESULTS Introduction The Nebraska Paralegal Association (“NePA”) developed this survey to identify state-specific compensation packages provided to paralegals across the state of Nebraska in 2019. NePA distributed the survey in October 2020 to NePA members and other Nebraska paralegals. 112 paralegals responded to the survey, which covered several areas including salary, benefits, and education/certification. The NePA Ad-Hoc Survey Committee analyzed the responses, and this article provides a summary of the survey findings. The full report will be available free to NePA members, and available for purchase to non-members. Disclaimer NePA’s Ad-Hoc Survey Committee analyzed and summarized the data available in this report. The survey was distributed to NePA members and other Nebraska paralegals, and is reflective of 2019 compensation and benefit packages. The information shared in this article and in the report is aggregate data, although we do note some interesting responses as well. The Ad-Hoc Survey Committee drafted the survey questions and analyzed the results, and while we are not professionals in survey reporting, we did consistently review and confirm the data gathered. If you have any questions about our methodology or results, please contact Alicia Tutini at Key Terms Small Law Firm: 2-10 attorneys Mid-Sized Law Firm: 11-25 attorneys Large Law Firm: 26+ attorneys Corporate: In-house Legal departments and other departments (e.g. compliance, contract management). Government: State and federal government agencies Total Compensation: Base salary, overtime, and bonus (not benefits). Omaha Metro: Omaha, NE and Council Bluffs, IA Who Participated?





Size of Law Firm

Number of Paralegals

Practice Area

Compensation For our results, we utilized the following total compensation ranges: Highest Compensated: $80,000+ High Range: $61,000-$79,999 Mid-Range: $46,000-$60,999 Low Range: $30,000-$45,999 Based on our analysis, total compensation is affected by many variables, but the two that appear to make the most difference are years of experience and type of employer. Generally, corporate employers and large law firms will pay more overall. Government employers pay well with significant experience (20+ years). Our analysis determined that experience as a paralegal tends to be a greater factor in determining compensation as compared to education. We were not able to identify any trends correlating education to compensation based on the responses we received. Relating to areas of practice, of the 21 highest compensated paralegals, 57% work in Litigation, 29% in Corporate, and 29% in Real Estate. Benefits Our survey included several questions on benefits received in addition to compensation. The results show that almost all respondents received some form of paid time off in 2019 (92.8%). Nearly 80% of respondents indicate that their employer offers both 401k employee and employer contributions. Over 85% of respondents work for employers that offer health insurance.

HIGH-LEVEL COMPENSATION SURVEY RESULTS Many paralegals also indicate that their employer offers profit sharing (27%), and the option to work from home (44.6%). While our results reflect benefits from 2019, we venture to guess that the percentage of respondents able to work from home in 2020 and beyond has increased significantly. One interesting trend we noted is that Volunteer Days appear to be becoming more popular with nearly 10% of respondents reporting this benefit.

Benefits PTO 401k Health Insurance Profit Sharing Work From Home 0%






Billable Hours 74% of respondents indicate that their employers do not have required minimum billable hours. Respondents with large law firms comprised the highest percentage of paralegals who have required minimum billable hours. Approximately 59% of respondents who have required minimum billable hours were required to bill at least 1,500 hours in 2019. Education Over 78% of respondents have an Associate’s or Bachelor’s Degree in Paralegal Studies or a Paralegal Certificate. 85% of those respondents obtained this education from an ABA Accredited college or university. Certified Paralegal / Advanced Certified Paralegal We asked survey respondents whether they had achieved a Certified Paralegal and/or Advanced Certified Paralegal credential. For those not familiar with these credentials, they are obtained through the National Association of Legal Assistants (“NALA”). The Certified Paralegal (“CP”) credential requires passing a rigorous examination of the knowledge necessary to be an effective paralegal. The Advanced Certified Paralegal (“ACP”) program is designed to advance a paralegal’s education by learning specific areas of law. Please visit NALA’s website for more information on these important credentials ( Most respondents have not achieved a CP or ACP credential; however, 71% of the top 21 highly compensated paralegals from our survey had achieved a CP credential, and 57% had achieved an ACP credential. The CP and ACP credentials are a sign to employers that a paralegal is both effective in their role and committed to continuous learning. Paralegals who earn these credentials are invested in their career development and employers should encourage and incentivize their paralegals to pursue CP and ACP credentials.

