The Entitled Opinion - A New Blog Column for Paralegals

Over here at The Estrin Report, we love new ideas. That's why we are launching The Entitled Opinion - a new sporadic column featuring guest bloggers with definite opinions. We encourage you to write in. Tell us what's on your mind; what peeves you have; what success stories you've witnessed; changes you'd like to see and observations you'd like known. To kick things off, we introduce you to Sydney Muray, paralegal, today's guest blogger: Wal-Mart v. Dukes was an important Supreme Court case that dealt with class action lawsuits, appealing to lawyers and paralegals alike. The original plaintiff, Betty Dukes,... Read more →

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Are you doing all you can taking a witness statement?

One of our favorite guest bloggers is back! Barbara Haubrich-Hass, ACP/CAS on: WITNESS STATEMENTS It is important to memorialize the sequence of events in any given incident. One way to accomplish this is to obtain statements from the percipient witnesses. Nailing down a witness’ version of how an incident occurred early in a case can be one of the most important components of a thorough investigation. A paralegal should not determine which witness to statementize; that is a decision for the attorney to make. It is also up to the attorney to decide who conducts the interview with the witness.... Read more →

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"Mock trial helps students learn more about the legal system"

This most gratifying article in the Jackson Hole Star-Tribune details how Wyoming paralegal students are showing fifth-graders how the U.S. legal system works: "With a polite but stern tone, fifth-grader Jacob Colman interrupted Robert Novak, reminding him to just answer yes or no. "Dressed in a dark blue suit like a miniature lawyer, Colman again asked the question to Novak on the witness stand. "'Well...,' Novak said. "'Just answer yes or no please,' said Colman, 11, once again interrupting the adult. "The exchange Thursday was part of a mock trial Casper College's paralegal department held with fifth-graders from St. Anthony's... Read more →

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"Paralegal licensing is good news"

After a hard-fought legislative battle, independent paralegals in in Ontario will become a regulated profession on May 1. This Toronto Star article outlines why licensing is needed: "In recent years, the need for regulating paralegals has been the subject of considerable comment by Ontario judges and in two Ontario government reports. The most recent comment occurred in a Superior Court decision of Justice Deena Baltman last October. It was published last month in the Ontario Reports. "In December 2002, Pamela Elliot received an eviction notice from her landlord claiming rent arrears of $2,700. Shortly afterward, the Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal... Read more →

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"Sunshine and Judge Seidlin"

Have to point to this very smart blog post about Judge Seidlin, of "judging on TV" fame: "In 1933, Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis advised, 'Sunlight is the greatest disinfectant.' True to this notion, Florida is known as the Sunshine State not only for its weather -- it has long been a leader in open government. But when it comes to cameras in the courtroom, does openness serve an injustice? "After watching Judge Larry Seidlin's on-camera antics in the Anna Nicole Smith proceedings, Norm Pattis thinks so. At his blog Crime & Federalism, he says Seidlin singlehandedly rests the... Read more →

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Jury Finds Paralegal's Sexual Harassment Claims True

Bad behavior from lawyers who have no excuse. But I've seen this kind of news before: "A law firm specialising in sexual harassment cases has itself been proven to have practised sexual harassment and ordered to pay $368,000 to a Roseville woman who worked at the firm as a paralegal. "The Martinez-Senftner Law Firm, Roseville, CA, handles a variety of civil and criminal work, including sexual harassment cases. The victim's identity has been withheld following the two week trial which found that the law firm should have known about the allegations but did nothing to stop them. The woman received... Read more →

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Fulbright's Third Annual Litigation Trend Survey Findings

Very interesting survey about litigation trends in the U.S. Number of lawsuits...ouch! "Here's a sample of the findings: Large U.S. companies face an average of 305 pending lawsuits. For the largest U.S. companies, those with $1 billion or more in annual gross revenue, the number of lawsuits soared to 556 cases, with an average of 50 new disputes emerging each year for close to half of them." Tip of the hat to Law Librarian Blog for this info. Read more →

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"How Many Lawyers Does It Take to Make You Sick?"

Yep, the answer to this question totally depends on the firm! Plaintiff: Amy Seiler Defendants: Harry J. Mulry Jr.; Gregory G. Shaub, doing business under the firm name Mulry & Shaub L.L.P. Accusation: A paralegal toils for a small law firm and gets bouts of "stomach distress, headaches and disagreeable fits of temper." Oh, and don't forget those "digestive upsets." "In a lawsuit [PDF] filed last week [11/16/2006] in Brooklyn Federal Court, Amy Seiler says her bosses at Mulry & Shaub in Port Washington negligently dragged their feet in hiring a replacement for an outgoing receptionist. And so for the... Read more →

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CNN's Nancy Grace Sued Over 'Grilling' that 'Led to Suicide'

When does an aggressive interviewer go too far? Guess we'll find out with this wrongful death lawsuit: "Relatives of a mother who committed suicide after CNN's Nancy Grace aggressively questioned her about the disappearance of her son sued the network and the talk-show host Tuesday, accusing Grace of pushing the woman over the edge. "Melinda Duckett shot herself to death on Sept. 8, one day after taping a segment on Grace's CNN Headline News show in which Grace interrogated Duckett about her whereabouts on the August day that 2-year-old Trenton Duckett was reported missing. The network aired the segment after... Read more →

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"Game of 'Rock, Paper, Scissors' Ordered to Settle Dispute"

Now this is both funny & smart news! "A federal judge, miffed at the inability of opposing attorneys to agree on even the slightest details of a lawsuit, ordered them to settle their latest dispute with a game of 'rock, paper, scissors.'" "The argument was over a location to take the sworn statement of a witness in an insurance lawsuit. "In an order signed Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Gregory Presnell scolded both sides and ordered them to meet at a neutral location at 4 p.m. June 30 to play a round of the hand-gesture game often used to settle childhood... Read more →

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