Law Office Skills
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. What would you like to do?
Create a professional appearance by good grooming and good wardrobe choice. Always ask supervising attorney or observe other paralegals in the office. Generally wearing suits: black, gray, or navy blue and as a woman I can dress it up with a silk scarf or a simple elegant pin. For men they should wear plain simple ties that are not gaudy or distracting.
Non-Verbal language importance
It reveals a wealth of information about an individual. As a professional you always want to project an aura of confidence. It also helps expert witnesses with the jury by engaging and keeping them focused on the testimony.
Nonverbal Cues to avoid
- folding of arms in front of the body
- glancing downward
- tapping fingers
- holding head down
- bone-crusher handshakes
- scratching the nose
- swagger walk
Non-Verbal cues good to cultivate
- direct eye contact when communicating for approximately three seconds
- spine straight
- head up
- eyes forward
- walk briskly
- smile when appropriate
- open stance
- demonstrate willingness to hear others’ ideas
- phrase as “Mr. Last name I’d like you to meet Mr. Last name a long standing client of our firm”.
- Always introduce older people, clients, dignitaries, senior
- partners, and people outside the organization first.
- If you forget their name it’s okay to apologize rather than not introducing them at all.
Being Introduced to Someone
- listen carefully to the person’s name, repeat it if unsure, and ask the person to spell it if unable to get a visual image of the name.
- If the person is older it’s preferred to call the individual by the last name and younger people can be addressed by their first name.
- Use the name quickly as possible to help reinforce it
- do not chew gum, eat food, or smoke when interacting with colleagues or clients
- do not use profane, sexist, or "street" language or slang
- do not tell jokes or stories that others could find offensive
- do not sit or stand in such a way that you expose your underwear, and do not adjust your underwear in public
- do not tease clients or colleagues
- do not step into antoher's "space" a cricle with a radius of approximately three feet around a person
- do not touch others except to shake hands
- do not interrupt or finish peoples sentences for them
- do not cross your arms feet or legs when talking with others
What it means to be Professional?
- Responsible-punctual, on time, and do the tasks required
- Dependable-reliable and what is asked of them they do it or if prior commitments hinder them from completing they make their supervisor aware.
- Loyal-take pride in their organization, office, or the service they provide to others.
- Proactive- take the initiative.
- Tactful-never bring their personal life into the workplace.
- Gracious-remain civil at all times and do not belittle or ridicule others.
- Supportive-positive, get along with others “team player”.
- Balanced-shape their place in the legal community and also honor their personal needs and the needs of their family and friends.
Active listening & taking directions
Active listening requires practice and concentration, noticing the words selected by the speaker because word choice reveals what the speaker is thinking. This helps in taking directions by helping with your attention span and helps you accurately assimilate what you heard from the speaker.
Enhancing understanding of taking directions to follow accurately
To enhance my understanding of directions so that I can follow them more accurately; I can practice my listening skills during everyday conversations, I can have a friend assess my listening skills, and I can write or record directions to assist with refreshing my memory if I did not hear or understand something clearly.
Basic ideas when "Answering the Phone"
- be friendly
- never rush a caller by giving quick, short, rushed answers that signal the caller to “move along”
- never ignore the phone
- give the caller your undivided attention
- avoid the use of slang, use complete sentences
- ask questions
- never jus nod in response to something the caller said
- when you pick up the phone, stop whatever else you are doing and be fully and wholly present with your caller
- avoid making any kind of noises with your mouth while talking on the phone
- rather than asking a caller to identify herself before putting a call through to the appropriate person ask if you can tell the person being contacted who is calling
Before putting someone on hold you should
- If you have to look for the person that the caller asked for you can offer to take a message.
- If it is information that you will have to look up you can ask the caller would they like to hold so that you can gather the information “give them the option” and immediately thank them for holding when returning to the phone.
Ensure accurate messages are taken
- repeat the information back to the caller
- you can ask the caller to explain why they are calling
- ask the caller to repeat themselves if you are unable to understand what they said
- and always ask if you could help them prior to taking the message
When not to use speaker phone
- when engaged in a conversation with a caller unless they have given you permission to
- if the information is provided by the caller is privileged information
Information to include in a voice-mail message, and how often should a
voice-mail message be created?
name, title, name of department/division, date, where you are, when you expect to return, whom they can turn to for information, and something they may find helpful or entertaining.
How often should avoice-mail message be created
Voice-mail messages should be created daily
What information should you include when you leave a message on someone’s phone?
your name, title, where you work/attorney requesting the information, the specific information needed, why you need the information, phone number/fax/email address, time and date you called, and a specific call-back time or when you are most likely to be at your phone.
