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The Estrin Report
CEO, Paralegal Knowledge Institute; CEO & Co-Founder, Organization of Legal Professionals; Editor-in-Chief: KNOW, The Magazine for Paralegals & OLP eJournal; Founder International Paralegal Association; Co-Founder Intern'l Paralegal Management Association
Interests: Learning, teaching, writing, laughing, creating organizations, using my imagination, film, theatre.
Recent Activity
Aretha Franklin sang to the world about it. The subject is included when employees, girlfriends, wives, husbands, boyfriends, grandmothers and pets are asked how they want to be treated. I’m talking about respect. R-E-S-P-E-C-T, as Ms. Franklin would put it. In my travels across the country as a paralegal educator, speaker, author and staffing expert, I noticed a difference between the temperaments of law firm and in-house legal department paralegals. Was I imagining it or did most in-house paralegals seem more at peace, less stressed, easier to get along with while law firm paralegals seemed tougher, ready for battle, and... Continue reading
Posted May 5, 2016 at The Estrin Report
One of the biggest mistakes you can make in your paralegal career is to not leverage your background. In fact, when faced with either entering the field or changing positions, the words "transferable skills" sometime seem to make a beeline for the exit as candidates get it into their heads that obscure skills in their past are not related to current positions. What am I telling you to do? I have witnessed construction workers become litigation construction paralegals. Who better can read blueprints? Entertainers become entertainment paralegals. Who understands royalties better? How about travel agents, food servers, airline stewards (do... Continue reading
Posted Apr 4, 2016 at The Estrin Report
LinkedIn With Donald Trump! (Legal Ethics) "Donald Trump loves me! It is certainly clear that he can spot a winner – a leader in the profession, at the top of their game. I'm sure that describes me, and must be why he has requested to join my massive and influential LinkedIn network (of a moderate, real-world scale, of course)." Continue reading
Posted Mar 7, 2016 at The Estrin Report
You may remember Jamie Collins—one of our top writers. Today I'm pleased to feature one of her posts on The Estrin Report. I am excited to announce that Jamie is not only writing in the legal genre these days, but also recently launched a personal blog called: Just Being Jamie. So what is this new blog? It’s pretty much Jamie writing on a wide variety of topics, with no set rules, Just Being Jamie. She never hits the page lightly. One day she’ll make you laugh. The next day, she’ll make you weep. (She really does. You should give it... Continue reading
Posted Mar 2, 2016 at The Estrin Report
"No one goes through childhood saying, “When I grow up I want to be a mentor.” That’s like saying, “When I grow up, I want to be an actuary.” When given a chance, believe it or not, not everyone wants the awesome responsibility for someone else's career." Continue reading
Posted Feb 17, 2016 at The Estrin Report
Nothing is worse than making a mistake that could be a career buster.” Continue reading
Posted Feb 11, 2016 at The Estrin Report
We all want career happiness. So why, for some people, is it so hard to get? It is remarkably sad that so many people end up devoting their careers to jobs that don’t make them happy. They don’t start out that way, of course. It just ends up that as they get further along in their chosen job, they discover they’re not very happy. It could be attributed to a number of things: The people aren’t very nice. The hours are too long. The boss is a jerk. There’s no flexibility. The work is boring. There’s no chance for advancement.... Continue reading
Posted Nov 16, 2015 at The Estrin Report
When you think about being a paralegal, the general picture that's conjured up is a bunch of attorneys, a paralegal an arm's length from those attorneys, a file clerk frantically looking for the document the attorney swears he never had, phones ringing, computers crashing (well, they do....), chaos, activity, energy, excitement and calm. Calm? Well, I thought I'd throw that in there. Somehow, you don't conjure up a paralegal perhaps 600 miles away, doing your work, turning it in before the deadline, moving on to the next client, booking business, doing back office work, marketing, filling up her calendar months... Continue reading
Posted Oct 10, 2015 at The Estrin Report
