Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Paralegal Profile: Mariana Fradman

Paralegal Profile: Marianna Fradman, a real estate paralegal for 14 years with Blank Rome LLP in New York, New York answers my Thirteen Questions.

Mariana has my full respect for her accomplishments and the odds she has overcome. She and her husband and daughter emigrated from Ukraine in 1992. Although she had an engineering degree, her education was not enough to do that work in the US. Fortunately, she chose to study to be a paralegal. The rest is history.

When she joined the New York City Paralegal Association (NYCPA), she created a mentor program and then became a Board Member in 2008. That same year she was selected to be a member of the Advisory Board of the Institute of Paralegal Studies, SCPS, New York University...and in September 2009 assumed the presidency of NYCPA. Be sure to read her answers to the Thirteen Questions. She has great insight into the paralegal profession.

1. Where do you work and what is your job title? I am a real estate paralegal in New York, New York. I have been a paralegal for fourteen years. Before Blank Rome LLP, I was a real estate paralegal at Fried Frank LLP.

2. What prompted you to choose a paralegal career? I didn't choose my career as a paralegal. The profession 'chose' me. After arriving to the country, I was on a crossroad of what to do. My prior education was not enough to start to work in NYC and I was lost and torn between decisions.

In 1992, the majority of immigrants went to computer related programs or took classes in the medical fields. None of those were my choices.

A friend of mine gave me advice to open a job section of any local newspaper, closing eyes and pick an ad. He said that I should start to take classes related to the profession I picked and in a year I would know if the pick was a 'lucky one' or if I want something else. His point was that by taking my mind from 'what' I would have chance to settle and look around. As he put it 'you would buy a time'.

I did not follow his suggestion step by step, but went to a nearby college and picked the first brochure I saw in the admissions office. It was about paralegal profession. The line that stroked me was that by 2000 where would be 140% increase in paralegals. My thought was "Ok, at least, I have an advantage of a second language and some research skills." I started to take classes and fell in love with the field.

3. What is your favorite part of your job? I enjoy every part of my job. However, the best elements are having a high degree of responsibility and ability to work independently.

4. What professional associations do you belong to? I am a member of the New York City Paralegal Association, Inc. (NYCPA) and National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA). Currently, I am a President of NYCPA and Mentor Program Chairperson. I am also a member of the Advisory Board of the Institute of Paralegal Studies, School of Continuing and Professional Studies, New York University.

5. How has your membership benefited you? There are many benefits from my membership, including, but not limited to continued education -- this is absolutely a must for our profession and I was able to attend different seminars that where provided through the association; networking -- in the past three years, I met more people than I met during my whole carrier as a paralegal; professional growth -- NYCPA provides me with opportunities for professional growth and development. In addition, as a representative of NYCPA, I have spoken before paralegal student audiences at several paralegal schools.

6. Do you have any professional certifications? No. However, I am looking into PACE, the NFPA Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam.

7. What has been the highlight of your career? It is hard to highlight one single event in my career. I believe that there are a series of accomplishments that have led me to where I am now:

* I was honored to accept a graduation 'diploma' on behalf of my class when I was graduating with my AAS in Legal Studies;

* I was hired as a legal assistant during my internship with Goldberg Sager & Associates;

* I received a number of Achievement Awards and Certificates of Appreciation while in school. My most precious one is The Brooklyn Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project's Certificate of Appreciation.

* Upon my completion of my BS degree in Legal Studies and after internship with the Corporate and Real Estate Departments at Fried Frank LLP, I was hired as a real estate paralegal;

* I joined the great team of Blank Rome LLP attorneys and paralegals in September 2003;

* Upon joining NYCPA, I was asked to create a mentor program. I became its chairperson and a Board Member in April 2008;

* I was selected to be a member of the Advisory Board of the Institute of Paralegal Studies, SCPS, New York University, in May 2008;

* In September 2009, I was elected as a President of NYCPA.
8. What do you see as hot trends in the paralegal industry? E-discovery and Virtual Paralegals. Both of them show that our dependence on technology will only increase and we need to keep our knowledge of technology up to date.

9. Have you dipped your toes in the social media waters? I tried Facebook and Twitter, but didn't like any of them. I am a big supporter of LinkedIn and in addition to my profile (, I manage NYCPA's discussion group. I also contribute to other discussion groups I belong to on LinkedIn.

I believe that LinkedIn is a great tool for research, connections and professional growth. I joined a number of discussion groups and found a lot of information from questions and answers posted as well as articles shared by other participants that benefit my association and me. You are holding yourself back if you are not joining professional social media sites, but simply joining is not enough. You need to be active, 'visible' and contribute to your groups.

10. If someone contemplating a paralegal career asked you for career advice, what would your answer be? If you are ready for a change, this field is for you. Be ready for a continued education. Never stop learning. Understand that your first job won't be your 'dream job', but will be your stepping stone. Join your local paralegal association and take an active role in it. bono opportunities are a great tool to learn new skills and give back to the community.

11. Is there a quote that inspires you? Life is truly a boomerang. What you give, you get back.~Dale Carnegie

12. You've enjoyed a successful paralegal career. To what single event or person do you attribute that success? There are a number of people who contributed to my success as a paralegal. The list begins with the faculty of the Legal Studies Department at New York City College of Technology where I shaped my future as a paralegal. It continued with many great mentors I met during my carrier. I am sure that I will meet many more in the future as well.

13. What is the most important step a paralegal can take to keep his or her career interesting? Continue your education--never stop learning--never be satisfied with what you know; embrace change; believe in yourself!

Bonus--just for fun facts:

My husband, daughter and I arrived to the United States in January 1992. Today, I am a proud mother of three (two girls and a boy) and a grandma of two precious grandchildren. I have a four-year-old granddaughter and 20-month-old grandson.

Paralegal is my second profession. I was trained as a mechanical engineer and have BS in Engineering and Technology. I have 13 years of experience as an engineer, but don't regret that I never pursued it after I arrived.