What should you keep in mind when using e-mail?
avoid saying anything that you would feel uncomfortable communicating in person, remember that the person receiving the e-mail is not privy to your voice inflections/body language/and other visual cues that would help interpret what they are reading, do not inundate others with unsolicited/unwanted information, do not send e-mails when you are angry, answer e-mails on a timely basis, keep your responses succinct and on point, and do not assume confidential information in e-mail is protected.
Dealing with an angry client
Pacify and diffuse the client by listening to them, acknowledge their anger, and empathize with the events or situation that provoked the anger.
A client who does not get the point?
Take charge of the conversation without alerting the client that you have takencontrol away, say something that assures that you are listening, wait for anopening, redirect the client to the matter at hand, and ask a question thatwill require the client to formulate her response to focus on the topic.
A fast talker?
Tell them you are having difficulty understanding them, and then ask if theymight slow down a bit so that you can be sure to get everything that they aresaying.
A slow talker?
Unfortunately there is nothing you can do other than to practice your patience skills, you can throw them a verbal lifeline if they are squandering for a word asking them if that is what they mean.
Someonewhose speech you have trouble understanding?
- Never pretend that you understand something that is unclear, let the client know that you are experiencing difficulty understanding what she is saying and ask if she could repeat more slowly, repeat what you think you have heard and ask the client if you heard correctly, and take the time to ensure that you have heard what she is saying accurately and
What can you do to be more effective when calling others?
be friendly and upbeat, never lose your temper or become abusive, speak slowly enough thatothers can understand you, tell the person taking your call who you are and whyyou are calling, leave detailed messages, and do not make a phone call with thespeakerphone on.
What are the consequences of crisis management?
the failure to accomplish goals,tension on the job and at home, frayed relationships, high stress levels,tiredness and exhaustion, and illness and disease.
What are the rewards of good time management?
increased effectiveness,reduction in stress, the ability to use the time you have more efficiently,enhanced productivity, more time to spend doing the things you really enjoy,increase in the amount of time you are able to work, the feeling of being incharge of your life, and improved health and interpersonal relationships.
What is the Pareto principle, and how does it apply to time management?
The Pareto Principle states to achieve 80% of your results with 20% of yourefforts. Applying this to time management the goal is to organize your workloadso that you obtain 80% of the gain by putting in only 20% of the effort.
What can you do to become consciously aware of your goals?
If I want to become consciously aware of my goals I should examine my daily useof time, record everything that I do for a few days, categorize all of myactivities using any classification system I want, and ask myself for eachcategory “Why did I spend my time this way?”
How do the goals you set for the future relate to your to-do list?
Setting goals for the future helps you put a time line on when a goal can andwill be accomplished giving you certain tasks to do daily in order toaccomplish them on time.
How do your goals relate to an action plan?
Once you have written down your goals and prioritizedthem you can create an action plan which will provide the necessary tasks to achieve the goals. It provides the steps that you must follow in order toaccomplish the tasks.
What are some things to keep in mind when writing goals?
positive, precise, performanceoriented, prioritized, manageable, and realistic.
What are the most common time “thieves”?
phone distractions, unplanned visits, emailoverload, unnecessary tasks, and lack of time boundaries.
What can you do to better deal with:
- phone distractions-set time limits, limit social conversation, get to point of call quickly, plan calls in advance, and make responses succinct and direct.
- unplanned visits-keep door closed and remove chairs close to the door, let people know you do not want to be disturbed, stand and do not offer visitor a seat, set time limits, find out what visitor wants immediately, and use body language to convey your intent.
- e-mail overload- answer immediately email needing
- short response and create reference and archive files.
- being assigned unnecessary tasks-speak up about
- unnecessary assignments and ask supervisor to prioritize tasks.
- a lack of time boundaries- learn to say no, ask yourself whether you have time and what you would have to give up before agreeing to a task, ask if you are the best person to do the job, and indicate a realistic time frame for completion.
What can you do to avoid procrastinating?
confronting fear,letting go of perfectionism, focus on accomplishments, reward yourself fortaking action, do most dreaded jobs first, and divide complex jobs into smallerchunks.
What can you do to become more efficient?
use your breath to slow down when you feelpressured to move faster, change the things you can and accept the things youcannot, do your most demanding tasks when you have the most energy, be on time,be selective about what you read, listen attentively, write things down, datewhatever you receive and send to others, and create a clean orderly workenvironment.
What are some things you can do to create a more orderly work environment?
creating a general-referencefile, create a tickler file, organize your work space to efficiently reacheverything from your desk, and set up a paper or Palm organizer.
Why is accurate timekeeping so important for paralegals?
The law firm relies on the paralegals’ records to create their bills, which arethe staple of any law firm’s income. If the paralegal fails to accuratelyrecord her time or underestimates the time she has worked the law firm suffersthe economic consequences.
