the NALS magazine for legal professionals winter 2018-2019 | volume 67 | issue 3
A Year in Risk Management: Best Practices for Your Law Firm • NALS 68th Annual Education + Networking Conference Location Announcement • The Third Generation of Bail Reform in America: Is the Third Time a Charm? • Is There Magic in Becoming a Virtual Legal Assistant? • How to Make Your Attorney Look Good • Title IX In The News: What It Is and How It Affects Your World
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INSIDE THIS ISSUE:
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ALP Online Exam + PP PEG Course
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winter 2018-2019 | volume 67 | issue 3
2018 NALS Board of Directors Message Reignite Passion: Find Your NALS Why
2018 NALS Award of Excellence Kerie Trindle Byrne, PP, PLS-SC, CP
A Year in Risk Management: Best Practices for Your Law Firm
Define You Profile: Christy Marshall-Bradley, PP from South Carolina
NALS 68th Annual Education + Networking Conference Location Announcement
The Third Generation of Bail Reform in America: Is the Third Time a Charm?
NALS News and Updates
Is There Magic in Becoming a Virtual Legal Assistant?
How to Make Your Attorney Look Good
Title IX In The News: What It Is and How It Affects Your World
Conference Highlights: Engage, Inspire, Enhance, and Promote Award and NALS Foundation Prom Night Dinner + Dance Event
Reg Madison Photography (@RegMadison) of Phoenix, Arizona
COMING SPRING 2019. . .
National Conference Education Schedule
When a City Files for Bankruptcy. . . Who Owns Your DNA?
An Update on 'Consent, Ownership, Privacy, and Recent Changes to the Law'
Effective Utilization of Technology in the Practice of Law
Executive Director Tammy Hailey, CAE Editor Lydia Goodner Graphic Design Lydia Goodner Editorial + Marketing Board Kathy Sieckman, PP, PLS -SC, ACP (Chair) Nakia Bradley-Lawson (Board Liaison) Linda Hanley Renee Kleinjan, PLS Barbara Pomeroy, PP, CLP Charlene Sabini, B.A., PP, PLS, ALP Paula Steffey, PP-SC, CLP, CWCP Allison Streepey, B.A., CRS, CLP Tina Tracy Antoinette “Toni” VanSchaick, PP, PLS-SC Michelle Ward, PP, PLS Deborah Waters, CLP, FPR NALS Board of Directors Tara Hughes PP-SC, ACP, RP (President) Darlene Howard Holt (Secretary) Nakia Bradley-Lawson (Director) Carl Morrison, PP-SC, AACP (Director) Amylyn Riedling PP, PLS-SC (Director)
• • • •
Engage legal professionals on their terms; Inspire legal professionals to want more; Enhance the careers of legal professionals; Promote legal professionals and the legal support industry.
Vision: NALS...the association for legal professionals is the trendsetter for providing information and education through its worldwide partnership with all related professional associations.
NALS Code of Ethics & Professional Responsibility Members of NALS are bound by the objectives of this association and the standards of conduct required of the legal profession. Every member shall: • Encourage respect for the law and the administration of justice; • Observe rules governing privileged communications and confidential information; • Promote and exemplify high standards of loyalty, cooperation, and courtesy; • Perform all duties of the profession with integrity and competence; and • Pursue a high order of professional attainment.
NALS Resource Center P.O. Box 470348, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74147 • (918) 582-5188 • (918) 582-5907 (fax) • NALS.org
NALS Executive Director & NALS Foundation Executive Director Tammy Hailey, CAE | hailey@NALS.org
Membership Services Coordinator
Meetings & Communications Manager
Morgan Ballou | membership@NALS.org
Lydia Goodner | communications@NALS.org
Certification & Education Manager Maria Easterly | cert-edu@NALS.org
© 2018 by NALS, Inc. (International)® Materials in @Law are provided for general informational purposes only; they are not intended to, and do not, constitute legal advice. For specific legal advice, readers are encouraged to consult with counsel of their choice. All articles not otherwise signed are staff written. Permission to reproduce material not staff written appearing in @Law must be obtained from the @Law editor. NALS, Inc. assumes no responsibility for the opinions or points of view expressed by contributors to @Law unless statements have been authorized by action of the Association. NALS, Inc. endorses no item or service other than those under the auspices of the Association. @Law is a trademark of NALS, Inc. Subscription rate for nonmembers is $40 per year; single copy price is $12. Annual dues for NALS members includes $10 for subscription to @Law. @Law (ISSN 1089-7216) is an online publication released quarterly by NALS®, NALS, Inc., P.O. Box 470348, Tulsa, OK, 74147, Telephone # (918) 582-5188.
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Mission: engage | inspire | enhance | promote
Reignite Passion: Find Your NALS Why
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
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Passion Purpose Motivation These are all part of why we all do the things we do. Our personal and professional passions drive our motivation and give us purpose for the things we do in life and why we do them. As a NALS member, if you are passionate about education, you are probably attending webinars and the annual conference, reading articles, or studying for a certification exam. If you enjoy helping others, you are probably finding speakers, teaching CLE or study sessions, or mentoring other legal professionals.
During the closing session in Phoenix, we discussed this very thing. The Board and several members shared their passions, purpose, and motivation. Many of the stories began with “I thought I would give it a try…” and ended with “It was the best decision I made.” While our stories were sometimes along the same path, they were each unique and original; driven by our own passions, purpose, and motivation. As we listened to each story, there was a part of each story that makes NALS unique—our community. There is no other association that has a community like NALS. There is no other association that has members that care so deeply about each other and has members that motivate and support each other to do better and be better legal professionals. This is why NALS is #OrigiNALS, and Eula Mae started it all when she shared her passion and her purpose to create a community and motivate others.
What is your Passion, Purpose, and Motivation?
Why did you join?
Why do you stay?
Why do you share NALS with others?
We want to hear from you! Post on social media or share a video of your #MyNALSWhy. Let’s show the world why we are #OrigiNALS!
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As we come closer to NALS’ 90th birthday, we ask ourselves about Eula Mae and her passions at the very beginning. What were Eula Mae’s passions? What gave Eula Mae the motivation and purpose to take the suggestion from the court clerk and get her friends together to learn? While none of us knew Eula Mae personally, reading the #30DaysOfEulaMae posts and the articles that were shared, her passion, motivation, and purpose was evident in those stories. She had passion for her career by wanting to learn how to do things correctly. She had a passion for helping other legal professionals and wanted them to know how to do things correctly. She was motivated not only by learning, but by FUN. How many of the articles or photos that were shared were of Eula Mae, NALS member, and other legal professionals getting together, learning, networking, and having fun? As we reflect on the last 90 years of this association, let’s get back to why it all started - Eula Mae’s passion for learning and helping others.
2018 NALS Award of Excellence Recipient
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by Paula Steffey, PP, CLP-SC, CWCP Inspirational is the best way to describe our 2018 NALS Award of Excellence recipient, Kerie S. Trindle Byrne, PP, PLSSC, CP from NALS of Phoenix. Kerie has worked in the legal profession for 22-1/2 years and is currently employed as a family law paralegal with May, Potenza, Baran & Gillespie, P.C. Kerie has been a member of NALS for ten years, and it took her no time to get involved. During this relatively short period she has held several positions with NALS of Phoenix: Director of Education 2008-2010; Director of Membership 2010-2011; President-Elect 2011-2012; President 2012-2013; Director of Marketing/Public Awareness 2013-2015; President-Elect/President 2015-2016; President 2016-2017; Director of Certification 2017-2018; and has been a member of the Executive Committee from 2010 to present. Not only did she hold board positions over the past ten years at the local level, she also was
part of 18 different committees and chaired 11 of those. Kerie’s accomplishments at the local level don’t stop there. She was also the recipient of a Scholarship; Award of Excellence; and New Member of the Year. She has been a CLE Presenter at the NALS of Phoenix UnConference; a NALS Camp Counselor/Presenter; and NALS Recruitment Presenter. Kerie was also very involved with NALS of Arizona and held the positions of Secretary 20102012; President-Elect 2013-2014; and President 2014-2015. She has also been a member of six committees and chaired four of them. Kerie’s dedication to this organization does not stop with the local chapter and state association. She has been involved in several national committees: Leadership Identification Committee Member (two three-year terms); NALS Genius Bar; NALS Grassroots Innovators; NALS Education & Networking Conference; NALS Region 8 Conference Planning Committee and Program
Designer; and she is a frequent speaker at the national conferences. Kerie was also the Award of Excellence Finalist in 2013 and Nominee in 2016 and 2018. When she heard Tara announce her name, she felt “stunned and immediately overcome with gratitude.” Kerie burst into tears, both because of the joy she felt in receiving the award, but also because her friends that were seated with her at her table also burst into tears. She said it was such a cacophony of emotions. Kerie goes on to say that “both Jamie and Audrey are worthy nominees who have put so much of themselves into our association, as I have done. We all do our best to ensure NALS remains sustainable, relevant, and that we have excellent leadership in place for the foreseeable future. The Award of Excellence really could have gone to any one of us, and I would have been happy to have it be either Audrey or Jamie. As I said during my brief few words, NALS is my second family, and I am so grateful and humbled to receive the Award of Excellence from our association, which is so full of so many excellent people.” Kerie has had many professional achievements. She obtained her Professional Legal Secretary (PLS) in 2010; Certified Paralegal (CP) in 2012; Professional Paralegal (PP) in 2016; and earned a Specialty Certificate in Family Law in 2018. She is also a member of NALA and Legal Professionals Unite.
Kerie has an Associates of Arts (with Distinction) from Phoenix College and an Associates of Applied Sciences (with Distinction) in Paralegal Studies from Phoenix College. Kerie’s achievements and knowledge are an inspiration, and she shares her knowledge by being an adjunct professor with Phoenix College, the only ABA-approved paralegal program in Phoenix, Arizona. She even makes time to author articles and blog posts for her local chapter, state association, and nationally. David N. Horowitz, Esq. from May, Potenza, Baran & Gillespie, P.C. enthusiastically recommended Kerie for the NALS Award of Excellence. He indicated that “Kerie exemplifies outstanding hard work, professionalism and quality performance.” He went
on to say “The standards she holds herself to are exacting, and she consistently tackles new challenges at work, within NALS, and among her colleagues. She is always willing to help out when asked, and more importantly, even when she isn’t asked. She is a shining example of an “above and beyond” contributor.” When Kerie was asked to share some words of wisdom for all her NALS pals, she responded by saying “There are a few qualities that I strive for in my work with our association and my career. The first is authenticity. I do my best always to be true to who I am with the goal of being better today than I was yesterday. I also believe it is important to have a strong work ethic, a desire to improve constantly, and a willingness to learn from mistakes and constructive criticism. Being responsible for myself, my attitudes, and actions, and having a strong sense of self have helped me achieve success. Knowing that others' attitudes, opinions, and actions have little to do with me has also helped. In the face of adversity, the best thing I can do is own what is my responsibility, not take on other people’s stuff, and choose to play for results rather than being right. It is also important to be an active participant in whatever you do, and to be a good listener – paying attention to not only what people say with their words, but what they say with their body language, and what they don’t say. Honing these skills has helped me achieve this level of excellence.” Kerie is such an inspiration to all of us. She wanted to take the opportunity to share a piece of her NALS Why. “I joined the association because one of my (now) best friends invited me to fill a vacant board position. I stayed, because I was engaged and given the opportunity to be engaging; I was able to enhance my career with certification, CLE, networking, and professional development, and I was given a chance to help others enhance their careers and their lives; I was inspired by association members, leaders, speakers, and others who touched the association, and I was given the opportunity to be inspiring; I was promoted by receiving awards and earning accomplishments, and I have been given the opportunity to promote others in the same ways. Thank you to everyone who has touched my life in some way and helped make this possible. Each person I have met, whether they be long-time friends or new acquaintances, has touched my life and made it better. I am so honored to receive the Award of Excellence, and I proceed with gratitude and love hoping that I continue to earn the award every day."