My favorite hobby is knitting. I learned to knit in middle school. I tried my hands on different projects and, as per my family and friends, was very successful. My last project was a baby blanket for a friend of mine. Knitting helps me to relax and think.

Have you ever had to fake an accent? I don't have to (laugh)...I have one! I came from Ukraine at the age of 30. The professionals say that unless you have a musical ear, you can't lose your accent after age 16. I don't have a musical ear!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Breaking News: Case Decision = Positive Impact on Paralegal Fees

During my paralegal career, I've witnessed several court decisions that have had a positive impact on the issue of paralegal fees, including Missouri v Jenkins and Richlin v Chertoff. I was privileged to be present at the US Supreme Court on the day the Richlin case was argued.

Now there's another case that you can put in your 'Paralegal Fees' arsenal:


Case No. 1D10-0565.

In this case, the Court found "that the Circuit Court did not depart from essential requirements of law in affirming county court order awarding attorney fees and costs to parties prevailing in PIP cases and, further, that there is no clearly established law prohibiting application of multiplier to paralegal fees that are included as part of attorney's fee award. Section 57.104 clearly supports inclusion of paralegal fees as attorney fees."

The Respondents cite section 57.104, Florida Statutes, which provides:

In any action in which attorney's fees are to be determined or awarded by the court, the court shall consider, amont other things, time and labor of any legal assistants who contributed nonclerical, meaningful legal support to the matter involved and who are working under the supervision of an attorney.
The important impact of decisions such as this cannot be overstated. When any Court regognizes the value of attorney utilization of paralegal services as a cost efficient way to deliver paralegal services...and that paralegal time should be billed the same as other professional staff, it is one more boost in the recognition of the valuable roles paralegals play in the legal arena.

Follow this link to access this decision.

Source: 35 Fls. L. Weekly D1438a and

Paralegal Ethics: Important eDiscovery Lessons

A couple of articles written by blogger Laura J. Tyson at E-Lessons Learned caught my attention I as I'm preparing to present my brand new ethics course on Thursday, July 1st. More information about the course (Advanced Ethics: Complex Issues for Attorneys and Paralegals) is available at this link.

First, in Learn a Lesson from Smuckers: Preserve Those Blackberries': "When the court orders your client to preserve data, don’t let employees wipe their BlackBerrys® before turning them in. A wiped BlackBerry® smartphone could translate into “bad faith” and might just induce a court to impose spoliation sanctions." The cite for this case is Southeastern Mech. Servs. v. Brody, No. 8:08-CV-1151, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 85430 (M.D. Fla. Aug. 31, 2009).

Another is "The Dog Ate It," "We Didn't Know About That Shared Directory," and More Great eDiscovery Excuses" at this link The lesson: If your client is under an agreement to produce specific custodians' documents by a specific deadline, make sure you know all physical locations each custodian might save documents, INCLUDING a shared file directory on a server. The court will not be impressed by your attempts to use, in support of your motions, documents produced late; and the excuse that you were unaware of a shared directory of a named custodian is no excuse for filing to produce responsive documents found on that directory." The cite: Wixon v Wyndham Resort Corp., 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 86337 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 21, 2009.

There's one more interesting article: Livescribe Smart Pen: That, Too, Is Discoverable in Litigation! at the Best Practices Construction Law blog, author Matt DeVries expressed caution "when recording any attorney-client conferences, as well as meetings with consultants and testifying experts."

One thing is clear: eDiscovery is a broad and confusing area that paralegals are learning more about every day. The importance of looking for evidence on mobile devices is stressed, as is the importance of preserving those mobile devices when the evidence may be needed in litigation.

The ethics lesson here is to be very careful how you use these mobile devices...your iPhone, Blackberry...and even that Livescribe Smart Pen...because you could be creating secrets you would not want to be discovered. Think about restricting your use of these devices so that you preserve the confidences and secrets of your well as your integrity.

Monday, June 28, 2010

My Trip Around the Sun: Day 14

Saturday, June 26th...

Today's quote:
When you feel like giving up,
remember why you held on for so long in the first place.

There was a marathon in Charlevoix today so approximately 1300 runners passed by our house. That brought back many memories of the marathons I've run (a total of 12) and what an accomplishment it was to train for and finish the 26.2 mile distance. There's a lesson to be learned here: you choose a goal, you figure out how you're going to reach it, and then you put one foot in front of the other until you reach it. And on your way to your goal, you don't give up.

For dinner I made a 'tried and true' recipe that we've enjoyed for 20 years and it was just as good as ever: Flank Steak Teriyaki. This is just the best meat to do on the is always done just right and it's always tender. I've tried other marinade recipes, but this is the best...and it's so easy:

Flank Steak Teriyaki

3 lb flank steak, top quality

1/4 cup sherry or vinegar (I use sherry)

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup olive oil

1 or 2 cloves garlic, slivered

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger.

Trim excess fat from steak. Score both sides by cutting 1/4" deep diagonal slashes. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over steak. Marinate at least 1 hour. Broil quickly in preheated broiler 3" from the heat for 3-5 minutes. Turn and broil 5 minutes more to give a well browned surface with rare interior. Slice with sharp knife into diagonal slices. Serves 6.

Note: The Don always grills this meat for approximately the same amount of time called for above.
We rounded out this meal with a baked potato and fresh asparagus (sauteed with a bit of butter and then fresh lemon juice squeezed over)...and for dessert had strawberry shortcake topped with real whipped cream. The strawberries were from Kiteley's Farm Market...really sweet and yummy.

Needless to say, we were stuffed!

Florida Paralegal Re-appointed CLA Liaison to Bar Section

The Florida Bar's General Practice Solo and Small Firm Section as their CLA Liaison and paralegal representative for the 2010-2011 term.