Conclusion This report provides high-level analysis of the data we received through our compensation survey. We are excited to provide this summary free of charge and hope you find the results informative and useful. Please note that an in-depth analysis will be published in the upcoming months. This in-depth analysis will be free to NePA members, and available for a $50 fee to non-members. If you would like to share feedback with the Ad Hoc Survey Committee about this report, please contact

we are proud to support the exceptional team of paralegals at baird holm. thanks for all that you do!




at torneys at law

1700 Farnam Street, Suite 1500 • Omaha, NE 68102


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FOOD DRIVE RECAP: Kim Brown, ACP Club Pilates West Omaha owner, Angelia Froscheiser (158th & Maple location) was proud to team up with her members to maximize a donation to the Open Door Mission through NePA's fundraising efforts. Club Pilates members donated over 120 food items which were matched by Angelia in order to double the donation to over 250 items. Sandy Banks of NePA enlisted the help of Club Pilates to make this Food Drive a success.

When Angelia opened Club Pilates on West Maple Road two and a half years ago, she had a specific goal in mind. She wanted to bring the benefits of Pilates to a wider audience than was traditionally available. It startAngela Froscheiser, Club Pilates with ed with teaming up with the best instructors in town. "She Food Donations gathered by Club Pilates takes great pride in the fact that her instructor staff has remained consistent since opening. The comprehensively-trained staff must go through over 450 hours of training, and Club Pilates West Omaha is lucky enough to have a couple instructors with decades of experience between them. The slogan of "Pilates is for EveryBODY" has deep meaning within the studio, where you will find people of every fitness ability, size, and age. The ability to give back to the community was amplified when the studio closed its doors in March (although not mandated) to help curb the spread of COVID‑19. During the six week closure, Angelia and her team of instructors started live-streaming classes three times per day at no cost. They felt it was the right thing to do to keep their staff and members safe while providing a free benefit to people across the country that were stuck at home without an effective exercise routine. The recordings of these 130+ streaming classes remain available, for free, on their Facebook page at The studio reopened with elevated cleaning, enhanced social distancing measures (all stations were already 6 ft. apart), and new air cleaners to ensure members are able to continue building a strong mind and body while staying safe. They have classes 7 days per week starting as early as 5 a.m. and going as late as 7 p.m. to fit anyone's schedule. They offer a free intro class to anyone who would like to see what Reformer Pilates and the Club Pilates studio is all about. As a Bonus, Club Pilates West Omaha (158th & Maple Location) has generously offered to give NePA members 20% off your first month if you join after trying a free intro class. You can sign up for the intro class at:

Kim Brown and Tyson Girard delivering food and monetary donations.

NePA members donated $350.00 and also additional food items for the Open Door Mission. We are lucky to live in a giving community and are hopeful that next year will bring additional monetary and food donations. Thank you to all the NePA and Club Pilates members who donated their time, efforts, food, and money to this effort.

Attention Students and Paralegals! Apply Now for NePA's CP or ACP Scholarships!

Who? YOU!

Be a NePA Member Reside in Nebraska or Iowa Meet the NALA CP Eligibility Requirements Complete the Application on NePA's Website Not received any other NePA CP/ACP Scholarship

What? $925 - CP Scholarship to cover approved expenses $250-300 - ACP Scholarship


Apply now!

