Tips for Job Seekers and Employers:

For those of you seeking a dynamic new job:

Do not use a resume that is “one size fits all”. Tailor your resume to the job description. Employers will not imagine that you have had the right responsibilities for the job if it is not on the resume.

For those of you seeking a top candidate:

Don’t waste your time with what you think are “behavioral” questions such as: If you were an animal, what would you be? Or, who would you most like to have dinner with?” We are not psychologists and really, can you determine whether the candidate is great if they answer: “ I sure would love to be an porcupine?”

Recruiting Tip #2

For those of you seeking a fantastic new position:

Put your profile and current resume on LinkedIn and make sure it is up-to-date and matches your resume line for line. The first thing potential employers do is get the resume and then run to LinkedIn to see if it matches. If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, you are likely to be looked upon as behind the times.

For those of you seeking only the best candidates:

Once we get back to the office: Before the interview, observe the candidate in the lobby. Are they looking around to get a feel for the firm? Or, do they have their heads buried in a magazine and not observing what’s going on. You want candidates interested and motivated.

A bit of wisdom: You may not find the job or candidate in the time frame you want - but you will eventually find what you want. Patience.....

Are Paralegals Meant to Survive This Decade?


Is there a bright future for Paralegals?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics is out with their 2020 Occupational Outlook for Paralegals and Legal Assistants.

Bottom line – it’s not a bad time to be in, or to be getting into, a paralegal or legal assistant position*.

Consider these findings:

o Median annual pay is $51,750, compared with $39,800 for all occupations in the US.

o 80% of paralegals and legal assistants earn between $32-82,000.

o The federal government, finance, and insurance sectors pay the most, with a median income above $84,000 per year.

o Employment of paralegals and legal assistants is expected to grow by 10% over the next 10 years, much faster than the 4% for all occupations in the US economy.

States with the most paralegals are CA, FL, NY, TX, and IL. The highest pay for paralegals and legal assistants is in DC, CO, CA, MA, and WA.

Bottom line – it’s not a bad time to be in, or to be getting into, a paralegal or legal assistant position.

If you’d like to “just get away,” consider these top-paying non-metropolitan areas for paralegals and legal assistants:

o Alaska

o Northwest Colorado

o Central New Hampshire

o North Coast of California

o Hawaii/Kauai

Or, the non-metropolitan places where there are the most jobs:

● Kansas

● North Carolina Piedmont area

● Central Kentucky

● Southwest Montana

● Southeast coastal North Carolina

The life of the paralegal is not all rosy, of course; here are a few cautions:

o Stress – The American Bar Association has recently discussed stress as a significant issue for paralegals. Unfortunately, stress among paralegal staff is not as well addressed as attorney stress. Good tools, such as a cloud-based matter management system, can significantly reduce stress among paralegals, especially those expected to bill by the hour.

o Limited ceiling – you very likely never will be the boss of a law firm if you do not have a law degree.

o Respect - routine tasks like repetitive data entry, invoice preparation, entering client and billing information, filing, and document management often fall upon paralegals. A cloud-based document management system can virtually eliminate these repetitive tasks and increase the time you have for higher profile matters.

If you are considering an exit strategy, the US Department of Labor has identified related positions that do not require a JD degree that offer greater compensation, including claims adjusting, mediating and conciliation services.

In the meantime, you can build both your expertise and job satisfaction by becoming proficient in a cutting edge technology, and/or gaining a new certification. Whichever direction you’re headed, the future looks bright for the paralegal profession.

By Aline Martin O’Brien!

Aline Martin-O’Brien has a Masters in Theory and Practice of Procedural Law from the University of Paris: Panthéon–Sorbonne. After practicing as an attorney for many years, she now lives and writes in Florida for Smokeball.

Chere Estrin is the CEO  of Estrin Legal Staffing and MediSums, medical records summarizing.

Are you seeking a new position? Our client, a global law firm, is seeking an experienced Trusts & Estate Planning Paralegal for its Los Angeles. You will work with very high-wealth clients in high profile roles. The ideal candidate has at least 5 years experience in a law firm; BA and paralegal certificate. The salary is up to $135,000 with great benefits and stable environment in this COVID day and age. Send your resume to

The World is Temporarily Closed: Communication, Onsite Work and Pandemic Productivity

Pandemic1The following is one attorney's view of how the pandemic has affected his work. Not everyone is having the same experience. There are some very scary stories out there, lots of successes, too many halls of shame and finally, acceptance. Here is Ted Wells, litigation attorney in Los Angeles.


Communication with Colleagues and Support Staff
I miss popping into my colleagues’ offices to chat or to hear their thoughts about how to handle this or that problem or motion. I miss impromptu coffee runs. But what I’ve lost in that sort of thing I’ve gained in group chats and Zoom happy hours. Now, instead of popping into a colleague’s office to get their take on an idea, I do so over the group chat. I miss the face to face, but this works. Much the same is true for communicating with support staff. E-mails continue to serve the same purpose as they did when everyone was in the office, and for those conversations where in pre-pandemic days I would walk over to my secretary and talk, I simply call. On that point, the pandemic made me do something I never thought I would, which is get a landline. My cell service is too bad at home to do business, so I got a landline at home that I use primarily for that purpose. It has really worked out and I recommend it.
Onsite Work
I don’t know of any firms that ask attorneys or support staff to work onsite, and given the ease of communication apparent from the last 10 months (has it really been that long?), I don’t see a good reason to do this. Opposing counsel in every one of my cases seems to have call forwarding from their office lines and some kind of work from home arrangement. Between cloud computing services, Microsoft Remote Desktop, and call forwarding, I see no reason to ask people to come into the office until we’re all vaccinated. There is real value in coming into the office, and it’s not just the impromptu coffees and chats with colleagues I mentioned earlier. However, these days, the risks of the virus pretty clearly outweigh the benefits of coming into the office.
Pandemic Productivity
I no longer have a commute. That saves me about an hour and a half a day. This has allowed me to dedicate more time to running, which is the primary way I blow off steam and deal with the stress that seems to be coming from every angle these days. As a litigator, I welcome the increased personal time, which is precious. If anything, my productivity has increased since I began working from home. I think this is the result of the increased personal time and consequent decrease in stress, but also simply not commuting has benefits of its own. It turns out that it is less stressful to not sit on the 101 twice a day, than to do so. I don’t look forward to traffic ramping back up once this is all over, but I do look forward to seeing colleagues once again. Here’s hoping that’s sometime soon.
Do you have a pandemic story you would like to share? Send it to
TWells Teded Wells is an experienced Los Angeles litigator with Romero Law, an employment law civil litigation and trial firm located in Pasadena that specializes in representing whistleblowers and employees in harassment, retaliation, and discrimination matters. Ted had five published opinions by the 5th year of practice. His firm has been the subject of recent international press coverage with respect to ongoing high-profile litigation.
Estrin.2020Chere Estrin is the CEO of Estrin Legal Staffing, a top national and international staffing organization and MediSums, medical records summarizing. She is the Co-Founding Member and Vice-President of the Organization of Legal Professionals. Chere has written 10 books on legal careers, hundreds of articles and has been written up in publications such as the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Trib, Newsweek, Entrepreneur and others. Chere is a recipient of the Los Angeles/Century City Women of Achievement Award and a finalist for the Inc. Magazine Entrepreneur of the Year award and a Los Angeles Paralegal Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient She is a former administrator at an AmLaw 100 firm and Sr. Vice President in a $5 billion company. She can be reached on Sundays from 3am-5am. Reach out at:

One of my favorite stories ever.....


Young people forget that old people had a career before they retired.....

Charley, a new retiree-greeter at WalMart, just couldn't seem to get to work on  time. Every day he was 5, 10, 15 minutes late. But he was a good worker, really tidy, clean-shaven, sharp-minded and a real credit to the company and obviously demonstrating  their "Older Person Friendly" policies. 

One day the boss called him into the office for a talk. "Charley, I have to tell you, I like your work ethic, you do a bang-up job when you  finally get here; but your being late so often is quite bothersome." 

"Yes, I know boss and I am sorry and am working on it." 

"Well good, you are a team player. That's what I like to hear.”  

Seeming puzzled, the manager went on to comment, 

“I know you're retired from the Armed Forces. What did they say to you there if you showed up in the morning late so often?"

The old man looked down at the floor, then smiled. He chuckled quietly, then said  with a grin, "They usually saluted and said, Good morning, Admiral, can I get your coffee, sir?"


One of my favorite stories ever!

Chere Estrin is the CEO of Estrin Legal Staffing and MediSums, medical records summarizing. She can be reached at


7 Steps for Turning Uncertainty into Transformative Opportunity

Welcome Mark Gorkin, "The Stress Doc"! 
Our guest blogger this month.
7 Steps for Turning Uncertainty into Transformative Opportunity

Doing Your Head Work, Heart Work and Homework
A good friend recently sent me a clever cartoon.  A Buddhist-like character, wearing a loosely hanging white garment, shoulder exposed, is driving a car, seemingly in the dark.  His car is filled with message bubbles:  “Follow your bliss,” “The obstacle is the path,” and “if you aim for it, you are turning away from it.”  The pithy caption:  “Zen GPS!”
Not surprisingly, my friend is facing a tough decision fraught with uncertainty.  In times of indecision and confusion, if not crisis, e.g., our ongoing COVID reality, what we need is clarity and structure along with a learning and sharing path more than certainty, perfection, and absolute truth.
As we have recently witnessed, facing chronic uncertainty, “can lead to acting irrationally and irresponsibly, from boycotting masks to throwing big parties in the face of all precautions — all products of frustration, fear and defiance in an effort to reassert control over the upended circumstances” (Kamila Sip, Jay Dixit, “LEADING THROUGH ADVERSITY: Brain-based leadership in a time of heightened uncertainty,” Chief Learning Officer, November 30, 2020).
With my friend, I texted back some pathway steps as she ponders making a life-changing decision.  Consider these fleshed out seven steps for “Turning Uncertainty into Transformative Opportunity”:
 Admitting Powerlessness as True Strength.  Accepting that you are powerless in a vital decision-making realm is both a sign of honesty and strength.   It is not evidence of failure, though our vulnerable ego or wounded pride may interpret a need to ask for help in this self-critical manner.  You may need a shoulder to lean on to get the journey started.
2.  Being Open to and Digesting New Info.   While you should always consider the source of info, now is the time to get some “outside-your-social bubble” ideas and input.  Also, key, taking time to listen to and assess your emotions:  what is being stirred by such a new perspective and/or approach?  And having done your emotional due diligence, now reflect on the new information and your reaction(defensiveness) or response (integration of heart and head) to the same.  Pay close attention to any new questions that arise in your head, heart, and gut.
3.  Conferring with Trusted Others.  This can be challenging, as we often don’t like to reveal our uncertainty and feelings of vulnerability.  Will others judge us to be weak or indecisive?  So, at this part of the decision-making journey, try sharing your uncertainty, new info, new questions, etc. with trusted others.  But even here, consider whether your friend or colleague might have their own bias or subjectivity regarding their feedback to you.
4.  Initial Decision-Making.  Formulate a new perspective or position, if not a complete strategy.  If you have the time and energy, seek another round of feedback.  Again, take time for digesting the new problem-solving gestalt through emotional reflection.  You might even want to journal about pros and cons, fears, fantasies, excitements, etc.
5.  Making a Decision.  Now commit to a decision, however imperfect, incomplete, or unfinished it may seem.  Perfection or absolute control is not the goal.  As the Buddhists would say, “That’s an illusion.”  And most important, act on your commitment.  Again, to sustain a challenging new problem-solving step, first, expect some anxiety.  This is natural during the early stages of a learning curve.  And second, seek feedback and resources to help you sustain your new path, at least long enough to feel you engaged in a real test drive.
6.  Preparing for Conflict.  Remember, not all will agree with your decision, even folks who, in general, recognized there was a problem.  Such doubters may have legitimate concerns; they also may be protecting themselves from recognizing that they too may need to break out of a self-defeating habit or comfort zone.  If you have done your past and present head work, heart work, and homework, you can trust you are on the right path… for now.
7.  Knowing You Can Change.  Finally, as you travel along this new path, new experiences, conversations, and information will arise.  If you feel you have given this new plan of action your best shot, and you are having doubts, wondering if you need to step back and reevaluate, then you can.  You can reevaluate – from solo reflection to shared brainstorming – following the above steps.  Most important, with this decision-making framework, a change of heart or plans is rarely an impulsive choice or rash decision.  You are not avoiding or abandoning the issue but approaching it from a hard-earned wisdom perspective.
The Secret of Wisdom
Words of wisdom.  Most of us seek them.  I immediately think of two of my favorite sayings.  Jonas Salk, the great scientific pioneer observed:  "Evolution is about getting up one more time than we fall down, being courageous one more time than we are fearful...trusting one more time than being anxious."  And along with a sense of persistence, everyday struggle and appreciation for even small triumphs is the need for serenity:  "Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can...and the wisdom to know where to hide the bodies."  No...Just kidding.  ;-)  "And the wisdom to know the difference."  And the older I get, the more profound "The Serenity Prayer" seems.  Yet, a fundamental question remains:  how the heck do you get the wisdom?  
Okay, folks.  Here it is...The Secret of Wisdom.
Once there was a young woman who heard that an old wise woman had the secret of wisdom.  The young woman was determined to track the old woman down.  After traveling many months, the young woman found the old woman in a cave.  She entered and addressed the old woman:  "Old Wise Woman, I hear you have The Secret of Wisdom.  Would you share it with me?  The old woman looked at the youth and said, "Yes, you seem sincere.  The Secret of Wisdom is good judgment."  "Good judgment, of course," said the youth, thanked her mentor, and started to leave.  However, as she got to the entrance of the cave she paused, turned back and said, "Old Woman, I feel funny, but, if I may ask, how does one obtain good judgment?"  "That's a good question," said the sage.  "One obtains good judgment through experience."  "Experience, of course," said the young seeker, and proceeded to leave.  But once again she stopped in her tracks, and humbly walked back to her mentor.  "Old Woman," said the young woman, "I feel foolish, but I have to ask:  How does one obtain experience?"  The old woman paused, nodded her head, then proceeded:  "Now you have reached the right question.  How does one obtain experience?
. . . Through bad judgment!"
Errors of judgment rarely mean incompetence; they more likely reveal inexperience or immaturity, perhaps even boldness.  Our so-called "failures" can be channeled as guiding streams (sometimes raging rivers) of opportunity and experience that ultimately enrich - widen and deepen - the risk-taking passage...If we can just immerse ourselves in the these unpredictably rejuvenating waters.
And just remember...Practice Safe Stress!
Gorkin Mark.computerMark Gorkin, MSW, LICSW, "The Stress Doc" ™, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, is an acclaimed keynote and webinar speaker and "Motivational Psychohumorist” known for his Get FIT – FUN-Interactive-Thought-provoking – programs for both government agencies and major corporations.  In conjunction with Legal Estrin Staffing, the Doc has been co-leading Stress Resilience/COVID-19 Webinars and an HR/Legal/Manager Support Group, and continues to lead Stress Resilience, Diversity/Inclusion, and Team Building programs.  
Having taught Crisis Intervention for ten years at Tulane Univ. Graduate School of Social Work, he has been a Stress/Critical Incident Consultant for various organizations and for the Nepali Community in the BWI area.  He has run numerous Stress Resilience & Team Building Leadership Retreats for the US Army.  Mark is definitely battle-tested as a former Stress and Violence Prevention Consultant for the US Postal Service.  He is the author of Practice Safe Stress, The Four Faces of Anger, and Preserving Human Touch in a Hi-Tech World.  See his award-winning, USA Today Online "HotSite" – – called a "workplace resource" by National Public Radio (NPR).  
For more info on the Doc's "Practice Safe Stress" programs or to receive his free e-newsletter, email or call 301-875-2567.
To reach Chere Estrin:


To do list.....