According to information that appeared at, she was nominated at the Florida Bar's annual convention on June 25th in Boca Raton. This is her 16th consecutive year with the section.

Horn has her CP designation from NALA and is a Florida registered paralegal with extensive experience in assisting attorneys in the preparation of their clients' personal injury and civil litigation cases.

She is a resident of Vero Beach where she is an active member of the Treasure Coast Chapter of the Paralegal Association of Florida. She is also a licensed realtor and VP of Trips with the Vero Beach Ski Club (and is a VBSC trip leader for the Florida Ski Council's snow ski trip to Snowmass, Colo., in March 2011).

Congratulations, Priscilla!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Regulation of the Paralegal Profession: NFPA Says YES!

The latest edition of The Paralegal Voice, "Regulation of the Paralegal Profession - NFPA Says "Yes," co-hosted by Lynne DeVenny and me, is now available at Legal Talk Network.

We welcome National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) leaders, Georgette Lovelace, RP and Tracey L. Young, RP. They talk about the benefits NFPA provides to its members, NFPA's position on regulation of the paralegal profession and its upcoming convention. These experienced paralegals also offer advice to listeners considering a paralegal career.

In this episode:
  • NFPA history and goals

  • Member benefits

  • NFPA's position on regulation and how it can help the paralegal profession

  • Joint conference held in Washington, DC

  • Upcoming annual convention in October 2010

  • Advice for listeners considering a paralegal career

  • The potential impact of social media on your career

Page URL:

Internet resources referenced in the podcast:
National Federation Paralegal Associations (NFPA),

NFPA's Model Act for Paralegal Licensure, clenbr=795

Model Plan for Regulation, http:/

2010 NFPA Regulation Conference (and much more information about regulation),

Upcoming NFPA events, including 2010 Annual Convention October 7-10, 2010 in Cherry Hill, NJ,

The Paralegal Voice also thanks its sponsors: TERIS, Westlaw Deposition Services, and the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA).

If you enjoyed The Paralegal Voice, please share the link to the podcast with your friends and colleagues.

Do you have a request for a future show or a question for us? You are welcome to contact us at

Friday, June 25, 2010

My Trip Around the Sun: Day 13

Today's Quote:
For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.~Lily Tomlin

This quote says a lot about the day I've had...there was a 'to do' list a mile long and I crossed off only a couple of things. To say I put 'slow' in my day is an understatement.

Slow feels good sometimes, though, and it feels especially good that the 'couple of things' I managed to cross off my list had been there for a while and it was frustrating that I couldn't get to them.

One thing that took its toll on my 'to do' list was the need to spend a couple of hours at my office...on a day when I wasn't supposed to be there at all. There was some mail that absolutely had to get to the post office and notices that needed to make the newspaper's publication deadline. Of course, once I got to the office people kept popping in to ask me to do things for them. Serves me right for going in...but then, again, I had responsibilities and they had to be met.

The lesson to be learned from today is to not be concerned about getting a whole list of errands and chores crossed off. Just do what really needs to be done and handle your responsibilities the best you can. The rest will take care of itself.

Christina Koch Nominated for AAJ Paralegal of the Year

Congratulations to Christina L. Koch, ACP who was nominated for the 2010 American Association for Justice (AAJ) Paralegal of the Year Award!
"This award honors an AAJ paralegal affiliate member who demonstrates commitment to the profession and dedication to AAJ's mission. Christi has been a paralegal affiliate member with AAJ since 2002.

"Christi has been a plaintiff litigation paralegal with Inserra & Kelley for eight years. In addition to her paralegal degree, she holds a bachelor's degree in business management, has attained her certified paralegal designation and advanced paralegal certifiecation from the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) in Trial Practice, Automobile Accidents, Workers' Compensation, Premises Liability , Wrongful Death, Intentional Torts, and Products Liability.

"She completed NALA's Leadership Enhancement and Preparation (LEAP) program in 2008. In that same year, she was honored in the Paralegal Superstar calendar by Paralegal Gateway and was recently appointed by Paralegal Gateway as the Nebraska State Representative.

"Christi was a seminar instructor at the Trial Practice Institute in Las Vegas NV in 2008 and has been a seminar instructor at many local and national seminars. She is the founder of the Nebraska Paralegal list serve and has written articles for several national legal publications, as well as Inserra & Kelley's website and blog.

"Linda Whipple, the 2009 AAJ Paralegal of the Year, said "Being a nominee for [this honor] is the pinnacle award for a plaintiff paralegal. There are literally thousands of paralegals in the country and abroad who are deserving of this award, but understanding what it means to be nominated for this award, no paralegal is more deserving this year than Christina Koch. Her outstanding achievements, her dedication to her work, her clients and her colleagues is reflected in everything she does. It was my honor and pleasure to nominate her and I wish her the best."

It was also MY honor to team up with Christi to present 'Trial Notebook Techniques and Strategies: How to Create the Ultimate Trial Notebook'. That course is available online at or by following this link.

Congratulations, Christi!

Source: The Daily Record

Thursday, June 24, 2010

My Trip Around the Sun: Day 12

Today's Quote:
Many people will walk in and out of your life,
but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.
~Eleanor Roosevelt

It appears I should spend some time at Free Online Typing Games to try to decrease my typing errors.

Today's In-Between Issue of Paralegal Strategies was launched into cyberspace around 4:00. There was a lot of news and it seemed to take longer than usual. Even though I work ahead on each issue, last minute rounding up all the pictures and nailing down the links can be time consuming.

Even as careful as I try to be, though, it seems there is always some mistake and today was no exception.

So, to set the record straight, here's the correct information about the participation of members of the North Carolina Paralegal Association (NCPA) in the 2010 Triangle Race for the cure:

The North Carolina Paralegal Association (NCPA) formed a team to participate on June 12th in the 2010 Triangle Race for the Cure and raised $1000 for this worthy cause.