CP Application deadline: August 1 ACP Application deadline: March 1

Where? For more information on eligibility requirements and application procedures, see NePA's Scholarships/Awards webpage: scholarships.php

Questions? Contact: Katie at 402-978-5227 or Selection of scholarship recipients shall be made without regard to race, color, creed, sex, age, national origin or marital status


ACTIVE Tobi Honn Lindsay Coppock Miller

ASSOCIATE Kelly Kampfe

STUDENT Briseyda Garcia

Brianna Jackson

Elane Jones

Avouyi Kodjo

Amanda LaPuzza

Hope Elle Wright

Yuridia Igbokwe

HONORARY Loretta Phillips Lynda Henningsen

NOT A MEMBER YET? Check out all the details and download an application at:



50 years of finding ways to help individuals, businesses, and governmental entities reach their goals.

Lincoln | Seward 402.475.5100


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ARTICLE: Paralegal Certification: Everything you wanted to know about being certified, but were afraid to ask. As a working paralegal or student in a paralegal program, you have probably heard the phrase, “Certified Paralegal,” but probably did not give it much thought. The thought probably came across your mind: “I do not need to be certified to work.” That may be true, but did you know that being a Certified Paralegal is a hot commodity? More and more law firms and corporate clients are savvy to paralegal certifications and are looking for those who are certified when hiring. As the paralegal industry continues to grow at a 12% increase over the next 10 years, employers are seeking Certified Paralegals to increase the efficiency of legal services and to reduce costs. Securing and maintaining a national paralegal certification may afford you opportunities that may not be available to non-certified individuals. And carrying a credential can be rewarding. But do you know what it takes to be certified? What Is in a Name? Most paralegals know the definition of a paralegal as defined by the ABA. We are taught this during our first semester in a paralegal program. But what does the term “certification” mean? The ABA defines certification as: “Certification is a process by which a nongovernmental agency or association grants recognition to an individual who has met certain predetermined qualifications specified by that agency or association. It usually involves passing an examination drawn up by the sponsoring association and meeting specified educational and/or experiential requirements.” By combining both definitions, you could say a Certified Paralegal is defined as: A Certified Paralegal is a person, qualified by education, training, or work experience, who has successfully met certain predetermined qualifications specified by an agency or association and passed an examination drawn up by the sponsoring association, who is employed or retained by a lawyer, law office,

corporation, governmental agency, or other entity and who performs specifically delegated substantive legal work for which a lawyer is responsible. While the ABA has provided definitions for both “paralegal” and “certification,” it is important to remember that the ABA does not certify paralegals. Too often paralegals who have successfully completed a paralegal degree program that has been approved by the ABA believe that they can call themselves “ABA-certified.” Remember, there is no such thing as an “ABAcertified” paralegal. The ABA has unequivocally stated that paralegals may not represent themselves as “ABA-Certified Paralegals.” Certification comes from a sponsoring association, not the ABA.

Benefits of Paralegal Certification The benefits of securing a paralegal certification are many. At the present time, no state mandates an individual must obtain a paralegal certification in order to work in that state. Paralegal certification is voluntary. So why get a certification? First, obtaining a certification demonstrates not only to your peers, but to your employer and to your clients, that you are dedicated to the profession. By seeking a voluntary certification, you are saying to the world that you take your profession seriously and believe certification shows you have gone above and beyond what it takes to work in the industry. Second, by having a certification you understand the importance of what it takes to succeed. All national paralegal certifications require annual continuing legal education (CLE) credits to maintain that certification. Having the certification shows you are willing to continue to learn what it takes to be the best paralegal you can be and keep current of the trends affecting the paralegal profession. Third, having a certification could potentially provide you an increase in your salary.