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Although NALS is Kerie’s second family, she also makes time for her community. During the past five years she has been involved with the St. Mary’s Food Bank Pack & Sort Events (Quarterly); Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Light the Night (walker and donor); American Diabetes Association (walker and donor); Human Rights Campaign (table captain cochair/ticketing system manager); Theresa’s Fund (donor); ASU Gammage Foundation (donor); NALS Foundation (circle donor, 5K walker for both years the 5K has been offered as a fundraiser) and Object to Hunger Food Drive (office and local chapter representative).
The definition of inspiration should read: “Kerie S. Trindle Byrne, PP, PLS-SC, CP.”
2018 Award of Excellence Nominee exams. To prepare for the certification exams, Jamie set up intensive study sessions and the majority of the examinees passed on all parts of the four-hour exam on the first take. She is currently holding exam study sessions with eight interested LSPM members and students for the September 2018 exams.
Jamie Early, PP, PLS-SC Corporate Law By Allison Streepey, B.A., CRS, CLP
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What sets Jamie Early, PP, PLS, SC Corporate, apart from the crowd is her total dedication to service. After she has reached great heights in achievement as a paralegal, she now reaches out to others to encourage them to take their careers higher too. Jamie has been in the legal profession for 38 years, most recently 10 years service in the in-house counsel law department with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Carolina in Columbia. She is the corporate/regulatory paralegal and assistant corporate secretary. Her previous paralegal jobs were with Sherrill & Roof Law Firm and Gressette & Pickett Law Firm, where she also served as bookkeeper. Legal Staff Professionals of the Midlands (LSPM) Jamie has done a lot in her 34 years as a member of NALS…the association for legal professionals. Besides serving in every possible officer, chair, and member position, she has helped grow the local and state chapters. Her local chapter is the Legal Staff Professionals of the Midlands (LSPM) where she is currently the Certification Committee Chair, Sunshine Committee Chair, and on the Membership/Marketing Committee. Jamie has been “very involved in LSPM continuously since 1994” as a speaker in the meetings and teaching educational topics at both the conferences and NALS exam study sessions. She won the LSPM Legal Professional of the Year in 1996 and the LSPM Member of the year in 2005, 2008, 2010, and 2018. Jamie has participated in presentations to paralegal students at the local schools, which in this past year has resulted in more than doubling the local chapter membership and more than tripling the local NALS certification examinees for the March 2018
April N. Vance, Esq., Chair, Legal Studies Program Director, Columbia South University says that Jamie “is a tireless paralegal professional with those most in need of guidance, learning and studying for a paralegal career. She has represented NALS exceedingly well at every occasion, and this award would simply recognize her commitment and dedication to NALS and the paralegal profession.” Legal Staff Professionals of South Carolina (LSPSC) Jamie has had continuous involvement in LSPSC serving in as many officer positions as possible. She was responsible for revamping the nomination process for the LSPSC Legal Professional of the Year award with the goal of having it conform to the NALS Award of Excellence. Currently, she serves as the Finance Committee Co-Chair. Jamie was instrumental in planning and implementing a statewide CLE seminar in 2011 hosted by LSPSC. This was following the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act being signed into law in 2010. The seminar, titled The Impact of PPACA on P.I.E (Providers, Insurers, Employers) was presented by three attorneys in these areas of the new health care law. The Supreme Court of South Carolina (Court) Commission on CLE and Specialization approved this seminar for CLE credit to both attorneys and paralegals. She also has been a speaker in the meetings in her elected and appointed positions, as well as teaching educational materials for the NALS study sessions for certification exams locally and with other chapters in the state. Jamie has written four articles which were published in the LSPSC Spotlight and two articles published in the Carolina Paralegal News and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of SC Communique, respectively. In May 2018, Jamie was appointed to serve on the South University Legal Studies Program Committee by the University’s director. National NALS Service Jamie has been a Professional Legal Secretary/Certified Legal Professionalv (PLS/CLP) Exam Proctor since 1995 and a Professional Paralegal (PP) Exam Proctor since 2004. She worked with the NALS
National Industry Task Force in gaining approval of the NALS PP certification by the South Carolina Supreme Court for the South Carolina Certified Paralegal (SCCP) designation. This was a long and challenging process, and NALS needed someone who could demonstrate the real qualifications required of NALS’ certification to the Supreme Court. After SCCP was approved and adopted by the Court in 2015, the NALS PP certification was initially denied by the South Carolina Board of Paralegal Certification (Board) in June 2016. Jamie had the initiative to ask to attend the next meeting and was allowed to speak at the Board meeting in October 2016. Jamie presented a comparison of requirements by the three national certification exam entities (NALS, NALA, and PACE). The comparison showed that NALS’ requirements are as stringent as the other associations. After the presentation, the Board voted to re-open the consideration of NALS’ PP certification. Jamie and many other NALS and LSPSC leaders worked to provide additional information to the Board at their request. In January 2017 the Board voted to recommend to the Court that the NALS’ PP certification be included as a requirement for the SCCP. On April 19, 2017, the Court amended its Order to cover the NALS PP certification. This is a first in the United States for NALS to be involved in state certification for paralegals as professionals. Each item mentioned above is a significant accomplishment for Jamie Early as well as achieving firsts in many areas. She was the first NALS Professional Paralegal in the state of South Carolina and the first and only person to have obtained the NALS Specialty Certificate in Corporate Law, and she was the first paralegal to apply for the South Carolina Certified Paralegal (SCCP) in the state. Jamie has always made time to serve her community. Some of the activities Jamie has been involved in are St. Stephen’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, National Brain Tumor Society Charleston Walk, Chris Myers’ Children’s Home, Epworth Children’s Home, The American Cancer Society Relay for Life Walk, and the charities of Senior Resources, Hope Food Bank and Beyond Abuse. Jamie’s excellence is from serving NALS on all levels of the association, building NALS membership through the joy of educating others in the legal support world, and working to establish paralegals as a profession in the State of South Carolina, which is one of the first states in the country to do so. There is now a place for Jamie to advise other state paralegals to do the same towards legal excellence.
2018 Award of Excellence Nominee macro-enabled forms in Microsoft Word after the firm switched word processing software platforms from Corel WordPerfect. Upon her return from Alaska, she served as Legal Advertising Manager for The Daily Territorial in Tucson, AZ.
Audrey M. Saxton, PP, CLP-SC By Antoinette 'Toni' VanSchaick, PP-SC Audrey M. Saxton, PP, CLP-SC, who is married to Steven, a retired US Air Force Master Sergeant, has four daughters and plays momma to multiple fur-babies, has a way about her. She is an inspiration and an influencer in the lives of everyone she encounters, especially in the legal profession and as a very involved NALS member.
However, while this assignment was her “first law job,” Audrey comments that the beginning of her true “legal support career” was her employment with Robinson & Rylander, P.C. in Tucson, AZ. She began this position solely as the firm’s office manager and bookkeeper, but by the time she left there, she had also been trained to oversee Chapter 13 client financial information intakes and had served as the firm’s liaison for contacts with the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Trustee for the Tucson Division of the U. S. Bankruptcy Court. Future career moves would take her to Alaska and back to Arizona. With each step, rest assured that Audrey always made positive contributions and left each employer in a better position than when she began. For example, before leaving her position in Alaska, she provided bilingual support for many workers’ compensation claimants who were non-English speaking, and she created
After leaving The Daily Territorial, Audrey moved on to a litigation secretary/paralegal position at Lewis & Roca, LLP, where she began as a floating legal secretary, then transitioned to a permanent position supporting three litigation attorneys, and finally morphed into a blended legal secretary/paralegal role. In this blended position (she was one of three in this position), Audrey contributed her technological expertise in digitizing large discovery files for motions, trial, and deposition prep for up to 10 simultaneously active and complex litigation matters. It was also where she first met Brendon J. Griffin, who would go on to be appointed State Court Judge and personally recruit her to be his Judicial Assistant. During her current tenure, she has had the opportunity to assist Judge Griffin with criminal, juvenile, and civil cases. Audrey is very proud of the statute and rule checklist that she created while she and Judge Griffin were assigned to the “adoptions” bench. The list, still in use today, ensures that all rules and laws were being followed for the required information needed for granting adoption and it has been shared with judges and adoption agencies to assist them in processing adoption cases. In recommending Audrey for the Award of Excellence, Judge Griffin stated, “Everything Audrey touches, she makes better . . . She puts systems in place that make us more efficient . . . In short, at what she does, Audrey is excellent.” This excellence continues to permeate into Audrey’s NALS involvement as well. Since Audrey became a member in 2006, she obtained her PLS certification (now known as CLP/PLS), earned her PP certification in 2012, two Specialty Certificates in the areas of Criminal Law and Juvenile Law in 2016, and renewed her CLE Award in 2018 for the second time.
Audrey’s involvement in NALS of Arizona spanned six years before it dissolved in 2015. She not only volunteered her time to secure conference speakers, but she also taught two sessions. However, her most significant accomplishments at this level were the complete re-design of the state chapter’s newsletter publication which transitioned to an online blog format, a complete re-design of the website, and the successful restructuring of the Board from nine members to five. On the national level, Audrey utilized her love of technology to help create a very wellknown task force, the NALS Genius Bar, which Audrey continued to lead even during her three-year tenure as a director on the NALS Board. Speaking of Audrey’s service on the NALS Board, she collaborated with fellow board members to develop a strategic agenda for growth and income-generation, served as liaison with committee chairs to assist in communications and leading the direction of strategic task force actions, spearheaded an effort to create a NALS smart-phone application, and worked with the NALS staff to launch the first rendition of the Online Leadership Course. Those who know Audrey and have worked with her in various NALS endeavors have nothing but praise and accolades for her. Barry Pickereign, CLP, states, “Audrey excels at what she does and when she sets her mind to a task, she accomplishes it.” Past NALS President, Patti Infanti, PP, PLS, states, “Audrey is an innovator, leader, presenter, and has no fear of technological advances . . . ” As if her NALS involvement weren’t enough, in her spare time, Audrey has obtained four associate degrees from Pima Community College and will graduate in May 2019 from Northern Arizona University with a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies: Public Administration. She also enjoys managing her ladies-only fantasy football league, playing Texas Hold-em, and attending sporting events. Because Audrey exudes the principles of NALS, it is clear to see why she was nominated for the Award of Excellence and why she is a consummate legal professional.