In this picture (from left): Patti Foster Clapper, ACP, Alyssa Mozingo, Crystal Robinson, NCSB/CP, and Lynne DeVenny Craig, NCCP.

The Komen NC Triangle Race for the Cure® raises significant funds and awareness for the fight against breast cancer, celebrates breast cancer survivorship, and honors those who have lost their battle with the disease. The first race was held 13 years ago and has grown so that it attracts more than 25,000 people annually and is recognized as the largest 5K in North Carolina. Good job, NCPA!

By the way, there really are some fun things to do at!

Hana Tarin, CLA Named KCPA Member of the Year

The Kern County Paralegal Association (KCPA) has announced the recipient of the 2009-2010 Outstanding Member of the Year: Hana Tarin, CLA.

Hana was selected for this honor by the Board of Directors for her dedication to KCPA community affairs and pro bono/teen court.

Having worked in the legal field since 1994, Hana is employed by Chain Cohn Stileswhere she exclusively handles all areas of the client's medical, insurance, loss of earnings, and other special needs.

In 1994, Hana graduated from San Joaquin Valley College with her legal secretary certificate. In 2000, she completed the Attorney Assistant Program through California State University, Bakersfield. In May 2003, Hana obtained the national designation of Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) from NALA. This designation requires intense studying months prior to the examination, and further requires many hours of continuing education credit to maintain the designation.

Hana has also obtained her Attorney Assistant Certificate in Worker's Compensation Law. In addition to civil litigation, she has experience in family law, bankruptcy and probate.

She is currently serving on the KCPA Board as the Pro Bono/Teen Court chair. She is also a member of the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA).

Hana is married with two boys that keep her very busy. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and watching movies.

Congratulations, Hana!

~~~~~~~~~ Thanks to Barbara Haubrich, ACP/CAS for providing this information.

Lou Stoker, ACP Named KCPA Paralegal of the Year

Alberta “Lou” Stoker, ACP has been named Paralegal of the Year by the Kern County Paralegal Association (KCPA).

Lou was born in Wichita Falls, Texas but moved, at the age of 5, to Bakersfield, CA. She received her Associate of Arts degree from Bakersfield College, later returning to Cal State Bakersfield to obtain a certificate in Legal Assistance. In February 2004, Ms. Stoker obtained the designation of Certified Legal Assistant by passing the national certification examination offered by NALA.

Her career in the legal field began in 1977. She has worked for the law firm of Chain Cohn Stiles for more than 25 years where she assists Paul Welchans, Esq. Lou has assisted Mr. Welchans in obtaining a number of multi-million dollar verdicts, including a trial for a 78 year-old night watchman struck by a car in a darkened parking lot. In addition to having assisted in the larger damage cases, she oversees a personal injury caseload consisting of almost every manner of personal injury claims.

Mr. Welchans has has high praise for Lou:

“During the time that I have known Lou, she has continuously endeavored to improve her paralegal skills. She began her career as a legal secretary and, through diligent study and applied practical experience, has become a Certified Legal Assistant with an Advanced Paralegal Certification in discovery.

“Ms. Stoker has participated in all aspects of personal injury litigation from initial client interview through discovery, including trial preparation in matters ranging from the mundane motor vehicle collision to complex products litigation. Lou has personally been responsible for the preparation and administration of more than 10 appellate matters. In short, she has extensively participated in virtually every aspect of litigation practice.

“While Lou’s commitment to the profession is deserving of recognition, her greatest strength lies in her unfailing devotion to the needs of our clients. Lou is the embodiment of empathy particularly for clients who have sustained grievous losses.”
Ms. Stoker is a member of the Kern County Paralegal Association, is a licensed Notary Public and is involved in the publication of the Chain-Link newsletter. She has a variety of interests outside of work, including being an active member of a local church, tennis, bicycling, roller-blading, reading, amateur photography, keeping up with local, state and national political issues, working out at the gym and, at every opportunity, travelling to different areas of the country.

Congratulations, Lou!

~~~~~~~~~ Thanks to Barbara Haubrich, ACP/CAS for providing this information.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My Trip Around the Sun: Day 11

Today's Quote:
There is no substitute for excellence - not even success.
~Thomas Boswell

It rained most of the day today. I happen to love rainy days but it was nice when the sun peeked out around 8pm so I could go for a walk.

When I got home from my walk, I took a few minutes to spray the Geraniums and Phlox with Liquid Fence. I use Liquid Fence because I'm at war with the blasted deer that roam our neighborhood, even though we're well within the city limits. They sneak in for their nightly meal of Geraniums and Hostas...and practically anything else green. There's not much out there that they don't like.

It's really disheartening to spend so much time and money to have some color during our short growing season (basically from Memorial Day to Labor Day), just to wake up one morning to find everything wiped out by Bambi and his mother.

I once went to the Garden Store and told the clerk to either sell me a gun or sell me some Liquid Fence. He had no guns to sell me so you know what I came home with....besides, I wouldn't know what to do with a gun anyway and would probably just hurt myself!

Here's a fact for you: Liquid Fence stinks to high heaven...wherever high heaven is. That must be a Southern saying because my mother, Aggie, used it all the time. Aggie was born in Montana but quickly picked up Southern euphemisms when she moved to Texas to marry my dad.

In case you've never been introduced to Liquid Fence, it's a deer and rabbit repellent manufactured by (of course) the Liquid Fence Company of Brodheadsville, Pennsylvania. Wikipedia (if it's there, it must be true, right?) says the population of Brodheadsville is around 2,000. No wonder! If all of Brodheadsville smells like Liquid Fence, I understand why very few people would live there. Their flowers probably grow well, though, because they most likely have no deer in Brodheadsville!

Liquid Fence isn't inexpensive. It costs just under $20 for a quart-sized spray bottle. To save money once, I bought a gallon of concentrate that had to be mixed with water and poured into the spray bottle. That was a huge mistake! It's not nice to walk around smelling like Liquid Fence! Although I never had any deer try to munch on me...