   Every Legal Professional's
To Do List



  1. Wear mask.
    Ride the horse in the direction it is going.
  2. Social distance.
    There was too much huggy, kissy stuff anyway.
  3. Wash hands over and over and over.
    Use hand lotion to restore your youthful dewy look.
  4. Don't go to big parties or large or even medium gatherings of any kind.
    It's not worth dying for.
  5. Listen to the scientists.
    They know better than us. Really, they do.

Your vote IS important.
If you want things to change for the better, this is the best solution.


In the Face of Tragedy

An open letter:
Blue river.normalI am sure all of you are aware of the terrible fires raging in the West. Normally, when things of this nature occur, we glance at the TV and think, "That's terrible" but honestly, other than following the story on the news, we really do not know how it feels to have a disaster hit you. It's something that happens to someone else.

Blue River.firefightersNow, I do know. In the Oregon fires raging across the state during the past couple of weeks, my family lost all of our property (7 acres) when it burned to the ground.  The property was in the family for 48 years. We were very, very fortunate to have actually moved from the house 4 weeks to the day. We had been living there for years. Most people in the area barely had time to get out - 15 minutes at best. Getting evacuated goes in three levels: Level One - Pack a bag; Level Two - leave; Level Three - Get out now. Don't take anything. Everyone got Level Three. There was no Level One or Two.
Many of our friends and neighbors did not fare as well as we did. They lost homes and had nowhere to go. Entire towns around us burned down. Clinics, post offices, lodges, businesses, restaurants, churches, grocery stores, schools, even the fire station and a fire truck, you name it. All gone. No one that night received any other alarm other than Level Three. That's how fast the fire spread. Volunteers banged on doors, alarms sounded on cell phones and TV, horns honked and people of all ages, fled. 
Blue river fire.skiesAs they left, no one had time to grab much of anything. It's funny how you think when panicked. What should you do? One friend's 14 year old granddaughter threw her jeans and computer into a paper bag. Ironically, my friend, standing in her nightgown, looked around and thought, "What will I take?" and in her moment of panic, grabbed her dog and her hand sanitizer. I know how lucky we were. If there is a god, fire god, rain god, miracle worker, or just plain ole Lady Luck, I am a believer. I cannot tell you the devastation. 500,000 people out of homes or evacuated, in dire need of housing, clothing, food, supplies, medicine, basic necessities and of course, jobs.
Blue sunflowersThe next 10 days were a nightmare. We were evacuated from the new house -  Level 2. The smoke was so bad, we could not see the house across the street, let alone our own back fence. Truthfully, I was shaken up. Something very rare for me. The fire started at the 47 mile post on the highway and we lived at the 46.5 mile post. The fire spread so rapidly that there would have been no time to get out. There were no neighbors around, it was nighttime, we would have probably been asleep, so no one to warn us. The time it would have taken to call 911 would not have been enough. In all probability, we most likely would have died.
Blue River.Chief RainbowIt's funny how, in the face of tragedy, you still have to carry on life. While we were traipsing around like Gypsies from hotel to Air B and B, we thanked our lucky stars that we even were able to do that. Others were not as lucky.  One evacuation center, the high school, was suddenly caught in the fire and 150 evacuees had to be airlifted by helicopter off the school's track. I can only imagine the fear.
Blue River fire.truckIn the meantime, I was caught in the most bizarre work scene. I had to work. As an entrepreneur, no one covers your paid time off other than you. So, there I was, going from restaurant to restaurant interviewing candidates via Zoom, sitting outdoors because of the pandemic and talking to clients in our car. No one knew.I felt I had to remain as professional as possible. Finally, it got too hard to handle. Disguising something that is happening to you so you can work was probably not the best way to go. Well, frankly, I am never to old to learn something.
Blue river fire.firemen sleepingIf I did tell someone, the reaction was sometimes strange. What do you say to someone? How should they respond? When I wrote an email that phones, cell service and internet would be intermittent because of the fire, some of my clients refused to acknowledge what was going on and would say something like, "How about changing the meeting to 10am?" I felt confused and slighted. Didn't they get it? Couldn't I have just one little, "I'm sorry to hear that?" And, I would fall back to - it's a TV event. It doesn't affect them. Stop feeling sorry for yourself.
A good friend of mine, desperate to get a job, contacted me to help him. Because he was a good friend, I explained what was going on and that my resources were probably very limited right now. His response was, "Sorry to hear that. Can you get me a temp job?" I honestly didn't know what to say. My husband said I should stop trying to gain empathy. And why was I, anyway? I think he had a point. Then I realized, I wasn't looking for empathy. I wasn't looking for sympathy. I wasn't even looking for understanding. I was looking for someone to fix it. Please fix this. I turned it around. I told him, "Look. If the new house goes, we're going to save a lot of money. We won't have to hire another moving van."
Blue River Fire.lodgeI quickly realized that unless you are in the scene, you cannot imagine a disaster. Unless you have been through it, you cannot get your mind around what it is like to have to drive through a fire that is raging on either side of the highway to get to safety. Or, evacuate your home because the smoke is so hazardous it can cause heart attacks and strokes.  That sort of scenario happens in 15 second sound bites, not to you. I began to have survivors guilt. I told myself, "What are you complaining about? Other people are so much worse off than we are." Of course, I was trying to minimize what was going on. Push it down. A couple of friends from out-of-state dropped me an email saying, "I don't suppose you are anywhere near those fires, right?" Because again, it doesn't happen to you and it doesn't happen to anyone you know.
Blue River fire.truck At this writing, our fire is 22% contained. It's supposed to rain tonight. However, over 500,000 people have been evacuated or lost their homes or businesses and in our fire alone, (not inclusive of the many other fires around the state), over 175,000 acres have been burned. The state has over a million acres, gone forever.  That, of course, causes landslides and mudslides. Frankly, I think I would rather have that over the fire. It's hard to say. In the meantime, I am talking to candidates, filling job searches but not acting as nothing has happened to this wonderful community.
"I realized I wasn't looking for empathy. I wasn't looking for sympathy. I wasn't even looking for understanding. I just wanted someone to fix it."
Blue River fire.flagIt's amazing how people help each other out. Amazing. There is kindness everywhere. People putting other people first. I have never experienced this level of community spirit. The will to survive and rebuild is incredible. Everyone, from younger generations to the elderly, seem to have taken a positive view.
However, they need help and I am hoping that you are the one that can see your way, just a little bit, to give some assistance. Volunteers, despite the pandemic, are out there assisting others. People are helping people. The spirit is strong, the determination to come through this overwhelmingly unbreakable.
Please donate to a worthy cause. You can donate to the Red Cross and specify the Western fires. Even $10.00 goes a long way. There are other non-profits specifically for certain fires. Here are just a few:
Recommended by State Senator, Ron Wyden:
Stand with Oregon families hurt by the fire:
Lane County Government Assistance "Holiday Farm Fire" section.  
The Red Cross
Upper McKenzie Community Center (Standing and seeking to help residents)
Local TV station - donations for victims of fire - KVAL TV
Please make this more than a TV event. Donate, volunteer, send clothing, food & supplies. Whatever you can do helps. While people remain resilient, believe me, the strongest belief anyone can have, is that there's no place like hope.
Thanks for listening.
Stay safe.
Blue River fire.2

Chere Estrin is the CEO of Estrin Legal Staffing, a top national and international staffing organization and MediSums, medical records summarizing. She is the Co-Founding Member and Vice-President of the Organization of Legal Professionals. Chere has written 10 books on legal careers, hundreds of articles and has been written up in publications such as the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Trib, Newsweek, Entrepreneur and others. Chere is a recipient of the Los Angeles/Century City Women of Achievement Award and a finalist for the Inc. Magazine Entrepreneur of the Year award and a Los Angeles Paralegal Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient She is a former administrator at an AmLaw 100 firm and Sr. Vice President in a $5 billion company. She can be reached on Sundays from 3am-5am. Reach out at:


9 Passive-Aggressive Email Phrases You Are Probably Using

Annoyed.woman at computerYou might have noticed some of your bosses and colleagues and friends getting somewhat, well, downright testy during this Coronavirus time. No wonder! Huge changes, disruption of business and home life, financial woes, uncertainty about the future, little or no social contact and that stay-at-home confinement we are all getting tired of.

What I noticed is the effect this crazy upside-down time is having on our emails. Yes, our emails. I noticed that more and more, emails are getting somewhat, if not totally, passive-aggressive. Based upon what I recently found out, I am willing to bet $.25 (I never go more than $.25) that all of us have been at least a little PA at some point.

Expressing anger in the office today is taboo and practically a crime. Yet, anger is a natural emotion and is bound to eventually come out somewhere.  More times than we want to have happen, we find plenty of angry emails in our inbox.  According to a 2018 survey by Adobe, there are 9 extremely annoying email phrases all of us have most likely used. Adobe surveyed 1,928 workers asking for their most annoying email phrases.  Truthfully, I was not aware that any of these phrases were considered annoying, let alone passive-aggressive.

While the Adobe survey calls theses phrases, “annoying”, Psychology Today magazine labels them passive-aggressive. To be truthful, I can’t tell you how many emails I have sent over the years containing practically all of these phrases. Who knew?

Over 75% of the respondents said that email was the preferred way to communicate around the office. Most said they spend anywhere from one to two hours to a half day reading and responding to emails.

Top 9 email phrases considered passive-aggressive:

1, Not sure if you saw my last email... Really? Come on. Are you sure you’re not sure? 99% of the time, (not based on any evidence) this is simply a lie. What this actually means is: “I know you saw my last email. I know you ignored it. So, I’m sending it again. I demand a response RIGHT NOW”.

2. Per my last email... Does anyone use the word “per” except to sound superior and official?  Would you use it in a conversation? I doubt it. “Per my last email” roughly translates to “I notice you haven’t responded to my previous email and want to point it out to everyone in this email chain with my legal-sounding speak”.

3. Per our conversation… Similar to the above but with an added twist. “Per our conversation” is used when you’ve had a chat about something contentious or you want to lock something important in and ensure it’s documented just in case, of course, it all goes wrong. It’s generally called a CYA. (If you don’t know what that means, just email me.)

4. Any updates on this?… Here we go with: “I still haven’t heard from you about this important matter, so I’m going to chase you down until you give me what I want”.

5. Sorry for the double email … Here’s the classic: “sorry but not really sorry” mentality. This phrase can mean either “I’m going to send you two similar emails to really hit hard that I need a response”, or “I was so busy writing a tome in my first email that I neglected to add additional information”.

6. Please advise…. This is the epitome of passive-aggression. “Please advise” is usually shorthand for “I’ve done my part, now you do yours”.

7. As previously stated... Wait, wait! Maybe this phrase is the core of passive-aggression. Why not write: “I’m having to repeat myself because it’s obvious you are ignoring me”.

8. As discussed... This phrase loosely translates to “I’m putting our conversation in writing so you can’t misinterpret what’s expected of you. Be sure to get this right.”

9. Re-attaching for convenience… I rarely see this. However, it is a nice way of saying: “I’m reattaching a file you say that you never received (when I know you did) because it’s easier than having to sort through my sent emails to prove that I did, indeed, send it.”

Interestingly, the phrases “Per my last email” and “Per our conversation” came in second and third in the survey with "Not sure you saw my email" as number one.

Do not send an email starting like this:

Whether you’re speaking with your supervisor or contacting a client, 37% of respondents said starting an email with “To whom it may concern”as a terrible greeting. “Hey” (28%) and the corny “Happy [insert day]!” also ranking poorly.

The most annoying email cliches are:

    1. Just looping in… 37%
    2. As per my last email…33%
    3. Just checking in…19%
    4. Confirming receipt…16%
    5. Thanks in advance…7%
    6. Hope you’re well…6%  No, you don’t! Frankly, you are probably just trying to sound polite or have no original ideas for another opener.

The style you use can also be annoying:

  1. Using capital letters for whole words or sentences – 67%
  2. Using kisses or ‘x’ – 65%
  3. CC’ing people who don’t need to be involved – 63%
  4. Using slang, eg ‘OMG’ – 53%
  5. Using too many exclamation marks – 52%
  6. Sending an email without proofreading – 50%
  7. Sending very long emails – 29%
  8. Using emojis – 29%
  9. Not having an email signature – 23%
  10. Double emailing – 22%
  11. Using smiley faces – 22%
  12. Using colored fonts – 21%

Another recent study found that keeping emails on the pithy side can go a long way. Emails with a subject line containing just one word were found to be 87% more likely to receive a response.  It was also found that emails 50 words or less boosted reply rates by more than 40%.

What does work:

More than half of the respondents said receiving no greeting (53%) was absolutely the worst for a work email. Starting an email with a greeting such as “Hi” was received the most positively by respondents with nearly half agreeing it was the perfect greeting. “Kind regards” was found to be the best way to sign-off (69%). “Good morning” and “Good afternoon” also ranked highly as nice ways to address recipients.

A much better way to communicate:

All cattiness aside, each of these phrases have something in common: a need to get information quickly. Almost everyone finds these email expressions annoying, boring or trite, yet most of us frequently use them. This suggests that something needs to change to make information sharing more pleasant and responses more plentiful.

According to Psychology Today, here are three steps to handle passive-aggressive emails:

Step 1: Know what you are dealing with.

See beyond sugarcoated phrasing and recognize hostility. When you see the patterned wording as cited in the Adobe study (e.g., “As previously stated” or “Please advise”), red flags should go up and you need to ask yourself if the sender is harboring some hidden anger.

Step 2: Refuse to engage.

Resist urges to mirror the sender’s hostility. Any time covertly hostile email is responded to with overt hostility, the passive-aggressive person succeeds. Rather than mirroring passive-aggressive behavior and increasing the overall hostility, defuse the hostility with emotionally neutral, bland responses. For example:

Passive-aggressive phrase: “Not sure if you saw my last email...” Siphon off hostility by starting with, “Thanks for the reminder”.