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As an example, while a cadet in the AZ State Correctional Officer Training Academy, her classmates elected her as Cadet Representative, a role like that of class president. Upon graduation from the Academy, she was assigned to the Special Management Unit II of the AZ State Prison Complex in Eyman, AZ. This unit housed the state’s most violent offenders, the seriously mentally ill, and the state’s death row population in a 23-hour per day lockdown situation. Because she was qualified on higher caliber rifles, she also “rode chase” when transporting inmate workers between distant units and tower/perimeter patrol.
While serving as the Legal Advertising Manager, she oversaw the conversion of its legal notice advertising software systems from one product to another, providing significant customization input to the software modules, which would serve its requirement for affidavit productions. However, Audrey’s most significant accomplishment in this position was in educating staff and customers on rules of service of process by publication and public notice statutes, specifically as they pertain to timely and complete service and notice.
As a member of NTSA, Audrey’s local chapter, she has served in and on various offices and committees, but Audrey says her proudest accomplishments had to do with NTSA’s charitable fundraising efforts and its efforts to collaborate with related legal professional associations through successfully hosting two profitable and award-winning golf tournaments and coordinating a collaborative venture with the related legal support associations in the area.
Earn 1 Hour of CLE with the
A YEAR IN RISK MANAGEMENT:
BEST PRACTICES FOR YOUR LAW FIRM 12 | @LAW | THE NALS MAGAZINE FOR LEGAL PROFESSIONALS | WINTER2018
By Christian A. Stiegemeyer, Director of Risk Management The Bar Plan Mutual Insurance Company Many law firms accused of malpractice learn too late that minimal risk management procedures could have prevented the costly claim. Auditing the risk management procedures at your office is an efficient way to determine the firm’s malpractice risks. The new year is an excellent opportunity for law firms to perform a self-audit on their current firm risk management practices and procedures. To make the self-audit more manageable, firms may want to consider breaking the project down to a month-by-month audit. The following information offers suggested areas of review and proposed risk management procedures for law firms to implement throughout the year.
January: Client Intake Form Do attorneys in your firm use a standard client intake form modified by the area of law? Does your law firm have a procedure for transferring information on the intake form to the firm’s centralized calendar? For organizational purposes, your office should maintain primary client and case information on an intake form within the client file. Ideally, the intake form should be completed during the initial client interview,
which should address the client background, the nature of the representation, jurisdiction, and opposing parties. The intake form further serves as a reminder for the intake attorney to research dates for any statutory, procedural, or administrative deadlines, which then should be transferred to the law firm’s central calendar. After these critical dates are calendared, the attorney should perform a source documentation review to ensure the dates on the calendar correspond with the dates on the intake form.
February: Conflicts of Interest How often does your firm perform conflicts of interest checks? A lawyer’s failure to recognize a conflict of interest may result in a malpractice claim for breach of fiduciary duties, an ethics complaint, or both. Motions to disqualify based on a conflict of interest are a common litigation tactic employed by opposing counsel. Clients should be screened for conflicts of interest before the initial meeting, after the initial meeting, and throughout the representation. The information maintained in a conflicts checking system will vary according to a firm’s areas of practice and clientele.
March: Engagement Letters Does your firm send engagement letters at the beginning of each representation? If not, what is preventing your law firm from incorporating this essential risk management procedure? Engagement letters provide an opportunity for the lawyer to clarify the nature of the relationship to the client. The engagement letter should address the following information:
April: Non-engagement Letters Does your firm use nonengagement letters? The nonengagement letter confirms that there is no attorney-client relationship between the law firm and the potential client until the occurrence of a specified
The content of the nonengagement letter should reflect the facts and circumstances as the lawyer knows them to be at the time of the non-engagement. A non-engagement letter should address the following items: 1. the declined client’s name and the date of the meeting; 2. that the matter was taken under consideration and is not being accepted at this time; 3. that declination does not reflect an opinion on the merits; 4. urge the individual to seek other representation if they desire to pursue the matter; 5. where a deadline is imminent, strongly recommend the individual to be timely in finding other representation and the consequences of failing to do; 6. if other work in a separate or related matter is to be performed, state the service to be rendered; and 7. if the attorney received any documents during the interview, such as reports, should be itemized in the letter and included with the non-engagement letter. Another way to confirm the absence of an attorney-client relationship is by use of a nonengagement form completed during the initial interview. At the
end of the discussion, the lawyer should provide the client with a copy of the non-engagement form. Regardless of the method your office chooses to non-engage potential clients, your office should maintain a copy of the non-engagement letter or intake form in perpetuity as a conflict of interest checking resource and as proof of the declined relationship if one is alleged in the future.
May: Closing Letters At the conclusion of representation, does your firm send a closing letter? If so, what case-related issues are addressed in the letter? In addition to protecting the attorney from an unintended on-going attorneyclient relationship, a well-drafted closing letter also may be a tool to secure future business from the client. The first step in drafting a closing letter is to review the scope of the representation as set out in the Engagement Letter. Was it accomplished? Did other potential matters related to the first representation, arise? Any discrepancies between the anticipated scope of representation and the representation in reality and the significance of the differences should be explained in the Closing Letter. At the end of representation, the lawyer should have a discussion with the client regarding housekeeping matters related to the representation. These conversations may address the firm’s file retention policy as well as the need to revisit the matter should the client’s life or financial circumstances change. This conversation should be the basis for the closing letter and should contain the following information:
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1. the identity of the client; 2. who is not the client (spouses, heirs, co-parties, employees of corporations, etc.); 3. the nature of the representation; 4. what is not the nature of the representation (ancillary claims, etc.); 5. a description of services to be rendered; 6. appropriate methods of communication; 7. the names of the attorney and support staff who will assist in the representation; 8. the firm’s file retention policy; 9. the billing arrangements; 10. the identity of the succession lawyer, if any; 11. the need to maintain current contact information and the consequences of failing to do so; and 12. acknowledgment of conflicts of interest waivers (if applicable).
event, such as the signing of a fee agreement. Failure to send a nonengagement letter may result in allegations that the attorney failed to protect the potential client’s legal interests adequately. Courts generally determine the existence of the attorney-client relationship through an examination of the client’s reasonable belief that such a relationship exists.
1. confirmation that the firm’s representation has concluded and that the attorney-client relationship has ceased; 2. a final billing statement for legal services rendered; 3. the firm’s file retention policy; and 4. a request to serve the client’s future legal needs.
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June: Fee Agreements Does the firm require client-signed fee agreements? Under Rule 1.5, the Fees rule of the Model Rule of Professional Conduct, a signed fee agreement is required in contingency fee agreements and where there is a division of fee between lawyers in separate firms. (See Model Rules 1.5(c) and 1.5(e) (2). Note: Rules of Professional Conduct for lawyers vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. A thorough review of the specific rules for your jurisdiction should be performed when assisting with drafting your firm’s fee agreements.) Ethics requirements aside, a signed fee agreement is a valuable risk management tool regardless of the nature of the representation. Fee agreements should include information about the identity of the client, the scope of the representation, the rate and basis of the fee being charged, issues relating to withdrawal or termination of the representation, and issues relating to resolution of disputes between the client and the lawyer. The rate and basis portion of the fee agreement should address the following: 1. the amount of the fee; 2. how the fees will be calculated; 3. the length of the billing cycle; and 4. the consequences of the client’s failure to pay his bill.
From a risk management perspective, the fee agreement also should include the client’s obligation to inform the attorney of any changes to his contact information or circumstances. This “Responsibilities of the Parties” clause should address the consequences of failing to fulfill those responsibilities. Should the client disappear during the representation and later resurface after the case has been time-barred, a “Responsibilities of the Parties” clause may allow the attorney to assert an affirmative defense of abandonment successfully.
July: Billing Procedures When auditing your law firm’s billing procedures, consider the following: does your firm have a policy for establishing billing arrangements? How does your law firm calculate and bill for its services? Do billing arrangements at your firm include contingent fees, retainers, advance fees, flat fees, hourly billing, or a combination of the above? Does the firm ever accept representations as cocounsel in a matter? If co-counsel representations are accepted, is the law firm in compliance with the division of fees rule in your applicable jurisdiction? (See, for example, Model Rule 1.5(e).) Does the firm charge non-refundable fees or attempt to predicate the rendering of services on payment of fees? These common billing practices are prohibited in many jurisdictions. This is also an appropriate time to review your law firm’s trust accounting policies to ensure compliance with your jurisdiction’s trust accounting rules. (See, for example, Model Rule 1.15.)
August: Calendaring Procedures Does your firm have a centralized calendaring system? Many lawyers mistakenly believe a “central calendar” means every lawyer maintains their own calendar in the central location of a computer. To be a useful risk management tool, the firm’s central calendar should be a single calendar containing ALL of the critical dates for ALL of the firm’s attorneys and should be reviewed at least monthly by a single attorney responsible for ensuring deadlines are being met. Following is a non-exclusive list of the dates and deadlines that should be included on a law firm’s central calendar: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
statutes of limitations; pleading deadlines; court dates; discovery response dates; adverse party deadlines; and vacation schedules.
The law firm’s calendaring procedures should include programming heads-up reminders to alert the attorney of a looming deadline. The heads-up reminders should provide the attorney with an adequate amount of time to accomplish the task associated with the deadline. The law firm’s calendar also should have a backup copy accessible outside of the office in case of disaster.
September: File Retention Policy Does your firm have written guidelines for file retention? Following case disposition, how long does your law firm maintain
the client’s file? Every law firm should have a protocol for retention and destruction of client files. By creating a file retention policy, the law firm ensures that client files are handled in a manner that meets the lawyer’s fiduciary and ethical obligations. When creating a file retention policy, law firms must consider the nature of their caseload, malpractice statutes of limitations in light of the specific facts of the representation, and storage capacity and medium. Many jurisdictions have specific rules addressing file retention requirements. This authority should be thoroughly reviewed when developing your firm’s file retention policy. For malpractice avoidance purposes, law firms should maintain the following for every file destroyed following a file retention/destruction policy:
October: Contingency Plan in the Event of a Lawyer’s Death or Disability Does your firm have a representation continuity plan in the event of a lawyer’s death or disability? Has your law firm considered what happens to the deceased lawyer’s cases? Comment  to Model Rule 1.3 – Diligence and 5.1 – Responsibilities of Partners, Manager, and Supervisory Lawyers suggests that a lawyer designate another competent lawyer to assume responsibilities
The managing lawyers also should consider the firm’s ability to access the deceased or incapacitated lawyer’s email accounts, electronic calendars, Facebook pages, LinkedIn accounts, law firm blogs, voicemail mailboxes, other electronic client communications, media, electronic court filing systems, etc. These types of accounts often require passwords to access. If these accounts contain firm or client information, the law firm should implement a policy requiring such passwords be securely available to the firm in the event access is necessary for the absence of an attorney.