Why does it stink? The label assures customers that it's 'All natural, long lasting ... and will stop deer and rabbits from eating your flowers, shrubs, vegetable plants, trees and vines. And rest assured, it won’t harm your plants or animals!' The label also refers to garlic and whole egg...that's got to be what's so icky...garlic and whole egg (inedible according to the label) ferment in Brodheadsville!

I've tried all kinds of solutions to the deer problem (human hair, Irish Spring soap, etc), but none seem to work like Liquid Fence. So I'll just keep waging my war and hope that I can hold Bambi off long enough for the Phlox to bloom.

Tell me, how do you keep the critters away?
No food pictures tonight! I cooked two days in a row and that was enough mess for me. Instead, The Don and I headed for the Villager Pub for their Wednesday night special: all you can eat Spaghetti. It's really good...and someone else does the dishes!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

My Trip Around the Sun: Day Ten

Today's Quote:
A goal properly set is halfway reached.~Zig Ziglar


Today was busy with work and also taping this month's episode of The Paralegal Voice with my co-host, Lynne DeVenny. The Paralegal Voice is produced by Legal Talk Network.
This month's guests were Georgette Lovelace, RP, President of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) and Tracy L. Young, RP, the association's Vice President & Director of Positions and Issues.
The replay should be available by the end of the week. Meanwhile, you'll want to go to Legal Talk Network to subscribe...or subscribe in the Podcast Directory of iTunes. This is a free resource you won't want to miss.


Lynne DeVenny says I'm doing great with My Trip Around the Sun...but that my posts make her hungry. Wait until she sees the picture of the new recipe I tried for dinner tonight! It was spectacular...and The Don rated it a "10". It' so good that you'll want the recipe so you can try it, too. Here goes:

Sun-Dried Tomato Crusted Chicken
Makes 4 Chicken Breasts
Total Time: 30 minutes (it took me longer!)

2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (8 oz each)

1 t. black pepper

1/2 t. kosher salt

2 cups bread crumbs (this is way too much)(I used canned dried Italian flavored bread crumbs...if you want to make your own, go for it!)
1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes , drained and sliced
4 large garlic cloves, peeled (couldn't use these...The Don doesn't like garlic and it's fine w/o)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs
2 T. Water
2 T. Olive Oil
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees

  2. Prepare breast halves by trimming fat. Slice each breast in half lengthwise; pound to 1/2" thick. Season with pepper and salt.

  3. Pulse bread crumbs, tomatoes and garlic in a food processor. Transfer to shallow dish.

  4. Place flour in a second shallow dish.

  5. Blend eggs and water with a fork in a third shallow dish.

  6. Dredge both sides of chicken in flour, then dip into egg mixture to coat. Transfer chicken to crumb mixture and pat onto both sides; place on a baking sheet or plate as you work.

  7. Heat oil in an ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Saute chicken 3 minutes, or until golden brown. Carefully flip chicken, then place pan in oven. Roast 8-10 minutes, or until cooked through

  8. Rest 5 minutes before serving

While the chicken is in the oven, make the Sunny Butter Sauce:

1 cup dry white wine

2 T. capers, crushed

2 T. fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup cold butter, thinly sliced

1/4 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained, sliced

1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

  1. Boil wine in a skillet (use the same one you used to brown the chicken) until reduced by half

  2. Add capers and lemon juice; boil 2 minute; reduce heat to low.

  3. Whisk in butter one piece at a time, stirring constantly as each melts, add another. Stir in tomatoes and parsley (tomatoes are added at the end to preserve their color)

Pour the Sunny Butter Sauce over the Chicken. Serve with rice or couscous and a vegetable. Enjoy!

(From Cuisine at home

Monday, June 21, 2010

My Trip Around the Sun: Day Nine

It's the Summer Solstice...the longest day and shortest night of the year. I so look forward to summer and feel a bit of a letdown when the first day of summer (today) arrives, only to herald shorter days that will be noticeable almost immediately. Just doesn't seem right.

On the other hand, the Peonies in my garden are blooming like crazy and their scent is heavenly. I've been able to pick huge bouquets for the porch and for the dining room. They're possibly my favorite flower...until the Hydrangeas bloom. I'm posting these pictures for my friend Kathy... who's now living in Florida and misses the warm days and cool nights we have here in Michigan. Perfect weather for sleeping and for growing Peonies.

One more thing made this day perfect: lunch at Stafford's Weathervane Restaurant with long time friend, Sue. The Weathervane has been the scene of many joyous celebrations, parties, and meetings over the years...Vince and Meredith's rehearsal dinner, my 'decade' birthday party, staff parties, etc. Today I had my usual Chicken Salad Croissant. It was just fun see Sue and to chat about our children, the good times we've shared, and what's going on in our lives.

Tell me...what makes your day perfect?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

My Trip Around the Sun: Day Eight

Today is the 100th celebration of Father's Day, honoring fathers and celebrating fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society. Father's Day is celebrated on the third Sunday of June in 55 countries and on other days elsewhere.

It occurred to me today that for much of my life I made sure my father and The Don's father were remembered on Father's Day. They are no longer with us but in their place are our son and our son-in-law...and, of course, The Don.

We keep our celebration simple: cards, a small gift and a nice dinner. Since it's summer and the weather has been wonderful, we were able to cook steaks on the grill and add some roasted vegetables on the side. A simple but really tasty meal.

As I did a bit of research about Father's Day, I was amazed that it was such a struggle to accomplish recognition of the day as a national holiday. It seems unbelievable that it took from 1910, the year of the first observance, to 1972 when President Nixon made it a permanent holiday. Here's the story:

The first observance of Father's Day is believed to have been held on June 19, 1910 through the efforts of Sonora Smart Dodd of Spokane, Washington, who wanted a celebration that honored fathers like her own father, William Smart, a Civil War veteran who was left to raise his family alone when his wife died giving birth to their sixth child.

