Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Paralegal Voice: Ethics and Professionalism within the Paralegal Profession

The latest edition of The Paralegal Voice, "Ethics and Professionalism within the Paralegal Profession" co-hosted by Lynne DeVenny and me, is now available at Legal Talk Network.
In this episode, we welcome paralegal Camille Stell, Director of Client Services for Lawyers Mutual,
Camille provides ethics tips for paralegals, talks about how paralegals can assist attorneys with client communications, and discusses what paralegals can do to maintain the highest level of professionalism.
Also in this episode:
  1. Camille’s unique career path
  2. Risk management strategies paralegals can use every day
  3. Tips for dealing with difficult clients
  4. How to avoid UPL
  5. What projects a professional image - and what doesn’t
  6. Vicki and Lynne share practice and social media tips.
To download load this podcast to your MP3 player, follow this link:
 Lynne and I were excited to hear from William “Bill” Statsky, the author of many paralegal textbooks, who listened to this podcast right away and said, “Excellent interview. I took a lot of notes!”

The Paralegal Voice also thanks its sponsor: NALA...The Association of Paralegals and Legal Assistants.

Please share the links to this episode of The Paralegal Voice with your friends and colleagues. If you have a request for a future show, or a question for us, you are welcome to contact us at
 Also, you can make sure you never miss a podcast by subscribing to any Legal Talk Network show, including The Paralegal Voice, by using the RSS Feed links or iTunes links at

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Patricia DeRamus, CP, FRP Installed as PAF First VP

Congratulations to Patricia DeRamus, CP, FRP who was recently installed as First Vice President of the Paralegal Association of Florida, Inc. (PAF).

Patricia is a Florida Registered Paralegal and also has her NALA Advanced Certified Paralegal (ACP) designation. She served as PAF's Liaison to the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) Liaison before being installed as First Vice President.

She has more than 20 years of experience as a paralegal and has held many leadership roles in NALA, the Palm Beach County Bar Association, the Virginia Alliance of Paralegal Associations, and the Shenandoah Valley Paralegal Association. Currently, DeRamus serves on The Florida Bar Association’s Special Committee that is studying mandatory paralegal regulations.

Pat works with the law firm of Murray & Guari Trial Attorneys PL where she is a dedicated litigation paralegal involved in case management and trial preparation. She assists with managed care, catastrophic injury and products liability cases.

Pat attended Rutgers University and received her A.S. – Paralegal Studies from Palm Beach Community College, Miami, FL, in 1994.

Pat is a member of the National Association of Legal Assistants, Paralegal Association of Florida, Inc., and the Palm Beach County Bar Association.

The Paralegal Association of Florida, Inc. (PAF) was incorporated in 1976 and is a professional association of approximately 1,000 paralegals from around the State of Florida. Recognized throughout the state, PAF is dedicated to the promotion of the paralegal profession, including providing opportunities for members to: network with colleagues, attend continuing legal education events, attain certification in Florida law via the CFLA credential, attend CLA/CP Review courses offered by our local chapters and stay informed about events impacting the paralegal profession. To learn more about PAF visit their website at

Friday, May 20, 2011

Paralegal Profile: Anne Hughes, ACP, FCP, FRP

Anne Hughes, ACP, FCP, FRP, is a litigation paralegal with Roper & Roper, P.A. She specialized in transactional law and trial advocacy while getting her BA at the University of Central Florida. Her work has focused primarily on trial defense.

1. What prompted you to choose a paralegal career? I was actually a small business owner (medical transcriptionist) & had an injury that precluded constant typing. A very dear attorney friend of mine suggested I become a paralegal so I could work with her – so I did!

2. What is your favorite part of your job? My favorite part of my job is that although there is a foundation of stability (the process/the rules), every case and every day is a new and different challenge. “Never a dull moment”

3. What professional associations do you belong to? I am an associate member of the Orange County Bar Assn; a member of NALA; webmaster, Student Relations Committee Chair and Secretary of the Central Florida Paralegal Assn.; and a non-member registered paralegal with the Florida Bar Association.

4. How has your membership benefited you? Probably in the most obvious way on both personal and professional levels, being active in varying degrees in the volunteer associations has afforded me the ability to meet some inspiring and impressive people from which to learn.