November: Disaster Recovery If a disaster strikes, does your firm have a business continuity plan that will allow the firm to continue operations? Has the firm studied the potential impact on the firm of various catastrophic events? Does the firm maintain a master client contact list away from the principal firm office? In the event client files are inaccessible or destroyed, the lawyer’s obligations to clients will continue despite the firm’s misfortune. For this reason, law firms should maintain an off-site backup server as well as a client contact list maintained at a second location.
December: Law Firm Marketing As lawyers continue to look for innovative ways to market their practice, many of them are turning to the internet to market their law firm. If your firm maintains a website, attorneys in your firm
should ensure that the appropriate disclaimers are in place so that your firm does not stumble unwittingly into an attorney-client relationship or conflict of interest. Furthermore, the law firm should create a firmwide policy regarding social media policies and procedures. ------------------------------------
Overall, it is essential for attorneys and other legal professionals to remember that they take on legal malpractice risks every time they accept or decline representation or take action on behalf of a client in a case. To avoid risks, lawyers must be aware of the existence of possible risks, and the specific nature of the risks in a particular situation must be acknowledged and addressed. Attorneys must be willing to take appropriate action under the circumstances to minimize or eliminate the exposure to the risk. Utilizing this 12-month plan to tailor specific risk management procedures for your firm can help limit your firm’s exposure to malpractice claims and ethics complaints.
The Bar Plan was born out of a crisis in the lawyers’ professional liability (“LPL”) insurance market. The Missouri Bar got involved to help form The Bar Plan with a mission to provide a stable, financially secure source of LPL insurance for attorneys. For over 30 years, The Bar Plan has been the endorsed LPL carrier of The Missouri Bar. As a Bar-related insurance company, we are committed to servicing the Legal Community in many important ways. Our Board Members and CEO have served, and currently serve, on the Board of Governors; our staff chair and participate on numerous bar committees and sections; we sponsor legal conferences and events; we provide an anonymous ethics and risk management hotline open to all attorneys; we provide ethics and risk management CLE programming; and our Foundation provides scholarships to law students and makes an annual contribution to charities in the communities we serve.
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1. an accurate record of the client’s name(s); 2. the date the file was opened and closed; 3. the reason for destruction; 4. the date of destruction; and 5. the attorney authorizing the destruction of the file.
of the client files in case of the unexpected death or disability of the designating lawyer.
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Read this 'Define You' story on Cristy MarshallBradley, PP and Willard, LLC as the paralegal for Michael H. Montgomery. We do civil litigation, procurement, and defense for government agencies and businesses. We are located in Columbia, SC.
I have had the opportunity to work in all genres of the law. My career began at the age of 16 preparing legal documents for a real estate attorney. Then I moved into the domestic and civil litigation law world, and that was an adventure, from there I joined the District Attorneyâ€™s office and learned criminal and juvenile law along with being the Legal Assistant for two judges. This brought my career to a new level. I have experience working with personal injury, wrongful death and dram shop cases. My current position is working with Montgomery
I also am one of seven Veterans Administration Accredited Claims Agents in South Carolina. I can represent the veteran in regard to claims and court. This is a passion that I have to help veterans with obtaining their disability and benefits. I belong to the Legal Professionals of South Carolina NALS Chapter in Columbia, South Carolina. I joined NALS in 2016. I have been in the legal field for 26 years, and now I am 45. My current employment with Montgomery Willard, LLC is very pleasing and every day is like an adventure. I have the opportunity to learn
something new every day. The type of cases that we handle can be very complex with many deadlines and rules. We have a wonderful intern program for paralegals to come and train here with us. I have the opportunity to work with young individuals starting in the legal world. I am still a newlywed; we celebrated two years of marriage on September 3, 2018. My husband, Dennis Bradley, is a retired Marine and disabled veteran. I moved to Columbia, South Carolina to be with him. I have a Maltese dog named Thor, who keeps me busy. I have one son, Tyler, who resides in Hendersonville, NC. I enjoy doing crafts with my Cricut machine. I make t-shirts and signs for family and friends. Life is about never giving up on
your dreams. Most people give up on their dreams, not because of themselves but because of the support system that surrounds them. I’m here to tell you to put your dreams and goals in your heart and never give up! Dreaming is one of the sweetest things ever. We always dream about things we love and hope. Each one of us has career goals, the dream to travel to a favorite place, meet a famous person, move to a different country, have children, and so on. The truth of the matter is that reality is not always on our side. Even when trying to do our best to make our dreams come true, we sometimes don’t manage to do it.
A few years ago when I got married and moved from Augusta, Georgia, to Columbia, South Carolina, I had to start over on my career path of establishing contacts, finding a job, and learning the law in South Carolina (SC). I had just left a comfort zone of being a 22 year veteran in the paralegal world to feeling like a newbie. When applying for paralegal positions, the first question was about an SC Certification. The answer was “NO.” In Georgia, I was established working in my field and I was trained with the local college for paralegal interns, worked for the District Attorney’s Office, and served under several judges. I became very frustrated because no one would recognize my experience beyond a piece of paper. Then I met Mr. Montgomery of Montgomery Willard, LLC. He gave me a chance! He supported
I researched the different paralegal organizations here in Columbia and made contact to attend a meeting. I contacted Jamie Early and became a member of the NALS group in Columbia, SC immediately. The ladies encouraged me, and Jamie worked hard hours studying after work with only me! She was a fantastic teacher and mentor. She was not being paid to do this, and she was helping me achieve my goals to be a Professional Paralegal. I tried, and I failed with accomplishing the first two portions of the test twice. I felt like I had let Jamie, Mr. Montgomery, and myself down. So, I took a step back because, at the same time, I was taking my security clearances tests and my VA Accredited Claims Agent test and going to school to obtain an ABA South Carolina Paralegal Associates degree too. Oh, and I forgot to mention, the cook and maid at home also! My low point was when I took my last exam with first-timers taking the exam. They all knew it was my second time. How embarrassing being a veteran paralegal and failing the exam. I completed the exam and waited for the results. When Maria Easterly, NALS Certification and Education Manager, called and told me that I failed, my heart broke, because the vast majority of the first-timers passed the test. They had the opportunity to brag on social media, and then the low point comes when they all started asking me if I passed. I was petrified, and I did not reveal to anyone but my employer and family that I had failed. They all encouraged me. Although obtaining the PP was not my first focus, it was still
something I wanted to achieve. I worked hard studying my college work, studying for the VA exam, and studying for the PP exam. Not only was I studying, but working full time every day at the law firm. I was exhausted. Around that time is when I got a call from Maria Easterly, she asked me, jokingly, how could I pass the hard portions of the test but fail the easy parts. That is when I told her that I panic when it comes to English, it has always been my weakness. She encouraged me, and I continued to work on this for six months, and then after passing my VA Accredited Claims Agent exam, I was ready! I procrastinated about taking the exam because I was petrified! This exam was not hard, but for me, I panic when reviewing English sentences. I can write legal documents every day, but can’t recognize portions of a sentence that are incorrect! I took the exam and passed by very few points, but I did it. The feeling was overwhelming when Maria called and told me! I could hear her excitement through the phone too. We had worked hard to get me through this. Never stop striving for your dreams and with hard work, fight, and passion, anyone can do anything regardless of your age or weaknesses. Push hard, never let your mind tell you that you can’t do it. Dream big, never give up. Never lose focus on what you aim for in life. The idea is never to build barriers in your heart and do everything with love. Remember to believe in yourself! If you believe in yourself, others will too! Thank you so much to Mr. Montgomery at Montgomery Willard, LLC, Jamie Early, Maria Easterly, and my husband, Dennis Bradley, for believing in me! I am now a Professional Paralegal, VA Accredited Claims Agent and I will graduate with my SC ABA Associates Degree in Paralegal Studies in December 2018.
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The most important lesson is to fight. This is the most evident proof that we have tried our hardest to obtain what we long for. First of all, never take to heart when others say we should give up because no one else can restrain our freedom and liberty and ability. Don’t give up, fight! Fighting is the most important thing to do until the end, show others around that we have goals, aims, ambitions, and dreams no matter what they say.
and encouraged me to move forward to get the Professional Paralegal Certification. I could not believe that at the age of 45 years old and a veteran of 22 years of paralegal work, I was taking exams and going to school again.
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The NALS Board of Directors is happy to announce that plans and contracts have been confirmed and NALS is excited to share that Little Rock, Arkansas, will host the 68th Annual Education + Networking Conference on September 26-28, 2019.
Plaza Little Rock will be offering special pricing to conference guests, so please wait to make your reservations using the special link provided by NALS. The reservation link will be made available in Spring 2019.
Our hosting conference center will be the Crowne Plaza Little Rock. The location features complimentary parking and wireless internet access throughout the hotel. The hotel is approximately 15 minutes from the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport and offers complimentary airport transportation to registered guests. The Crowne
NALS conferences are well known for offering great education while creating a fun environment for you to enjoy your time away from the office. The 2019 68th Annual Education + Networking Conference will offer no less! Conference registration will be open Spring of 2019.
Wednesday, September 25, 2019
Friday, September 27, 2019
Saturday, September 28, 2019
1:30 PM to 5:00 PM (3.5 CLE Hours) • National Leadership Event TBA (Open to All)
8:30 AM to 9:30 AM (1 CLE Hour)
9:00 AM to 10:00 AM (1 CLE Hour)
Thursday, September 26, 2019
11:15 AM to 11:45 AM
• CLE Sessions
10:00 AM to 11:00 AM (1 CLE Hour) • CLE Sessions
9:00 AM to 10:30 AM (1.5 CLE Hours) • Welcome/Opening Keynote 10:45 AM to 11:15 AM (1 CLE Hour) • CLE Sessions • Networking Suite Meet 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM - Exhibitor's Luncheon 1:15 PM to 1:45 PM (1 CLE Hour) • CLE Sessions • Networking Suite Meet 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM (1 CLE Hour) • CLE Sessions 3:30 PM to 4:30 PM (1 CLE Hour) • CLE Sessions 5:00 PM. . . • Off-Site Event
• CLE Sessions • Networking Suite Meet 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM - Recognition Luncheon 1:45 PM to 2:15 PM (1 CLE Hour) • CLE Sessions • Networking Suite Meet 2:30 PM to 3:30 PM (1 CLE Hour) • CLE Sessions
• CLE Sessions
10:30 AM to 11:30 AM (1 CLE Hour) • CLE Sessions 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM - Networking Luncheon 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM (1 CLE Hour) • CLE Sessions • Networking Suite Meet 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM (1 CLE Hour) • Closing Session 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM (1 CLE Hour) • Goodbye Party
3:45 PM to 4:45 PM • CLE Sessions
7:00 PM to 11:00 PM • NALS Foundation Event
* This is a complete list of our current confirmed sessions and schedule. Sessions and schedule subject to change.