What are the following fee agreements, and when are they most likely used?
- contingency fees-Agreements whereby the attorney is entitled to receive a percentage of the total amount awarded to the client. They are most commonly used in personal-injury, medical malpractice, collections, worker’s compensation, civil rights, and other cases where damages are expected.
- hourly-rate fees-Client pays fees based on an hourly rate. Hourly rates are the most common fee agreements used by attorneys.
- flat fees-Clients pay a fixed amount. Most commonly used in cases where the attorney is preparing simple wills, straightforward bankruptcies, representing a party in an uncontested divorce, and performing other simple low-risk services at a set fee.
- value billing-Before work is performed, client and attorney reach a consensus about value of work. Not commonly used today but suggested by many practitioners as a means of
- reducing the pressure on legal professionals to earn a quota of billable hours and encouraging them to be as efficient as possible
What is the difference between an earned and unearned retainer?
An earned retainer is when an attorney accepts a criminal matter only if theclient pays a retainer and agrees to pay an hourly rate for every hour theattorney works on the case. An unearned retainer is money paid in advance fromwhich the attorney can cover expenses in which must be deposited into a trustaccount for the client.
Why should fee agreements be in writing?
Putting the agreement in writing ensures that both the client and the attorneyunderstand what was agreed to and can refer to that document in the event ofany future misunderstandings.
What does the court consider when deciding whether fees are reasonable?
The court considers: novelty and difficulty of the questions involved, time andlabor required, customary fee charged in the same locale for similar legalwork, and experience, reputation, and ability of the attorney who performed theservices when deciding whether fees are reasonable.
Describe the billing process.
The billing process is as follows: time record or timesheet prepared, timerecord or timesheet entered into computer, pre-billing report generated,pre-billing report reviewed by attorney, and formal bill generated and mailedto clients.
What information is provided in the management reports generated by computer software?
These reports show: the number of hours billed by each legal professional whichcan be evaluated on a monthly, quarterly, or yearly basis, workload for eachemployee which can be assessed to determine if that individual is spending toomuch time on any particular case, types of cases that are most profitable,types of cases that have the lowest payment rate, clients that have outstandingbalances and length of time those balances have been outstanding, and theextent to which a firm is meeting its projected income expectations.
What information should attorneys provide to clients in their initial consultation to avoid subsequent fee disputes?
Attorneys should discuss legal fees and expenses at the beginning of the caseindicating specifically what costs clients will be billed for, determine whatbilling format clients would prefer and how frequently they would like to bebilled, tell clients the estimated length of time it will take to complete thematter, consult with clients if unanticipated expenses arise and get theirpermission to do the work before going forward, ask clients up front what theycan afford to spend on a case, use a billing format that is easily readable andunderstood and that is descriptive enough that the client knows what tasks havebeen performed, and make sure clients are kept sufficiently apprised of thework being done on their case so that they are not shocked by the bill theyreceive.
What is a typical chain of events if a client rails or refuses to pay a bill?
In most practices a reminder letter is sent 30 days after the last billing,letter is followed by more pointed letter after another 30 days, telephone callis then followed, attorney will then talk with the client (discuss the bill tosee if any discrepancies are present), attempt to workout resolution, if longstanding relationship with the client attorney can opt to discount the bill ifthe case is near completion.
Under what circumstances can an attorney withdraw or stop working on a case because of a failure of a client to pay fees?
After discussing the outstanding bill with the client the attorney can withdrawor stop working for the client as long as it would not in any way jeopardizethe client’s case. Some states require the attorney to get permission from thecourt and if the withdraw is permitted the attorney must give client areasonable notice and time to find another attorney.
What timekeeping practices are clearly unethical for paralegals and which ones fall in a “gray area?”
Charging more than client agreed to pay, applying funds in client’s trustaccount to a disputed fee, increasing flat fee after arranging for fee, andcharging for personal work.
What activities clearly constitute non-billable time? What activities may be non-billable but may nevertheless be credited to a paralegal’s annual billable-hours rate?
Non-billable time is personal time (breaks, personal phone calls, personalappointments, cleaning, organizing), pro bono work, and general activities thatbenefit the firm. Some non-billable activities that may be credited to theparalegal’s annual billable-hours are attending law office meetings, working onlaw firm committees, doing pro bono work, and training
In what units of time do most firms calculate time?
Most law firms calculate time in tenths of an hour because decimal entries areeasy to enter into a computer.
Give an example of a minimum charge. What is the rationale for a minimum charge?
An example of a minimum charge can be a telephone call which is often .2 hour(12 minutes). It allows the firm to transition from one activity to another(making the call/recording the time, documenting making the call, retrievinganother file, and preparing mentally for the activity on the next case).