Our guest blogger today is Mark Gorkin, The Stress Doc. How to Talk to the Bully: Five Strategic Tools, Techniques, and Tips Now that we have a definition of bullying and some key psychosocial conditions that encourage this often demeaning, ego- or power-driven, and manipulative process, let's continue with the final segment...How to engage and set limits on the bully and bullying interaction by employing absurdity and metaphor: Be Affirming with Realistic Expectations Be Courageously Absurd and Use the Power of Metaphor Announce an Intention to Bring in a Third Party Facilitated Confrontation or Conflict Mediation Purposefully Walk Away to... Continue reading
Posted Jul 21, 2015 at The Estrin Report
Richard Granat, a legal icon in this field, has written a blog piece that whether you are paying attention or not, need to know if you want to continue in today's legal market: I exaggerate not. The Uberization of Legal Services By Richard Granat on June 19, 2015 Posted in Law Startups, Limited Scope Legal Services, Unbundled Legal Services Richard has been my "secret/silent/unbeknownst to him mentor/idol/well, you get the picture/now for 20++ years. Everything he does is in advance of the trends. Everything he does is right. Every move he makes is spot on. Here's the latest. I... Continue reading
Posted Jun 22, 2015 at The Estrin Report
The Uberization of Legal Services and Why You Need to Pay Attention NOW. Continue reading
Posted Jun 22, 2015 at The Estrin Report
No one goes through childhood saying, “What I want to be when I grow up is a mentor.” That’s like saying, “When I grow up, I want to be an actuary.” It just doesn’t happen that way. When given a chance, believe it or not, not everyone wants the awesome responsibility of carrying someone’s future career in their hands. That is, of course, if you take being a mentor seriously. I first learned of Jamie Collins when she literally picked up the phone, called me and told me that I was going to be her mentor. I’m sure she has... Continue reading
Posted May 27, 2015 at The Estrin Report
Recently, I was a speaker at the Los Angeles Paralegal Association's 19th Annual Spring Conference. The theme was the Paralegal Career - What's happening today; alternative careers and the ever-talked about licensing, registration and regulation. What can I say? It was informative, lively and eye-opening. I was invited to be on the alternative careers panel. Oh, boy. Having taken one of the most unorthodox career paths in paralegal history, this is a topic I knew. There were going to be 3 people on the panel. A litigation paralegal doing something else interesting, a legal administrator who was never a paralegal... Continue reading
Posted Apr 28, 2015 at The Estrin Report
Just about every week, the question of whether to license paralegals comes up. What never comes up is the real "why". Oh sure, you'll hear ramblings on and on as to the pros and the cons. The reasoning includes how paralegals are supposed to come under the supervision of attorneys anyway (as though this relieves them somehow of major responsibility); whether it should be statutory licensing or certification; how it will help to ensure minimum qualification standards for the profession; result in paralegals gaining greater personal respect from attorneys and maybe even result in higher pay. I just read an... Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2015 at The Estrin Report
I got all excited. The NALA salary survey was out. Time to find out what paralegals around the country were making. And then the other shoe dropped. I'm not a statistics expert. I don't claim to be. However, I am an advocate of higher salaries. Frankly, I don't know of advocates for lower salaries. I started to read the "small print" in the salary survey and all I can say is, buyer beware or at least question the information your employer is using. While the NALA survey is generally thought of to be a quality survey, I noticed that only... Continue reading
Posted Mar 30, 2015 at The Estrin Report
Today I'm here to tell you about one of the most powerful days in my life. It was transforming. Awe-inspiring. A day filled with tremendous personal freedom. It was the day I quit. I'm pretty sure you're prepared to read some humdrum piece about a colossally awful job, with a dreadful boss, and the day I belted out a song that included the words, "these stilettos were made for walking." This ain't it. Continue reading
Posted Mar 24, 2015 at The Estrin Report
Show me an employee who says the money doesn't matter and I'll show you someone whose nose is growing. Paralegals are now facing a tremendous game changer - the advent of technology plays a significant factor in whether or not you make good money. Statistics show that paralegals without technology know-how earn fewer dollars than those that have the skills. That doesn't mean you have to be a programmer or expert, it means that those paralegals who continue to claim Microsoft Office Suite, Word, Excel and PowerPoint as their mainstays are so far stuck in the past, they may as... Continue reading
