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January 2007
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March 2007

"Five Things You Should Know About Fighting Spam"

Sadly, this scenario sounds all too familiar! But there's a good reason:

"When you started your e-mail client this morning, you were prepared for the usual set of correspondence: your daily dose of corporate politics, a dollop of technical emergencies and the background hum of projects under way. Annoyingly, your inbox also contained a few messages advertising products you would never buy, and perhaps a phishing notice warning that your account was frozen at a financial institution where you don't have an account. Your company has antispam measures in place; surely, the IT staff should be able to keep this junk out of your inbox?

"Perhaps they can, but the task of doing so has become much more difficult in recent years, partly because 85 percent or more of all e-mail traffic today is spam.

[snip]

"The primary directive, for e-mail admins, is 'lose no mail.' If that means that an occasional spam message wends its merry way into users' mailboxes, so be it. E-mail administrators would prefer that users encounter a few annoyances than miss an important business message."

Also, remember that "People are Making Money on Spam," so there may always be strong incentives for spam senders to fight against spam blockers. Who knows, you might want some of that uninvited email....


"Lawyers ready for a boom in bankruptcy"

Yeah, good news for lawyers & financial advisers maybe; other people not so much:

"Business bankruptcy filings are down by 45 percent and corporate debt default rates remain near all-time lows. Yet bankruptcy pros are buzzing with anticipation.

"While they don't have crystal balls, call them cynical and firm believers in business cycles. Lawyers, consultants and financial advisers who work with troubled companies are getting ready for the next surge in business, which some predict may come as soon as the end of this year.

"'My experience over the last 20 years is that what goes up, must come down,' said Jeff Marwil, a Chicago attorney who last month left Jenner & Block to join Winston & Strawn's larger bankruptcy practice. 'Change is inevitable.'

[snip]

"To prepare, some big law firms have bolstered their bankruptcy practices by cherry-picking prominent attorneys from other firms. Marwil is one of four attorneys Winston & Strawn recruited. Kirkland & Ellis lured an attorney from rival Weil, Gotshal & Manges in New York. Top-drawer New York firm Paul, Hastings Janofsky & Walker opened its Chicago office with two bankruptcy attorneys from Jones Day."


"Bankruptcy Boutique's Lawyers Depart for Larger Firms"

Possible words of warning for people working in bankruptcy law firms, boutique or not:

"If it's tough to be tiny, it's even tougher to be small and specializing in insolvency.

"San Francisco bankruptcy boutique McNutt & Litteneker began shedding attorneys in the summer of 2005 in tandem with a drop in business. The firm several years ago had 10 full-time lawyers -- eight of whom were associates. Last month's departure of its three remaining associates have name partners Scott McNutt and Rebecca Litteneker not just running the show -- they are the show.

[snip]

"Lawyers in the bankruptcy field say it is a rare boutique that is growing -- or even holding steady -- today. Even at large firms, bankruptcy specialists have retooled to handle other types of work until the next upturn. Notorious for running counter to the general economy, the bankruptcy practice booms in recession and wanes when business is strong."


"Couple share more than just a marriage"

Amazingly wonderful Valentine's gift! BTW, have you signed an organ donation card?

"Attorney Paris Eliades referred to Jane Picone on Tuesday as the 'surrogate mother' of the law firm in Sparta where she's worked for 29 years.

"In fact, about 15 employees of law firm Daggett, Kraemer, Eliades, Kovach and Ursin gathered to honor her contributions not only to her family at work, but her actual family at home.

"Picone, 55, an office manager and paralegal, donated her kidney to her husband Al Picone, 56, on Valentine's Day last year, a surprisingly simple process that saved Al from using dialysis his entire life.

"The surgery also allowed the Andover Township couple to tell their community — everyone from a cousin to a post office employee — about the positive impacts of organ donation."


"Who's afraid of the big, bad wolf?"

Surely not paralegals! People who work with lawyers every day?