Passive-aggressive phrase: “Re-attaching for your convenience...” “I appreciate that you re-sent the document.”

Passive-aggressive phrase: “As previously stated...” Don’t take the bait. A simple, “Thanks for the recap” will go a long way in keeping a friendly working relationship and rises above someone else’s covert anger.

Passive-aggressive phrase: “Any updates on this?” Offer a polite response such as, “I don’t have any updates yet,” or even better, “I don’t have any updates at this time but I will email you as soon as I do.”

Passive-aggressive phrase: “Please advise.” Offer the advice they are seeking. For example, “Yes, please proceed with your idea,” or “We have decided to move in a slightly different direction. Please hold off on making any decisions.”

Step 3: Acknowledge the anger.

If you feel like a co-worker is chronically hostile and consistently using passive-aggressive communication, respectfully acknowledge their anger. For example, “It sounds like you may be feeling angry,” or, “From your email, I’m wondering if you are frustrated about something.” 

Nine times out of ten, passive-aggressive people will automatically deny that they are angry — and that’s OK. Your respectful acknowledgement marks changing dynamics. The passive-aggressive person now knows that you will not run away from resolving conflict. Ultimately, you will suffer less and get better, more productive responses.

FREE WEBINAR: Join us for our free webinar: “Back-to-the-Office Jitters”. Returning to the physical workplace? Unsure of what might happen? This dynamic webinar covers your fears, anxiety and misgivings and gives you tips and techniques to protect yourself while the pandemic rages on.”

September 30, 2020 10am Pacific/12:00 Central/1:00 EST. Register:

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“How to Avoid Getting Laid Off” was full of useful information presented in a way that made sense.”

“Thank you for the nuggets. I needed this because we are definitely not getting the wealth of powerful info from any other organization.”

“I really enjoyed your webinar today. I found it to be insightful and extremely helpful. It even helped me figure out what I should be working on next while this pandemic winds down. Thank you very much!”

Chere Estrin is the CEO of Estrin Legal Staffing, a top national and international staffing organization and MediSums, medical records summarizing. She is the Co-Founding Member and Vice-President of the Organization of Legal Professionals. Chere has written 10 books on legal careers, hundreds of articles and has been written up in publications such as the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Trib, Newsweek, Entrepreneur and others. Chere is a recipient of the Los Angeles/Century City Women of Achievement Award and a finalist for the Inc. Magazine Entrepreneur of the Year award and a Los Angeles Paralegal Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient She is a former administrator at an AmLaw 100 firm and Sr. Vice President in a $5 billion company. She can be reached on Sundays from 3am-5am. Reach out at:

Join us for a dynamic webinar:
Learning Vacuum Aug. 12 - 10 AM
Why are associates, paralegals and legal professionals not learning as effectively during COVID-19?

Because the usual way of learning by osmosis has been suspended, while everyone works at home. The ‘incidental’ learning, such as junior lawyers listening in to their senior colleague’s phone calls and meetings, is just not happening in quite the same way. The turning your chair around to ask a quick question becomes a big deal, it now necessitates setting up a call or virtual meeting. In this webinar you will come away:

Understanding what the barriers to learning are in the Covid19 environment and working remotely in the future.
Gaining a range of strategies that law firms can use to assist with this learning vacuum for associates, paralegals.and staff.
Free - August 12th - 10am Pacific/12pm Central/1pm EST
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What attendees are saying about Estrin Legal Staffing webinars:

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"Once again Chere Estrin has proven why she is a true expert and professional when it comes to understanding the business behind job seeking and recruiting. This webinar is packed full of great ideas and instruction on using LinkedIn to accomplish your goal of being noticed and taken seriously. As I listened to Chere's advice and teaching her passion for helping all attendees was self evident. I can easily see why she remains a sought after resource at the top of her profession." Bob Sweat, eDiscovery Consultant

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What people are saying about Estrin Legal Staffing webinars:
"Awesome webinar!!!!! Thank you for the nuggets. I needed this because definitely not getting the wealth of powerful info from any other organization." Sheila Brown

"I really enjoyed your webinar today. I found it to be insightful and extremely helpful. It even helped me figure out what I should be working on next while this pandemic winds down." Elizabeth Peterson

"Once again Chere Estrin has proven why she is a true expert and professional when it comes to understanding the business behind job seeking and recruiting. This webinar is packed full of great ideas and instruction on using LinkedIn to accomplish your goal of being noticed and taken seriously. As I listened to Chere's advice and teaching her passion for helping all attendees was self evident. I can easily see why she remains a sought after resource at the top of her profession." Bob Sweat, eDiscovery Consultant

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It's My Birthday and I'll Cry If I Want To.....Staying positive in the age of Coronaville

Faith.Believe in yourselfToday is my birthday. It’s one of those Big-O numbers. It's the kind where AARP tracks you down. I don’t mind, really. I feel more confident than ever – nothing much shakes me up too much anymore.

With things the way they are in this upside- down world, the day has caused me to review my current situation: My business, legal staffing, is the third largest industry to be hit next to hospitality and retail.

Everything was going so well in the first quarter. In fact, it was going to be one of my best years ever. Then, along with the rest of the world, I woke up one morning and poof! It was all gone. Finito. Say bye-bye. No one was hiring. Every firm had a hiring freeze. It looked as though we were absolutely dead in the water.

Let me whine just a bit. This week has been tough. My wonderful husband has been in and out of the ER 6 times plus 2 emergency trips to the doctor in 10 days. It has been a series of Mr. Toad’s Wild Rides in the dead of the night to a hospital an hour away along a pitch- black winding mountain road in the midst of thunder and lightning storms. Not really my idea of fun.  Actually, I am sitting here writing this piece right now in the hospital. He does not have the virus and fortunately, he is going to be fine.

It’s getting tough to stay positive. Let’s not overlook that COVID19 is still raging. It seems like a lot of people have accepted the new normal and have become a tad desensitized to what is going on. With 40+ million people unemployed and many cities still in lock down, you would think it would be foremost on everyone’s mind. However, I notice that people are actually adapting the “new normal” and getting just a tiny bit too comfortable. This has become a way of life. Holy, moly. We want to live life like this? Can we rethink this here?

Then we have global civil unrest. The world is protesting to the injustices that have gone on for hundreds of years.  While it’s good to protest, I wish it were at a healthier time. With thousands and thousands of people in demonstrations, rallies, along with the partying at bars without wearing masks or practicing social distancing, the virus will be going on a long time. That’s not a good thing.

It’s interesting what the virus is bringing out. People I haven’t spoken to in years are calling. Even my cyber stalker is back. She's a paralegal down in Georgia who seems to have forgotten we know who she is. (Thank goodness, this time around there are laws - criminal and civil -  to protect me. Not so, several years ago when she started.) The callers are reaching out. I think that’s because they can’t hug or see anyone and are looking for people who can bring back good memories and better times. In a way, the world is getting closer despite social distancing.

I am examining my life on this Big-O birthday. Los Angeles (where I come from), is the land of the skinny, the beautiful, those who drive the most expensive cars and those who live on the correct side of the boulevard. Since nothing there really applies to me, I thought I could at least improve my appearance. I am now, after all, a woman of a certain age.

There’s this permaderma-something-or-another product I saw on TV that you rub on your face and in 10 minutes, all your wrinkles and deep lines disappear. Oh, wow! Now, we’re talkin’. For $19.95,  I can compete with L.A’s beautiful people! It does have one teeny, tiny caveat.  It wears off after 10 hours. I can just see myself having a gourmet dinner in L.A,'s most trendy restaurant with important potential clients. The 10 hours are up and the perma stuff starts slowly wearing off me in front of god and everyone. Drip, drip, right onto my collar. There I am, aging 10 years before the very people I am inaptly trying to impress - rapidly changing from a middle-aged beauty to an old lady. Somehow,  I don’t think I would get the account.

Staying in the framework of positivity, pandemic or not, I decided I was not going to go through the horrible down time that most of us did in the Great Recession. No siree! This time, I had a Plan B. I reasoned that pretty soon, all the people who got the virus are going to get angry. Very, very angry. They will start to sue. Who will they sue? Doctors, hospitals, nursing homes, employers who made them come to the office, products liability for faulty ventilators, institutions they believe gave them the virus, toxic tort, mass tort, class actions and more.  What will law firms and insurance companies need? Medical records summarized, of course. So, I opened up MediSums, medical records summarizing. Bullseye! I now have a team of 26 doctors who can summarize up to 16,000 pages per day. There is absolutely no way I am going to go down like in 2009. Not going to happen.

Then I started branching out in legal staffing. I landed a great client in Bahrain. Yes, that Bahrain over in the Middle East. They are seeking a corporate lawyer along with a litigation lawyer from a major law firm with excellent schools and major firm background. OK, so I had to drop the fee a little bit. However, I can now say I’ve gone international. Always push and keep that career advancing! That's what I always say.

Then, I realized that there are hot areas the Corona virus has brought to the forefront. Those are: trust & estates planning (people are getting their affairs in order, just in case); divorce (after sheltering in, people are deciding they didn’t sign up for this); med/mal; workers comp; employment litigation; personal injury; mass tort; bankruptcy (yes, that area is going to be very, very busy); products liability; BigPharma; corporate restructuring and others. I segmented these specialties and went after those areas. Suddenly, I was no longer dead in the water. Right now, we are so busy, I may have to put on another recruiter.

What am I trying to say? The best thing you can do in very disturbing times is to stay positive and ride the horse in the direction it is going. Those ole adages: make lemonade out of lemons, put your mask on first before you help others and a zillion other trite adages, suddenly apply.

The COVID-19 pandemic is challenging us in ways we could never have predicted just a few months ago, from unprecedented amounts of family time to homeschooling to working remotely — or not working at all. These sudden, rapid changes in the way we live, coupled with uncertainty, can feel overwhelming. While we may know that it’s usually helpful for everyone in your inner circle to stay positive, it’s sometimes easier said than done.

Here are some things to remember:

  • It will not be this way forever. This is a difficult time, but it is just that — a time.
  • Recognize what you are doing well. It may be tough right now, but you have managed some things very well. Think about the physical, logistical, mental and emotional struggles you may have encountered in the last few months and the good — even great — way you approached and handled those challenges. Yay you!

  • Remind yourself of what is good in your life. Some circumstances right now may be hard to change or may contribute to your feeling helpless. But there are other things in your life that are good and inspire gratitude. Making a list of the good things that you appreciate — large or small — can help shift your focus in a positive direction.

  • Start your day with a positivity routine. Don’t immediately check the news as soon as you wake up. It’s too depressing. Take a few minutes to find yourself – and smile. You’d be surprised at how incredibly powerful a morning smile can be in helping you start your day on a positive note.

  • Incorporate humor and laughter into your day.
    This is one of the most important steps to take in improving your positivity and benefiting from a more optimistic disposition. Numerous studies have confirmed short-term and long-term benefits of laughter on the human body and mind. Whenever we start to get a bit frumpy, my husband and I reach for the AutoCorrect bloopers. Laugh? OMG…..
  • Walk away from distressful conversations and situations. In today’s highly stressful pandemic environment, it is easy to get pulled into negative interactions and exchanges that can leave us feeling distressed, frightened, insecure and pessimistic. Recognizing these encounters early on and removing ourselves from these situations can help us manage stress and contribute to our positivity.

  • Have faith. I’m not talking about religious faith here. I’m talking about having faith in humanity; science; technology; our health care heroes; the good in people; our resilience; perseverance; in our ability to overcome even the most outrageous of obstacles. Believe strongly in our future; in life after Coronaville and everything we will have learned after all of this is done. Life is always changing. With each birthday, you can look back and see from where you came.

In times of constant negative messaging, you need an antidote so that you can keep your positive attitude and march forward with determination and hope. Be deliberate in activities that are positive, heartwarming, stress reducing and laughter producing! Together, we’ll get through this. I guarantee it.

Join our free webinars from Estrin Legal Staffing!  Over 2,000 people have signed up over the last 4 months!

How to Survive Indefinitely Working & Leading Remotely July 13 - 11:30am Pacific/1:30 Central/2:30 EST
The Halftime of Your Career - July 15 - 10:00-11:00 PST
How to Build a Powerful LinkedIn Profile - July 23 - 11:30-12:30 PST

Chere Estrin is the CEO of Estrin Legal Staffing, a top national and international staffing organization and MediSums, medical records summarizing. She is the Co-Founding Member and Vice-President of the Organization of Legal Professionals. Chere has written 10 books on legal careers, hundreds of articles and has been written up in publications such as the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Trib, Newsweek, Entrepreneur and others. Chere is a recipient of the Los Angeles/Century City Women of Achievement Award and a finalist for the Inc. Magazine Entrepreneur of the Year award. She is a former administrator at an AmLaw 100 firm and Sr. Vice President in a $5 billion company. She can be reached on Sundays from 3am-5am. Reach out at:

Are you seeking a position in Los Angeles? It may be a tough market out there but firms are still looking! Our clients may have just the job you are looking for. Take a look:

Personal Injury Litigation Paralegal - Must have at least 2 yrs. PI exp.
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Class Action Attorneys - work remotely - Must have Class Action exp. and CA license
Class Action Attorney - Sherman Oaks, CA - Must have Class Action exp. & CA license
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If you are a legal professional seeking an exciting position in Los Angeles, send your resume! (The firms will not pay relocation expenses.)

How to Convince Your Firm Working Remotely is the Way to Go

Working remotelyIt's finally happened and it took a pandemic to bring it about: Law firms are finally recognizing that allowing employees to work remotely does work.

Law firms have always been slow to change. That's a fact. Back in the days when computers were just coming about, lawyers felt they didn't want them because it would interfere with billable time. Fast forward several years later, and law firms did not want to send their documents to outside vendors because they wanted to keep the documents close to them - even if they never visited the vendor who was processing the data. Oh, yes! This actually was the way of things.

Many of you have found that working remotely is fantastic - much more so than you thought it would be. There are a number of reasons including work/lifestyle balance, working hours that are good for you, childcare issues resolved, commute time non-existent, opportunity to live somewhere completely different, and more. However, while law firms are actually seeing positive results, many are stuck in the traditional way of doing things and may insist that you return to the office. That's really not forward thinking.

What if you are in a firm that insists you need to return to the office and now, that is not going to make you happy. What if you are seeking a new position and could easily perform the duties right from home but the potential employer doesn't see it your way? Let's face it. Many law firms are going to take some convincing.

Prior to Covid19, law firms viewed working remotely as a perk, not a privilege. Before the pandemic, many firms viewed a desire to work from home coming from someone who did not want to work hard - a person who was not driven. Now, I imagine that working from home will actually be offered as an enticement to work for the firm. Imagine: the firm wants to hire you and says, "This job calls for working remotely at least two days a week. Oh, you want more? How about 4 days a week?" Yep, they are going to start using it as a negotiating tool.