During that first celebration, young members of the YMCA in Spokane went to church wearing roses: a red rose to honor a living father, and a white rose to honor a deceased one. Sonora Dodd traveled through the city in a horse-drawn carriage, carrying gifts to fathers confined indoors by illness.

It seems that the celebration of Mother's Day grew in popularity while a celebration of Father's Day stalled. A bill to give national recognition to the holiday was introduced in Congress in 1913. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson went to Spokane to speak at a Father's Day celebration and wanted to make it official, but Congress resisted.

US President Calvin Coolidge recommended in 1924 that the day be observed by the nation, but stopped short of issuing a national proclamation. Two earlier attempts to formally recognize the holiday had been defeated by Congress.

In 1957, Maine Senator Margaret Chase Smith wrote a proposal accusing Congress of ignoring fathers for 40 years. In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers, designating the third Sunday in June as Father's Day. Six years later, the day was made a permanent national holiday when President Richard Nixon signed it into law in 1972.

Happy Father's Day to all the fathers out there...but especially to The Don, Vince and Steve...thanks for all you do!

      Saturday, June 19, 2010

      Cynthia L. Lother, ACP Named 2010 Paralegal of the Year

      Cynthia L. Lowther, ACP was named 2010 Paralegal of the Year by the members of Legal Assistants/Paralegals of Southern West Virginia (LAPSWV) during the organization's Sixth Annual Seminar and Meeting held June 4th in Huntington, WV.

      Cindy attended the University of Charleston and has been a litigation paralegal for more than 19 years. She has been employed by Steptoe & Johnson PLLC in its Charleston office since May 2004, where she assists attorneys in the firm's environmental, regulatory, energy, and litigation departments, focusing primarily on mass litigation and toxic tort matters. Prior to joining the environmental/regulatory group in 2008, she focused primarily on medical malpractice and long-term care defense.

      Ms. Lowther received her Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) credentials in January 2006 and her Advanced Paralegal Certification in Discovery (ACP) in March 2007.

      Ms. Lowther has been an active member of LAPSWV since 2004. She has served as LAPSWV's Secretary (2005-2006), Second Vice President (07/2006-09/2006), First Vice President (09/2006-2008), and President (2008-2010). She is an active member of the National Association of Legal Assistants, Inc. (NALA), having served a three-year term on the association's Professional Development Committee, where she served, in addition to her other responsibilities, as a mentor to members of the Leadership Enhancement and Preparation (LEAP) program.

      She is also a CASA volunteer for Kanawha County CASA, Inc., a member of the Legal Assistants' Committee of The West Virginia State Bar, a paralegal member of The Defense Trial Counsel of West Virginia, and an Advisory Board member for the Junior College of West Virginia in Charleston.

      Congratulations, Cindy!

      The Paralegal Voice: Digital Evidence for Paralegals

      The latest edition of The Paralegal Voice, "Digital Evidence for Paralegals," co-hosted by Lynne DeVenny and me, is now available at Legal Talk Network.

      Our guest is Giovanni Masucci, a Sr. Digital Forensic Examiner and the CEO/President of National Digital Forensics, Inc., to explore digital forensics and evidence. We discuss the latest technology, including surprising sources of digital evidence, how paralegals can help identify digital evidence in cases, and how to prepare for digital forensics careers in litigation.

      In this episode:
      -The definition of digital forensics
      -Types of devices containing digital evidence
      -Types of cases which often involve digital evidence
      -How paralegals can help identify digital evidence
      -Basic steps for formulating an e-discovery plan
      -The role of a digital forensics company
      -Training and education for digital forensics careers
      Page URL:


      Internet resources referenced in the podcast:
      Evidence Technology Magazine

      Digital Forensic Investigator (DFI)

      Forensic Magazine

      Lexis Nexus (case references and e-discovery certification)

      Forensic Focus Blog

      Kroll Ontrack

      GPS Evidence Issues

      Electronic Discovery and Evidence

      National Digital Forensics, Inc.
      The Paralegal Voice also thanks its sponsors: TERIS, Westlaw Deposition Services, and the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA).

      Please share the link to the podcast with your friends and colleagues and if you have a request for a future show or a question for us, contact us at

      My Trip Around the Sun: Day Seven

      What can be better than a sunny summer day, some time to work in my garden, and then lunch with girlfriends? Almost nothing!

      Today I joined fellow members of 'The Group Formerly Known As' for lunch at Friske Orchards just South of Charlevoix.

      Let me first describe "The Group Formerly Known As". We were all long-time members of Beta Sigma Phi, an international sorority. We're 'former' members because we'd all reached a stage in our lives where we were no longer interested in belonging to a formal group...we were tired of dues, officers, meetings (in our homes, no less...that was work!), and projects. We didn't care if we sold another raffle ticket...ever! However, we so valued our friendship that we continue to get together informally once a month to do what we do best: EAT and TALK!

      Today we chose Friske Orchards , a three-generation family farm near Charlevoix that was established in 1962. Nearly all of the farm's 300 acres produces a large variety of apples, sweet and tart cherries, peaches, pears, plums, nectarines, strawberries, raspberries, and asparagus. Since it's Strawberry Season and I'm still celebrating my Birthday Month, I just had to order the Strawberry Shortcake for dessert. It was wonderful!

      Did you know that foods consumed during your Birthday Month have no calories? It's a fact!

      It was fun to catch up with what we'd been doing over the past month and just relax together. Of course we also have to that's when we decided to have our picture taken...I always knew I'd turn into a pumpkin some day!

      What do you do 'Just for Fun'??

      My Trip Around the Sun: Day Six

      I love music, though I really don't play any instruments. Of course I can identify most instruments...flute, clarinet, piccolo, oboe, trombone, trumpet, etc. My granddaughter, Sarah, plays the piano and guitar and she played the bass in her school orchestra.