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THE THIRD GENERATION OF BAIL REFORM 20 | @LAW | THE NALS MAGAZINE FOR LEGAL PROFESSIONALS | WINTER2018
IN AMERICA: Those not paying close attention may have missed what has been the relatively recent groundswell of activity on the issue of bail reform. In fact, Cherise Fanno Burdeen, CEO of the Pretrial Justice Institute, recently termed the current push as the "third generation of bail reform in America," while likening the movement to that of a "runaway train."
IS THIRD TIME THE CHARM? By Jeffrey J. Clayton, J.D., Executive Director, American Bail Coalition Whether that is true is debatable, but the question before us is, what is this so-called third generation and will it deliver on what it promises? The central argument of bail reform proponents is that the size of someoneâ€™s wallet should not determine whether or not they get bail. Instead, they contend, whether someone is released should be decided by either the risk of their failing to appear in court as required or committing a new crime. They posit that measuring this risk can be accomplished by using computer algorithms that can help us sort people into all the right categories. Theoretically, these computers will efficiently assign not only bail, but non-monetary conditions of release. They argue that if done correctly, people will show up for court, we will reduce racial disparities in the system and crimes will be reduced while they are out on bail.
Earn 1 Hour of CLE with the
Because reformers want to move away entirely from monetary conditions of bail, they are suggesting two options. The first presumes innocence from the time of arrest and releases everyone arrested on a promise to appear. This option is the least popular among policy makers and law enforcement because no weight is given to existing charges, which are based on the very premise of the presumption of innocence.
Bail reformers are also pushing for governmentrun programs to supervise criminal defendants, rather than subjecting them to the need to post a financial bail. They argue that supervision is an effective way to compel defendants to show up to court, while mitigating the risk of their committing new crimes while out on bail. The American Bar Association has encouraged this since the 1970s, by creating a standard that says any non-financial
The third generation really began in Colorado in 2012. A panel of the Colorado Commission of Criminal and Juvenile Justice considered the latest incarnation of bail reform, which was presented by its architect, Timothy Schnake. Ultimately, the panel rejected the bi-polar system. Instead, they recommended non-financial alternatives, including a statewide pretrial supervision program intended to offer judges alternatives to financial conditions of bail. The legislature eventually rejected it due to budget constraintsâ€”it was simply too expensive to create a government-run bail system. In 2014, the third generation moved onto New Jersey. Then-governor Chris Christie, a former federal prosecutor, liked the idea of going to a nomoney bail system similar to the one used by the federal government. With his support, legislation was passed to change the state's constitution to eliminate the right to bail and instead allow prosecutors to file motions for detention. If they
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The second, and more popular, approach, is to advocate for the expansion of preventative detentionâ€”detention without the possibility of bail. In order to accomplish this, the constitutions of many states would have to be changed to eliminate the right to bail and replaced with a bi-polar system. If implemented, a person would automatically be released upon delivery to a jail, unless a prosecutor files a motion for preventative detention. That is, if he or she can prove by clear and convincing evidence that the individual is a flight risk or danger to the community. This would be the procedure in every single case.
conditions of bail are per se more restrictive than posting a financial condition of bail, whether it be a cash, property, or surety bond. Unfortunately, while correctional technology has improved leaps and bounds in the criminal justice system over the years, the standard has not been revised accordingly. Indeed, it can be reasonably argued that monitoring someoneâ€™s blood chemistry is more restrictive than a posting of a financial condition of bail, which in most cases is provided for free by a third party.
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failed to prove a danger or flight risk by clear and convincing evidence, defendants would then be released. This constitutional amendment became operational on January 1, 2017. During this same period, New Jersey contracted with the Laura and John Arnold Foundation to employ what is known as the Public Safety Assessment, a risk algorithm used to determine whether an individual gets detained, and, if not, what conditions of bail they would face upon release. New Mexico decided to follow the lead of New Jersey in 2016. It changed its constitution and moved to what was intended to be a hybrid version of the current system and the New Jersey system. There would still be some financial conditions of bail set, but the actual use of such bails would be dramatically reduced. In the summer of 2017, Justice Charles Daniels of the New Mexico Supreme Court drafted court rules that implemented the no-money bail system in the state. Throughout this past year, we saw numerous states, including Arizona, California, Connecticut, Ohio, and Texas, informed by the same third generation of bail reformers, issue reports that read exactly the same as one another. Each one called for a move to the federal or New Jersey systems. So now, with several years to reflect upon what has transpired, the time has come to ask the question: did it work? The answer is, we do not yet know. But there are significant reasons to suspect that the new system is too costly and will fail to deliver on the promises made.
In New Jersey, Acting Administrative Judge Glenn Grant has said that bail reform in his state will run a deficit by the summer of 2018. Because the program faces a structural deficit moving forward, he is calling on the legislature for a comprehensive overhaul of the funding of bail reform. Compounding the problem, county governments within the state have had to shoulder the massive burden of attempting to supervise defendants. The real problem in New Jersey is no one knows what the reforms will wind up costing. Christopher Porrino, the state Attorney General under Governor Christie, was ordered to conduct a study of the costs of the program and was unable to arrive at a figure. Rather, he attempted to shift away responsibility by stating that there was no way to know what the program would cost until it was fully implemented. Reformers point to the reduction in New Jersey's jail population as evidence that reforms have delivered. The problem with this argument is that the jail population dropped more on a percentage basis in the year prior to bail reform compared to what occurred in the first full year after its implementation. During that same time frame, there was a significant drop in the number of crimes for which individuals would have been arrested. Finally, New Jersey state courts, after a full year of bail reform, have absolutely no data on whether the system actually reduced failures to appear in court or whether it had any impact on new crimes committed while defendants were out on bail.
Opponents of bail reform have pointed to the federal systemâ€™s thirst for incarceration as a big reason not to crack open the door of preventative detention. Doing so, it has been argued would lead to abuse of the practice. Of course, that has already occurred. Since enactment of the Bail Reform Act of 1984, there has been a 303 percent increase in pretrial incarceration in the federal system. So what's going on in New Jersey? Prosecutors are now filing motions for preventative detention in 44 percent of all criminal cases. That is a staggering number. In one jurisdiction in the state, prosecutors are filing motions to detain in 87 percent of cases! As for the Public Safety Assessment recommendations, numerous horror stories are emerging that boggle the mind. In one instance, a criminal defendant named Jules Black was stopped for a traffic violation. He was a prior convicted felon with a rap sheet a mile long and was in possession of a firearm, which, of course, is prohibited for those with felony convictions. The Public Safety Assessment was run on Black and the result wasâ€Śhe was deemed not high enough risk to file a motion for preventative detention. Accordingly, he was released on a promise to appear. Two days later, he discharged 22 rounds into his neighbor, fatally wounding him. Then there was the case of Brittan Holland, who got into a bar fight over a pro football game. Unlike Black, the Public Safety Assessment recommended preventative detention of Holland, who ultimately managed
to dodge incarceration. He asked to be allowed to post bail but was denied the opportunity. He wound up facing such restrictions on his liberty that he was unable to take his son to baseball practice. Former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement sued New Jersey on Holland’s behalf, arguing that the federal Constitution guarantees the right to bail. Further, he contended that consideration of a financial condition of bail must be on a level playing field with all other conditions and cannot be placed "behind an emergency glass." The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit recently heard oral arguments in that case and a ruling is pending.
Prior to implementation of the New Jersey reforms, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation released its own study, arguing that its Public Safety Assessment tool is race and gender neutral. Yet, because the tool is proprietary, that evaluation was conducted behind a curtain and, therefore, of questionable value. George Mason School of Law professor Megan Stevenson conducted her own independent analysis of the Public Safety Assessment in Kentucky, which is also posited as a reformed jurisdiction. She reached the conclusion that after five years of using the tool, it did nothing to reduce racial disparities in the system. Instead, its use resulted in only a “trivial” decrease in jail populations. Crime while out on bail actually increased, as did failures to appear in court. New Mexico has not released any evidence, other than the continuing proclamations by its state Supreme Court that their new system is entirely better than the old system. Architects are typically the last group of people to argue that their designs are flawed and the same is true when it comes to reforms advocated by government agencies. As 2018 began, the forces behind the bail reform movement have
continued their efforts, using the same basic arguments in a number of states, including California, New York, Ohio and Florida. However, not since New Mexico and New Jersey implemented their controversial new laws has any other state chosen to follow their lead. Ms. Burdeen and the Pretrial Justice Institute have likened the third generation of bail reform to a runaway train—and they may not actually be far off with that assessment. However, the problem is that without delivering on the promises that have been made for the last half decade, it is highly likely that many jurisdictions in 2018 will take a very careful look at the situation as they go careening down a very bumpy track. They may choose to simply get off this runaway train before it derails and crashes into a ravine.
Jeff Clayton joined the American Bail Coalition as Policy Director in May 2015. He has worked in various capacities as a public policy and government relations professional for fifteen years and also as a licensed attorney for the past twelve years. Most recently, he worked as the General Counsel for the Professional Bail Agents of Colorado, in addition to serving other clients in legal, legislative, and policy matters. Jeff spent six years in government service, representing the Colorado State Courts and Probation Department, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, and the United States Secretary of Transportation. He is also a prior Presidential Management Fellow and Finalist for the U.S. Supreme Court fellows program. Mr. Clayton holds a B.B.A. from Baylor University, a M.S. (Public Policy) from the University of Rochester, N.Y., and a J.D. from the Sturm College of Law, University of Denver.
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Meanwhile, New Mexico’s new bail system is a total abysmal failure. The reason boils down to one simple thing: money. The state did not allocate a single dollar to its bail reforms because they were all driven by rules from the New Mexico Supreme Court. To illustrate the problem, while New Jersey is filing preventative detention motions in 44 percent of all cases, New Mexico is doing so in only 15 percent. New laws in New Mexico have meant that requiring security for release is no longer an option. Because of that, jails have turned into a revolving door for all but the worst of the worst. Practically speaking, this amounts to 5 percent of all those arrested being held in jail pending trial. This has caused community outrage, including calls by Governor Susana Martinez to repeal the new system due to the wave of crime it is causing in her state.
On the issue of reducing racial disparities in the system, there is no evidence whatsoever that it has worked in either New Jersey or New Mexico. New Jersey has no data on whether preventative detention is functioning in a raceneutral fashion.
