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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
"Sometimes, you just don't know it's time to leave your job and wake up one morning either in a career crisis or in a firm that just sunk. What stops you from leaving?" Continue reading
Posted Jan 6, 2020 at The Estrin Report
the book is a survivor’s anthem. It’s about Jessi’s struggle during the time she spent crawling through three decades of trauma and tragedy that claimed her life, and her journey trying to find her way to reclaim what was lost or stolen. We told it in an raw and authentic way. And we didn’t sugarcoat a thing. Our souls are on those pages. Continue reading
Posted Nov 2, 2019 at The Estrin Report
Ghosting: The act of not showing up. It happens all the time in the dating world but a new phenomenon has hit the job market. The new Beige Book from the Federal Reserve Bank now contains this millennial slang to describe a rising trend in the workplace. The mention in the Fed publication, formally known as the Summary of Commentary on Current Economic Conditions, gives us a descriptive definition: "A number of contacts said that they had been ‘ghosted,’ a situation in which a worker stops coming to work without notice and then is impossible to contact." Until recently, the... Continue reading
Posted Jan 1, 2019 at The Estrin Report
"Working with a good recruiter can help 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." Continue reading
Posted Dec 8, 2018 at The Estrin Report
Change your attitude! Don't give up! It's worth the extra effort. Really. 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... Continue reading
Posted Dec 1, 2018 at The Estrin Report
When you work as a Virtual Legal Assistant, you can choose to work as an employee or you can set up your own business. There are pros and cons to each arrangement. When you work as an employee, you don't have to invest any money up front or find your own clients, but your pay rate, work hours, and how you work will be more restricted. When you work as an entrepreneur, you face other challenges. Over in Decatur, Georgia, Katrina Johnson sits back in her chair and smiles broadly. Her eyes are bright as she recounts her success story... Continue reading
Posted Sep 26, 2018 at The Estrin Report
There is a major difference between how amateurs and professionals train. An amateur just does more of his sport. For example, Kate plays more soccer or tennis or Brian runs more often. By doing so, they may improve slowly, but will never progress past their amateur level. We call this “victims of empty-loading.” It is the same as saying, “I am going to upgrade my career.” So instead of summarizing six depositions a week, you summarize twelve. More of the same with no improvement or upward movement. Continue reading
Posted Sep 3, 2018 at The Estrin Report
Networking demands skill, talent and a knack for risk taking. 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. No matter how you tweet, link, face, or gram, you have to succumb these days if you want to avoid career suicide. With all this online socializing, however, your knack for meeting strangers one-on-one (probably the best networking tool of all) gets rusty and pushed into the background of your skills. There's no such thing as accidental networking. Networking is a mission. When you're headed... Continue reading
Posted Jul 7, 2018 at The Estrin Report
Is there a brand new career just waiting for you? What exactly is a Virtual Assistant or VA? Simply put, a VA is someone who works remotely, online whether from their home or office. They are independent contractors or employees who work and use technology to deliver services. They provide administrative, technical, social media and creative services to clients. Virtual assistants specialize in various industries such as marketing, real estate, accounting, law or financial services. Firms often hire virtual assistants to save money. They don't pay for the assistant's equipment (including computers), training, overhead, dues, materials, furniture, office space, taxes... Continue reading
Posted Jun 24, 2018 at The Estrin Report
One of the most significant ways we are judged today is how we write e-mails. No longer are we subject to scores of phone calls or face-to-face meetings. Technology has completely revolutionized the way we communicate. It’s an email world out there and how you present yourself can make or break your career. While it’s a magnificent tool for communicating, email can be very damaging when used inappropriately. Too often we take the easy and quite candidly, cowardly, option of using email to avoid the emotional discomfort of a real time conversation. While it’s a magnificent tool for communicating, email... Continue reading
Posted May 28, 2018 at The Estrin Report
I can’t tell you how many legal professionals have asked me how to break into the legal technology career. Then they tell me all the reasons they can’t get into the field, usually starting with the old “chicken and the egg” story. You know the one: “I can’t get a job because I don’t have experience; I don't have experience because I can’t get a job…” I have another story for you. “If it looks like a duck, acts like a duck, walks like a duck, it must be a duck.” Let me quack a bit here. You need to... Continue reading
Posted Feb 27, 2018 at The Estrin Report
It’s that time of the year. You have received your raise and have politely waited a month or so after receiving your bonus. You have looked grateful and appreciative (all the while thinking, you’re giving me this after I worked that?) and now, frankly, you’ve been circling Indeed and quietly checking out job listings. But this time, you are thinking, “You know, am I going to find another job doing the same thing, or am I going to get something different?” The Paralegal career is a terrific career. But let’s face it. For some, it has limits. You aren’t ever... Continue reading
Posted Jan 1, 2018 at The Estrin Report
Don't Get Asked and Don't Reveal..... As of January, 2018, California employers will no longer be allowed to ask candidates for their salary histories. That’s right. You will no longer be required to disclose your current or past salary to get a job offer. A new law, AB 168, goes into effect designed, in part, to eliminate wage disparity in different races, sexes, or ethnicities. This law follows similar new laws recently passed in New York, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. Existing California law prohibits employers from paying employees at rates less than the rates paid to employees of the opposite sex... Continue reading
Posted Nov 22, 2017 at The Estrin Report
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