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The Estrin Report
CEO, Paralegal Knowledge Institute; CEO Estrin Legal Staffing; 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
A few years back, when I was a Paralegal Administrator for a major law firm, the Director of Administration took me to lunch at the Yorkshire Grill. He plied me full of a pastrami sandwich and insisted that I order the potato salad full of creamy, yummy mayonnaise, a big kosher pickle and lots of salty potato chips. A diet Coke went along with it. God forbid I should get too many calories. As we were walking back to the office, he said to me that if I wanted to succeed in the firm, I was going to have to... Continue reading
Posted Oct 2, 2017 at The Estrin Report
"What’s your salary?” becomes a no-no in job interviews. By Chere B. Estrin There’s a hot trend sweeping equal-pay legislation right now and some legal field industry leaders are not too happy about it. New York, Massachusetts and Philadelphia have passed the country’s first law that prohibits employers from asking candidates for their current salaries or salary histories. This is a way to counter pay discrimination that can follow a woman throughout her career when the salary bump she gets with each job is based on pay that’s already lower than that of her male peers. Think it doesn’t exist... Continue reading
Posted Aug 30, 2017 at The Estrin Report
Many paralegals who want to switch practice specialties write their resume with exactly what it is they are doing now, send out a cover letter stating they have lots of experience in their current practice area and are “detail oriented, a team player and a quick learner”. In other words, “here I am, take me as I am and, oh, please train me”. And expect that will get them a new job in a new specialty with a new firm. You have to be kidding. Changing practice specialties is harder than getting your first job - much harder. Your experience... Continue reading
Posted Jul 31, 2017 at The Estrin Report
Long before paradigm shifts were in vogue, my dad taught me a good life lesson. I was so young. It was the late 70's and I desperately needed a car. So, Dad and I went down to the local Chevrolet used car lot to pick out the vehicle that was to announce my social status to the world. We picked out a 1962 shiny red Covair with bright red interior and real leather seats (most of you may not have heard of this short—lived classic) for the great price of $400. It was a small car with the motor in... Continue reading
Posted Jul 25, 2017 at The Estrin Report
Cover letters are usually boring, unimaginative or just not taken seriously because there is nothing new in the letter that makes the writer stand out. Typical responses from employers? “Same letter, different sender.” Not exactly the let’s-jump-right-for-the-phone reaction you are seeking. In fact, with all due respect, I'll bet your letter goes something like: “I noticed your ad for a litigation paralegal. I am a 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:... Continue reading
Posted Jun 26, 2017 at The Estrin Report
Here is an article that appeared recently in the Progressive Law Practice magazine. Written by Tami Kamin Meyer "Virtual assistants are hot whether you are a solo practitioner or work in a major law firm," says Chere Estrin, president and founder of The Organization of Legal Professionals. Moreover, she adds, the more tech-savvy the attorney, the easier it is to work with a virtual assistant, also known as a VA. All of this new-found convenience is due, of course, to the advent of technology and the internet. Lawyers chained to the notion that their assistant must be seated at a... Continue reading
Posted Jun 13, 2017 at The Estrin Report
It's who you know. Networking. No matter how you tweet ‘em up, link ‘em out or face ‘em down, if you are not professionally networking on a regular basis, you are clearly committing career suicide. And, let’s not leave out the importance of the old-fashioned, rarely done, one-on-one, face-to-face, in-person meeting, the one where you busted your budget by purchasing the latest designer jeans with built-in dirt and precise structured torn knees for the discounted price of $469.00 so that you can send the message that yes, you can and do fit in with the oh—so-influential-wanna-be-Melrose crowd. There's no such... Continue reading
Posted May 23, 2017 at The Estrin Report
By Tami Kamin Meyers for Progressive Law Practice I was fortunate to be quoted in an article by Tami Kamin-Myers for Progressive Law Practice about ALSPs - Alternative Legal Service Providers. Here is a portion of the article. Please check it out. Thanks! If it seems that ads from businesses offering services supporting the practice of law are popping up on your LinkedIn or Facebook feed more often than they used to, it’s not your imagination. According to a new study (PDF) recently released by Thomson Reuters, Georgetown University Law Center’s Center for the Study of the Legal Profession and... Continue reading
Posted Apr 5, 2017 at The Estrin Report
Meet a leader: Joseph Spada, Director of Paralegal Certificate Studies, Boston University. Joe plays a significant role in leading and teaching paralegals who are entering the field. If you think back on significant people who influenced your career path as you entered this field, who might that be? Over the years, hundreds and hundreds of paralegals can point to Joe as a definite contributor to the direction, attitude and success they had as they moved forward in this exciting field. Here's why: Joe, tell us about your background. Let's start with your your education, always good for an educator! I... Continue reading
Posted Mar 21, 2017 at The Estrin Report
When I ask a paralegal “What's the next step in your career”, they inevitably tell me what they don’t want. “I don’t want a major firm.” “I don’t want litigation.” “I don’t want….” Rarely, can they tell me what they do want other than “a whole lot of money” or “I want to go in-house.” Sometimes, however, they tell me, “I want an alternative career.” Ok, I’ll say, “What does that mean?” And I get driven right back to the, “I dunno.” The most important thing to remember when considering an alternative career is: “By setting a timeline and creating... Continue reading
Posted Feb 28, 2017 at The Estrin Report