NALS NEWS & UPDATES NALS ANNOUNCES 2019-2020 BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Results are in for the 2019-2020 NALS Board of Directors election. NALS extends a sincere congratulations to the newly-elected officers!
NEW CHAPTER GROUP ADMINISTRATOR APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS
Each year, the NALS Membership Services Department asks each chapter to submit their respective state or local rosters for group administrative permissions for your chapter board leadership. Each group administrator can manage their group and members of the group for chapter marketing purposes.
Find this article online at NALS.org/News
As of October 4, 2018, the plan is now in place. From here and into the future, the Chapter Officer Roster Form will no longer be the correct way to submit your chapter leaders to gain the proper administrative permissions.
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Find this article online at NALS.org/News
FIND YOUR NAME ONLINE AND SHARE!
As of Summer 2018, NALS Certification and Education Department will have moved all Certification Exams, Specialty Certificates, CLE Award, and Recertification recognitions online for you to share with friends and family! Visit NALS.org/CertRecogs for a full listing updated on the 15th day of each month.
NALS RESOURCE CENTER + NALS FOUNDATION ADDRESS CHANGE
Here is the lock box address for submitting payments to NALS Foundation. Any electronically-submitted donations will continue to be processed as they are currently through your NALS.org account.
Effective immediately, NALS Resource Center and NALS
Foundation have implemented mail procedures to further our goal of going fully virtual. This means that the NALS mailing address for general correspondence will be different than the address used to submit payments. Here is the lock box address for submitting ALL mailed payments to NALS. Any electronically-submitted payments will continue to be processed as they are currently through your NALS.org account. NALS Inc. Dept. # 170 PO BOX 701683 Tulsa, OK 74170
NALS Inc. Dept. # 172 PO BOX 701683 Tulsa, OK 74170 For general correspondence mail delivery, there is now a set PO Box that will be checked regularly. NALS Inc. PO Box 470348 Tulsa, OK 74147
PLEASE SEND ANY QUESTIONS TO NALS.ORG/CONTACT.
Every year the NALS Board of Directors is actively engaged in analyzing the challenges and opportunities for the association, identifying the high-impact legal industry trends or developments affecting the members, and strategically using the association resources to build member value.
Take an active role in leadership service. Participation on a NALS committee will enhance your personal goals and professional growth, give you a clearer understanding of the inner workings of NALS, and empower you to shape the future of NALS through your volunteerism.
• Do you have the ability to find leadership qualities in others? Consider the Leadership Identification Committee (LIC). This committee has two openings currently. • Are you a legal support professional with years of experience to qualify other legal support professionals through certification exams? Consider the Certifying Board. This committee has five openings. • Are you a legal support professional with years of experience to qualify other legal support professionals through mentorship and teaching online? Consider SAGEs (Someone who Assists, Guides, and Educates). This committee has several openings. You can do this for short-term or long-term. • Are you interested in finding vital partnerships with legal vendors and suppliers across the U.S.? Consider the Sponsorship Committee. This committee has three openings. • Are you interested in grammar, legal writing, legal education, and publications? Consider the Editorial + Marketing Board. This committee has several openings.
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This requires the need of a great team to join them as they continue to shape the future of NALS. That is where 'U' come in!
WE HAVE OPPORTUNITIES THAT FIT WHAT 'U' ARE INTERESTED IN!
n, By Chere B. Estri Staffing CEO of Estrin Legal
Take the Next Step! Visit Careers.NALS.org to find the legal support career path that fits you! CONNECT THE DOTS
When you work as a Virtual Legal Assistant, you can choose to work as an employee or you can set up your own business. There are pros and cons to each arrangement. When you work as an employee, you don't have to invest any money up front or find your own clients, but your pay rate, work hours, and how you work will be more restricted. When you work as an entrepreneur, you face other challenges. Over in Decatur, Georgia, Katrina Johnson sits back in her chair and smiles broadly. Her eyes are bright as she recounts her success story as a Virtual Legal Assistant and starting her business: ABC Virtual Assistant Services. (ABCVirtualAssistantServices.com) “I am a 40-year-old single mom with a profound passion to help others fulfill their entrepreneurial dreams. My purpose is to help those who have the desire and idea but lack the knowledge to get their business off the ground. I have worked in the legal field for approximately 15 years and have acquired a lot of knowledge that I don't mind sharing with others to get them on the road to becoming their own boss.”
“The idea for my business was birthed back in 2016 but was halted when my father fell ill and my mother needed my support and assistance in caring for him. While my father's health was failing, he was and still is my biggest cheerleader. I shared my idea with him before his health got critical. He was excited at the idea of me working for myself, which made me want to move things along faster. I lost my Dad in February 2017 and decided that once I was financially able, I would pull the trigger on starting my business. That day came to pass in January 2018 and I have not looked back since the start of my business.” Going into business was a longtime desire. Her childhood was not an easy path. “I grew up in East Lake Meadows, one of the harshest and most crime-ridden government housing developments, formerly in Atlanta, Georgia; the housing project has since been revamped,” she says. “I decided one day that I wanted to be a go-to person for small businesses. I figured since I had been so successful working with other small business over the years, it seemed like a no brainer to go into business for myself, aiding smaller businesses or start ups. I felt like I had a plethora of knowledge, patience, and attention to detail, all things I feel are imperative in running and operating a small business. I decided that I wanted more control of my time. I did not want to go back to school, so after much research and critical thinking, the field of virtual assistance found me.” What does it take to become a Virtual Legal Assistant? “I have worked as a Personal Injury Paralegal, a Real Estate Closer/Pre-Closer, Administrative Assistant, and Data
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Wow! Someone with the talent, knowledge, and expertise to help newcomers reach new heights along a new career journey. Talking to Katrina, you have to wonder how she started her successful Virtual Legal Assistant business. Here is a motivated, talented woman succeeding in a hot new cottage industry.
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Entry Clerk,” she says, “and also for a very small time, a cashier at AutoZone. I researched this specialty thoroughly on Google before entering.”
put myself in a situation where my clients handle the meat and I take care of the sides, giving them an opportunity to focus of the product or service they are selling.”
As with many paralegals, no one really says, “When I grow up, I want to be a paralegal.” That is like saying, “When I grow up, I want to be an actuary.” So, what did Kristina think she would be when she first started out? “I always felt like I was destined for a grander purpose and I felt by deciding to venture out onto the entrepreneurial playing field, the worst-case scenario was, I failed. In my many years, I have culminated the ideal that failure is a part of the path to success and that if I don't try, nothing happens.”
What does she dislike the most? Ah, the consummate politically correct answer: “The only thing that I dislike is that there are only 24 hours in a day. My clients are awesome!!”
There are ups and downs in any career. What is the most interesting aspect of her job? “The most interesting thing about my job is that I get to meet phenomenal people with their eyes set on their passion. I get to be in on the ground floor of someone's lifelong dream coming to fruition and that is a feeling for which I do not have words.” While the Virtual Legal Assistant handles many different and diversified assignments, helping clients to succeed is one of the primary high points of the career. “I am presently in negotiations with a client who desires to start a staffing service. I have helped her, on a preliminary basis, by engaging in a bit of research on her target market, her competition, and her Secretary of State licensing information,” she says. “I feel that a lot of people lose their desire to start their own business because of the "hindrance" called administrative tasks. While I understand that, that should not be a deterrent. I like to
A critical strategy for Virtual Legal Assistants is to continuously analyze the growth pattern of the business. “I am satisfied with where things are. Along with the clients I have now, I am looking forward to obtaining more. With the use of craigslist.org and word-of-mouth, I anticipate that I will be getting more clients very soon. At present, I am serving three clients, two attorneys and a small business on the horizon from the ground up. Because I only started my business in January 2018, I have already excelled past my original goal of getting at least one client within the first 6 months.” Planning the future is an important strategy. “In the future, I would like to move into doing some business consultations where I am brought in to advise a business on how they can operate more efficiently, less costly, and how to generate more revenue.” The career is not without its challenges. Katrina’s biggest challenge is juggling being a full time Mom. “It can be a bit challenging,” she says, “but Mom is my most important role and I make it work. I make it work well.” Katrina is sensible about starting a Virtual Legal Assistant business. “Starting my business has not
been costly at all. In fact, the most expensive thing I have paid for since I started my business is my credentials to start my business. I used Legal Zoom and I've already seen what I paid Legal Zoom tenfold.” What advice does she have for someone getting into this arena? “Be patient, understanding, and steadfast. I love what I do and I can't wait to start the next chapter of Business Consultations.” Check Out Job Posting Websites Where do you find virtual assistant jobs? Whenever you are working as a virtual assistant, you are going to have to find virtual assistant jobs for yourself. Thankfully, this is something that you can do online if you know where to look. There are a lot of free job listing websites that will list virtual assistant jobs. This may not be the best way to find a Virtual Legal Assistant job as few seem to be listed. However, a good, diligent search will uncover several. Many of the jobs that you will find on these websites are small, short jobs that need to be done quickly. While this can be a great way to build up your skills and get your name out there, these jobs are not going to pay you a lot of money. Be careful that a number of these websites charge a small fee. This fee will either need to be paid whenever you get the job or once the job has been completed. There are many websites set up for finding virtual assistant jobs. However, there are none strictly for Virtual Legal Assistants. These websites are seeking Virtual Assistants already set up in their own businesses to join with them.
Here are just a few you can explore and register your new business or apply as a Virtual Legal Assistant: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
247VirtualAssistant.com AssistantMatch.com BelaySolutions.com VaVaVirtual.com PeoplePerHour.com FancyHands.com Freelancer.com FlexJobs.com Guru.com RedButler.com TimeEtc.com UAssistMe.com Upwork.com VirtualAssistUSA.com VirtualStaffFinder.com Zirtual.com
Create a Website
Ask for Referrals Make sure that you communicate with your clients. Remember, it is different whenever you work from home because your "boss" cannot see you hard at work. It is important to make sure that you respond to your client's emails and phone calls promptly. By doing so, you will create trust, put your client at ease, and show that you really are a competent online Virtual Legal Assistant. Make sure that you provide high quality work and meet all critical deadlines. Whenever you know that you have done these things and that your client is a happy camper, ask them
Network It is important to join at least three networking groups, either online or in person, because no one will know that your business exists unless you get the word out. You can find these groups on Google. Network with paralegal associations, bar associations, and other related organizations such as the ALA - Association of Legal Administrators. Get on Facebook and LinkedIn. Find related groups who can use your services. Think in terms of hanging out where attorneys and hiring authorities are most likely to be found. Spend Time Marketing Yourself Make sure to consistently market your virtual legal assistant business. Find websites that will allow your resume to be viewed by numerous businesses. While these websites may charge you a small fee, this can be a great option because it will allow serious long-term employers to find you. Utilize social media. If you don’t know how, find someone who can show you. Check Out Other Businesses' Websites Take time to look at other businesses' websites. Many will tell you if they are looking for a virtual assistant. You are going to need to be patient whenever you are looking for online Virtual Legal Assistant jobs. In most instances, it may take between four to six months to land your first client.
