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Ellen Wright
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Did you realize that you just told a Brontosaurus that she was "fresh and innovative"?
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Licensing -- Certifying -- Registering First of all, we need to clarify our terminology. Exactly what is it we want to do? And why? They mean different things entirely. Then the regulatory body needs to be established - and, no, not the same one that regulates beauticians and morticians and hands out dog licenses, thank you. (They are probably very good at it - I hope so - but that just doesn't instill much confidence.) Next step - what will your standards be? Who gets to say? Oh, now THERE'S a tricky question for you. The paralegals? Attorneys? Judges? Legislatures? All or some combination? The wrangling could take awhile. Who is going to do the testing? Who does the banking? Who will do the recordkeeping? What about renewals? Are you going to have a CLE requirement and if so, who is going to approve courses and keep up with those records? There's a lot of administrative costs here. Which leads to how much are you going to charge the paralegals to do this? And are you going to make it a condition of employment? (Wait for it - here they come - the howls of those who have worked for years WITHOUT having to have this.) There's probably more and I've left something out. That will do for starters. Such a prickly topic to discuss......
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Chere, If you are a Dinosaur, then I guess that makes me one as well. Although I will admit that my photo is NOT airbrushed or photoshopped. That's the real me and, if it gives somebody indigestion, well, so be it. That's their problem. I do read your writing, my dear, but I sometimes refrain from responding because I think I respond A. over much, B. my responses, for whatever reason, squelch that of others, and C. could be seen as "she needs something else to do instead of being on internet boards." So I put myself on "stifle". It's not you, my dear, it's me. So let me go back and see if I can read something and express a contrary opinion or two. Just for the fun of it....
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People misunderstand the nature of licensure. I am now a paralegal. However, I worked for 25 years as a Medical Technologist here in the State of Georgia-which has licensure. Let me explain a few things about how this works. Licensure merely sets a standard of knowledge to which any individual must rise in order to work in a given job description. Period. Educational, experience, and/or work are frequently used as criteria to sit for the exam. For some period of time, "grand-fathering" is used for those who have considerable experience, but lack necessary educational credentials. This is allowed to "sunset" at some point in time. After that-everyone MUST meet the educational and/or experience criteria. There are no exceptions. No-we were NOT allowed to "have clients" outside of the supervision of someone with higher credentials as some have expressed fears of happening. Instead, we are REQUIRED to work under the constant supervision of a qualified Medical Director and a Laboratory Manager (and I should know because I was a Manager for 15 years). Yes, there is some independent judgment used at times, I will grant you that much, but you will also have to admit that every paralegal has also used such judgment in every legal office in the country at one time or another. It happens. But as far as some group of paralegals setting up 'shop' and running off with the clients-nope, not going to happen. Somebody is feeling awfully insecure out there. 'Cash cow'? Now there's a laugher. I have never known of one of these programs that made money. Usually they are begging for more funding. Do more research, politicos. You are opening your mouths before you have anything like accurate information. What licensure DOES do is allow the hiring manager know that the prospective employee has met a given minimum standard-so they have something to base a hiring decision upon. It may-depending on how it is set up-require CLE to maintain the credential, which again allows the employer to know that the employee is keeping up with developments in the field. It is still deductible according to the IRS as a business expense whether the employee pays or the employer makes it a benefit. My employers usually made it a benefit-and, you bet, I took full advantage of it. These attorneys need to re-adjust their under-garments and realize that this legislation really is just copying what they do in their professional lives. Nothing really would change in their offices except that they might have to allow staff members to go to CLE more frequently. That's a small price to pay for better, happier employees.
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um,hmmmmm--and just wait until their aunt gets into THIS fray! She can contribute the 'Pop-sis-cle' and 'oh, no, ah sprained ma 'ongue!! sop aughing, ain't unny!!' Oh, yeah.....This is good stuff!
Toggle Commented Jul 29, 2010 on Mutual Assured Destruction at THE WRITING LIFE
Just because they made through law school doesn't mean that they're not jerks. Well educated jerks, and sometimes very well paid jerks, but jerks, nevertheless. It's only a matter of time before these dudes (because that's what they are) wind up in serious hurt-and probably dead-because of their appetites. They keep this nonsense up and somebody somewhere along the line is going to get mad and either bring criminal charges (we hope) or do criminal things (probably far more likely). And the world will then be a little better place for awhile.
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Since I "cut my teeth" in a far different world (clinical laboratory) where this same thing also took place, I have a high regard for the people who did "go where no man/woman has gone before". The paralegal/legal assistant profession is still evolving. I can see that vividly. All the talk that I'm hearing about certification v licensure is testament to that fact. I was licensed previously (and still hold that license). Most of the people who were "grandfathered" into the field because of the situation at the time are now retiring or dead. Soon, all lab techs in most areas of the country will have to be licensed-and that-I believe will be a good thing. This sort of thing takes time, dedication, determination, and a belief in your profession. And this IS a profession-not merely a job. It takes a certain mindset of "professionalism"-that commitment to ethical behavior, to the highest level of continuing education, and of always serving the client to the best of your ability at all times. I believe that eventually this will be recognized as being a "professional" job--which will mean we will be non-exempt employees (darn it!), but it will enhance our status in the process. It's going to be a fascinating thing to watch evolve.
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May 1, 2010