Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ethics of Improving the Legal System

One of the ethical responsibilities of paralegals is to assist with improving the legal system. There are many opportunities for paralegals to help improve the legal system, including the following:

• Pro bono; either through your firm/company or through another program
• Mentor another paralegal; many paralegal associations offer programs
• Become involved with a local, state, or national paralegal organization
• Make CLE presentations
• Author articles

So, on this 4th of July, what have you done for our country’s legal system lately?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

English Ethics

As followers of my Twitter account know, I sometimes post my pet peeves, usually related to misuse of words. I'm not sure why this gets under my skin so much, but it does. Postings such as this make me quite a happy girl and I usually learn something as well.

As paralegals we have an ethial obligation to maintain a high degree of competency. I would argue that while keeping up with case law, rules and procedures, as well as technology is extremely important, paralegals should also know how to write and speak well. Relying on lazy standards of speech and writing is not professional.

So, review your writing and speech carefully. Ask a trusted coworker to proofread your work. Become more aware of the overused expressions in your verbal and written communications and make an effort to reduce your reliance on them. Seek out resources for improving your word usage. It is possible to write and speak professionally without sounding stuffy or formal.

(I'm just sayin'. :-))

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Rudeness Cubed

A local movie theater chain created an in-theater PSA using a voice mail from a customer who was unhappy for being kicked out of the theater for texting during the movie (which is against that company's rules). How great that this company could turn a lemon into lemonade.

I have the unfortunate honor of sitting in a cube at my office. There are many unwritten rules of etiquette for those who work in cubes, most of which include pretending not to hear what is going on around you.

Everyone must occasionally make a personal phone call at work and your coworkers should make an effort not to listen. However, it's just rude to speak louder than necessary, whether on the phone or having a conversation with a coworker. I have had to listen to coworkers loudly discuss their medical conditions, family problems, and even endured MONTHS of a coworker constantly on the phone dealing with all kinds of issues as her house was being built.

Please spare your cube mates from this fate. Better to seek out a private area, such as a conference room, to handle short personal calls during work. And of course, you should keep personal calls to a minimum while on the clock.

So be professional about your personal calls and conversations. Your cubemates will thank you.

It's Been Too Long

It's been too long since I last posted. Way too long. I don't really have an excuse. However, when my dad died unexpectedly last year, it really sent me into a tailspin. For quite a while it took all my energy and effort to do the minimum in my life. Then I was busy with everything involved with his estate.

Once that was finished, I just couldn't seem to get back to my blog. But now I'm back and ready to post regularly.

I've missed all my readers (even though I'm sure I can count you all on one hand). I look forward to writing for you again.