In Conclusion Starting down the path to a new career can be fun, risky, and rewarding all at the same time. With the trend toward working from home growing by leaps and bounds every year, this new career can ultimately offer you a missing element from your present situation. Investigate and discover for yourself whether this journey is right for you. And who knows? Right here may be the magic career path you have ultimately been seeking!
Chere Estrin is the CEO of Estrin Legal Staffing. She is a former Paralegal Administrator at two major firms and a Los Angeles Paralegal Association Lifetime Achievement recipient. She previously held the position of Sr. Executive VP in a $5 billion staffing company. Chere is the CEO of the Paralegal Knowledge Institute and Co-Founding Member of the International Practice Management Association and The Organization of Legal Professionals. Chere has written ten books on legal careers. She has been written up in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Trib, Newsweek, Daily Journal, and other prestigious publications. She is a recipient of the Los Angeles/Century City Women of Achievement Award. Her blog, The Estrin Report, has been around since 2005. Reach out to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Earn 1 Hour of CLE with the
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In order to find a Virtual Legal Assistant job, you are going to first need to create a website. The website can simply list your qualifications, contact information, and payment terms and a list of what you can do including specialties. It doesn't have to be anything fancy or flashy but a simple, professional-looking website to help you obtain clients.
to give you a referral. This way, you will be able to help your business continue to expand.
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By Paula Steffey, PP, CLP-SC, CWCP
Legal support professionals strive to do their best and make themselves look good to their attorney, but how can a legal support professional make their attorney look good? The answer to this question will vary depending on the type of law your attorney is practicing, but there are some simple things you can do that donâ€™t relate to any specific type of law.
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Knowing what your attorney needs before he/she needs it. Attorneys don’t always think ahead or they may not pay attention to little details. If you know your attorney has a meeting scheduled, then one way you can help is by putting together a packet of the pertinent information that he or she will need for the meeting. If they go into a meeting prepared, then chances are the meeting will be more productive and possibly take less time. I once read that you may not be able to read your attorney’s mind, but you can at least anticipate their needs.
Keep your files organized. Yes, you should always keep your files in order, but that is not always realistic—especially if you are short staffed. One way to ensure your files are in order (when they need to be) is to look at your attorney’s schedule for the next day, pull the appropriate files, and make sure everything is filed appropriately. You should also look to see if there is outstanding information that has been requested of opposing counsel, the client, or a third party. If there is, then simply make a note so your attorney knows what needs to be addressed. This is something I strive to do each day and I know my boss appreciates it. I actually do this in the morning so that way I have all day to pull things together if need be for the next day.
Keep your attorney on schedule. This is very difficult some days, but it needs to be done. Many law offices have a messaging system where you can send them a reminder about 1015 minutes before their appointment arrives or before they need to leave for court. You can also go into their office and put the file on their desk and let them know that their client is expected shortly. If you work in litigation and your attorney needs to be in court, you should have the file ready for them to grab and go so they won’t be late because inevitably they will run behind some days. Of course, those are the days that there is likely to be a traffic jam or some other issue on the way to the courthouse so they will appreciate having the file in good order when they get to the courtroom.
Make their work look good. You would not want to send something out with your name on it that is filled with typographical errors, incorrect data, or just plain looking sloppy so why do you want your boss to send out a letter or document that looks like a child prepared it. You definitely want to pay
attention to detail. I realize that time may be of the essence and you need to get something done quickly, but if you don’t have time to do it right the first time, when are you going to find time to do it over. Just remember, if your boss looks good, then you look good.
Tell your attorney about mistakes before they find out. Telling your attorney you made a mistake is difficult, but it is better for them to know ahead of time so they can be mindful of what has happened and take the appropriate steps to correct the issue.
Open communication with your attorney. Open communication is essential to making your attorney look good. If you are transcribing a letter or document and something doesn’t make sense to you, then chances a r e
it may not make sense to the client, opposing counsel, or whomever it is directed to. Don’t be afraid to talk to your attorney. They don’t have time to send a second or third letter clarifying what they wanted to say in the first place, and besides if they have to send a clarifying letter that means they have already wasted time reading a letter asking them to clarify what they thought they said in the first place.
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Have complete copies of pertinent documents. Having worked in many areas of the law, I have found there are some very easy ways to help keep your attorney organized and looking good. One way is making sure you have complete copies of pertinent documents and/or complete details before you start working on the file. It will make your life so much easier later and make your attorney look efficient. A couple of examples are below: If your attorney handles landlordtenant law, make sure you have a copy of the lease or rental agreement at issue. If it is for collection of past due rent, make sure you have a complete and accurate rental ledger.
If your attorney handles estate planning, make sure you have the full legal name, social security number, and date of birth of the client. You will need the names and birthdates of any children. You would also want to make sure you have the complete names and addresses of the proposed power of attorney, patient advocate, personal representative, or trustee. If your attorney handles real estate matters and a client is selling their home, you would want to make sure you have a copy of the most recent recorded deed, legal description, and names and addresses of the buyers and sellers. If your attorney handles workers’ compensation matters, before an application for benefits could be filed you would need to know the name of the company where the person was injured, the date of injury, the names of any doctors who have treated them, and copies of any notices from the employer. Basically, if you do not have the information you need when you start working on a file, there is always the chance that you will forget to “fill in the blanks” later and something will be missed.
As you can see there is no right or wrong way to make your attorney look good. If you were in their shoes, what would you want your assistant to do? Taking pride in what you do will go a long way to making your attorney look good. If you are not sure how to do something or are interested in finding a better way, don’t forget that you can network with your very large NALS family and find a solution. Remember, we are #BetterTogether!
Paula Steffey, PP, CLP-SC, CWCP has been a member of NALS since 2014. She is currently the Certification Committee chair for NALS of Greater Kalamazoo in Michigan. She is also very active at the state level and is currently serving as the Certification Committee chair and Publications Committee chair for NALS of Michigan. At the national level she is on the Editorial + Marketing Board; Manuals Task Force; and S.A.G.E.S. Task Force. She also has a secondary membership with NALS of Phoenix. Outside of NALS she is a full-time legal assistant to attorney Garold A. Goidosik with Goidosik Morse Disability Law Group and has two other part-time jobs.
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What It Is and How it Affects Your World By Allison Streepey, B.A., CRS, CLP
Introduction The 92nd United States Congress enacted Title IX in 1972 as part of the Civil Rights Amendment. Its purpose is to protect faculty, staff, and students from discrimination at educational institutions that receive federal funding. Recently, Title IX has been interpreted broadly which makes it look like a law in development.1
This article describes a variety of the Title IX claims that have been in the news this year. While the original focus of Title IX was gender non-discrimination, lately it is more about sexual activity on and off of college campuses. These include Title IX claims from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill that span from 2013-2018, Michigan State University and the Larry Nasser Investigation, the University of Cincinnati asking if Title IX is about policing students, Cornell University questioning Title IX and retaliation, Ohio State University using Title IX and employee responsibility, and Northwestern University describing a Title IX claim that started in 2012 and described as an â€œendless trial.â€? All of these newsworthy events together make it appear as if the focus of Title IX protection has veered off the track of its original intent and the outcome of these claims could help further define the law. How do Title IX and these claims affect your world?
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Title IX – What It Is Title IX is designed to protect against gender discrimination of students, employees, and faculty. It is a law that applies to educational institutions and projects that receive federal funds—colleges, universities, elementary, and secondary institutions among others. Title IX is most visible in athletic programs but it is there for every student to have equal rights in regard to housing, student health, insurance, scholarships, counseling, educational equality, and other benefits. Title IX provides non-discrimination for recruitment, employment, admissions, counseling, financial aid, athletics, treatment of pregnant parents and students who are parents, discipline issues, sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, and retaliation.2 It also protects employees regarding the same issues. Every school must have a Title IX Coordinator and anyone may report a Title IX complaint and expect their identity to be confidential.3 The U.S. Department of Education’s (DOE) Office of Civil Rights (OCR) is responsible for enforcing Title IX laws and policies. Investigations of complaints is done through visits at any time to the universities or institutions to gather more information, including in-person interviews.4 Penalties for noncompliance with Title IX include removing the federal funding, paying damages and attorney’s fees, and the loss of reputation.5 Title IX has appeared recently in the news with many interpretations of claims within the bounds of
its description. Below are some actions that have happened recently.
Title IX In The News University of North Carolina Chapel Hill – Title IX from 2013-2018 An overhaul of Title IX policies and procedures started at the University of North Carolina (UNC) when five women filed a federal complaint in 2013 regarding poorly handled sexual assault cases at UNC. So far, the only resolution to this was to add new staff, policies, and procedures. The university has not claimed any responsibility through following Title IX law for what happened in 2013. However, at the end of June in 2018, UNC was found by the U.S. DOE’s Office of Civil Rights to have violated the Title IX law regarding gender discrimination. UNC will have to “review and revise its policies, collect data and provide reports to the government during the next year.” They will probably have more visits from OCR to “verify that UNC is complying with the law.”
Michigan State University Title IX Investigation of Larry Nassar Larry Nassar was the doctor for the U.S. Olympic Team and Michigan State University (MSU) until he was found guilty of sexual assault in 2018. Nassar pleaded guilty to only seven counts of criminal sexual conduct, after 150 women and girls testified against him in assaults spanning over two decades. He was sentenced on 10
counts and will spend 40-175 years in jail.6 Following this, the U.S. DOE launched an investigation into how Michigan State University handled the same kinds of claims against Larry Nassar.7 The DOE scheduled interviews with 48 current and former employees of MSU. Michigan State University has been under federal monitoring of a “sexually hostile environment on campus” since 2015. Michigan asked for release from federal monitoring in October 2017, but the Nassar case will keep the investigation and monitoring ongoing.
University of Cincinnati – is Title IX About Policing Students’ Behavior? Should universities police sexual activity on campus? This is a question asked about a “murky” University of Cincinnati case described as “mutually nonconsensual sex.”8 The event in this lawsuit is briefly described as “male and female student have a drunken hookup. He wakes up, terrified she’s going to file a sexual misconduct complaint, so he goes to the Title IX office and beats her to the punch. She is found guilty and suspended.” Title IX requires institutions to determine who the victim is. In this case, it looks like the University of Cincinnati is the victim because three employees and the university are being sued over this incident.