5. What has been the highlight of your career? I have been very fortunate in that my career hit a high note right out of school and has grown steadily without too much of a rollercoaster aspect. I think that the highlight of my (paralegal) career is yet to come.

6. What do you see as hot trends in the paralegal industry? I cannot agree strongly enough with past participants in this survey that technology is one of the hottest trends in the legal industry as a whole.
Another trend, unfortunately (in my opinion), is outsourcing (para) legal work to overseas attorneys.
However, related specifically to paralegals, I think the hot trends are licensure and the recognition of “paralegal” as a professional career in the same vein as RNs, ARNPs, CRNAs, PAs are in the medical field.
7. If someone contemplating a paralegal career asked you for career advice, what would your answer be? Start by doing logic puzzles! Teach yourself to think in new ways, open your mind to new ideas and new perspectives. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and don’t settle for the most obvious answer. Get nosy and be curious but temper it with equal portions of caution and attention to detail.

8. Is there a quote that inspires you? Theodore Roosevelt said a lot of things I find inspiring, but of late my favorites are probably one of these two:
“The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary” – Vince Lombardi
“Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren't.” – Margaret Thatcher
9. You've enjoyed a successful paralegal career. To what single event or person do you attribute that success? There has been on one single event or person, but for direction, my dear, late friend who gave me the direction to paralegal school and my two daughters for giving me purpose to be successful.

10. What is the most important step a paralegal can take to keep his or her career interesting? I believe whole heartedly that volunteerism (local professional associations) and being active in the process (becoming a GAL, teen court, hearing officer) to continue legal education is key to keeping the job interesting.

11. What philosophy do you live by? Several, but this one is an old standard: Work hard, play hard, but, either way, try harder.

12. What sports teams are you passionate about? The Atlanta Braves and the BoSox - UF Gators - the Dolphins and the Bucs.

13. What websites do you visit daily? CNN, Yahoo/Gmail/webmail, Facebook (of late), my bank website and Google -- in that order.

Bonus Question: What's your favorite vacation getaway? The beach and/or the woods are nice but really anywhere the road takes me when friends are at the end! I love road trips and hangin' out with my friends.

NWFPA Celebrates 30th Anniversary

Elizabeth Miller, Michele Mertins, Kristine Hill
 The Northwest Florida Paralegal Association (NWFPA) recently celebrated thirty years of successfully serving the community and paralegals across the Florida panhandle providing service projects, continued education, and networking opportunities.

Established in 1981 by then local paralegal, Deb Becker, the association has grown and developed to its present membership of 128 area professionals.
“It was so gratifying to see the growth and progress of the organization over the years. You all should be very proud of what you have accomplished with membership, education, and reaching out to remote members via web streaming your programs. It was an honor to be invited to share this special evening with you,” stated Ms. Becker, an honored guest in attendance.
NWFPA members partied like it was 1981 at Vinyl Music Hall on Tuesday, April 12, 2011. The gala was well attended by representatives from the entire legal community. Guests included everyone from area judges to local vendors to area law students working on their networking skills.

Michael Larson, local owner of Pro Legal copies commented, “I had a great time. I think you all did a fantastic job putting that party together. The venue was awesome. The door prizes were great the food was excellent and everyone was having a good time.”

The Northwest Florida Paralegal Association was founded to encourage a high order of ethical and professional attainment, further education among members of the profession, establish good fellowship among society members and members of the legal community, and cooperate with the bar association.

Commenting on the value of the paralegal profession and the NWFPA, Deputy County Attorney, Charlie Peppler, of the Escambia County Attorney’s Office stated,
“A good paralegal can not guarantee that a lawyer will win a case, but the good paralegal will always guarantee that the lawyer has done his or her utmost in representing a client. Recognizing the skills and temperament of those paralegals who are members of the NWFPA is a joy and a privilege. Thanks for the opportunity.”
More information about the NWFPA can be found at their website located at

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Roxanne Crouch, ACP Named MPA 2011 Paralegal of the Year.