One of the biggest changes is that remote work tends to shift work relationships from numbers of hours worked to specific goals being met. The reality of most remote work is that you generally put in more hours than you would in the office, but many of those hours are generally not “butts in seats” hours. Employees tend to work until the project is done, rather than have to get up from their desk and leave because it is quitting time. Put another way, once you go remote, then you escape a pervasive fiction: you are only productive when you are on premises. 

Since remote work is beginning to shift from a privilege, a novelty, or a perk for special circumstances to a basic right given to employees with jobs not requiring a physical presence, it's time to speak up and ask for what you deserve -- the autonomy to choose where you are most productive. After all, you know yourself better than anyone, so if you can choose a schedule and location that work for you and remain present and productive, why should it matter where that is? Right now, RV's are the hottest thing going. Why? Because people realize they can work from anywhere. It doesn't have to be from home.

But what if the firm doesn't see it your way? Now is the time to start educating the firm about the benefits to both the firm and the employee to allow remote work. You may be asking, "How do I do that?"

Here 's how to make the case:

1.    First, be sure that you have the temperament and strong desire to make this a permanent situation. Before talking to your boss about your aspirations to work remotely full-time, spend time thinking about the primary reasons you want to work remotely, and what remote work would look like in your role.

If you want to work remotely to achieve a better work-life balance, think about what your ideal level of work-life balance is. If you want to work remotely to reduce time spent commuting, think about what you'd rather be doing with that time. Additionally, think about the challenges you currently face in your role that could be improved or exacerbated by working away from the office, and what solutions you could proactively present when your boss inevitably asks you follow-up questions about what having you work remotely would look like.

2.    Offer to work remotely on a trial basis. Nothing works better than to present change in the framework of an "experiment". If you present your case as an experiment, no one fails, no one has mud on their face. It's the experiment that fails, not you, not your boss. Set a time frame such as 3 months and evaluate your progress on a regular basis.

3.  Frame the conversation with the benefit for the firm in mind. You want to provide quality work and need quiet space to do your best work. Most likely, the firm cannot imagine how this would work on a continuing basis. It was one thing in an emergency situation such as the Corona virus but to continue it may be unthinkable. They want things back the way they were. Change, to many people, is dreadful.

4.   Explain your remote office situation. Is it at home or at a co-shared space? Discuss how you will handle firm materials and assets in a responsible and secure way. Share a picture of what your work space would look like so they can picture you working.

5.    Establish the hours you will be working and when you can be reached via phone. Some companies actually have software that counts the keystrokes and penalizes you if there are not enough keystrokes in any given hour. (I mean, what about bathroom breaks?) This type of micro-management is for the birds. Gain trust from your employer by meeting deadlines and being available during working hours.

6.  Working from home will be a major shift for older firms. It may be helpful to discuss your proposal with HR and other managers. Were you successful during the pandemic? Was the firm pleased with your work? Point that out. Show them several difficult projects that were successfully accomplished by working remotely.

7. Put the benefits in a written plan. It will show them that you really thought this out and are prepared. Some of the benefits would be: 

    a.    The firm does not have to incur the overhead expense an on-site employee requires. That includes office space, equipment, furniture, phones, computers, break room goodies, office supplies, and more.

    b. If your firm wants hard data, show them the research on the success of working remotely. You can also share the results of a 2-year Stanford study by professor Nicholas Bloom in this 2017 TEDx talk. His research showed that remote workers were more productive and they worked longer. Their employee attrition was 50 percent less than telecommuters. In addition, the company benefited from needing less office space.

    c. It may also reduce the overall security risks that a firm faces by cutting down on physical access to facilities, which still accounts for the largest proportion of data breach operations. That it cuts down on traffic times in areas that are increasingly gridlocked due to commuter traffic is an added bonus.

    d.   Studies show that employees worked longer, were more productive and were less likely to leave. Luckily, remote working is becoming the norm and these kinds of requests should no longer require negotiating with such lengthy detail. 

    e.    The open space concept doesn't work. Research from the University of California, Irvine backs this up.  Employees were too distracted in an open office environment. The study showed it takes an average of 25 minutes to return to a task after a distraction. Think about how many distractions you face in a day.  Then consider how many people are wearing headphones in the office — there goes collaboration and communication.

    f.    Research shows that:

  • Companies that allow remote work hire new employees 33% faster than those who do not.
  • Companies can save up to $2,500 or more per year per remote employee.
  • Employees can expand working hours for support or to meet critical court deadlines when the firm recruits a remote workforce around the world.
  • Employees are more likely to stay at a company that has a flexible remote work policy.
  • Companies can expand their talent pool globally.
  • Employees who work remotely are 24% happier.

    g.    It used to be that any face-to-face meeting would be preceded by an hour spent at the copier, making copies of papers and presentations for all of the participants. Today, many office printers go days or even weeks without seeing use, while most documents are available via a link. At last! Here comes the paperless office. This same process is removing the need for printing and signing contracts. 

    h.    We’re even getting to the stage where the process of setting up meetings is more efficiently done online. It's faster, easier to attend, does not cost to fly someone in or take the commute time that would have been necessary.

How you can get set up to work remotely on a permanent basis:

  • Be sure to add video conferencing links to all of the meetings on your calendar.
  • Have a way for people to get on your calendar. A program such as Calendly or others work well.
  • Set meeting agendas for team meetings and be sure to share them with attendees in advance.
  • Make sure you really know how to look like a "star" when video conferencing. That means looking professional at all times; knowing how to look into the camera; having a background behind you that is not messy or too "homey".
  • Set your working hours on your calendar and other internal communication tools your team uses so everyone knows when you can be reached.

It's a whole new world out there. If you haven't realized it yet, the workplace will never be the same. It's time to ride the horse in the direction it is going! If working remotely is for you, go for it. Right now, if you look on the job boards, you will see an uptick in the jobs that are endorsing remote work. I am not encouraging you to leave your current position but as you all know, I am a big advocate of loving the job you have. It's the least we can do for ourselves. Really, it is.

Join our free webinars from Estrin Legal Staffing!  Over 1,500 people have signed up over the last 3 months!

How to Land a Terrific Job During the Age of Coronaville - June 19 - 10:00-11:00 PST
How to Avoid Getting Laid Off  - July 9 - 11:30-12:30 PST
The Halftime of Your Career - July 15 - 10:00-11:00 PST
How to Build a Powerful LinkedIn Profile - July 23 - 11:30-12:30 PST

Chere Estrin is the CEO of Estrin Legal Staffing, a top national and international staffing organization and MediSums, medical records summarizing. She is the Co-Founding Member and Vice-President of the Organization of Legal Professionals. Chere has written 10 books on legal careers, hundreds of articles and has been written up in publications such as the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Trib, Newsweek, Entrepreneur and others. Chere is a recipient of the Los Angeles/Century City Women of Achievement Award and a finalist for the Inc. Magazine Entrepreneur of the Year award. She is a former administrator at an AmLaw 100 firm and Sr. Vice President in a $5 billion company. She can be reached on Sundays from 3am-5am. Reach out at:



National Staffing Organization Opens MediSums, Medical Records Summarizing


Logo.MediSums.FacebookNational Legal Staffing Organization Announces Formation of MediSums, Medical Records Summarizing, Amidst Coronavirus Pandemic

Estrin Legal Staffing Expands to Include Medicolegal Services in New Division


LOS ANGELES, CA – Tuesday, May 19, 2020 – Newly-formed MediSums, a division of Estrin Legal Staffing, adds chronologies and medical record summaries prepared by licensed doctors and legal nurses to its client services. The launch comes at a critical time as the COVID-19 global pandemic adds pressure with personal injury, med/mal, products liability, mass tort, healthcare, workers comp cases and insurance claims on the rise.

“The best Plan B's are different, but related to what you are doing now,” says MediSums CEO, Chere Estrin. “We saw the great need for these services and organized a highly credentialed team of top experts who are prepared and ready to provide unparalleled support to the legal and insurance industry through these trying times.”

MediSums provides swift, affordable, HIPAA compliant summaries prepared by licensed doctors and legal nurses in a chronological, single, easy-to-browse and easy-to-understand view. Clients can access an up-to-date status of a patient's current medical situation as well as relevant highlights of their records.

“Our experts collaborate with consultants in all areas of litigation, and can render medical opinions and create deposition questions on standard of care, healthcare delivery and outcomes,” says Allen S. Brody, Esq., President of MediSums. “Our highly talented team offers quality assistance from initial review to document preparation, client interviews, deposition questions, hearings and medical analysis. The difference with MediSums is that clients can get bona fide medical opinions and deposition questions." Estrin and Brody also serve as President and General Counsel respectively for the well-known online legal technology training company, the Organization of Legal Professionals.

Medical records provided by MediSums are available via secure servers and returned with clinical information and key facts on a visual timeline presented using standard or customized templates. Missing, redacted, or incomplete records are identified quickly. Narrative summaries provide clear and concise reviews of the entire sequence of events ,and are completed only by a licensed doctor or legal nurse consultant who understands complex medical data.

About MediSums

MediSums offers medical chronologies and summaries prepared by licensed doctors and legal nurses, utilizing patient's Electronic Health Records (EHR) in a chronological and concise view.  For more information visit

For more information:

Media Contact:

Crystal Rose Bryan


                     Medical records2                                                                         

Back to Work? 30 Top Tips for Your Firm to Keep You Safe

Phone.cleaningFinally. Some movement. Whether you are anxious that it is too soon to physically return to the office or you are ready, willing and able, it is inevitable. We are going back at some point.

It's been a long and difficult haul for most people! Some have adapted nicely to WFH while others are struggling with overwhelming pressure to handle family, kids in home school, parent caring, added workload, and staying inside and creating a working space in their home that should be in a 7x10 foot cubicle located in the Firm complete with plastic unbreakable walls.

I spoke with a Legal Administrator last week who asked me what firms were doing as a "checklist" to make sure that employees are workplace safe when they return. In my opinion, no one is really "workplace safe". It's an oxymoron in today's "new normal".  All we can do at this point, is to make sure we not only follow guidelines but are fiends about it.

One thing that really bothered me during the stay-at-home period, was the number of employees expected to go to the workplace despite the order. Some were asked to pickup mail, write checks, do administrative work and somehow not get the virus. We discussed this in our HR Support Group and what came out was fear of getting fired for speaking up about not wanting to expose yourself anymore than you had to to the virus. Interestingly, it seemed that the majority of people asked to go to the office were primarily women. But that's another topic for another day.

I don't think anyone should be afraid to speak up. This week, we were privileged to have Dr. Lois Frankel speak at our Community to Community webinars. She is a New York Times best-selling author of "Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office" and "Nice Girls Don't Speak Up or Stand Up." We attracted almost 700 people from all over the country - the world, actually - on this topic. What does that say? There is a critical need and concern out there.  People need to speak up if you are fearful to go back to the office. 

" Covid-19 is blind when it comes to picking victims. It doesn't care about where you are on the org chart, ethnicity, religion, gender, or if you pray to the Virus god in the hopes she is looking down on you."

The Wall St. Journal, in article a few weeks ago, cited several employment lawyers who said that unless you had a legitimate mental health condition documented by a doctor, you were required to return to work if asked. That's pretty tough. A Legal Administrator I chatted with recently said the firm had "paper cups, paper napkins and plastic silverware" ready and were staggering the number of people returning to the office, but didn't quite know what else to do to keep the Firm's employees safe. Oh, lordy, lordy, lordy. Whose idea was this virus anyway? If I weren't a politically correct woman of a certain age, I would say it sucks.

Staying safe should be a prime concern for everyone. One thing we learned the hard way was Covid-19 is blind when it comes to picking victims. It doesn't care about where you are on the org chart, ethnicity, religion, gender, or if you are praying to the Virus gods in the hopes she is looking down on you. The Firm can take steps to ensure your safety albeit not 100%. It is up to you to be reliant upon yourself for safety and if the Firm is not doing what it could, to speak up and speak up now. If you are fearful there will be some kind of retaliation or you will be viewed as not a "team player" (or practicing herd mentality, really), gather your colleagues and speak up as one voice. Many times, several voices acting as one gets more attention and is taken more seriously than one lone one.

Here is a list of 30 actions the Firm can take to help keep you safe:

1.    Design a floor plan complete with how movement should flow so that two people are far enough away from each other when walking down a hallway or aisle.

2.   Use transparent shields. Don't like how they look? I am sure designer ones will be coming out soon.

3.    Get cubicles with walls instead of sitting out in the open.

4.    Ask employees to bring cups, silverware, plates from home instead of using lunch room resources. Put your name on each piece and don't let anyone else touch those items.

5.    Encourage employees to text or email rather than work person-to-person.

6.     Put up huge signs in the restrooms reminding everyone to wash their hands.

7.   A study published in The Lancet Microbe tested how long COVID-19 can last on common surfaces. In a 71° room with 65% humidity (much higher than most workplaces), the virus disappeared from printer and tissue paper in only 3 hours. It took 2 days to vanish from wood and cloth and an unfortunate 7 days for plastic and stainless steel. Even in optimal temperature/humidity conditions, COVID-19 is a vigorous enemy. Tell employees to wipe down all surfaces before contact, even their own desks, phones, file cabinets, door handles, tape dispensers, pencil holders, trash baskets, window sills, mouse and keyboards.

8.    Promote social distancing with occupation limits in each office, conference room or public areas. Don't expect everyone to remember. It's a new routine. Put up signs everywhere.

9.    Phase in how many employees return to work - don't let them all return at the same time. Stagger work schedules so all employees are not in the office at the same time.

10.    After coffee or lunch breaks, sterilize the room.

11.    Post frequently asked questions and Stay-Safe Etiquette guides.

12.    Initiate a staggered 4 day work week.

13.    Put in hands-free faucets.

14.    Put a sneeze guard at the reception desk.

15.    Remove all unnecessary furniture.

16.    Assign seating and remove chairs from unoccupied desks and conference rooms.

17.    Get rid of the coffee machine and water dispenser. People can bring their own bottled water.

18.    Disallow use of the refrigerator or microwave.

19.    Don't share phones or keyboards. Wipe down the photocopying machine and printer after every use.

20.    Block the use of USB's from home.

21.    Forbid work on personal laptops in the office.

22.    Reset passwords as some employees may have shared theirs with family at home.

23.    Use plexiglass shields between desks.

24.    Appoint a crisis management team people feel comfortable going to.

25.    Take all depositions and hold client and firm meetings virtually - even if people are in the office. Don't put them all in the same conference room.

26.    Appoint a new position: Designated Temperature Guard. Something like a cross-walking guard. Employees and guests must have their temperature taken prior to entering the office. Give them a star or a badge to wear or something that designates their authority. It always makes things more acceptable, sort of like a uniform. Apparently, results of a temperature check are considered a medical record and must be kept confidential.

27.    Reimburse employees for masks and gloves or provide them in the office.

28.    Monitor changes in OSHA and CDC guidelines. Everything changes extremely quickly as scientists find out more and more about this dreaded virus.