Cornell University - Title IX and Retaliation Cornell University’s Assistant Professor of Physics, Mukund Vengalattore, was denied tenure
when a student, “LA”, filed a Title IX complaint against him for sexual misconduct. Vengalattore is suing the university. One of the students Vengalattore was advising, PhD candidate Yogesh Patil, is being denied his doctoral degree because LA believes he set up a website to support Vengalattore. LA calls this “retaliation” and has filed a Title IX complaint against Patil too.9
Ohio State University – Title IX and Employee Responsibility Head football coach Urban Meyer of Ohio State University (OSU) was put on paid administrative leave while a university appointed special committee investigates a potential T itle IX complaint against him. This complaint alleges Meyer knew assistant coach Zach Smith was physically abusive to his wife and Meyer did not report it to the university. Zach Smith has been fired. The OSU special committee has to decide if Meyer knew about the abuse, when he knew it, and if he failed to report it to the OSU Title IX compliance officer, because then it is a violation. Along with the Title IX requirements, OSU requires in the athletic contracts that coaches
“Knowing” includes “reasonable cause to believe it is taking place or may have taken place.” Urban Meyer’s contract includes the responsibility for him to report on “himself, the assistant coaches, students or other persons under the direct control or supervision of Coach as determined by Ohio State.” Failing to report these kinds of instances could result in Coach Urban Meyer being fired “for cause.” He can also be fired for dishonesty, misrepresentation, fraud, or violence, or acts that reflect unfavorably on Ohio State’s reputation, among other offenses.11 Note: at this writing, Urban Meyer apologized to Courtney Smith and is suspended from the first three games with OSU.12
Northwestern University – Title IX and Opinions as Harassment In 2017, an article by professor
Jeannie Suk Gersen, Harvard Law School, in The New Yorker Magazine titled Laura Kipnis’s Endless Trial by Title IX reported that “Students and educators now live in a world where expressing an opinion about sexual harassment can be sincerely perceived as sexual harassment.”13 This article describes an ongoing Title IX case at Northwestern University (NU). The “endless trial” started in 2015 when professor Laura Kipnis wrote an article for The Chronicle of Higher Education about her opinion that sexual harassment on campus undermined the purpose of higher education: to teach students to think critically. Kipnis’ view in this article focused on how Title IX could be twisted to serve other purposes and said it was like a melodrama on campus. The article coincided with an actual Title IX sexual misconduct and assault complaint at NU by two students against professor Peter Ludlow. Mr. Ludlow resigned from the university following the Title IX investigation. The two students then filed a Title IX complaint against Kipnis calling the article “retaliation” and that it created a “hostile environment” on campus. Kipnis brought a professor friend as “support person” to her Title IX inquisition at NU. Later, that professor spoke to the university faculty senate in support of Kipnis and “academic freedom” [of speech]. That professor then received his own Title IX retaliation complaint. In 2016 Kipnis faced another Title IX investigation because she supported the professor who spoke to the faculty senate. Kipnis then wrote a second article
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A group of 19 law professors at Cornell have signed a letter to the university in protest of withholding Patil’s diploma saying that the website is public information about the Vengalattore case. The letter states “If Yogesh [Patil] is guilty of retaliation, then so is anyone who discusses Title IX proceedings at Cornell, even without identifying details.”10
must report “known violations” of OSU’s policy on sexual conduct. The contention here is that Zach Smith’s wife, Courtney Smith, reported this abuse to Urban Meyer’s wife in 2015 and implored her to tell Meyer because “We can’t have somebody like this coaching young men.” Like most universities, OSU’s school policy says that employees must report “sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, intimate violence and stalking” involving any student, faculty, or staff, whether it takes place on university property or at university-sponsored events—no matter the location. Meyer said he didn’t know about the abuse until right before Zach Smith was fired.
for The Chronicle about her Title IX inquisition pointing out that Title IX was used against her to call her unique opinion, which she called intellectual disagreement, retaliation. The same day, the university agreed with her that opinion was not retaliation and did not create a hostile environment on campus.
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In April 2017, Laura Kipnis wrote a book titled Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to 14 Campus. This book was about her experiences and some confidential records that Ludlow had given her from his Title IX loss. She wrote one chapter in support of Ludlow demonstrating, in her opinion, that he was falsely accused. In May 2017, a student at NU sued Laura Kipnis and the publisher, over what the student believed was her own portrayal in a chapter of Kipnis’s book. The chapter describes a relationship between a student and faculty member. The student felt that pseudonyms in the book are very close to the real names of the herself and Mr. Ludlow. The student feels her reputation is ruined because of the gossip and publicity about it and that the information in the book is personal and false. The student and others felt that Ms. Kipnis’s book and Mr. Ludlow’s story have caused a hostile environment on campus. This student has been called a “Serial Title IX-filer” because she has filed six Title IX complaints in just a few years, including two against Ludlow and two against Kipnis. Mr. Ludlow lost his job and then he sued the university and both students for defamation. This is a he-said-she-said case where the students say they were allegedly
“mentored” by the faculty member and later assaulted by him. Ludlow’s attorneys tried to show he was a victim of malicious female students. Ms. Kipnis’s book showed the relationships as consentual. Ms. Kipnis’s book and articles of her opinions have certainly contributed to debates on Title IX, since she was one academician who has been in her opinion “investigated and punished” for speaking her mind and then witnessing a “witch hunt” against her and Mr. Ludlow. Ultimately, Mr. Ludlow lost his job and reputation and Ms. Kipnis was exonerated. The “endless trial” has many extraneous opinions and publications which have muddied the real case here of the students and the professor.
help further define and polish Title IX to be used the way it should be used: for equality and protection against discrimination.
Title IX and How It Affects Your World Almost everyone could be covered by Title IX because of children in school, you or your children in college or in other educational institutions, and projects that receive federal funds. If not you, someone you know may be playing sports or participating in a national arts program, or employed by a school or university, a library, or museum. Title IX’s protection for many types of discrimination has recently focused on sexual harassment, which is akin to bullying. Recently Title IX has shined the light in the news on some difficult, ongoing situations at college campuses as well as showing us new ones, such as “who got there first?” and “is it harassment if you write about it?” All of this shows a law that can protect but has so many loopholes that it can also be abused. The resolution of these cases should
10. http://www.abajournal.com/news/ article/cornell_phd_title_ix_complaint 11. https://www.ajc.com/news/national/ what-title-and-what-does-have-withurban-meyer/7orgHCM66ZtRWJzVsRlQ N/?icmp=np_inform_variation-control 12. http://www.espn.com/college-football/ story/_/id/24467082/urban-meyerohio-state-buckeyes-issues-apologycourtney-smith 13. https://www.newyorker.com/news/ news-desk/laura-kipniss-endless-trialby-title-ix 14. https://www.chronicle.com/article/ Laura-Kipnis-Is-Sued-Over/240105
Start 2019 off on the right foot. . .
Join the NALS Foundation in this first annual event! Law and Odor 5k/10k is a great and FUN way for you and your legal friends to get together. You, or your team, can run (or walk!) anytime and anywhere,
Event Registration Deadline Extended to January 31, 2019. Submit Your Run Time by February 15, 2019.
even on a treadmill or on your breaks. All participants will be earning an awesome medal (pictured in the image above) while raising money to support the enhancement of the legal support profession.
Susan Mano, the inaugural winner of the Engage, Inspire, Enhance, and Promote Award for 2018
2018 ENGAGE INSPIRE ENHANCE PROMOTE
By Deborah Waters, CLP, FPR
The NALS Board of Directors is recognizing that NALS-dedicated members needed to be acknowledged for their work and endeavors that they perform for not only our association but for the legal community as a whole. Out of this realization, a new award was born.
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The award is given to acknowledge a member whose commitment to NALS embodies the NALS mission statement made up of four words: Engage, Inspire, Enhance, and Promote. A member who engages other legal professionals by inviting them to meetings and legal-related events; shares our association’s past, present, and future; and meets other legal professionals on their terms. A member who inspires others to be better members, to be better legal professionals, and encourages a desire to want more; and to be better members of their community as a whole. A member who promotes the association at all levels, which promotes the gold standard of legal ethics, legal education, and legal professionalism by encouraging respect for the law and administration of justice. A member who embodies all four words of our mission statement and is someone who is most deserving of the award. And the 2018 Engage Inspire Enhance Promote Award was awarded to Susan Mano at the NALS 67th Annual Education + Networking Conference in September 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. She was announced as the inaugural winner at the conference's Recognition Luncheon event.
Susan is a well-deserving recipient from Chesterbrook, Pennsylvania. She works for the firm Schwabenland & Ryan as a legal secretary/assistant/paralegal for the last 22 years. She is an active member by engaging in her state association, PA-NALS of Pennsylvania, as well as her local chapter, PA-NALS of Philadelphia. "NALS Pals, I am so honored to have received this inaugural award from my peers and friends of this great association. I cannot thank you enough. And as I have said before many times, I have not gotten to where I am today without this association. I have made so many friends who have always encouraged me along the way." says Mano. Susan thinks of herself as a little technically challenged, shy, and public speaking is still hard for her. But because of NALS, she has grown in so many ways. In 1990 she took a chance when she became a member of NALS and attended her first meeting in Philadelphia. She never thought she would ever be an officer or run for president and years later it led to state president. She also has served as state treasurer, membership chair, and is the current co-education chair, as well as many others. Susan felt she was not a joiner and more of a behind-the-scenes person, but that has undoubtedly changed since NALS has taken her to the next level of her life in being a leader and given her the confidence to be a public speaker.
“I hope other members and nonmembers will also take the challenge of becoming a leader of their local or state chapters. It is gratifying. I love this association.” By attending educational conferences on the local, state, and national levels of NALS has helped Susan tremendously in her work. Her boss knows that if she cannot find something online or in a rulebook, she can contact her NALS friends anywhere and get results. Her goal in 2019 is to pass the PLS exam. "Thanks again for this great honor and award," says Mano. And Susan, thank you for being so dedicated and inspiring others to Engage, Inspire, Enhance, and Promote.
NALS Foundation Event By NALS Foundation Trustees The NALS Foundation Trustees invited NALS 67th Annual Networking + Education Conference guests to an evening of throwback to their Prom!
Kerry Waldrop (SC) and Tara Brown, PP, PLS, SC Certified Paralegal (SC) RS Sandy Lavender, CH r, rte Ca ie arc M d an (AZ) PP, PLS-SC (OR)
Kathy Adams, PP, PLS (GA) and Lesli e Keys, PP, CLP (GA) Nakia Bradley-Lawson (OR) and Carl Morrison, PP-SC, RP, AACP (NV)
Myria Ross (MI) an d Kathy Sieckman, PP PLSSC, ACP (AZ)
All Hail! King Lesli e Keys, PP, CLP fro m Georgia and Queen Sandy Lavender, CHRS fro m Arizona. All prom king and queen nominees ra ised almost $11,000 for the NA LS Foundation.
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There was everything from awkward photo booth moments, dancing to pop music from various decades, and the crowning of a King and Queen to top off the night. A delicious buffet-style dinner was served at this event and many guests participated fully by dressing in their Prom formal wear.
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