Florida Makes a Move to License Paralegals: Coming to your state soon?

FLORIDA BILLS PUSH FOR LICENSING, DEFINITION OF PARALEGALS Companion bills in the Florida Legislature are currently under consideration to make Florida the first state in the country to require licenses for paralegals. The bills require the Florida Supreme Court to develop a licensing and continuing education scheme and make it a felony for unlicensed people to identify themselves as paralegals. The bills, sponsored by state Sen. Garrett Richter, R-Naples, and state Rep. Richard Steinberg, D-Miami Beach, were filed March 9 and have been assigned to the judiciary committees. They were written by the Florida Alliance of Paralegal Associations, a consortium... Read more →

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"Beware the Hidden Costs of Bad Formatting"

Pretty poor reaction to need for increased training given that documents produced by law firms are so important! "When talking to law firms about training, I often hear the following statements: 'It's so easy, you don't need training'; 'If you can't learn it in an hour, it's not worth knowing'; and my favorite, 'We're getting documents out the door.' "Law firms often use arguments like those mentioned above to skimp on training. However, there can be real bottom-line consequences to this kind of thinking. Training your users on proper document formatting can mean the difference between a document that will... Read more →

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Paralegal's Commentary on Court's Patent Ruling

Yeah, this news is about an important ruling by the Supremes, but it's also very nice to see an experienced paralegal being quoted: "When the Supreme Court of the United States ruled for KSR in the case of KSR Int'l Co. v. Teleflex Inc. [link added], it also served notice to the software industry that major changes may be afoot in both the granting and protecting of existing software patents. "For several years now, software patents have frequently been seen by many as stifling innovation, granting intellectual property claims for ideas that had been around for decades and awarding the... Read more →

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"A case of semantics"

I've got two complaints about this news article. One, the problem is with spelling, not semantics. Two, the reporter automatically assigned blame to a legal assistant for the typos: "Court documents can say the most amusing things. What's wrong with this sentence? "'We can only view AT&T's and Cingular's continued attempt to jeopardize NASCAR's relationship with NETEL as tortuous interference with this agreement." [snip] "Enough of being torturous of the poor legal assistant who probably made the typos. In his or her defense, 'Nextel' won't pass word-processor spellcheck in any form. And 'tortious' is such a fine legal term that... Read more →

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"Why Do Lawyers Need Editors?"

Gosh, there are so many reasons. You can find editing help & more from a new blog (written by an experienced 'wordsmith for law firms'); this post, for example: "The firm of Vinson & Elkins has a scholarship program for high school students who are interested in 'pursuing a career in law.' "Great! But take a look at these excerpts from the firm’s overview of the program. The funds for each student are submitted directly to their school . . . . In addition to the financial support, V&E provides each scholarship recipient mentors and a summer job opportunities. Each... Read more →

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Paralegal Article on Wikipedia...

...definitely needs improvement! Of all the smart & experienced paralegals who read this blog, surely someone (or several someones), has the skills & knowledge to improve this article, right? Find the current article here, history of additions & changes here, editing how-to here, editable page here, editing guidelines here, & info about all this Wikipedia stuff here. Be sure to create a Wikipedia account & please let me know who decides to jump in! Read more →

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"Better Legal Writing Is Plain and Simple"

Find several resources for writing better legal documents on this much-linked blog: "Legal language is used to record and explain the most important events in people's lives -- should it not be comprehensible? "Modernizing the archaic style you learned by rote is easy and with a little practice becomes habit. "Legal writing should be well organized (simple) and use everyday words (plain). This is easy to learn if you have the desire. So go for it." BTW, blogger Cheryl Stephens "[I]s interested in how people communicate and relate to one another. I am a mentor, a muse, a friend, a... Read more →

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