You’re not reading this article because you’ve gotten the raise of your dreams. You’re reading it because a) you want the raise of your dreams b) you didn’t get the raise of your dreams and need corrective action or c) it ain’t gonna happen. To c), I say, maybe not. But hey, at least I'm honest here. However, there are concrete steps you can take to get the process in motion. Sitting back, waiting for the firm to take all the action is most definitely a career rear-ender. Why? You become a victim to your circumstances. The firm has all... Continue reading
Posted Dec 19, 2016 at The Estrin Report
It’s that time again. We struggle as to whether it’s time to change jobs, hang in there or be thankful we’re in the best firm in the world. Well, maybe the best. OK, the best so far. Working with a good recruiter can make your career. Here’s the inside scoop: Recruiters, and I am talking about the staffing agency kind, hold the keys to literally hundreds of contacts they have built up over the years. They have the ears of the hiring authorities of the very firms you want to get into. Those who don’t understand the power and value... Continue reading
Posted Dec 1, 2016 at The Estrin Report
Stress doesn't really scare me. It is part and parcel of our lives. Why, might you ask, would anyone say that? Probably because in the second half of my work life, I have found the secrets to a relatively stress free career. Article after article has been written about stress. It’s the same old, same old: manage your stress, have a plan, stay positive, visualize your last trip to Hawaii in the sun-soaked terrain, exercise daily and get regular hot rock massages. That, or have a glass of good white wine, get in the bathtub with lots of Evelyn &... Continue reading
Posted Oct 31, 2016 at The Estrin Report
It’s a whole new world out there for paralegals. If you are not riding the horse in the direction it’s going, you are going to be left behind. Why? Because whether you are seeking a new position, looking to expand in your role at your present job or merely suiting up and showing up (let’s be honest here), staying complacent and ignoring the trends is, well, death to your career. Here are just a few of the most recent trends of which you need to be aware: Hottest, most requested software package for litigation paralegals: Relativity. Employers can’t get enough... Continue reading
Posted Sep 28, 2016 at The Estrin Report
It’s a dirty word. I’ll be surprised if it gets printed here so I’ll whisper: office politics…. (Shhhhhhh!) Your mother may have told you that nice professionals don’t do that sort of thing. Anyone who tells me they “avoid office politics” is really telling me that they are heavy into the game. Politics are an integral part of the world of work. Truth be told, what’s really behind office politics, however, is fear. Fear of what could, might or does happen. No one I know likes to admit that they play office politics or worse yet, that they are pretty... Continue reading
Posted Aug 23, 2016 at The Estrin Report
On occasion, you meet an exception to the rule. This is the case with Paula Delp, one of the highest paid Workers Compensation Paralegals in the country, if not the highest. What a breath of fresh air! Great attitude, smart, dedicated....ok, I digress here. It takes a lot to impress me and believe me, I'm impressed. Generally known as a low paying specialty, Workers Compensation is often under-rated in its complexity of skill sets required. There are two sides of the specialty: applicant and defense. Working with this specialty in recruiting for several well-known, well-respected firms, I have interviewed literally... Continue reading
Posted Aug 11, 2016 at The Estrin Report
American Heroes. They are among us. Look to the right. Look to the left. Looking right in front of us is Conni Hebert, ACP, smack dab in the paralegal field whom I had the privilege of getting to know. What an astounding background. A paralegal for over 23 years, Conni developed an interest in the legal field while serving active duty in the U.S. Air Force. She is a Desert Shield and Desert Storm veteran and received the National Defense Service Medal and the U.S. Air Force Achievement Medal for her contributions to the Gulf War mission. In a nutshell,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 7, 2016 at The Estrin Report
Networking is an Art. Networking. How many times have we heard it? It’s like saying, “Bless you” when you sneeze. It has, in a sense, lost its real meaning. How you network can make all the difference in your career success. If you want to get ahead, your networking skills have to be sharp, savvy and yes, leveraged in such a way to propel you forward. Otherwise, you pretty much run the risk of getting overlooked for promotions, considered as a great candidate for a new job or advancing your current position. When given a choice, people will always do... Continue reading
Posted Jun 29, 2016 at The Estrin Report
"Don’t be afraid to get shot down. I’ll never forget one of my first successes. I had just passed the successful entrepreneurial mark. I went out and bought a Mercedes. Giggling like two girls, we got in. We rubbed the real leather, we moved the seats back and forth. We played with the radio and didn’t understand all the switches. We loved it. I finally said to her, “Well, Mom, what do you think of your girl?” She looked at me for a moment and she said, “I think this is great, honey. Is this a Toyota?” Continue reading
Posted Jun 20, 2016 at The Estrin Report
While many victims of weight bias have suspected their appearance has been hurting their careers, two past studies analyzing decades' worth of research showed just how pervasive the problem is. The bulk of research has shown that the bias tends to be felt most by overweight white women, who are battling both the glass ceiling and the stigma of being heavy. Continue reading
Posted Jun 5, 2016 at The Estrin Report
"eDiscovery and Litigation Support Project Management are the hottest areas paying some of the highest salaries and offering challenging and upwardly mobile career opportunities. It is not unusual to see salaries for Senior Litigation Support Project Managers in the upper $150,000 at major law firms or at Top Tier Legal Support Providers." Continue reading
Posted May 30, 2016 at The Estrin Report
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