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ARTICLE: Paralegal Certification: Everything you wanted to know about being certified, but were afraid to ask Continued alegals in its history. NALA’s certification is seen as the standard for quality certification and is the pinnacle of certifications amongst its peers. Along with four national certifications, there are over 17 different state-level paralegal certifications, each with their own requirements and qualifications. The legal industry as a whole understands the importance of certification and its impact on the level of quality of legal services it can provide.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, in 2019, the average salary range for a paralegal in the United States was $51,740. NALA conducted its Utilization and Compensation Survey in 2018 and the results demonstrated that having a certification afforded certain paralegals an average salary of $62,642. Finally, paralegals who were surveyed saw having a NALA Certified Paralegal or Advanced Certified Paralegal designation as a tool for professional growth. Certification can be your key to success! Types of Certification There are four national association certifications. Three of the associations - NALA, NFPA (National Federation of Paralegal Associations), and NALS (NALS…the association for legal professionals) - confer credentials by examination, and one association - AAPI (American Association for Paralegals, Inc.) - confers credentials by education and experience only. NALA’s certifications are the oldest and most recognized of the designations. NALA first established the Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) examination in 1975, which eventually became the Certified Paralegal (CP) designation. Since the beginning, NALA has consistently conferred more credentials for legal assistants/paralegals than any other association and has certified over 19,000 par-

Preparing for a Certification Exam The first step in preparing for taking any certification exam is to know the test. Research the exam you are taking and know the content you will be tested over. Before you even start studying, it is important to understand the eligibility requirements to take the exam. It will be a pointless exercise to spend hours studying for an exam if you find out you are not even eligible to take it. Read the requirements and qualifications to sit for the exam, secure the requisite documentation, and complete the application process well in advance of when you want to take the exam. Once you have applied for the exam and secured your authorization to test, prepare for the test. Do not just show up to the test without having done some preparation. Know what study materials and resources the association wishes you to review for the exam and remember, you are not being tested over the published study guides but a specific body of knowledge. NALA provides its examinees with a thorough list of resources to review prior to taking the CP Exam. Also, if you are a recent graduate of a paralegal program, use your textbooks and study materials from your program to supplement any recommended study resources. Another great way to prepare for the exam is to look for study groups in your city or state, or even virtual study groups online. There are benefits to working with others in a study group most importantly, the simple support and ca-


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ARTICLE: Paralegal Certification: Everything you wanted to know about being certified, but were afraid to ask Continued maraderie that develops among the group. Cheering each other on to succeed can have a great impact on passing the exam. Finally, do not panic! Remember, you have got this. Taking the giant first step of applying for the exam is just the beginning of the journey to succeeding and ultimately securing those credentials. Believe in yourself and know that there are others believing in you as well, cheering you on to success. Closing Becoming a Certified Paralegal can be a rewarding career choice. Knowing the steps to obtaining a certification can set you on the path to greater success in your career. There are many benefits to having one of the national credentials, and by securing one (or even more than one) shows you are dedicated to the industry as a whole. Carl H. Morrison, ACP, CAS, RP, PP, AACP, is an experienced Certified Paralegal and paralegal manager and has been in the legal industry for over two decades. Since 2017, he has been the award-winning podcast host for The Paralegal Voice (2018 ABA Journal Web 100 Best Law Podcast). He is a published author for nationally recognized legal rofessional and award-winning magazines such as Facts & Findings, @Law, Paralegal Management, and Paralegal Today, as well as contributing author for an educational textbook, Advanced Manual for the Legal Professional, 13th Edition. His recent honors include receiving the 2020 Affliate Award from both the Paralegal Division of the State Bar of Nevada and Las Vegas Valley Paralegal Association. An active member of NALA, as well as NALA affliates, Las Vegas Valley Paralegal Association and State Bar of Nevada Paralegal Division, Carl is passionate about educating and mentoring future paralegal professionals. Since 2012, he has provided superior instruction to paralegal students as an adjunct paralegal studies professor for ABA-approved paralegal studies programs in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and in Las Vegas, Nevada. Carl also serves as an ABA Paralegal Education Approval Commission Site Team Representative, examining paralegal programs in depth, nationwide. *

Reprinted with permission of Carl Morrison and the National Association of Legal Assistants, Inc. This article originally appeared in the Q1 2021 issue of FACTS & FINDINGS (Career 101), the quarterly journal of NALA. Inquiries should be directed to NALA, 7666 E. 61st, Suite 315, Tulsa,74133, or by e-mail to