Roxanne Couch ACP (left) with Susan Randolph, CLA, NCCP
who nominated Roxanne for this award.
 The Metrolina Paralegal Association (“MPA”) has announced that Roxanne Crouch, ACP has been named its 2011 Paralegal of the Year.

The MPA Paralegal of the Year Award is given to a paralegal who exhibits a commitment to professionalism and to the advancement of the legal community. The paralegal must also be a member in good standing of the MPA.

Ms. Crouch is the Assistant Vice President, Sales Support Manager (formerly Contracts Administrator II) at BB&T Governmental Finance.

 Ms. Crouch is described as the “go to” person when complicated loan issues need special attention. She has a strong work ethic and is dedicated to “doing the job right the first time.” She is a mentor to the contract administrators in her office. Furthermore, Ms. Crouch sought to challenge herself by studying for and attaining advanced certification in Contracts Administration and Management through the National Association of Legal Assistants.

In addition to her invaluable work at BB&T, Ms. Crouch has served in several leadership roles in MPA including Patron Chair and most recently, as Treasurer.

Congratulations, Roxanne!

Paralegal Profile: Penelope Long, ACP - San Diego, CA

Penelope Long, ACP answers my Thirteen Questions this week. Penelope is the owner of PeneLegal, ( a freelance paralegal business based in San Diego.

Penelope has her CP and ACP from NALA and is currently working on her Intellectual Property Certification at the University of California San Diego. She also has a degree in political science from the University of Nevada Las Vegas and a paralegal certificate from USD.
You're going to say "WOW!" when you read about the highlight of her career! Penelope also shares 3 items she'd want if she were stranded on a deserted island, her favorite websites, with whom she'd have dinner if she could -- very touching! -- as well as some very valuable tips for making the most of your paralegal career. Thanks, Penelope!


1.    What prompted you to choose a paralegal career?  My mother was one of the pioneer paralegals in the early1970s – before the term “paralegal” and when the role of the paralegal was more substantive.My mother was one of the pioneer paralegals in the early1970s – before the term “paralegal” and when the role of the paralegal was more substantive.

She went to court with her attorneys and did library research – all the fun stuff that most of today’s paralegals don’t experience. I thought about attending law school at one point, but my LSAT scores were just average.

2. What is your favorite part of your job? As a successful freelance paralegal, I have a diverse group of clients for whom I work mostly from my home office. I love the variety of work – from document review, investigative research and writing to interviewing witnesses. The freedom to choose the work and for whom I work is truly the best part.

 3. What professional associations do you belong to? NALA, NFPA ; I’m on the board of USD’s Alumni Association.

4. How has your membership benefited you? I enjoy the news magazines and NALA provides many educational programs.

5. What has been the highlight of your career? My long career has provided many highlights, but two events come to mind:

First, traveling throughout Southeast Asia (Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Taipei and Borneo) doing witness interviews was truly a once –in-a-lifetime experience.

Second, I am in the process of e-publishing my book: Freelancing to Freedom: A Guide for Paralegals. Look for it soon via my website!

6. What do you see as hot trends in the paralegal industry? With the advances in technology and bio-research, intellectual property transactional paralegals are in demand. Freelancing is also lucrative in today’s economy. I turn down so much work, I know there is a demand for experience contract paralegals. I also believe more and more paralegals are obtaining advanced certifications.

7. If someone contemplating a paralegal career asked you for career advice, what would your answer be? To increase your chances in today’s economy, set yourself apart by obtaining advanced certifications – whether through NALA, or other paralegal organizations. Ask questions, take on new challenges. Don’t settle for pushing paper. Use your education! Never stop learning!

8. Is there a quote that inspires you? You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. Wayne Gretsky.

9. You've enjoyed a successful paralegal career. To what single event or person do you attribute that success? First and foremost, myself. I have pushed myself to learn and to set and reach goals.

Second and very important, my mentor, Mark Nadeau. Mr. Nadeau, now the managing litigation partner for DLA Piper’s Phoenix office, knew how to fully utilize his paralegals. Working for him was a career-changing experience and he took me to superstardom.

10. What is the most important step a paralegal can take to keep his or her career interesting? Never stop learning. Set goals and focus until you reach them.