29.    Consider employee testing and reimbursement.

30.    Stay calm. Stay firm to the guidelines. Stay positive.

When will this be over? While scientists say maybe never, I subscribe to the Pollyanna vision: There is a beginning, a middle and an end to everything. While we won't just wake up one morning and poof! it's gone, we do have to band together or attempts to wipe out the virus just won't work. I, for one, am in favor of wiping it out. I'd like to hug my grandkids again.

Chere Estrin is the CEO of Estrin Legal Staffing, a top national and international staffing organization and MediSums,medical records summarizing. She is the Vice-President of the Organization of Legal Professionals. Chere has written 10 books on legal careers, hundreds of articles and has been written up in publications such as the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Trib, Newsweek, Entrepreneur and others. Chere is a recipient of the Los Angeles/Century City Women of Achievement Award and a finalist for the Inc. Magazine Entrepreneur of the Year award. She is a former administrator at an AmLaw 100 firm and Sr. Vice President in a $5 billion company. She can be reached on Sundays from 3am-5am. Reach out at:





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Do you have a Plan B that rocks? How to protect your career in the Covid19 era.

Plan BIt's so tough out there right now! One day, we are not supposed to wear masks; the next, we should have been wearing them all along. One week, we are sure about a remedy based on the trials. The next week, it didn't work.  A few weeks ago, younger people were safe. That theory was based upon data from Europe. It turns out that in the U.S., younger people are just as vulnerable as anyone to the virus. Why? Because of the obesity epidemic. In Europe, they are much more food conscious, thinner and consequently, have fewer health problems.

Lately, 22 million people are unemployed including thousands of legal professionals. Some are going to have a difficult time finding a job in a downturn job market. Yet, sometimes, in our belief that things will change quickly, we tend to beat a dead horse. We look for jobs that aren't there, we send out tons of resumes for jobs that do exist and we never hear back.

So, my wonderful readers, it's time to formulate Plan B. We don't know how long this pandemic will last. Even if we do go back to the office pretty soon, lots of things will have changed. Are you ready? What if your firm furloughed you but doesn't ask you back? What if you are working now but may be laid off? It could be scary. Unless, of course you have a Plan B.

What does Plan B look like?

Plan B is often confused with an alternate or a completely different approach. However, that is not necessarily true. Plan B is a contingency plan. It is a confidence that will eventually drive Plan A. It does not have to be a replacement or an alternative but an addition or an expansion of your career. It is the extension of current process and opinions.

There’s nothing like the confidence you get from being prepared. When you have a Plan B, you’re more likely to aggressively go after your Plan A because you know, if it goes wrong, it’s not such a big deal. You’ll just set Plan B in motion and keep moving forward! That kind of confidence can offer you the opportunity to take risks along the way because they aren’t as risky as they would be if you had no backup plan.

"The best Plan B's are different but related to what you are doing now."

There is some controversy to having a Plan B. That is, it causes you to lose motivation to pursue Plan A. Sure. In a good job market. However, in this Kafka like environment, we stand to lose more than motivation if we don't have a Plan B. Jobs may simply not be there. What are you going to do?

According to Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn, the best Plan B’s are different but related to what you are doing now; this way you can apply the lessons you’ve learned to date to the new plan.

Bear in mind that you don't necessarily need to write down a specific Plan B, but you should always be aware of your parameters. You should be thinking about the “adjacent possible" such as your transferable skills or other opportunities on the horizon.

First, identify how to measure when you’re tracking towards a worst-case scenario. Are there lots of "secret" meetings at the firm? The firm tells you they are fine, yet are scouring for big loans? Second, it’s the plan that tells you what to do should that happen. Maybe if you are in mergers & acquisitions and that practice specialty has taken a nose dive, you may end up getting a job at Amazon, WalMart or your local grocery store. It may be that right now, there are few, if any, jobs in corporate transactions. On the other hand, standing in line at the food bank and desperately trying to get unemployment to pay the rent may not be the option of your choice.  You might start to think about switching specialties. Now is the time to take plenty of online continuing legal education. Let me put in a plug for The Organization of Legal Professionals offering online CLE in legal technology, eDiscovery and more.

What if you do take a job outside of the legal field? In our stress management webinar, an attendee voiced concerns that law firms may not take you back if you step out of the field. That may have been true in a good market. However, if we look back to the great recession, you will see that once hiring began again, employers were much more forgiving of the lapse of employment in the legal field. If you do take a job outside of legal, make it a transition job and try for no more than 6 months, if you can help it. A transition job is just that - taking the job for now and transitioning back to what you want when the market improves.

It is incumbent upon you to be flexible. I have had candidates whose jobs are in peril and insist on making a lateral move or improve upon their salaries. One candidate told me he would definitely not move for "less than $100,000, work remotely several days a month and match his vacation of six weeks."  Right. Clearly, the message was not filtering up to the penthouse. That was just when the pandemic was beginning. He is still looking and chances of his getting laid off are getting closer. The top of his range dropped to $90,000. I have firms that have asked staff earning more than $75,000 per year to take a 10-15% pay cut. They are bringing in new hires at 10-15% below their salary target so that new employees are not earning more than those with the salary cut. Plan B for this fellow would have been to loosen up, take a transition job and not stand in the food line.

Logo.MediSums.FacebookPersonally, I initiated a Plan B. The staffing industry is the third largest industry to be hit hard after hospitality and retail. With unemployment expected to go as high as 30%, finding clients who are hiring is extremely hard. Having been a victim of the great recession, I had a Plan B.

I took a hard look at the market. What is going to be hot during the crisis? This is the legal field. Surely, areas are going to heat up. People are just waiting to get through this. However, once things settle down (and they will settle down), people are going to get very, very angry and lawsuits will be rampant. Who are they going to sue? Healthcare, hospitals, doctors, nursing homes, employers who did not properly protect them, insurance companies, products liability for devices such as faulty ventilators, and so on and so on. I thought, what does that mean? It means there is going to be a heck of a lot of medical records that are going to need to be summarized. Tons of them.

So I opened up a division of Estrin Legal Staffing called MediSums. I located a team of licensed doctors and legal nurses who can do the summaries, chronologies and even better than most medical records summarizing companies, can render medical opinions and create deposition questions. The division aligns with my business. In effect, it is the temporary staffing industry all over again. I did get a nasty email from a paralegal who claimed I was trying to take her job away and doctors and legal nurses know nothing about summarizing. No, that's not it. Paralegals are invaluable if trained properly. This is just a great service with added value. I can understand how she feels threatened.  Perhaps she can delegate the summarizing, take on more sophisticated responsibilities, move up the ladder, thereby ensuring her job.

What I am doing is "adjacent possible". It definitely aligns with my business, offers an important service and is not a total disruption i.e., creating a brand new business and starting all over again. I am not going to beat a dead horse. Another Plan B was to beef up our attorney placement business. The areas of estate planning, healthcare, insurance defense, divorce law, employment law and bankruptcy are already seeing a surge. As attorneys slowly get hired, need for legal staff will increase. Again, using "adjacent possible". Interestingly enough,  I received a job search from a very prestigious firm in Bahrain for a corporate attorney.  If you know one, let me know.

As Benjamin Franklin said, "In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes." In fact, the only other thing you can truly count on is that sooner or later, life is going to throw you a curve ball. And folks, here it is. Welcome to Covidville. It is for these moments that we should, even when things were calm and hopeful, consider one of life’s most vital skills: that of developing a Plan B. Besides, if you stick to “Plan A” at all costs, you may miss some amazing opportunities.

" Welcome to Covidville."

Creating the Plan - It's actually simple.

  1. Ask yourself if Plan A fails, what is the next best thing that I could be potentially excited about?
  2. Did you feel a little bit of excitement? OK, so working at Amazon is not your dream job. However, did you feel a little bit relieved? If so, write it down. If not, try again.
  3. Repeat.
  4. Create a list of actions.
  5. Refine.
  6. Don't be too proud to ask for help.

As long as you are at it, start planning for Plan C and D. We can't trust this virus on any given day and it may not end when we think it should.

Today's world can feel desperate – until we rediscover our latent Plan B muscle. In reality, Plan B's are there for a reason: to assist us when things go south. Despite all our planning, there was no one script for us written at our birth, nor does there need to be only one going forward.

It helps to acquaint ourselves with the lives of many others who had to throw away Plan A and begin anew: the person who thought they’d be married forever, then suddenly wasn't– and coped; the person who was renowned for doing what they did, then had to start over in a dramatically different field – and made it.

Amidst these stories, we’re liable to find a few people who will tell us, very sincerely, that in the end,  their Plan B ended up superior to their Plan A. They worked harder for it, they had to dig deeper to find it and it carried less vanity and fear within it.

Expecting and preparing for changes can help you be successful. It's not what happened to you, it's how you handle it. We are a very resilient species. Bouncing back may be hard, it may not turn out they way we hoped, and there may be some roadblocks along the way. Let's ride that horse in the direction it's going  Have a little faith. Believe in yourself. It's the great unknown out there now. However, we all have the wherewith all to survive. Trust me on that one.
Chere Estrin is the CEO of Estrin Legal Staffing, a top national and international staffing organization and MediSums,medical records summarizing. She is the President of the Organization of Legal Professionals. Chere has written 10 books on legal careers, hundreds of articles and has been written up in publications such as the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Trib, Newsweek, Entrepreneur and others. Chere is a recipient of the Los Angeles/Century City Women of Achievement Award and a finalist for the Inc. Magazine Entrepreneur of the Year award. She is a former administrator at an AmLaw 100 firm and Sr. Vice President in a $5 billion company. She can be reached on Sundays from 3am-5am. Reach out at:

How I Spent My Covid Staycation

Hazmat suit2For those of us with stay-at-home orders, which is just about the entire world, there are little challenges that are coming up while we bravely wait out the end of the Covid-19 virus. I know these may sound petty in the scheme of things but having your world turned upside down with no end in sight can be pretty intimidating. It does, however, give you a new appreciation for what we take for granted. It's not that I mind staying at home. In fact, it's kind of comforting, given the scene out there.

Nonetheless, it's amazing what we can do without. Boy, looking back on it, I realize how spoiled I was by taking a lot of things for granted. Take, for example, the fact that you can't get your hair dyed. Now, it's true I'm not exactly going anywhere where people can see me but hey, I still want to be well groomed. With my highlights growing out, my natural color coming in and no hair salons open anywhere, I actually thought I was in luck. I looked at myself in the mirror the other day and went running to my husband. I was thrilled. "Guess what?" I said. "I have great news. I can't get my hair dyed but I probably shouldn't have had to dye my hair after all! My hair is growing in blonde!" He just looked at me as though I had lost my mind. "Honey," he said. "I hate to tell you this but that isn't exactly blonde that's coming in." Oh. I immediately went to Amazon to order something, anything, to take care of this appearance changing event. No hair dye was to be found anywhere. Shelves and shelves in stores had run out. Online stores had absolutely nothing. So, here I sit, about to really look my age. This could be really scary.

And take my fingernails. Right before the lock down, I got my nails done and tried out a new powder nail polish that was supposed to last at least 3 weeks. Unfortunately, I can't get it off unless I go to a nail salon which of course, is not going to happen anytime soon. In the meantime, my nails are growing out and the polish is moving to the top of my nails. I now look like the Wicked Witch of the West. I think this is starting a new fad.

And what about exercise? It's not exactly like I was religious about it anyway. A walk through Costco about did me in. But all the advice columns say you have to get exercise. My husband and I thought we had a brilliant way to do that. We ordered bikes. Now, my husband has never ridden a bike and I doubt at this age, he is going to get his balance. We decided to let pride go by the wayside and ordered, yes, tricycles. Oh, sure. I was going to look like some old lady with the basket in the back and that little orange warning flag rising above it but I didn't care. Who was going to see me? Everyone is inside.

We had huge choices. Do we get one speed or three? What color bike should we get? Do we have to wear helmets? You can see where this is going. Obviously, without a lot to do, these decisions became all too important. After careful consideration, we chose - purple. Purple? Who orders a purple tricycle? At least we were going to stand out. That is, if there was anyone to see us.

After about a week, a very brave truck driver delivered the bikes. We wiped them down very carefully with Clorox Wipes. There wasn't an inch that wasn't wiped. I immediately got on and took off. OMG! Freedom! The wind in my hair, my little legs pumping those foot things and I was in heaven. My husband, on the other hand, had a very different experience. He was too tall for the bike. He struggled trying to make it taller. He called the manufacturer. They gave him instructions. He was out there in the garage taking the dang thing apart. He gained a couple more inches but not enough. We took the bikes out for a ride anyway. He pumped, he humped, he gave it his all. After about half an hour, we came in and 'lo and behold, his right knee was swollen up from hitting the handle bars. As I write this, he's on the couch icing up. He's also saying a lot of stuff under his breath. I don't think I want to know what.

Then there was the fight with the cruise line. Oh, yes. Right before the Covid-19 pandemic, we had booked a cruise to the Caribbean. Three days before we were supposed to board, we decided it was crazy to go. All shore excursions had been canceled. The cruise ships were not allowed to dock at any of the islands. One had to dock in Mexico. Great. I can see us floating aimlessly out to sea, sicker than dogs, trying to have pillow fights on the Lido deck. We canceled. We did have insurance but somehow it didn't include something that said we can have our money back. I can't believe I'm in the legal field and overlooked that. I am still getting emails from cruise lines offering great discounts to take a cruise now. Yeah, I'm really going to do that. Instead, I'm watching House Hunters International and salivating over the houses in St. Thomas with spectacular ocean views all the while imagining I'm there lying on the beach.  It's really the best I can do.

My house is cleaner than ever. We scrub, we rub, we bleach. I don't think I ever had a home with a hospital clean environment. As I look around, I wince. It probably should have been that way all along. I tell myself I've been very busy.

Then there's the food. I think we have enough food for three weeks in a snow storm. My refrigerator is so full, we can't get to all of the food. Lean Cuisines are stacked so tightly in the freezer, I couldn't get them out. However, I noticed when I virtually visit my friends, every one seems to be getting a little chunky. I don't want to say anything, of course, but this is definitely a situation where the old adage, "eat yourself out of house and home" is applying. At grocery stores, you can't get comfort food. Gone are are the "p" foods: pizza, pretzels, potato chips, pancakes, popcorn. Yikes! This could be a real problem.

Then there is the situation of spending a lot of money online. Why is it that suddenly we are in need of a ton of stuff? Besides getting the most important necessities. I mean, did I really need to buy new dance shoes (like I'm going dancing), a heavy sweater direct from Ireland (it is Spring now) and that lava lamp? Really, Chere, a lava lamp???  I am sure I needed these important items. I am, however, still waiting for my hand sanitizer, Clorox Wipes, nail clippers, hair cutting scissors and ok, hair dye. Did I mention that I am going to try cutting my own hair? I'll keep you posted on that one. I keep getting emails from Walgreens saying any minute now I'll get my delivery. By the time any minute comes around, I will be an old woman wearing orthopedic shoes and gumming my gums because I can't get to a dentist. Whew!