      When The Don and I were in Australia last December, I took this picture of a man playing the Didgeridoo at Circular Quay in Sydney Harbor. Since we'd never heard (or heard of) a Didgeridoo, that was a new experience. While the Didgeridoo is an odd sound, it's not unpleasant. Even Crystal Bowersox sang the Beatles 'Come Together' accompanied by a Didgeridoo when she was competing on American Idol.

      The Didgeridoo originated on the northern coastline of central Australia. The characteristic feature is that the Didgeridoo, which is a slightly flaring wooden tube about 1.5 metres in length, is simply hollowed out by natural termites ("white ants") from the trunk of one of the small trees of the region. After the tree is cut down, the instrument is cleaned out with a stick, the outside is scraped and painted, and the blowing end smoothed by adding a rim of beeswax.

      Now along comes the Vuvuzela! I'm usually working at my computer in my home office while The Don is in the next room watching some hunting show, NASCAR race, or other sporting event. I couldn't figure out what on earth he was watching that included a constant, very annoying buzzing noise. As it turned out, fans were playing the Vevuzela (pronounced voo-voo-zella) at the the World Cup soccer games.

      The Vuvuzela is a horn South Africans play for 90 minutes at every football (soccer) game. You can follow this link to a video on YouTube called 'Vuvuzelas Explained' to find out why they're used...and why they're so annoying...even a danger to your hearing.

      While it's great to learn about other cultures, I can tell you that listening to the Vuvezela for 90 minutes is more than I can tolerate...either live or on television. This is one tradition they can keep in South Africa.

      Please tell me what you think of the Vuvuzela.

      Friday, June 18, 2010

      Pattie Chounard Named Connecticut Paralegal of the Year

      Congratulations to Pattie Chouinard! Pattie was awarded the Connecticut Aliance of Paralegal Associations (CCPA) first Connecticut Paralegal of the Year Award. CCPA is an affiliate of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA).

      A paralegal with Shipman and Goodwin, she received the award during the Connecticut Paralegal Day Celebration for her outstanding service and dedication to the paralegal profession, as well as her extensive contributions to the paralegal field, including

      • volunteering with CCPA and NFPA and authoring numerous articles for their publications;
      • mentoring paralegal students;
      • participating in pro bono and charity activities performed in connection with CCPA;
      • and continual commitment to advancing the paralegal profession through her dedication to providing excellence in client service.
      Paralegal Day was created in Connecticut 1994 and is celebrated on the first Friday of June each year. CCPA hosts the celebration with seminars, a luncheon, and guest speakers.


          12 Career Lessons I Learned From My Garden

          As I was working in my garden this past weekend...digging, weeding, planting and transplanting...I noticed the parallels between all the flowers and a paralegal career. There are lessons to be learned from the soil and the plants:

          1. A successful garden involves careful planning and consistent action, as well as dreams and anticipation. Gardens don't grow and flourish without a little help from a skillful, attentive gardener who thinks about what will grow best, plans for successful results, dreams of a bountiful harvest, and looks forward with anticipation to the good results. Your career requires the same planning for the future, dreams of what your career should look like, the knowledge that the steps you take today will impact your future, and consistent action to bring your dreams to fruition.

          All of the flowers of tomorrow are the seeds of yesterday.

          2. Regular maintenance is essential. Just as gardens require regular, ongoing maintenance such as weeding and feeding, so does your paralegal career. Your career's "regular, ongoing maintenance" should include continuing legal education, particularly ethics education, reading Lawyer's Weekly and your State Bar's publication so you're on top of case law and changes in court rules, and attending live meetings and conventions...for two purposes: learning and networking.

          3. The growing process can't be rushed. Every plant begins small and takes the season, sometimes several seasons, to reach its full potential. A paralegal career develops over time...and usually slowly... beginning with education, then a job, and then all of the experience and experiences necessary to reach your full potential. Be patient but be sure you working on your career growth every day.

          Growth takes time. Be patient. And while you're waiting, pull a weed.
          ~Emilie Barnes

          4. Put down roots. The deeper a plant's roots, the more stable it becomes and the more nutrients it can reach. Your paralegal career needs the roots you put down when you join local, state and national associations. Beyond joining, though, become involved and your "roots" will reach all the nutrients you need for career growth and satisfaction.

          5. Nourishment is required. Gardens need just the right amount of water and sunshine to nourish the plants. Your career also requires can't stop in your tracks once you get your first job or your career will wilt on the vine. Taking a certification examination is the best nourishment for your career. This will demonstrate your skills and expertise and set you apart from paralegals that fail to nourish their careers.

          6. Stretch! Tiny plants are drawn out of their comfort zone by the sunshine as they grow and thrive. Take the time to "stretch" in your career. If you stay in the same place forever, if you don't reach toward the sunshine and take a few chances, your career will be stale. Growth is good!

          Every gardener knows under the cloak of winter lies a miracle...
          a seed waiting to sprout, a bulb opening to light, a bud straining to unfurl.
          And the anticipation nurtures our dreams.
          ~Barbara Winkler

          7. Make the most of a difficult situation. Flowers deal with inclement weather, nasty weeds, poor soil, and persistent insects, yet they grow and flourish. Like flowers, paralegals may not always have ideal working conditions. There may be difficult co-workers, endless responsibilities, impossible deadlines, etc. To flourish in your career, end your arguments with reality and look for ways to deal with...and overcome...those difficult conditions and obstacles. When you do, your career will thrive and to grow.

          The fair-weather gardener, who will do nothing except when the wind
          and weather and everything else are favorable, is never master of his craft.
          ~ Henry Ellacomb

          8. Create a network. A single Daffodil doesn't attract much attention. A bed of Daffodils makes a dramatic statement. The same goes for paralegals. If you isolate yourself, you might think no one else understands your challenges or has the same issues as you. When you join other paralegals...either in person or'll impact the direction of both your career and the profession.