Proud Supporter of the Nebraska Paralegal Association

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ARTICLE: Nebraska Paralegals Leaders Reelected to National Board When the National Association of Legal Assistants held its annual board election this summer, two Nebraska paralegals were elected to their positions for the second year in a row. Kimberly Brown, who works at Baird Holm LLP, was reelected as chair of the certifying board, which is responsible for the development, administration and scoring of NALA’s certification program. Bridget Stuhr of Kutak Rock LLP’s Omaha office was reelected as secretary of the affiliated associations, which assists affiliated paralegal associations around the country with educational and professional development opportunities for their members. Prior to her first term as certifying board chair in 2019, Brown was a member of the certifying board for four years and a member of the continuing education council for three years. She said she believes strongly in giving back to a community that helped her when she was just starting out as a fledgling paralegal. “When I was a new paralegal, my mentors, Janie Boswell and Linda Hess, were both active in NALA,” Brown said. “Each of them, in their own way, encouraged me to improve my skills, join NALA, apply for NALA’s Leadership Enhancement and Preparation program and mentor others.” After more than 10 years as a paralegal, Stuhr found that she, too, wanted to give back to the community that had taught her so much. “What I have is a desire to help paralegals become better paralegals,” Stuhr said. “I want them to be able to learn more, to do more, to help more. NALA played a large role in allowing me to make myself better and I just hope to provide those opportunities to others as well.” In addition to providing educational opportunities and a certification program, NALA also serves as a great way to meet and connect with fellow paralegals, Stuhr said. “It’s an amazing way to network with people from across the country, to provide an opportunity to learn about successes, failures, industry trends, job opportunities and to make life-long friends who understand and appreciate a paralegal’s role in the legal field,” Stuhr said.


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ARTICLE: Nebraska Paralegals Leaders Reelected to National Board Brown said that the more involved a member is, NALA was formed in 1975 and currently has the more they will get out of the organization. more than 18,000 members, either directly or through affiliated associations. For more infor“I truly believe that one only reaps the benefits mation, visit Find more information of one’s labor,” Brown said. “If a paralegal about the Nebraska chapter at https:// serves on one of NALA’s committees or volun- teers to write an article for its publication, Facts & Findings, for example, the paralegal will find the NALA membership more rewarding. NALA This post first appeared October 28, 2020 on the connects individuals from across the country Omaha Daily Record, written by David Golbitz, and brings them together through their shared Reprinted with permission. Get more information at passion for the paralegal field.”

Interested in a subscription to the Daily Record? The Daily Record is offering a 25% subscription discount to NePA members! Use the Promo code “NPA” at https:// (or by mentioning the rate when calling to subscribe).


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How did you end up in the paralegal field? I was actually taking classes for Medical Secretary and got a job in a law firm. I have been interested in law ever since. How did you become involved in NePA? I started attending seminars and then a luncheon here and there, joined and worked on the seminar committee first. What made you decide to join the Board? I was so honored to be asked to run for a position that makes up the Board! At that point in time, I had been working on a few NePA committees and I was ready to take on more responsibilities. I have thoroughly enjoyed the times I have served on the Board. You see all of the hard work that goes into making NePA successful. What has been the greatest benefit of being a member of NePA? Networking with paralegals who do the same type of work I do and those that do not. I may come across a question about litigation and know that I can ask my fellow NePA paralegals who work in that field for the answer. The education is invaluable. Topics in my field are certainly helpful, but I learn more from topics that I do not work with. I feel much more connected to being a paralegal because of NePA. I have also made close friends that I would never have met otherwise. What advice do you have for those looking to enter the paralegal field? Get all of the education and hands-on experience that you can. Learn everything about the field you start out working in. You may end up changing fields at some point, but the knowledge that you gain is priceless. Enjoy yourself! What is your favorite part of your job? Challenges with a new project. Getting all of the facts and then putting them into practice. Another favorite part is the attorneys and other support staff I work with. Any funny stories you could share? At the first law firm I worked for when I started out I also was the runner. The Clerk of Courts’ and Register of Deeds’ offices terrified me because most everything I took there to be filed was wrong. They show no mercy for young runners! One lawyer I worked for did criminal work and he was at my desk, leaning down to read through a document we were reviewing together. I had a pencil in my hand and as he moved his head up he caught the pencil and he got a long pencil mark on his face! Tipping a file cabinet over because I had all of the drawers open at the same time. There are others, but this is a snapshot of a few!