Fortunately, we signed up for a toilet tissue club. Yep. One actually exists! Amazon sure was thinking ahead. I don't know if they still have the club but since that seems to be the most sought after item in the country, check it out. A huge box arrives once a month. It's like Christmas. We now feel relieved (pardon the pun), safe and secure. God forbid we run out of toilet tissue. I mean, really though, how much time can you spend in the bathroom? Don't ask.

The most sought after item for women? If you are a woman of a "certain age" you may have a, well, excess hair issue. No, not on top of your head. Right around that ole chin and upper lip, You know, the hair that comes in that only men are supposed to get? Since there are no salons, there is a run on facial wax strips. Can't get 'em. Now, that's where I draw the line. I simply cannot go around like the bearded lady in the circus. I do have my dignity. So, I ordered more tweezers. And since you can't get your eyebrows done either, I ordered one of those battery operated eyebrow shavers. It came. I tried it. I now have no eyebrows.

"We signed up for a toilet tissue club. God forbid, we run out of toilet tissue."

So, my friends, that's life in the Estrin household. I would be remiss if I didn't thank all our essential workers deep from within my heart who make these little challenges a little less challenging: first responders, healthcare workers, hospital staff, EMT, firemen and women, police, sanitation workers, cleaning staff, pharmacists and drug store workers, grocery store employees, post office employees, shelf stockers, transportation drivers, gas station attendants, delivery people, forest rangers, take-out food people, cooks, food bank volunteers, dentists, factory workers, tow truck drivers, cable TV workers, phone company employees, utility workers, anyone in transportation, the military and National Guard, reporters, TV and radio anchors and crew, and many, many more. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Given what's going on, the little challenges are just that - little insignificant challenges. We all can cope and make do. It's the American way.

Chere Estrin is the CEO of Estrin Legal Staffing, a top national and international staffing organization. She is the President of the Organization of Legal Professionals. Chere has written 10 books on legal careers, hundreds of articles and has been written up in publications such as the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Trib, Newsweek, Entrepreneur and others. Chere is a recipient of the Los Angeles/Century City Women of Achievement Award and a finalist for the Inc. Magazine Entrepreneur of the Year award. She is a former administrator in an AmLaw 100 firm and Sr. Vice President in a $5 billion company. She can be reached on Sundays from 3am-5am. Reach out at:

Are You Willing to Die for Your Firm?

Is your firm asking you to periodically go to the office?

CemetaryAmong the many and varied serious situations brought about by the Covid-19 world crisis, are the growing number of employees asked by their firm’s partners to periodically and physically go to the office. I have heard from numerous legal professionals that they are expected to show up at the firm on a regular basis in order to gather the mail, deposit checks and more.
Is dying for the job part of your duties?


To say that this is not only outrageous and dangerous, it is a serious indication of:

  • Numb to the situation: The partners either don’t care about you or believe nothing will happen
  • Denial: The partners believe you and they are omnipotent – what’s going on worldwide doesn’t apply here. This is simply an inconvenience
  • Fear: People are afraid that if they say no, they will lose their jobs
  • Cowards: The partners are too afraid to personally go, so they send their employees to slaughter for absolutely nothing that can’t be accomplished remotely
  • Hero: You are an employee with a hero complex
  • Stupid: No one is thinking this through
  • Mentally unfit: Oh yes, and frankly, wouldn’t you think the partners are self-centered. acting like sociopaths, thinking of no one else but themselves?

I am not exaggerating here. In our support group sessions and webinars on Stress in the Time of Covid-19, several people spoke up. One HR Manager said she is asked to go to the firm weekly to gather mail and checks. She said that she is extremely frightened and has two children. When asked why she continues, she says she is afraid she will lose her job. I pointed out this is not necessary. The firm can forward the mail to someone’s home. The checks can be deposited online. Wouldn’t you rather lose your job than lose your life or your children’s?

Her response was that it was too complex to send the mail home. So, let me get this straight. It's too complex to figure out a system, so you need to risk your life? I honestly don't get it.

I stated that if the firm is too big, it could send different departments to different employees i.e, real estate department is sent to John; Litigation is sent to Sally, etc. Her response was that she put gloves on, a mask and takes sanitizer with her.  She reiterated she might lose her job. How about: Lose your job or lose your life or that of your kids?? The process of dividing up the mail was simply too hard. In essence, this employee would rather risk her life for the firm, rather than say no. And sadly, the firm would rather that she did risk her life than take an extra hour or two to figure this out in the name of safety.

Another employee stated that she was asked to hire a temp and go into the firm and supervise the temp. Working remotely was not an option. The partner wanted her to stand over the temp. Rather than risk her life, this employee quit and went on unemployment.

The stories go on and on. Here’s the deal, folks:

Unless you are a partner, you are not an owner of the firm. This is not your business, you are an employee. Nowhere in your job description does it say that you need to risk dying to keep your job.

If you go to the firm, you don’t know if you are going to run into someone who is carrying the virus and doesn’t know it.  One employee said that there were very few people in the building when she went. Excuse me? There doesn’t have to be a lot of people around to catch the virus. Only one. The employee was not counting the security guard who may have it, the parking attendants, people passing her in the hallway, the virus still on cardboard, metal, computer keyboards, what the cleaning staff left, the mail and more, Wearing gloves and a mask still does not fully protect you. Just remember the bus driver wearing protective gear when the only person on the bus coughed on him. He died four days later.

Part of the problem with the way that wearing masks and staying at home is presented, is that it is portrayed that you are going to be a willing participant in bringing this virus to a halt, a team player and help to not get others infected. We all want to do that. However, hardly anyone is anyone saying that staying home, wearing protective clothing when going out, can prevent you from dying or bringing the virus to your home, kids, parents and others. The way it is mostly portrayed is that by staying home you will stop the virus from spreading.  It's doesn't personalize your risks. The most effective ad I have seen, however, is the one that says: Are you willing to kill someone today?

Get this: Many, many people don’t care about others and furthermore, they firmly believe they don’t have it and won’t get it. Just recall all the kids on the Florida beaches who are now sick. The bottom line is, yes, you can die and cause your family to die – for the sake of the firm.

I would do anything, anything at all for my husband and kids. I would go on unemployment; I would stand in line at the Food Bank. I would do whatever it took.  Listen up: A job is not a marriage. At some point, you leave.

Let’s look at it this way: If the stay-at-home order lasts another 12 weeks, and given you go to the firm once a week, that is 12 times more you will be asked to risk your life for the sake of the firm.  Twelve times of uncertainty and chance. For what???? Because partners would rather you get the virus than they? Let the partner go in. It’s his business. Let him risk his life if he thinks going is so important. Why should you? Really - think about it - why should you?

For those of you fearful of getting fired, I doubt you would get fired now. It would be clear retaliation. You may get let go in the future by some vindictive partner, that’s true. But is that a firm you want to stay in? I am not an attorney but I will betcha $.25 (I never go more than $.25) that if you do get fired and sue, there isn’t a judge in the world who would rule in favor of a firm who asked a staff member to risk their life. (Perhaps you should suggest the firm have a virtual meeting with a labor lawyer before this comes to a head.)

Say no. Yes, say no. You can do it in a non-confrontational manner:

Dear Partner;

This firm has always been known for its teamwork. It’s one of the reasons why I enjoy working here. However, these are dangerous and unprecedented times. Sometimes we just don’t know how to handle it or what to do.

While I appreciate the faith you have put in me by asking me to go to the firm once a week, at this point, I am going to have to decline. I have given the situation a great deal of thought and while I never want to let the firm down, given that the risks to disobey the stay-at-home order will likely substantially increase my chances of getting the virus, I will no longer be able to make those trips.

I would like to have a virtual meeting next Wednesday to brainstorm how we can accomplish exactly what you need to get the job done. I have a couple of ideas I am sure will you will like. Would 10am work or would 2pm be better?

Best regards,

A mom who loves her family so much

If it were me, I would not want to see this written on my tombstone:
Here lies Chere Estrin who died in a foolish attempt to fetch mail for the firm.

Please think before you undertake a dangerous and unnecessary act. Stay safe for your sake and the sake of your family. Nothing is forever and I don’t think I am wrong in saying that in a not too distant future, we will be looking at the light at the end of the tunnel and it will not be a train coming at us. Guaranteed.

PS: We are holding one hour sessions for Managers and Administrators on Coping with Stress During These Times on Wednesdays, 10am Pacific/1pm Eastern with Mark Gorkin, The Stress Doc. There ae four more free sessions. Send me an email to register:

Chere Estrin is the CEO of Estrin Legal Staffing, a top staffing organization in California. She is also the President of the Organization of Legal Professionals. Chere has written 10 books on legal careers, hundreds of articles and has been written up in publications such as the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Trib, Newsweek, Entrepreneur and others. Chere is a recipient of the Los Angeles/Century City Women of Achievement Award and a finalist for the Inc. Magazine Entrepreneur of the Year award. She is a former administrator in an AmLaw 100 firm and Sr. Vice President in a $5 billion company. She can be reached on Sundays from 3am-5am. Reach out at:

Are You in the Next Round of Lay-offs? Coping in the Time of Covid-19

FearBy Chere B. Estrin

It's happening all over the U.S., the world and yes, even in the legal field. Lay-offs. That ugly, depressing, stress-ridden word.

I am usually a very upbeat, positive person. Yet, along with the rest of us, witnessing this world crisis is something that is impossibly hard to get your arms around. It's like living in a Kafka scene. I am not facing fear, rather, dread. I wake up each morning listening to the news and horrible events that have happened in the short space of 24 hours. It's unimaginable. It's a plague. And I keep asking myself, "Why, why, why wasn't the world more prepared?" But that's an article for another day.

Law firms, like everyone else, are laying off. It's quite possible that a number of readers have already been laid-off. I am hearing stories and getting calls from legal professionals who walked into the office or turned on their computer from home only to find out they were let go on the spot. No severance, no warning. It's a sign of the times. Firms are immediately reserving cash, tightening up and battening down. It's worse than the great recession.

Some people have been furloughed - meaning, they are laid off and expected to return when the economy comes back. Really? That's a terrible risk for you and unless the firm is paying people on a regular basis in order to hold them in check, there is no reason to expect there will be a job for you in the future - because we have no idea what that future looks like. We are barely able to predict it.

 "Why, why, why wasn't the world more prepared?"

Some people tell me that they are "safe" in their job. Trust me. No one, absolutely, no one is immune to these big bumps in the job market. No one. Unless you have a crystal ball and can predict what is going to happen, you have to act as if the worst will occur. If it doesn't, consider that a windfall.

There are areas that are now "hot" in the legal field because of covid-19. Interestingly, no matter what crisis the world sees, it is inevitable that critical areas of need pop up. Here is what is hot or getting hotter:

  1. Estate Planning - People are suddenly getting ready - just in case - for the worst by writing wills and preparing their estate plans.
  2. Healthcare - It stands to reason that there are going to be thousands of lawsuits against hospitals, doctors, nursing homes, and anything else related to healthcare including medical malpractice.
  3. Employment law - Lawsuits against employers for wrongful termination, age discrimination and more are going to pop up as millions of people are terminated or laid off.
  4. Insurance defense - Given the amount of lawsuits bound to happen, the insurance defense world will see an increase in case volume. Always go for the deep pockets, the mantra for a lawsuit.
  5. Divorce and family law - Reports from psychologists and elsewhere point to the divorce rate going up as people are house bound and the "real issues" start to come out. They have tine to think about their future and if their present situation is they way they want to continue. There is usually an uptick in divorces after holidays. This is hardly a holiday.
  6. Bankruptcy - Just as in the recession, bankruptcy for millions of businesses and individuals is not only around the corner, it is on our doorstep. Out of work employees, closed businesses, loss of revenue and income point to one thing - bankruptcy lawyers and staff will be in demand.

If you are in any one of these specialties, you may just stand a chance for survival. If you are not, for heaven's sake, get cross-trained now before it is too late! Take a class, learn from other departments in your firm, do what you need to do. In other words, always ride the horse in the direction it is going.

What if you do get laid off? I hope not. However, in the event it happens or has happened, don't run scared. This is a flight or fight situation. Choose fight. Running from the situation will not get you back where you want to be. By fighting, you at least stand a chance. Here are some action items you can do:

  • Get your resume together, even though you are certain nothing is going to happen to you and you are safe on your job.  I have received more bad resumes than good ones. People throw one together and expect it to sell them. Remember, you are now going to have tons of competition for the same job. During the recession, there were hundreds of applications for the same job. It was without a doubt, an employers market.

    The resume has to look professional and "pretty". It has to package you to stand out above the rest. Tailor your resume to the job description. I had a candidate just this week. who applied for a corporate paralegal position. By the looks of his resume, he clearly was not qualified. However, when we had the interview, it turns out that he was very qualified. He refused to change his resume. He had one line in the resume that matched the job description and two pages that did not.

    Somehow, he expected the firm to assume that he had accomplished the tasks in the job description because he mentioned "corporate paralegal".  Believe me, they make no assumptions, they have no imagination and if the responsibilities in your resume do not match the job description, they will definitely pass. Finally, I got him to change the resume to fit the job because he had, in fact, done everything the job description called for. At this point, he has made it past the HR Manager and onto the Hiring Manager. Fingers crossed.

  • Your future job is probably not on Indeed. Yes, there are plenty of jobs on Indeed. However, if you take a good look at what is going on right now, you will see that the majority of the jobs were posted before the stay-at-home orders were handed down. Check and see how old the job is. If it is 30+ days old, you might have two situations: the job has expired or is on hold; the firm did not pull the posting or they are having a hard time finding someone.

    You are going to have to take a number of steps:

  •  Tap into your network. The best person who knows where the jobs are, are employees at the firm. Colleagues confide in each other about their desire to seek another position. They don't go running down to HR and say, "You know, I am thinking of leaving. What do you think?" Colleagues know where the next vacancy is.
  • Go to Martindale-Hubbell, a well-known law firm directory with thousands of law firms listed. Start looking up firms with the hot specialties and firms within your practice area. Check out their websites. They may be hiring. Even if they are not, send an inquiry to the Hiring Manager and throw your hat into the ring for upcoming positions. You just don't know what can happen.
  • If you are not on LinkedIn, by all means, put yourself on it. If your fear is that your current employer will see your profile, be aware that LinkedIn does not mean that you are looking for a job. It is a sign that you are a professional in today's workplace. Be sure and list the types of responsibilities that you have had under each firm.  Just putting, "Litigation Attorney" means nothing to recruiters and employers seeking candidates. They need it spelled out.

    Recruiters buy a package from LinkedIn that allows them to key word search candidates for specifically the right candidate. If your profile doesn't look right, if you don't have a professional picture and if you skimp on the details, you will get passed over. Be sure to write a compelling summary. Just saying, "Highly motivated legal professional with corporate transactional skills, team player, works well independently" ain't gonna do it! Get away from the routine description and make yourself stand out. Listing job responsibilities that thousands of other people have, is not good enough. 