          9. Pay attention to your instincts. Plants seem to know when to grow and when to take a rest for the winter. Paralegals need to pay attention to their instincts so they recognize industry trends and hot specialty areas to position themselves to take advantage of change. Reviewing salary surveys, subscribing to legal blogs, and reading journals from professional associations, such as NALA's Facts & Findings, the NALS Docket, or NFPA's National Paralegal Reporter, can accomplish this.

          One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it provides.
          ~W.E. Johns, The Passing Show

          10. Transplanting can have big results. The Peonies in my garden grew so large that they were bursting out of their space so I moved them to a new area and they're thriving. Your career may need a 'transplant' to a new locale...either a new specialty area or even a new work that it continues to thrive. If there is no 'transplant', your career could become root bound and stop growing altogether.

          11. Sharing brings great rewards. When flowers and plants are shared with others, the joy is spread to many. When paralegals share their knowledge and expertise with their peers and with those who are new to the profession, they experience personal growth and they ensure the continued success of the profession.

          12. Perennials are committed to the long haul. There are two types of flowers: annuals and perennials. Annuals put on a show for one season but perennials return year after year and grow stronger over time. Paralegals who plan to be 'perennials' have vision and understand it takes time for a career to take root. They know that the steps they take today will impact their career tomorrow.

          Gardens require hard work, planning and constant attention. Ignore them and weeds will take over. Nurture them and you'll be rewarded with beautiful flowers. Your career is your garden. You have the talent and ability to survive and to thrive, to produce a career that is beautiful and satisfying. Will you choose flowers or weeds?

          The most noteworthy thing about gardeners is that they are
          always optimistic, always enterprising, and never satisfied.
          They always look forward to doing something better
          than they have ever done before.
          ~Vita Sackville-West

          ©2010 Vicki Voisin, Inc.

          Do you want to use this article in your newsletter, ezine or Web site? You can so long as you include this entire blurb with it: Vicki Voisin, "The Paralegal Mentor", delivers simple strategies for paralegals and other professionals to create success and satisfaction by achieving goals and determining the direction they will take their careers. Vicki spotlights resources, organizational tips, ethics issues, and other areas of continuing education to help paralegals and others reach their full potential. She publishes a weekly ezine titled Paralegal Strategies and co-hosts The Paralegal Voice, a monthly podcast produced by Legal Talk Network. More information is available at

          Thursday, June 17, 2010

          My Trip Around the Sun, Day Five

          June 16, 2010 Thursdays are always busy because it's 'ezine day'. I wish I could say that putting out the ezine is easy, that it practically writes itself, and that I have it ready and waiting to go first thing in the morning. Not so...instead I'm usually putting the finishing touches on everything and completing the feature article just in time to send it.

          In addition to the ezine, I finished packing a box for the soldier The Don and I have adopted. We joined Soldiers Angels ( as a way to support the military.

          Our soldier is Crystal and other than her name and address I know nothing about her. I'm just hoping she enjoys the goodies I've put together for's really difficult to do when you don't know the person or their likes and dislikes. Since we'll be sending at least one package a month for the length of Crystal's deployment, I'm hoping it gets easier to decide what to send. There are lots of ideas at the Soldiers Angels Web site and we've been assigned a mentor to answer any questions. That's all very helpful.

          The other thing on my mind is that Vince will be running the Chattanooga Mountain Stage Run this weekend. The race begins tomorrow (Friday) and consists of three phases: 22 miles on Friday, 18 miles on Saturday and 20 miles on Sunday.

          That's it for today...except for a quote from Stephen Covey's insightful book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:

          There is no real excellence in all this world
          which can be separated from right living.
          ~David Starr Jordan

          Wednesday, June 16, 2010

          My Trip Around the Sun: Day Four

          June 16, 2010: Today I attended the annual 'Women Can, Women Do' Spring Luncheon sponsored by the Women's Resource Center of Northern Michigan and held at Castle Farms.
          Since I served on the Board of the WRC for several years, I'm always happy to support their fundraisers. It performs an important service in our community.

          Castle Farms is a lovely venue! It encompasses the original farm built in 1918 by Albert Loeb, President of Sears, Roebuck, and Company. It was a model farm on which prize-winning livestock were raised, as well as where Mr. Loeb showcased the newest farm equipment sold through the Sears and Roebuck catalog. The buildings were designed based on the stone barns found in Normandy, France. You can read the entire history here. And, yes, this is the 'Loeb Family' of 'Loeb & Leopold' fame (or infamy!).Today Castle Farms is open year 'round for weddings and receptions, festivals and shows, corporate and social events, and castle and garden tours.

          'Women Can, Women Do' is a huge event with over 200 women attending. Each of the 30 tables has a different centerpiece/theme designed by a local decorator or business. For instance, Kilwin's Candy has a chocolate fountain in the middle of the table, another had a beach theme, and another had yellow roses. The table I sat was resplendent with daisies. While our table was nice, I did admit to a bit of 'Table Envy" when I saw that chocolate fountain (wouldn't 'table envy' have been a great theme for a Seinfeld episode?). I'll post more pictures of centerpieces on Facebook soon.

          Lunch started with this beautiful Lemon Fruit Salad served with baked scones, followed by Warm Roasted Chicken Galette and then Chocolate Mousse for dessert. It was all fantastic and the presentation was just lovely.

          This event is a success because Women's Resource Director Jan Mancinelli is an expert at using committees If I understand it correctly, there is a Chairman in charge of the entire event. Then there are various sub-committees that plan the invitations, menu, and solicit the table designers and the table captains. Each table captain recruits seven women for their table. Those seven bring their checkbooks...and voila! you have a successful fundraiser.

          I totally enjoy getting together with my friends at this event (here I am with my BFF Cheri who suggested that I post My Trip Around the Sun) ...and also doing my part to ensure the future of the valuable programs provided by the Women's Resource Center.

          Do you have a favorite fundraiser you like to attend?