You Can't Get Stuck If You're Going Nowhere


Let's face it. Who has a successful career without reaching a point of been there, done that, need more? Few people, I suspect. Otherwise, we'd all be going nowhere.

Self-motivation is not innate.  It's not inherited and it certainly is not granted by the paralegal fairy. It is, in fact, a characteristic that we either utilize or we don't.

I'm intrigued today by Barbara Haubrich, a Bakersfield, CA paralegal with 30 years of experience.  Barbara attended a seminar I gave nearly 10 years ago, remembered me and recently looked me up.  Gee, I hope I made a good impression.

Turns out, she has been quite busy motivating herself. Producing a slick, informative and valuable bi-weekly newsletter, The California Litigator, Barbara has new found success in creating a well-written and useful tool for paralegals.  Of course, I couldn't help but get into a conversation with her.  Her side of the conversation went something like this:

"I have 30 years experience in both insurance civil defense and plaintiff’s personal injury.  I have worked for the best civil defense attorney in Kern County, and have worked for 15 years for the oldest and most established personal injury firm in the San Joaquin Valley.  By working on “both sides” of the fence, I have a broad understanding of civil litigation.

I started the newsletter for several reasons.  About 10 years ago, I met you [Chere Estrin] in Bakersfieldfor a KCPA meeting and the Bakersfield Business Women’s Conference.  I thought how nice it would be to be a motivator like you.  I was a young supervisor of legal assistants, and applied many of your teachings to my style of supervision.  It was about that time that I started to branch out of the typical “law office support staff” setting.  I earned my CLA, CAS, and now my ACP. 

Once I obtained my CLA, I started to teach personal injury at our local university. That experience sparked me to  mentor the younger generation, but I did not know really how. What I had to offer was not motivational per se but my knowledge and experience in civil litigation.  The answer was right there with my family. My son is an up-and-coming legal assistant and he suggested that I write down and pass along what I’ve learned. 

The newsletter will be sent every other week with a target day of Thursday.  I do not anticipate the newsletter being difficult to keep up because I like to write.  Creating the website and shell for the newsletter was time consuming but now that it is done, I expect the newsletter will fall into a routine.

My target audience is paralegals and legal secretaries.  However, I feel that the newsletter will also benefit attorneys and students in paralegal studies programs.  My goal is to provide free information to legal support professionals.  Once the newsletter audience has increased, I plan to include very economical webinars.

By writing the newsletter, I can incorporate some of the articles into a handbook and bank of forms.  I hope to have the handbook published for law office use and/or a paralegal studies textbook.  I already have much of the information gathered from teaching personal injury law at California State University, Bakersfield.

My employer knows about my plans, and in fact, my two attorneys are recipients of the newsletter.  My employer has always been very supportive of any endeavor I have participated in.  I do not do anything in as a professional paralegal that does not include my employer’s permission and approval.

Barbara's Words of Wisdom:  If you are interested in doing a newsletter, just do it.  I was surprised at how easy it has been (so far), and the support I have received from my colleagues, friends, and Chere Estrin has been very inspirational.  I am a firm believer that if you do not take the first step, you will never get anywhere.  Take that step!"

I just love success stories.

PS:  Be sure to sign up for one of the three, all-new eDiscovery online, interactive dynamic 8 week courses through The OLP  (The Organization of Legal Professionals) and The Center for Advanced Legal Studies(an ABA approved paralegal program).  Talk about career opportunities!

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Estrin Books

  • 250 Darn Good Interview Questions
  • What They Didn't Teach You In Paralegal School
    A compilation of career mapping articles
  • Paralegal Career Guide 4th Edition By Chere Estrin
    If you've ever had those middle of the night terrors wondering if you've made a mistake by choosing a paralegal career, pick up The Paralegal Career Guide. This book packs a lot of information about career pathways and is chock full of information covering trends, career options, creating value, salary negotiations, getting along with co-workers, and other career resources. There is practical advice such as how to get higher level assignments where you are now or how you can leverage your experience. One comes away from the book with a sense of what's possible. Caution: Reading this book will make you giddy with enthusiasm
  • The Successful Paralegal Job Search Guide
    An absolute must for anyone interested in Paralegal employment, this book covers it all. Gain knowledge of the profession and marketplace as well as providing the "how-tos" on resume writing, Internet searches, follow-up letters and managing the first 100 days of the new job. This guide will assist paralegals in their goals for achieving success in their paralegal job search.