    Check out samples on LinkedIn to make your summary compelling and show some personality.  Put your full name and the firm you are with. None of this "confidential" stuff or name like, "Anne D.". You will get passed over. Guaranteed.

    Don't overlook that LinkedIn also has a job board. However, you are going to have to have that profile on because when you respond to a posting, employers click on the link that goes right to you.
  • Get registered with staffing agencies. They may not have something for you now but when they do, they reach into their database and contact you. Don't get discouraged if you are not hearing from them right now. Staffing agencies are hurting as most of their clients have put their jobs on hold for 60 days or more until the future clears up. But please, don't hound them to death as they are in this just as you are and times are tough for everyone.
  • Check out what's going on with your alumni. People tend to stick together. Reach out and don't be shy. They may know something.
  • Consider working temp or contract. Usually, when a recession hits, the jobs for direct-hire go down but the temporary staffing goes up. That's because firms do not have the budget for full-time employees or they have a project-by-project need. You may not get the same rate you got on your job but hey, the rent will be paid and the kids will eat. Don't get caught in temping too long, if you can help it, because that backfires when you go to find a full-time position. Firms don't like long-term temps as a rule. They think you won't stay.

  • Consider taking a job outside of the legal field just for now. You can even temp. We all have typing skills, know Word, have good communication skills, are pretty intelligent and have excellent work histories (well, most of us, anyway). Sign up with a general clerical agency. Take a clerical job if things are not panning out. It's not forever and will get you through having to otherwise go on unemployment or go hungry.

    I honestly do not know if temping will heat up in this unusual market. No one seems to be predicting much of anything. But it just doesn't hurt to have backup plans.
  • Check your email constantly. I cannot tell you how many candidates tell me how desperate they are but fail to constantly check email for responses to their application or from staffing agencies.Even worse, their voicemail is constantly full. In this market, it is going to be survival of the fittest. Be proactive. Check several times a day.  You have to have a sense of urgency because someone else will beat you to the job.
  • Not a member of your local association? Now is the time to join. You will get the newsletter, network with others both working and not and many times, they have a job board. Plus, if you can get out of the house and don't have a stay-at-home order, you can meet them and network. Some associations are holding meetings virtually now. Be sure and attend. You probably have plenty of time on your hands.
  • If you haven't been laid-off, now is the time to be sure your firm sees you as indispensable. No more just suiting up and showing up. You have to become an expert so much so that the firm would really suffer a loss if they let you go. That could be a deciding factor when the firm is faced with who to cut.

    That may mean initiating a political campaign, gaining new and different responsibilities, getting someone in the firm who is the conduit to the power to speak for you, and rising above everyone else in all areas. Just plain old hard work that is excellent will not do it in this unprecedented market. Everyone is expected to work hard and provide excellent work.  This is not criteria strong enough to keep you at the firm.

Protecting yourself in your career today is just as important as washing your hands, practicing social distancing and staying at home. You don't want to get the virus and you don't want to be unemployed or helpless when you are.

Here's the deal. Nothing lasts forever. While going through this is one of the worst possible situations that can happen to our magnificent country, we are tough enough to fight it through. I believe in my heart of hearts that we will see the light at the end of the tunnel and realize, it's not a train coming at us.

Have faith. Keep washing your hands, stay calm, stay positive and most of all, stay strong,

Chere Estrin is the CEO of Estrin Legal Staffing, a top staffing organization in California. She is also the President of the Organization of Legal Professionals. Chere has written 10 books on legal careers, hundreds of articles and has been written up in publications such as the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Trib, Newsweek, Entrepreneur and others. Chere is a recipient of the Los Angeles/Century City Women of Achievement Award and a finalist for the Inc. Magazine Entrepreneur of the Year award. She is a former administrator in an AmLaw 100 firm and Sr. Vice President in a $5 billion company. She can be reached on Sundays from 3am-5am. Reach out at:








How bad is it to....

Man.nervousWe all make mistakes. However, there are degrees of mistakes, some very bad, some, well, not so bad. Here are 5 scenarios that might sound familiar to you:

How bad is it to......

1.    Agree to a phone interview with a staffing organization recruiter and ghost or stand them up.

Recruiters are professionals. They take the time to answer your application. They set aside time in their very busy schedule that could have gone to someone else. Recruiters can be your best friend because not only do they know where the jobs are, they have intimate details of the firm that you would never know by answering an ad on a job board. They may even have other jobs available that you don't know about.

Once you stand them up, they put you down in their file as a "no show" and move on to the next candidate. It is really rude and frankly, unprofessional, not to even shoot the recruiter a one-line email and in the re line say you can't make it. That way, you remain friends and the recruiter can book their very valuable time with someone who does want the interview. You wouldn't stand up an employer, would you? Of course not! Why would you stand up the gatekeeper to the employer? What happens? Usually, after some time goes by, the candidate forgets that they stood that recruiter up and applies for their dream job with the same agency. The result? They are very definitely rejected.

How bad is it: Really, really bad.

2.    Your resume does not look that great. Yet, you refuse to change it, acknowledge it isn't the greatest or have someone else review it.

You use Times Roman font (outdated). You use the wrong grammar i.e., in past jobs. You say, "Drafts pleadings" instead of the past tense, "Drafted pleadings". (Employers bounce resumes for that reason. You don't know how to write.) You are not specific to the job description posted. You keep sending out the resume with little or no results and claim "age discrimination" or some such thing. You go back 30 years when you only need to go back 10 years.

How bad is it: Really bad.

3. You leave off your email or your phone number on your resume.

Seriously??? You say that you are getting too many spam calls. You forgot to put it on. Or, you leave off your email and say you don't want to reveal it to strangers or that you get too many emails. I am curious. How do you expect potential employers to reach you? Sometimes, they book an interview with you and only afterwards, realize there is no phone number on the resume.  It's annoying and makes you look unprepared. You are viewed as not detail oriented or, well, making a dumb mistake. (Honestly) They simply pass.

How bad is it: Really bad.

3. In an effort to adhere to the "one page" resume rule, you squeeze everything in or leave out important information.

Look. You need to sell yourself. You need to get past the gatekeeper. It's absolutely true that potential employers can spend less than 15 seconds perusing your resume seeking salient points. Two pages is perfectly ok. Three or four is not. It's better to have a good looking resume than one that is crowded or leaves off important information.

How bad is it: Kinda bad.

4. You just had a phone or face-to-face interview and you fail to send a thank-you email.

I cannot emphasize how important the thank you email is. First, it shows professionalism. Second, it reminds the potential employer of you and it is one more reason to get in front of them. Third,  employers review the thank you email and make assessments as to your writing ability along with your desire for the position.

The first paragraph thanks the employer for taking the time to meet with you. The second paragraph and most important, ties in something that was said in the interview that ties in with your skills. It shows that you were listening and reminds the employer of why you are qualified for the position. The third paragraph talks about looking forward to moving to the next step. Try not to use standard thank you's that everyone writes. Be original. It shows that you are well above the average candidate.

How bad is it? Sorta bad.

5. You have no questions to ask the interviewer after the interview.

The interviewer ends your talk and asks you if you have any questions. Now is the time to show off that you are highly interested. Don't say, "No, you've pretty much covered everything." Have two questions to ask about the job. Be sure not to ask what are the benefits, bonus and salary. Not the right time. Answering, “No, I have no questions” could signal to an interviewer that you lack enthusiasm, thoughtfulness, and an understanding of everything discussed in the interview.

The first rule is never ask anything already covered. Listen carefully the entire way through your interview because if you ask something already expressed, it’ll seem like you weren’t listening. If you need something explained further, ask: “I’d like to revisit this point … can you elaborate on this for me?”

You might say:

  • ""I am very interested in this position and am confident I am qualified. Can you tell me if I am the type of candidate you are seeking?" The idea here is to find out what objections the interviewer might have. Finding out on the spot gives you a chance to explain further or more solidly clear up any doubts the interviewer might have instead of having them stew over it and send a rejection letter.
  • "How has this position changed over the years?"
  • "Is there anything that I haven't explained adequately that you would like to address?"

Here is a great article to help prepare you:
14 Impressive Questions to Answer at the End of the Interview

How bad is it? Pretty bad.

There are always things we could do better. However, these common mistakes can be avoided and you can spend a lot less time agonizing over why you didn't get an offer. Always take the path to success. Don't be resistant to trying new techniques. With the coming down economy, you may find yourself on the job market. (Hopefully, not.) Beat the competition and land the job you want. You'll be glad you did.

Chere Estrin is the CEO of Estrin Legal Staffing, a top staffing organization in California. She is also the President of the Organization of Legal Professionals and the Paralegal Knowledge Institute. Chere has written 10 books on legal careers, hundreds of articles and has been written up in publications such as the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Trib, Newsweek, Entrepreneur and others. Chere is a recipient of the Los Angeles/Century City Women of Achievement Award and a finalist for the Inc. Magazine Entrepreneur of the Year award. She is a former administrator in an AmLaw 100 firm and Sr. Vice President in a $5 billion company. She can be reached on Sundays from 3am-5am. Reach out at:






Can the Coronavirus hurt your job?

Coronavirus mask and suitSometimes, things happen in life that were totally unforeseen. Your job seems to be going well and it looks like there is lots of security. Then, before you know it, you’re thrown off course and your world is turned upside down. Suddenly, everything is in jeopardy - how you go about daily life has changed dramatically. 

We have been experiencing a candidate tight market in the past couple of years. Anytime the unemployment rate falls below 4%, there are more jobs than candidates. Future employees have not only had their pick of jobs, once in, it felt like you could stay forever. You probably felt secure in your job (unless you’re at a certain age and salary level, as there’s always worry and angst about age discrimination). Then, out of the blue, things changed - and not for the good.

Worldwide fear

Enter the Coronavirus. Fear has spread worldwide, and rightly so. The outbreak started growing worse, but still we felt immune—literally and figuratively. It wouldn't dare come to the U.S. China is just a vague concept to those of us in the states. It's far away and foreign to our culture. Rapidly, cases started to hit the U.S. and reality set in.  It was time to take cover.

Where is business headed?

The Coronavirus has undoubtedly affected a myriad of businesses:

  • Travel: airlines have taken a huge hit and cut the number of planes available; Internet booking such as Kayak, Hotwire and other companies' businesses appear down;
  • Hospitality industry: hotels, theme parks, restaurants, cruise lines, lodging and more, are all losing business
  • Hollywood: movies and entertainment- empty theaters abound. Even the new James Bond movie was pushed from a release in April to November;
  • Events and sports: stadiums are empty; concerts go unattended or are cancelled;
  • Event planning and all related businesses: not going to happen today;
  • Toy industry: many toys are manufactured in China;
  • Stock market has plunged to the lowest since the recession in 2009;
  • Automobile industry: cars manufactured in China; unable to get parts;
  • All businesses relying on China including manufacturers;
  • Tech industry: Smartphone and personal-computer makers: manufacturing could slow; weaker demand and supply-chain disruptions could weigh on sales;
  • Quarantines, travel bans and widespread business closures—could weigh on consumer and business spending;
  • Banks doing business in Europe and Asia;
  • Retail: shortage of goods;
  • Shipping: few goods shipped;
  • Tourism and related businesses - destination places severely hit;
  • Energy: weakened global demand for oil and gas;
  • Global trade;
  • Schools closing;
  • Manufacturing: disrupted supply chains;
  • And much, much more.

And, who do each and every one of these industries need? Lawyers. Just like the deep recession of 2008, law firms are bound to be affected. For now, things may still seem like they always were. However, the Coronavirus can change everything. The effect on law firms at this writing is unclear.

"The firm may be asking, "Do we want to hire?" "

Possible effects

One report says that the virus is expected to peak in March. A vaccine will not become available for Coronavirus3another year or year-and-a-half, so we really don't know what this will bring or how widespread it will become. Corporations and law firms might start cutting back. They will halt any new business initiatives, as they’d rather wait for better future clarity. Hiring will cease. Management won’t want to bring on new people—unless it's an incredibly important need—as they become fearful of the future.  They will ask, "Do we really want to bring on a number of new employees given this unknown rocky road ahead? There is no need to add new employees when business conditions are deteriorating", they’ll say.

Many corporate executives and firms will contemplate large layoffs. They’ll figure that it's cost effective to lighten the load and save costs by off-loading people. The firm may be asking: "Do we want to hire?" Sure, it's cold-hearted but managing partners need to protect the interests of the firm and their shareholders. 

Impact to your job

How severely can this affect the legal field? Truthfully, we don't know as yet. However, as the virus spreads throughout the country, changes are surely to take place. Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, Google and other companies have already asked their employees to work remotely for at least a month. What this does to productivity remains to be seen.

What should you be doing? I sure hate to hear that you are doing nothing but in a way, we may all be victims of this horrible epidemic. First and foremost, follow the health safety procedures for prevention of the virus. Re-think where you are going, if at all, for vacation. Recently, my husband and I had booked a cruise (the first real vacation in years) to the Caribbean. When we heard that one of the ships was not allowed to dock at any of the islands and in fact, the only port that would take them in was Cozumel, Mexico, we worried. What if that were us? What if we were quarantined? What if we appeared sick or had a pre-existing condition and got accused of being sick? Holy, moly.

If you haven't already, start socking away as many dollars as you can in your 401k or savings. Get your resume ready. (You should always have it ready, anyway.) Start scouting out in-house legal departments or firms that possibly may not be affected. Get those billable hours up so that you are not on the short-list to be laid off, should the time arise. Make sure you are the go-to person in the firm and make yourself indispensable - although we all know, everyone is dispensable. However, a go-to person is less likely to be targeted.

Constantly communicate with your supervisors as they should be in the know about the firm's outlook. Be ready and alert. Follow the numbers to see if there is a decline in billable hours, loss of clients or fewer cases coming in over the transom. Are there secret meetings taking place? Always a sign that something is going on that the firm does not want you to know about. (If you have ever been through a merger, you know what I am talking about.)

Hopefully, we will be o.k. However, it's the great unknown out there. I would rather see people prepared (like preparing for an earthquake) and not need to implement their preparations, than get caught by surprise like many of us did in the wake of the recession.

Fasten your seat belts! This may be a bumpy ride. The situation may be very scary for awhile and longer than we want to think about. However, we have demonstrated time after time in this industry that we can overcome adversity and prevail. This situation may last a few weeks, several months or longer, it's really an overwhelming mystery.

History has shown that Americans are smart, industrious and inventive when our backs are against the wall. We’ve always managed to find a way to combat deadly diseases, outbreaks and epidemics. It may not happen overnight but we will find the right vaccines and prevention methods and life and work will turn around and we will get back to normal. Hopefully, no further lives will be lost in the process. In the meantime, keep washing your hands, stay calm, stay strong and most of all, stay positive.