11. What was your first job? I worked part-time in the law library while looking for a full-time job. It was a good move. I met my next two employers there!

12. What is your favorite Web site? Probably (or

13. What three items would you want if you were stranded on a desert island? A Kindle, a lighter or a huge box of matches, and Smart Phone.

Bonus Question: You've been given the chance to have dinner with anyone living or dead. Who is it? My deceased father. I miss him!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Help Wanted: Would you like to be profiled in a paralegal textbook?

Charlsye Smith Diaz, PhD and I have teamed up to co-author a paralegal textbook that will be published by Pearson/Prentice Hall.

The book will focus on building a successful paralegal career. It is nearly finished and now we need your help. Our goal is to profile several paralegals and paralegal managers throughout the book. The paralegals should have less than 5 years of experience. There are no restrictions for the paralegal managers.

We need to get this wrapped up in the next 10 days so we'll be asking for a quick response. Also, participants will have to provide a professional photo to accompany their profile.

If you are interested and meet the criteria -- or know someone who would be perfect for this -- please contact Vicki at for more details.

Here's what we're looking for:

1. A paralegal with at least one year experience who is changing careers.

2. A paralegal with at least one year experience for whom this is a first career.

3. A paralegal who has recently finished an internship and a paralegal manager/hiring manager who will discuss the qualities of a good intern.

4. A paralegal who used networking or social networking to land a job.

5. A paralegal who has a fabulous portfolio. What does it include? How was it presented?

6.  A paralegal manager/hiring manager who discusses how resumes are narrowed.

7.  A paralegal manager/hiring manager who will discuss what they look for in a cover letter

8.  A paralegal manager/hiring manager who can identify a quality they like to see in interviewees.

9.  A hiring manager who will discuss the qualities of a good new employee

10. A paralegal who will talk about staying on top of technology trends, even if the law firm lags behind.

11. A paralegal who has a great tip for organizing time.

12. A paralegal who has a great tip for organizing office space.

13. A paralegal who reluctantly said yes to something and is happy that she did.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Ethics Tip: It's the Client's Property -- Seven Important Points to Remember

The American Bar Association's Model Rule 1.15 addresses the attorney's ethical obligation to keep a client's property safe. That obligation includes:
  • Keeping the property or funds separate from the lawyer's property and in a safe place, such as a separate bank account, a safe deposit box, or a fireproof safe .
  • Keeping accurate and complete records of the client's funds and property (rules regarding the records to be kept vary from state to state)
  • Promptly notifying the client when property or funds are received
  • Promptly delivering the property to the client when entitled
  • Providing a full accounting of the property upon the client's request
The client's property (cash or otherwise) is not to be commingled with the law firm's general operating account(s). Violation of this rule, even if there is no harm to the client, may result in the attorney being disciplined. There may be other ramifications such as criminal charges and civil litigation.

Paralegals who tamper with clients' funds cannot be disciplined but may face criminal charges and may be sued in civil court. Don't forget the part about losing your job and your certification(s).

This is a serious issue. Here are seven important points you must remember when handling the client's money or other property:

1. 'Fees paid in advance' are not to be confused with 'retainer fees.' Advanced fees are usually requested to ensure the attorney's fees and costs will be paid. These fees are never deposited in the firm's general account. Instead, they are deposited in the client trust account and may be withdrawn only as fees are earned or expenses are paid. The fees are considered 'earned' when they are billed. Any unearned advanced fees are to be refunded to the client.

2. A 'retainer fee' is a flat amount that is paid for a specific period of time, such as monthly. Retainer fees are paid to guarantee that the attorney will be available for whatever work has to be done during the specified period of time. The retainer fee belongs to the attorney whether or not the attorney does work that would earn payment of the fee. These fees are not returned to the client, regardless of the amount of work done on the client's behalf.

3. Any funds received by the attorney but still belonging to the client, are deposited in the law firm's trust account. The trust account is a separate account from the attorney's general operating account. It is maintained in the state where the attorney's office is located. The two accounts are never commingled, even if there is no harm to the client.

For instance, it is unethical to "borrow" funds from the trust account to buy new office furniture or cover payroll, even if the money can be returned to the trust account before it is missed.

