Half a Lawyer?

June 26, 2014

Seen on Facebook … a teaser for a recent Above the Law article:

half a lawyer??

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Half a lawyer’????

srsly?!

Someone neglected to look up ‘para’ before writing such an outlandish, inappropriate, and, well, offensive comment.

The prefix ‘para’, from Greek, does not mean ‘half’. It does, however, mean “at or to one side of, beside, side by side” or “ancillary or subsidiary to roles requiring more training, or of a higher status”.

Paralegals work side-by-side with attorneys. We are degreed, certificated and certified, and some of us even have post graduate degrees. The only time the expression ‘half a lawyer’ might apply would be with regard to our salaries.

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Stern v. Marshall Affirmed and Clarified

June 9, 2014

For the uninitiated, Stern v. Marshall is the Anna Nicole Smith (aka Vickie Lynn Marshall) matter …

In a unanimous decision this morning, in Executive Benefits Insurance Agency v. Arkison, the Supreme Court of the United States affirmed and clarified its prior decision in Stern v. Marshall.  More specifically, in this opinion, the Supreme Court clarified how bankruptcy courts should proceed when faced with claims labeled by Congress as “core” but determined to be “non-core” under Sterni.e., claims set forth in the so-called statutory gap.  In clarifying how bankruptcy courts should proceed, the Supreme Court found that 28 U.S.C. § 157(c) permits Stern claims to proceed as non-core claims.  The Supreme Court explained:

With the “core” category no longer available for the Stern claim at issue, we look to section 157(c)(1) to determine whether the claim may be adjudicated as a non-core claim – specifically, whether it is “not a core proceeding” but is “otherwise related to a case under title 11.”

Accordingly, when faced with a Stern claim, bankruptcy courts now have clarification that the proper course of action is to determine whether the claim(s) satisfy 28 U.S.C. § 157(c)(1) and, if so, “[t]he bankruptcy court should hear the proceeding and submit proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law to the district court for de novo review and entry of judgment.”

(For a lighter-hearted review of the original proceedings, read the Marshall v Marshall coverage at Above The Law.)

thanks to Blake Roth [Blake.Roth@wallerlaw.com] for sharing the update -

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WordRake – Make Yourself a Better Writer

May 28, 2014

I have just completed a 1-year free trial of WordRake, and, well, I love it!

WordRake® software is an add-in to Microsoft Word.  It will “rake” any Word document and suggest edits to make the document clearer and more concise.”

I discovered WordRake at ABA TechShow 2013 and was offered an opportunity to test-drive it for a year. What I saw during the live demo was amazing. They highlighted a 30-page brief, clicked WordRake, and, within a minute, WordRake had identified a host unnecessary/cumbersome language and made suggestions to be accepted or rejected.

I use WordRake on almost everything I write – my blog, articles for print media, homework (I’m still in grad school), and work. It really has made me a better writer.

On May 13th, WordRake released a new version -

WordRake 2 removes unnecessary words, enlivens your sentences, and teaches you how to be a better writer. All inline within Microsoft Word, just like a live copy editor. Only faster. WordRake 2 can edit 25 pages and suggest 200-300 improvements in one minute.

Compose in Word, click the “rake” button, and watch WordRake 2 instantly ripple through your document, revealing edits to tighten and clarify your writing.

Click below to see WordRake in action:

Give it a shot. Sign up for a free trial today (no credit card required) and see for yourself how you can streamline your writing.

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New Bankruptcy Fees Effective 6-1-2014

May 20, 2014

Are you ready?

  • Adversary filing fees will increase by $57 ($293 to $350).
  • Administrative fees will increase as follows:
    • to $75
      • for filing a petition under Chapter 7, 12, or 13; or
      • when filing a motion to divide a joint case under Chapter 7, 12, or 13.
    • to $550
      • for filing a petition under Chapter 9, 11, or 15; or
      • when filing a motion to divide a joint case under Chapter 11.

Click HERE for the new rate schedule, effective June 1.

 

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I’m WORKING Here!

May 13, 2014

Okay folks, one more time …

Working from home does NOT mean I have oodles of spare time on my hands!

Need me to walk the dog, feed the bird, water the plants, or pick up the mail while you’re gone, or drive you to the mechanic, or hold your hand at the doctor/dentist? Done!! I don’t mind helping – it’s what family, friends, & neighbors do for each other; HOWEVER, don’t insult me with off-hand remarks like:

  • “Well, you’re at home all day anyway.”
  • “It’s not like you’re really doing anything …”

I’m working here! W O R K I N G.

You’re right, I don’t get up at the crack of dark to get ready and then jump in my car to sit in mind-numbing traffic to get to an office. I work from home. I have my pre-work morning routine: get up, get dressed, go downstairs, handle cat duties, make coffee, check iPad for anything ‘urgent’ on 7+ email accounts, drink coffee, and off to work I go. Yes, my commute is a merry jaunt down a single flight of stairs TO MY OFFICE. It may not be much – the walls, floor & ceiling still need to be finished and there’s a big open space where the pocket doors are meant to be – but it is an office; complete with desk, computer, printer, and everything else I need to work my magic.

I’m in my office 12 or more hours a day. It’s not just about being Pamela J. Starr, Paralegal Extraordinaire; I run all things StarrParalegals from admin to marketing; AND I’m a grad student; AND I’m a blogger/writer (some months more than others); AND I’m a mentor; AND I’m on NFPA’s Ethics Board; AND I’m developing educational materials; AND, and, and …

When I started my company, I thought it would be easy to manipulate my schedule. Take a little time here for personal stuff and make it up there. Not so much. In the 6 years since I started working from home, I’ve found I have less time for ‘stuff’ – grocery shopping, domestic goddess duties, errands, hanging with friends, sleep.

Please don’t assume I’m ‘not working’ or I’ve taken the day off because I was still sipping coffee and not at my desk when you called me at 8 am – I might have just pulled an all-niter for a client or writing a paper for school.

Appointments with pest control, repairmen, contractors, landscapers, etc. take me away from my desk & work the same way they drag ‘traditional’ workers from their jobs. I just happen to have the ‘luxury’ of making up that time well into the wee hours of the morning. And, OOF! If I tell you to call when you get here because I’ll be in my office – then just freaking CALL ME! Don’t leave a ‘sorry I missed you note’ on my door.

And traveling – I’m still ‘on the job’ when I travel. Okay, travel is mostly attending conferences and going home to Houston. Ah yes, working at Mom’s … she still struggles with ‘leaving me at home while she goes to work.’ Um, yeah, it’s all good. It’s a work day; all of my friends have days jobs; and, guess what? So do I! The fact that my laptop is set up in my old bedroom on a card table that predates my birth does not diminish my efficacy or my need to work. It’s my satellite office …

So please, think twice, maybe three times, before you toss out some cavalier remark about my schedule. I really am working.

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