Chere Estrin is the CEO of Estrin Legal Staffing, a top staffing organization in California. She is also the President of the Organization of Legal Professionals and the Paralegal Knowledge Institute. Chere has written 10 books on legal careers, hundreds of articles and has been written up in publications such as the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Trib, Newsweek and others. Chere is a recipient of the Los Angeles/Century City Women of Achievement Award and an Inc. Magazine Entrepreneur of the Year award. She is a former administrator in an AmLaw 100 firm and Sr. Vice President in a $5 billion company. She can be reached on Sundays from 3am-5am. Reach out at:



It Must Be Time to Quit My Job When.....

I QuitQuitting a job is tough. Sometimes, it's harder to quit a job than it is to seek a new one. You hesitate to make the move because you are asking yourself: How will the firm get along with out me? Will I have enough time to train my replacement? They just gave me a raise. Someone is going to get mad at me.  I know what I have and don't know what I'll get into." And other career blocking rationalizations.

On the other hand, there may be something tickling your gut. Something that says, "Maybe it's time to leave." Or, "Frankly, I can't stand this place anymore." Something subtle like that. Sometimes, you just don't know it's time to leave and wake up one morning either in a career crisis or in a firm that just sunk. Leaving your job takes careful consideration but if you are on the fence or not truly facing reality, it may be time to explore reasons that just might open your eyes to "Finding Career Paradise" and loving every minute of your job. What a concept.

It must be time to quit your job when.....

1.    You cry in the shower every morning. In short, you dread going to work. Listen to what your feelings are telling you. Ask yourself: Why am I making myself so miserable when there is an easy answer to solve my problem? Martyrs are not heroes. You deserve better. 

2,    There are secretive meetings held in the firm; lots of partner emergency meetings; lots of closed doors.  Be on guard. The firm may be experiencing financial difficulties, about to merge, lose a practice area or major client and more. While the rumor mill may be running amok, look for signs that things are about to change - and maybe not for the better.

3. Your relationship with your boss is not what it should be: The number one reason people leave their jobs is not money. It's poor management. If you are at odds with your boss, chances are things may get worse. If you firmly believe it is beyond recovery, ask yourself why you allow yourself such misery.

4. You are doing routine and repetitious work. There is no challenge nor defined career path: Intelligent people burn out when doing routine and repetitious work. Nothing stimulates the brain. Routine and repetitious work leads to boredom and that leads to disinterest in your job. When there is no challenge, there is no enthusiasm. No way up? It's time to find a more challenging and rewarding role.

5. You have behaved in ways that are considered improper at work:  If your efforts to resolve your mistakes are not taking hold, it's probably time to move on with the resolve it will never happen again. It is hard to regain confidence from the Firm once you have burned your bridges. Remember the old adage: Don't burn any bridges on the way up. You may need them on the way down.

6. The passion is gone: Remember the excitement you felt when you first started your job? You were full of enthusiasm, hope, motivation and pride. Is the same feeling still there? Of course, things do mellow out as you go along in your job. However, if your sense of glee is gone, it's probably time for you to go.

7. The Firm has downsized, cut budgets, departments, laid off key employees. It has upped your billable hourly requirement and even has a hold on purchasing office supplies, software, computers and put a quash on important previous perks such as professional development and training. These are signs the Firm may be struggling. Leave now before the ship sinks.

8. Your stress level is so high, you are suffering physically or mentally. Sure, there's some stress involved with every job. However, if your health is starting to go, it's time for you to go. No job is worth it. Repeat: No job is worth it. 

9. You just don't like the people you work with: You can't find common ground with your co-workers, supervisors or subordinates. Really, now. Would you plunge headlong into a hornet's nest just to find the honey? Gee, I hope not.

10. You keep dreaming of what it would be like if only...... For heaven's sake. go out and get the "if only" part of the dream. We all go around just once. Think it through. How do you want to go out? Is it like this? Or is it in your ideal job. Hmmm.....

11, Your work performance is suffering: Unhappy people do not produce excellent work product. They just don't. Performance lacking? Leave now before it catches up to you and you are asked to leave.

12. Your life situation has changed: Sometimes life comes along and just gets in the way of your job. Maybe you got married, had a baby, are taking care of a loved one, got your degree, or other life changing event. Now, you do not have enough salary or benefits to cover the lifestyle change. After checking with your Firm to rectify the situation and finding there is no resolution, find a role that meets your needs. 

13. You are at odds with the Firm's culture: It happens. Perhaps your Firm is egalitarian and you believe in assigned parking spots for salaried employees. Your Firm conducts employee satisfaction surveys and you think these are a waste of time. The Firm does not invite you to Firm events and you believe everyone should be able to go. No matter where the clash is, a lack of congruence with the corporate culture will destroy your attitude at work. Leave quickly once you identify the culture clash. The situation will not improve and sticking around may make you hate work.

14. You no longer have satisfactory work-life balance. You go on vacation and check your email every hour. You are called by the Firm late at night. You dread coming back from vacation to find chaos. You work so much overtime that you could buy the mansion-in-the-sky but don't have the time to go house hunting. Your children barely know who you are.  They are asking Daddy: "What did you say Mommy looks like again?" Work-life balance is not a fad nor a trend. It's real and it's healthy. Maybe you have the flip side occurring and you are spending more time with your family than at work. In any event, it's time to move on.

15. Your skills are not tapped nor do you have a chance to update them. Perhaps the Firm is behind in technology. That hurts your chances of getting a new position as the next Firm is going to want a candidate whose skills are up-to-date. Perhaps management is not acknowledging that you have more to offer. Maybe you are no longer getting plum assignments or asked to important meetings. You'll get into a chicken-and-the egg vicious circle. Leave now before you are not marketable. 

16. Your responsibilities have increased but not your compensation: Sometimes there is a good reason for this. However, is the Firm taking advantage of you? If you can't get more money, get a better title. You can take that with you when you go.

17. You are experiencing bullying, harassment, discrimination or any other egregious behavior. Report it and leave now. 

Take a good, long look at your situation and be realistic. Do you like your job but things cannot be fixed? This is a candidate's market. That means there are more jobs than there are candidates and that puts the odds in your favor of getting a new position that actually fits. A new employer means new opportunities, new challenges, maybe more money, better lifestyle and a fresh new start.

Staying in a bad situation can break your spirit and kill your soul if you stay in it for too long. Have a plan. Don't walk off the job until you have another one unless your situation is unbearable. And, who needs that? Consider your options and decide what is best for you in designing your ideal job. Consider where you will compromise. Before you jump ship, carefully weigh the pros and the cons.

And finally, don't let emotions get in the way of your critical decision. Look at it from a business and career building perspective. The most important thing to consider: Is there a compelling financial, career path or emotional return on investment for such a move? If so, don't let inertia hurt your chances of career fulfillment. Do the right thing. It's an investment in yourself.

Chere Estrin is the CEO of Estrin Legal Staffing, a top staffing organization in California. She is also the President of the Organization of Legal Professionals and the Paralegal Knowledge Institute. Chere has written 10 books on legal careers, hundreds of articles and has been written up in publications such as the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Trib, Newsweek and others. Chere is a recipient of the Los Angeles/Century City Women of Achievement Award and an Inc. Magazine Entrepreneur of the Year award. She is a former administrator in an AmLaw 100 firm and Sr. Vice President in a $5 billion company. She can be reached on Sundays from 3am-5am. Reach out at:



How one paralegal made the Bestseller list and got on national TV

Collines Jamie and JessicaMeet Jamie Collins, award winning best selling author, national TV guest and yes, Senior Paralegal.

Unbelievable. Sometimes there are success stories that simply make  you fall out of your chair. I have known Jamie Collins for about 10 years. She first contacted me really out of the blue to ask me if I would mentor her as a writer.  I sure did get lucky. I watched this Super Star go from a novice writer to a high profile blogger and now, author of a best selling book with appearances on national TV. And yes, she still maintains her Litigation Paralegal position in a prestigious law firm.

Jessica.coverSince she has had this astounding success, I caught her on the Dr. Oz show. Can you imagine? I know that she spent 3 years writing I Am Jessica and let me tell you, it was well worth it. It underscores the adage that if you really want something, you have to take charge and make it happen.

How did you land in the paralegal field?

I walked into my first law firm at age 20, wide-eyed and wonder-struck, wearing a power suit and high heels, with a beautiful resume, and absolutely no legal experience whatsoever. As fate would have it, I landed a gig answering phones at that firm and learned how to do paralegal work in the years that followed. I’ve now worked in the paralegal field for the past 22 years. I never met a litigation file I didn’t love. (Okay, that may be a wee bit of a stretch, but I truly do love my job.) I’ve worked on class actions stemming from the terrorist attacks on 9/11, handled asbestos and tobacco cases, and handled more personal injury and wrongful death claims than I could count. I love doing trial work and have actively assisted with numerous jury trials. I love the thrill of being in the court room, and enjoy working as a liaison to clients.

I began writing for Chere Estrin as a legal columnist for Know: The Magazine for Paralegals and her well-known blog, The Estrin Report a decade ago.

About 8 years ago, I was motivated to get into the blogging realm. I run a popular paralegal blog, The Paralegal Society and my personal blog, Just Being Jamie.

Tell me about the book. How did it originate?

The book is a true crime memoir, written to tell the story of my cousin, Jessica Pelley (n/k/a Jessi Toronjo). When Jessica was 9-years-old, she went away to a sleep over at a friend’s house for the weekend. When she returned home on Sunday, her house was surrounded by crime scene tape and there were cop cars everywhere. Her entire family had been murdered—her mom, stepdad, and two little sisters, ages 6 and 8.

While Jessi and I weren’t close as kids, due to a lack of time spent together, and distance, we would one day reunite on Facebook, as grown women. We would start messaging, calling one another, and get to truly know one another. We became not only “cousins” in the truest sense of the word, but also became friends. One day we were on the phone, and I had just finished reading a book written about the tragedy, where the author killed our family off in the early pages of the book, without ever sharing anything about who they were as people. I felt offended by it. I knew that she, as the surviving daughter and sister, had to feel offended by it. I said, “You know, Jess, if you would ever want to tell your story, you’d have one heck of a story to tell.” She replied, “I know, but I couldn’t talk to a stranger about my life.” I said, “Well, could you talk to me?” She said, “Probably. I think I could.” And, so it began . . .

What is the book about?

Aside from what I just shared, the book is a survivor’s anthem. It’s about Jessi’s struggle during the time she spent crawling through three decades of trauma and tragedy that claimed her life, and her journey trying to find her way to reclaim what was lost or stolen. We told it in an raw and authentic way. And we didn’t sugarcoat a thing. Our souls are on those pages.

What is your relationship?

My mom was the eldest of eight siblings. Jessi’s dad, Ed, was my mom’s younger (and only) brother. Jessi and I are three years apart in age, but we never saw one another often as children. I lived seven years of my childhood in Stuttgart, Germany, because my dad was a helicopter pilot in the Army, so distance was definitely a factor.  

How long did you spend writing it?

It took me a year and a half to get the story written. I then had to figure out how to piece it all together. I spent another 6 months in the phases of developmental editing and copy editing. (Next came the design phase. As a perfectionist in all things design, I gave my designer a run for the crown of roses for sure.)

How did you do the research?

I read everything I could get my hands on about this tragedy. This was a story that made national news back in 1989, so there was quite a bit of information available online. I also spent months interviewing my cousin, by phone, to learn her personal story. For me, this was a lot more than just a rehashing of facts or retelling of a true crime plot. It was a sacred honor to tell her story—our family’s story. I followed my intuition the whole way there. It was important to me that we remain 100% authentic, and that I tell it like I believe it deserved to be told—with a bold voice and fearless authenticity.

Where are we now with the book?

The book was published on April 29, 2019, which marked the 30-year-anniversary of the murders. We officially kicked off our publicity tour in New York City, where we appeared on a national talk show. (It was exciting and surreal, all at the same time. And cool that we got to share those special moments three decades after darkness.) The book was a #1 New Release in its category on Amazon and became a #1 Bestseller in its category on Amazon. The book was an award-winning finalist in the “True-Crime: Non-fiction” category of the 2019 International Book Awards. We are proud of the recognition the book has received so far and hope to help a lot of people with her important story of healing and hope.    

Can you tell us about the upcoming national TV show? Are you going to be on it?

I cannot tell you what show it is right now, but I can tell you it is going to be on prime time television! I will appear on the show, alongside several others, to help fill in the pieces of my cousin’s life story. The production team has been absolutely amazing to work with. My cousin and I pretty much find ourselves immersed in a walking dream. This show was, so far, the coolest thing we’ve had the opportunity to do. We are excited to share this story with the world in the hopes of helping other people who may find themselves struggling with similar issues of loss, grief, trauma, PTSD, OCD, helplessness, tragedy, dysfunction, or loneliness.

Tell us about the PR you have received.

When it came to publicists, we hired the best in the business and found ourselves in the throes of a publication whirlwind. The book was featured by the New York Post and on numerous local television stations, and newspapers. We were featured on the cover of the Carmel Current, my hometown newspaper, and gave interviews on several radio stations and numerous podcasts. We taped a national talk show prior to publication, that aired in July of 2019. We were invited to host book signings at Barnes & Noble and Indy Reads Books on launch weekend. (This doesn’t normally happen for indie published books, so we feel incredibly lucky and blessed to have had the opportunities to meet our fans and sign books for them.) We have several other projects underway currently behind the scenes and look forward to continuing to hold a space for others to find healing and hope.

Where can I run right out and buy it?

I Am Jessica: A Survivor’s Powerful Story of Healing and Hope is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Target, Walmart, and Books-A-Million online, in addition to other online retailers. Hardback is also available at most retailers. (Please leave us an honest review of the book, if you read it. It really helps us!)

I know our audience wants to get some advice from you. What can you tell us?

When trying to accomplish an audacious goal, we tend to think it’s all about what we are working so hard to accomplish—that dream we want to make our way toward—to reaching the end game. Hear me clearly when I say this. It’s not. It’s about the person you become while wiping the sweat from your brow, yet again, picking yourself up one more time, and crawling a few more feet across that field of thorny dreams (with a broken high heel and a few blisters), limping along with a big smile on your face, becoming better than you were before. You won’t be the same person who walked into the land of dreams. You won’t be the same person you used to be, once you manage to conquer that big, scary, amazing, “impossible” thing. And that’s epic. Because, in that moment, you’ll realize you can have anything you are willing to truly go after in life. Anything you are bold enough, crazy enough, and daring enough to chase. You’ll wipe the sweat from your brow, once more, pull those high heels up a little tighter, and begin.

It’ll be so worth it in the end. (And you’ll learn that the “end” is really just the beginning!) Just start anywhere. And don’t you stop. You’ll totally figure it all out, and make your way there, if you just do those two things. Start. And don’t ever stop.

And that, my friends, is an awesome story about an outrageously successful paralegal. I can't wait for the movie.