NePA Virtual Spring Seminar APRIL 23, 2021 **Up to 5 hours of CLE

Cost: All Members: Free Non-Member Students: $10.00 Non-Member: $25.00 Visit the NePA Website for Registration Information

2021 Spring Seminar Information General Information Thank you for your patience as we navigate the uncharted waters of hosting virtual seminars! It is a true testament to our abilities to adapt and overcome issues! For the Spring Seminar, please see the following details: We will follow the preferred full-day seminar format. Please feel free to join when your schedule allows. CLE has been pre-approved by NALA, thus, please report the sessions you attend through the NALA website. NePA will issue Certificates of Attendance for the sessions you attend. We have many give-a-ways to issue to our members during the seminar. Watch our Facebook and LinkedIn page for photos of some of the give-a-ways.

Zoom NePA now has a Zoom account and has the ability to host virtual webinars at any time! Please see the following details: Our Zoom license is limited to 100 participants, so please be sure to register as soon as possible so you don't miss out on this great event! If you are unable to attend after registering, please contact Amy Olson ( so we can cancel your registration and let someone else register. Please turn off your video when our speakers are talking. Once the speaker opens up the session for questions, you may turn your video back on to ask your question. You may also put your question in the chat section if you are more comfortable having our moderator ask the question for you.

Mid-Year Meeting at 11:00am Please join us for the Mid-Year Meeting at 11:00 am. It is vital to our organization to have a great turnout for the meeting. and a quorum to vote. We will also have give-a-ways at the Mid-Year Meeting! If you are unable to attend the Mid-Year Meeting, please return your Proxy at your earliest convenience. The Mid-Year Meeting Notice (including the Zoom login information) and Proxy are attached separately.

Speaker Lineup

Ryan Sothan Nebraska Attorney General's Office

Kristin Krueger Koley Jessen

Randy Stevenson Baird Holm LLP

Marlon Lofgren Koley Jessen

Matthew McKeever Carlson Burnett

Donna Robinson Baird Holm LLP

Schedule and Sessions 8:00 - 8:15am - Registration 8:15 - 8:30am - Opening Remarks 8:30 - 9:30am - Identity Theft: Protecting Your Identity Through Work and Play Ryan Sothan, Nebraska Attorney General's Office Identity Theft is the nation’s leading consumer complaint. It happens when someone uses your Social Security number or other personal information without your consent to perpetrate fraud and theft. The purpose of this presentation is to help Nebraskans of all ages learn more about identity theft and what to do when—not if—it happens to you personally or professionally. Prevention measures include routinely monitoring one’s billing statements and credit, timely reporting whenever personal information is lost or stolen, strengthening, and lengthening passwords, and safeguarding against future financial losses by placing a Security Freeze on your credit file. 9:30 - 9:45am - Break 9:45 - 10:45am - The COVID 19 Vaccine: Important Considerations for Employers Randy Stevenson, Baird Holm LLP Can an employer mandate that employees be vaccinated against COVID-19? What about employees who do not want the vaccine due to religious, medical, or other reasons? Does an employer need to pay employees for the time they spend getting vaccinated? If an employee becomes ill from the vaccine, what rights does the employee have? These and other legal questions regarding the COVID-19 vaccine will be answered during this timely and informative presentation. 10:45 - 11:00am - Break 11:00am - 12:00pm - Membership Meeting 12:00 - 1:00pm - Lunch on your Own