Posted Mar 11, 2015 at The Estrin Report
This hybrid position is an insult to the field. These firms combine the paralegal/legal assistant (or legal secretary) positions. This move pushes the paralegal field down and demotes the paralegal by adding responsibilities that are better delegated to a lower competent level. If you are asked, “How fast do you type?” in an interview, beware! You’re most likely going to be expected to perform secretarial duties. Let me ask you: Have you fought your way through your career to get more sophisticated responsibilities only to be asked to have half your job duties coming from the spot on the org chart below you? I think not. Continue reading
Posted Mar 7, 2015 at The Estrin Report
It's a sure-footed, absolute and positive, no mistakin' it gamble. Switching specialties, that is. Bored with what you're doing? Fed up with a paltry salary? Peeking over the fence to see who makes more money? Seeking that enigma: better challenge? Tonya Pierce addresses the topic today. She's making some good points. The main one being: THINK before you leap (and other relevant cliches). Enjoy! The days of general practice law firms may have passed. Many attorneys are choosing to specialize to be more marketable. Law firms are following suit [pardon any puns] by specializing in one or two areas of... Continue reading
Posted Jan 30, 2015 at The Estrin Report
Cover letters are usually boring. About 98% of the time it’s entirely possible that your cover letter is just like the last one that the employer read. In fact, while not word-for-word, I'll bet it goes something like: To whom it may concern: “I noticed your ad for a litigation paralegal. I am an experienced paralegal with 10 years of experience. I have attached my resume for your review. I am seeking a challenging position which offers me the opportunity for growth. I have extensive litigation experience and excellent skills: I have great attention to detail, am organized, an expert... Continue reading
Posted Jan 26, 2015 at The Estrin Report
Oh, for heaven's sake! First we read for years how the major firms are going to go under, disband or simply disappear and now we're reading out go the midsize firms. What's going to be left? Teeny, tiny little firms or solos? What does this mean for the paralegal? Probably a lot. Already, a new trend is sweeping the country: the combining of the paralegal with the legal secretarial position. That means a new set of skills for paralegals. Does it mean more money? Not necessarily. Is it a downgrade or will the legal secretarial duties no longer be considered... Continue reading
Posted Jan 20, 2015 at The Estrin Report
2015! Predictions for each new year is a c**pshoot. How can you know? Based on what? I'm going to stick my neck out here and say that most likely, predictions are based upon the previous year's trends. They certainly don't come out of the blue. Really now, predictions shouldn't come as any surprise to anyone. That is if you've kept up with facts, forecasts and fantasies. OK, I've missed a few here and there. However, let me try my hand at five and at the end of 2015, let's see how close I came. I'll bet anyone $.25 on these.... Continue reading
Posted Dec 30, 2014 at The Estrin Report
"Here is what Robert Denny says is slated to happen in 2015. My take on things is that he's probably 95% correct for lawyers. But then again, I'm only concerned with paralegals and sometimes what's hot doesn't always apply to high volumes of paralegals. My best advice? Ride that dang horse the direction it's going." Continue reading
Posted Dec 9, 2014 at The Estrin Report
I order up the snowmobile. I hop on I find out that for the price of a garage in L.A., I can have a mansion on a lake with my own personal boat dock. I realize I'll need floaties. Not a bad deal - even if I don't know how to sail. Continue reading
Posted Oct 13, 2014 at The Estrin Report
Our guest blogger today is Katherine Giacolone, The Corporate Nanny All too often we have conflicting work priorities. We're all working managers with daily tasks that have to get done and new assignments that come and go. We don't have a whole lot of room for organizational emergencies or pop-up projects! But the emergencies and pop-ups are going to come, and the boss is likely to push the panic button. Let's face it, the world changes on a dime these days, so many times our bosses are reacting to their bosses' requests - and you know what happens in a... Continue reading
Posted Sep 23, 2014 at The Estrin Report