What a 10 minute cab ride taught me about confidentiality and security

I’ve found myself in the back of a cab quite regularly this year. The more I take them, the more I dread doing so. Are they going to be honest? Are they going to try and take me the long way? Either way, I’m prepared. I tell them which route to take. It never changes. From house to airport, it’s only a 10 minute ride. Unfortunately, about half of my drivers ignore my directions and try to take a different route to rack up extra fare. Sometimes I have an honest driver. Sometimes, not so honest. Some of these drivers will talk. Others – not so much. Aside from the whole route thing, I realized today that I learn a lot about my drivers’ characters during our 10 minute conversations. Some who initially make me uneasy turn out to be quite nice and very ethical. Others with whom I have … Continue reading

Will your paralegal service use your practice management software?

During a recent presentation, a question was posed to me that I thought I would revisit for other attorneys wondering the same thing. In essence, the law firm wanted to know whether they would have to use a paralegal service’s practice management software, or if the paralegal service would use the firm’s software. My answer: I don’t know. It depends. Personally, I believe the paralegal service should use the firm’s practice management software if that’s what the firm prefers.  Are there circumstances that may warrant a different answer?  Perhaps. But I can’t think of any offhand. Professionally, I believe that seamlessly integrating substantive legal support into a law firm’s practice means providing quality support and work product without shaking up the firm’s existing practices and procedures. In other words, if the firm has practice management software and that’s what they want to use, then that’s what we will use.  If … Continue reading

Virtual support: An attorney’s perspective

I’m sure most of you have heard of Legal Talk Network.  Legal Talk Network has great shows for legal professionals.  So many so that listing just a few would be a disservice to the rest.  If you’re not familiar with the shows that are available, I’ll let you take a look for yourself, so you don’t miss any.  (The best place to get a quick overview of the shows and the topics they cover is actually on the Advertising page.) So why am I talking about Legal Talk Network?  I want to share a specific podcast with you.  This one is from the Legal Toolkit hosted by Jared Correia.  In this podcast, Mr. Correia interviews Chad Burton of Burton Law LLC, a virtual law firm in Dayton, Ohio. The topic: Virtual Staffing: Implementation and Management In this interview, Mr. Burton talks about how to find, implement, and manage virtual staff; … Continue reading

Implementation, communication, and delivery of paralegal support services

If you’re familiar with Paralegal Support 101, you know that I keep it separate from my business, Integrative Legal Support.  I do so because I want Paralegal Support 101 to serve strictly as a free knowledgebase for attorneys, law firms, and legal departments. Today, I’m going to change that up some, but for good reason.  Here’s why:  I recently found some information that I shared with a group a couple of years ago.  Basically they had asked, “Can you explain in detail how it works when you work with a freelance paralegal or paralegal service?”  As I read through the information I had provided, I realized that every law firm and attorney who calls about services asks some variant of the same question.  They want to know, in detail, how we’ll work with them. So, I thought this more detailed explanation might benefit many attorneys, law firms, and legal departments … Continue reading

Five questions to ask a freelance paralegal or paralegal support service

Let’s get to the short and quick of it. Your firm wants to bring in support but is having a hard time taking the leap. The best way to get over that hurdle is to ask questions. Knowledge is power and, generally, it’s the fear of the unknown that stops us from taking action. Remove the fear by gaining knowledge. The more knowledge you have, the more empowered you’ll be to make the decision to move forward with paralegal support. The best way to increase your knowledge is to ask questions. Talk with a couple freelance paralegals or paralegal support services that you’re interested in working with and ask them questions. The more you talk with them, the more you’ll learn, and the more you’ll get a feel for their processes and procedures. Here are a few questions you’ll want to ask: What type of projects/services are you available for? … Continue reading

How to Supervise a Legal Secretary or Paralegal

A couple weeks ago, Above the Law published an excellent article by New York attorney Joshua Stein. Mr. Stein’s article, From the Career Files: How to Supervise a Secretary or Assistant, is an excellent article well worth mentioning with 21 detailed tips and advice for effectively working with any type of assistant. The article is well-rounded, covering everything from communication to personal stuff. If you work with anyone, or are thinking about doing so, the article is worth taking the time to read. Even if you don’t, you may want to file it away for future reference. When you’re done reading it, come back and let us know what you think. What other tips or advice do you have for effective supervising?