4. The client trust account may also be called the IOLTA Account. This is the Interest on Lawyers' Trust Account program. The supreme courts or legislatures of all 50 states have established these programs so that the interest on the attorney's trust account is forwarded to the State Bar to provide legal services for low-income citizens.

5. States are divided on the issue of paying unearned fees by credit card. The ABA approves the use of credit cards for payment of earned fees. Those fees may be deposited directly into the firm's operating account.

It has been suggested that payments for unearned fees (remember that these funds still belong to the client and must be treated as such) may not be made to a credit card account that is used for the firm's general operating funds. (See Arizona Ethics Opinion 08-01 and Michigan RI-344 for examples).

It would probably be best if attorneys maintain two credit card merchant for earned legal fees and costs and a second for advance fees and expenses.
6. Some states allow nonlawyers to sign trust account checks. The rule varies from state to state. Whatever the rule, the attorney remains responsible for any mistakes or theft of funds from the account. It is important that the attorney reviews all trust account transactions each month. The attorney is ultimately accountable for the safekeeping of the client's funds. Nonlawyers can be prosecuted for mishandling the funds.

7. Trust account records must be maintained for a specific amount of time. According to ABA Model Rule 1.5, the attorney must keep records of trust account funds and other property for five years after representation of the client ends. This time period varies from state to state.

Your challenge: Review the Model Rules and Ethics Opinions in your state so that you understand the rules that apply to your firm's handling of client funds and property. While the attorney will be disciplined if errors are made, paralegals and other members of the attorney's support staff could be subject to criminal or civil penalties. Your firm should have a system in place to ensure that its clients' funds and property are handled properly and ethically.


© 2011 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 setting 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 Paralegal Strategies, a weekly enewsletter for paralegals and co-hosts The Paralegal Voice, a monthly podcast produced by Legal Talk Network.

More information is available at where subscribers receive Vicki's 151 Tips for Your Career Success.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Michigan Guardianship Association: Does Your Office Need an Intervention?

The Michigan Guardianship Association is gathering for its 22nd Annual Spring Conference at the Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City, Michigan May 12-13, 2011.

I've been invited to present "Does Your Office Need an Intervention?" to these wonderful, caring people who, like many of the rest of us, just "get too busy to get organized".

In addition to tips for better time management, some of the important questions I'll be answering include:
  • Where do you start when only a big dumpster will solve your program?
  • What about the paper?
  • What about interruptions?
  • What's the secret to planning for deadlines?
  • What's the secret to capturing more time and writing time entries that demonstrate value?
Much like other folks in the legal profession, Guardians have to keep track of their time and submit bills, usually to the court. I've been told that they only do this ONCE A YEAR! I don't know about you, but that would lead to big trouble for me -- monthly is tough enough.

Many of them also work from home offices where it's easy to let the piles of files and paper grow since no one else is looking.

It will be fun to share my ideas with this group and put them on the path to a more organized life that will, in turn, provide a more relaxed life.

See you May 12th!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Carl Morrison, PP, AACP: Medical Evidence Practice for Paralegals

Attention Paralegals, Legal Assistants, Legal Secretaries and Other Legal Professionals!
Medical Evidence Practice: 
Dissecting a Med Mal Case from Start to Finish
Presented by
Vicki Voisin, ACP and Carl H. Morrison, PP, AACP
This 90-minute webinar will focus on everything a paralegal would do, or expect to do, in a med mal litigation case from beginning to end.
You will learn important steps for each phase of a med mal case:

The early phase:
  • What to include in a Petition.
  • How to draft a complete and comprehensive Answer.
  • Points to consider when drafting discovery requests and responses.
The discovery phase:
  • How to identify various sources of medical evidence.
  • Where and how to request the information and records you need.
  • What to do with the information and records you receive.
  • How to analyze and evaluate medical records; what to look for.
  • How to understand those medical records you're summarizing.
The trial phase:
  • How to prepare witnesses for examination under oath
  • Tips for preparing for trial: exhibits, witnesses, jurors and more.
Follow this link to learn more about Medical Evidence Practice: Dissecting a Med Mal Case from Start to Finish.