"Living in fear is living a life of mediocrity. Your fear may be of going back to school, networking with other professionals, job security or competency at work. Perhaps it is the fear of taking your career to the next level, as a paralegal student or a working professional. Whatever your fear may be, ask yourself if this fear is precluding you from achieving some of your goals in life or at work and paralyzing you to the point of stagnation. Are you afraid of the big, bad 'wolf'?

"Goal setting and achievement is something that not only translates into our personal lives, but our professional lives as well. As a paralegal, sometimes falling under the radar [PDF] at work is a reality. But as paralegals we all share a common bond. We are a crucial part of the team. Often times it is our responsibility to get the job done and to get it done right, the first time through. To achieve such an encompassing goal, we may have to call upon and rely on others in the field with more expertise than ourselves."

Author Kristine M. Custodio is a Certified Paralegal, the School Liaison Committee chair for the San Diego Paralegal Association, & a paralegal for Butterfield Schechter LLP.


Cross-Dressing Lawyer Hangs Up His Dress

I just couldn't pass up news about a lawyer supporting women in law, albeit in a rather different way:

"A male lawyer who appeared in court dressed in women's clothes as a protest against what he said was New Zealand's overly masculine judiciary was suspended Wednesday after being found to be in contempt of court.

"The New Zealand High Court found Rob Moodie, a 68-year-old, balding man who appeared in court in dresses and toting a handbag, was in contempt for circulating suppressed documents outside the court in one of his cases.

Moodie officially changed his name to 'Miss Alice' as part of his protest against the 'old boys network' that he said runs the nation's judiciary, and was granted an award for the most bizarre conduct by a lawyer in 2006 by London's The Times newspaper."


"Paralegals in position to improve reputation of legal profession"

Well, yeah! This is indeed a welcome news article:

"Paralegals are critical to improving the reputation of lawyers in the community. The legal profession still suffers from negative stereotypes and some do indeed think we're better off 'at the bottom of the sea,' as the lawyer joke goes. Paralegals can pull lawyers out of this muddy, messy, pool of disrepute by displaying the following qualities.

* Honesty and integrity
* Professionalism
* Giving back through pro bono work and volunteering
* Enthusiasm"

Author Elizabeth Balfour's speech at the annual San Diego Paralegals' Association Luncheon in June 2006 provided criteria for the Distinguished Paralegals Awards.


"How Do You Decide What To Do from Your To Do List?"

Excellent question posed on the Web Worker Daily blog [links below from original post]:

"We’ve recently profiled two online apps for supporting David Allen’s Getting Things Done approach to personal organization: Vitalist and Nozbe. With tools like that–or even just pen and paper–you can capture everything you need to get done. Once you’ve offloaded all those must-dos from your brain, though, you need to take the next step: decide which ones to do.

"How do you do that? How do you prioritize (or triage, as seems more often necessary for me these days)? And once you’ve prioritized, how do you decide which of the prioritized items to do?"

Hey, I'm doing good to have to-do lists!


Paralegal SuperConference with All-New Management Track

This Estrin Paralegal SuperConference (Los Angeles; March 8-9, 2007), has been designed specifically for paralegals seeking to advance their careers:

"Will you be prepared for the challenges and opportunities of your specialty?

"The success of your career will depend on your ability to respond to unprecedented -- some say alarming -- trends & conditions. Your ability to appropriately address just-emerging laws & technological challenges will, quite frankly, determine if you will be among those recognized as a MVP (Most Valuable Paralegal) in your organization.

"Key workshops include:

* 10 Essential Management Skills for Paralegals
* Everything I Know I Learned from Commercials
* The New Federal Discovery Laws
* Reverse Triangular Mergers
* How to Interview and Recruit Paralegal SuperStars"


"Paralegals and Smartphones"

I'm not saying you should buy a smartphone, but the Indiana Paralegal Association rightly points out the value of quick email replies:

"I am willing to go out on a limb with this one, but I have come to the conclusion that smartphones are quickly becoming a requirement for paralegals. Whether we like it or not, we live in a world of invisible fences and constant communication (as one of my collegues constantly reminds me). Several weeks ago, I finally broke down and purchased the Samsung Blackjack smart phone (I highly recommend this phone to anyone interested in a slim smart phone)."