Schedule and Sessions 1:00 - 2:00pm - Stimulus Loans and Collections Marlon Lofgren and Kristin Krueger, Koley Jessen We’ve heard over and over that we’re in unprecedented times…and nothing could be truer for the lending industry. The COVID-19 pandemic offered many different business loans and stimulus programs. Join us as Mr. Lofgren and Ms. Krueger of Koley Jessen cover the challenges to the lending industry caused by COVID-19 and various solutions for the debt collection following the pandemic. 2:00 - 2:15pm - Break 2:15 - 3:15pm - Cryptocurrencies and the Law Matthew McKeever, Carlson Burnett Join us as Matthew McKeever discusses Cryptocurrencies and the Law. This session will focus on an overview of blockchain technology for the non-technical paralegal including its purpose and capabilities. We’ll run through various types of cryptocurrencies and Matthew will cover regulations that affect cryptocurrencies and the implications for estate planning, collections, and family law practice areas. We’ll round it out with a look to the future and what to expect in the next few years in this space. 3:15 - 3:30pm - Break 3:30 - 4:30pm - Adobe Tips & Tricks Donna Robinson, Baird Holm, LLP Join us as Donna Robinson gives a thorough summary of Adobe Tips and Tricks for 2021. Donna has provided NePA with many wonderful presentations on Microsoft Office Tools including Word, Excel and others. You won't want to miss this exciting presentation involving Adobe's latest updates to its program! Be prepared for a great session! 4:30 - 4:45pm - Closing Remarks & Prize Drawings

2021 SPONSORSHIP PACKAGES Corporate Ruby: $100  1/4 page ad in all 2021 issues of NePA’s e-zine, the

Value: Ruby - $150 Sapphire - up to $475 Emerald - up to $575 Diamond - up to $800

In Brief

 Logo on NePA’s website

Sapphire: $200  Six complimentary admissions to any 2021 District I or II

luncheon events (1 hour CLE sessions)  One complimentary admission to either the 2021 Spring OR Fall Seminar  1/2 page ad in all 2021 issues of NePA’s e-zine, the In Brief  Logo on NePA’s website with link to your website

Emerald: $300  Six complimentary admissions to any 2021 District I or II

events (1 hour CLE sessions)  One complimentary admission to BOTH the 2021 Spring and Fall Seminar  Full page ad in all 2021 issues of NePA’s e-zine, the In Brief  Logo on NePA’s website with link to your website

Diamond: $400  Twelve complimentary admissions to any 2021 District I or II      

luncheon events (1 hour CLE sessions) One complimentary admission to BOTH the 2021 Spring and Fall Seminar Full page ad in all 2021 issues of NePA’s e-zine, the In Brief Sponsor of 1 hour CLE Event Logo on NePA’s website with link to your website Recognition on NePA’s homepage Up to 60 second commercial played at BOTH 2021 seminars

Create Your Own:  In Kind (flow ers for sem inar, printing, etc.)  Thank you in email regarding event to members, acknowledg   


 


ment at event and in materials, advertising in the In Brief based on value of items or services provided Reciprocal Booth/Table (no cost)  One event in exchange for one event Table at Seminar ($100) Commercial ($25 each event it’s played at, up to 60 seconds) Sponsor a specific 1 hour CLE Event (lim it 7) ($50 Virtual, $100 In Person)  Pick of the luncheon in order of sign up, thank you included in email regarding event to members, can handout materials at the meeting and up to 3 minutes to discuss your product or services - no minimum attendance guaranteed In Brief advertising ($25 for 1/ 4 page, $50 for 1/ 2 page and $75 for full page for each issue)  Opportunity for at least 4 issues a year Logo on website ($50 logo only, $100 includes link to your website) Membership Evening Networking Event ($500)  Thank you included in email regarding the event to attendees, can handout materials at the event and up to 3 minutes to discuss your product or services, acknowledgment at event and in materials - no minimum attendance guaranteed Paralegal Forum (lim it 2) ($250)  Acknowledgment at event and in the event materials, no minimum attendance guaranteed