There's more!  CLE Credit:
  • this 90-minute webinar qualifies for 1.5 hours CLE
  • certificate of completion provided to registered attendees
  • course Delivery via telephone, Skype, or your computer ... your choice!
  • includes a comprehensive hand-out you'll refer to long after the course is completed.
You won't want to miss this outstanding, high-quality, high-content continuing education opportunity!

Thursday, May 5, 2011


Millie Tiffany is the owner of Paralegal Specialists, LLC. She was a litigation paralegal and case manager for a small law firm in beautiful Northeastern Pennsylvania for 22 years before venturing into the freelance/virtual world.

She has a certificate in Paralegal Studies from Penn State University and also attended Wilkes-Barre Business College. In addition to her paralegal work, Millie is a hiking enthusiast, a long time yoga practitioner, nature lover and Kahlil Gibran devote.

In this article, Millie provides some insight into the thought that must go into the establishment of a freelance/virtual paralegal business.


Before I decided to hang out my shingle as a freelance paralegal, I gave a great deal of thought to the areas of law in which I would specialize.

With 22 years of experience as a litigation paralegal specializing in Plaintiff Personal Injury, Medical Malpractice, Wrongful Death and Survival Actions, Estate Administration and complex PA Family Law, I had a many options available.

I analyzed the situation as I would any case laid before me. My strengths: writing expertise, analytical skills, effective and articulate communicator, people-person. My passions: writing creatively and making a difference in people's lives.

I loved closing the door of my office and getting immersed in the creation of a personal injury demand package. I elicited from the client those losses that don't show up in medical records. By the time an adjuster or opposing counsel finished reading my Recapitulation, Arbitration or Mediation Memorandum, he knew our client intimately and clearly understood the losses sustained, including the emotional impact on the client and spouse – for my skill is in humanizing the client while still producing a professional legal presentation.

I also put my creative writing skills to work in my Family Law specialization. An Emergency Petition for Custody clearly explained our client's frustration. A Pre-Trial Statement included a section on how each Alimony and Equitable Distribution factor related to the circumstances of the case, which, although not required under PA Rules of Civil Procedure, tends to impress the Master. A Petition for Special Relief was another opportunity to embellish a bit to get across to the judge the cold reality of the situation. My settlement proposals were known to bring difficult cases to completion, as my asset distribution and allocation of alimony are fashioned to appeal to both parties (if not totally satisfy either!).

In all of these situations, I was not only fulfilling my passion for creative writing, but also making a difference for people going through painful, life-altering situations, whether by obtaining a substantial settlement for someone whose life had been damaged through the fault of another, bringing a difficult divorce to conclusion, fashioning a custody schedule that was in the best interest of the child or simply calming clients and assisting them through the process. It is not necessary to work as a social worker to have a positive impact and make the world a better, kinder place in which to live.

I finally decided to concentrate on helping attorneys to maximize the value of their client's personal injury, medical malpractice or wrongful death and survival action claim through my creation of all-inclusive settlement demand packages. As I also thrive on all of the particular nuances of Family Law, I am providing complete support in that area as well. I am following my bliss!

To anyone contemplating entering the very demanding world of a freelance paralegal, I would suggest: To anyone contemplating entering the very demanding world of a freelance paralegal, I would suggest:

1. FOLLOW YOUR BLISS: Think long and hard about the area of law that you find most stimulating and the assignments that you most enjoy. Do you thrive on the pressure-filled environment of trial? Do you like the routine of document completion? This is YOUR business and you are now the decision-maker. Take advantage of that position and do what makes you happy.

2. RESEARCH THE MARKET: Are there attorneys not only interested in the services that you intend to provide, but also willing to pay for them? Is the market already saturated with freelance paralegals offering the same services?

3. MAKE SURE YOU CAN DELIVER: Even if there is an overwhelming need for the service that you wish to provide and you absolutely LOVE doing that kind of work, if you aren't REALLY good at it, your business will most definitely not survive. There will be no word-of-mouth referrals and no repeat attorney-clients, for when an attorney hires a freelance paralegal, an exemplary work-product that requires no revisions is expected. Keep in mind that you will have no one to turn to with questions. You must have a superior grasp of the area of law in which you intend to specialize.