What information should be included in a time record or timesheet? Why should descriptions of tasks be specific rather than general?
When recording time you should include: your name, date, client’s name ornumber, amount of time spent doing the work, and description of work done. Thedescription of the work done should be complete enough that the client canunderstand what she is paying for.
When should you record your time for completing a project? What should you do if you are interrupted while doing a task?
Record your time as soon as you complete the project. If you are interruptedfor any reason, record the time you stop and the time you begin again.
What can you do to help yourself incorporate timekeeping into your daily regimen?
You can use a clock that is readily visible from where you sit, make sure thatyou can easily read the minute hand so that you can tell the time at a glance,incorporate the keeping of time into your daily regimen by recording the timebefore you pick up the phone, retrieve a file, or begin drafting a document,and every time you are interrupted.
How do computerized timekeeping systems and automated clocks facilitate timekeeping?
Computerized timekeeping systems allow you to input the data on your timesheetdirectly into the computer eliminating the need for a data entry clerk keepingaccurate record of time spent stopping when the paralegal is interrupted andstarting again when the paralegal pushes a button and the automated clock stopswhen the paralegal begins working on another matter but retain the time spenton the previous case.
Why should you keep records of your timesheets if you record time manually?
You should always keep records of your timesheets in case the original is lostor you need to calculate your billable hours.
Why should you evaluate your use of time on a regular basis?
Doing so will help you determine how you might increase your billable hours andhow much time you are spending on non-billable hours.
Why is a good filing system important?
A good filing system is important so that files will not get misplaced, theyare easy to locate when looking for them.
What are the attributes of a good filing system?
Some attributes of a good filing system are: efficient, accessible, easilymaintainable, adaptable, secure, and easy to learn
What name is used to alphabetize the files of clients who are individuals? Of clients that are businesses?
If the client is an individual they should be filed by their last name. If the client is a business it should be filed by the first word of the businessunless it starts with “the” then you will file it with the word that comes next.
If two clients have the same first and last names, what determines the order in which they are filed?
If two clients have the same first and last name then you must go to theirmiddle name to determine the order of their filing.
If two clients have names with the same root (e.g., Sam and Samson), which goes first?
If two clients have a name with the same root then you will file the shorterone first.
Where are names containing Arabic and roman numerals filed?
Arabic and roman numerals are filed before letters of the alphabet, Arabicnumerals precede roman numerals. Drop the –st, -th, -ne, and –rd on Arabicnumerals.
How should you treat punctuation marks and symbols when alphabetizing?
Ignore all punctuation and symbols when alphabetizing.
How should you treat foreign articles (e.g., D’ and Mc) when alphabetizing?
Combine foreign articles with the part of the name that follows.
How should you file a client’s folder if the client is a defendant in a case?
Ifyour client’s name is not included in the case name?File all client records under the client’s name regardless of the client’sstatus in the case. If the client’s name is not included in the case filesunder your client’s name and indicate the case name on the client’s label.
How can color-coding be used to enhance a filing system?
Color coding resolves the issue of problems that arise with the alphabeticalfiling systems when one client has several different cases. You can assign aspecific color to a particular type of case for ex. Red=Personal Injury,Blue=Criminal. Color coding can also differentiate cases based on the attorneythat is working them.
Give an example of a numerical system.
An example of a numerical system is as follows: 2012/02/111 Ray, S.N. thiswould denote the year, the month, file number, client’s name.
Explain how an alphanumerical system is set up.
The alphanumerical system is set up by assigning each letter of the alphabet anumber, then creating the client’s file number by using the first 4 or 5letters of the client’s last name.
Why should a numerical system be cross-referenced to an alphabetical system?
They should be cross-referenced so that a client’s name can be looked up andthe corresponding file number located. It also prevents two files from beingassigned the same number.
Describe the systems that are used by law firms to check out files.
In some law firms a written request must be made to the file clerk, some firmsuse an out-card system similar to that used in libraries (the person writes hisinitials and date on the out-card) the card is put in the place of the removedfile so that anyone looking for the file knows immediately who has it and whenit was taken, some firms use out-folders and documents can be filed in theout-folders while the files are checked out, some firms have adopted bar code technologythat is also used in some libraries and the computer can track the user’s andfile’s bar code.
What information is needed to open a file and what procedures are generally followed in opening a file?
The information needed to open a file is as follows: client name, address,phone numbers (work and home), client’s place of employment, address,department, and position, type of case, name, address, and phone numbers ofother party, fee agreement and amount of retainer received, results of conflictscheck and who did it, date file was opened and who opened it, and file number.
Why are conflict checks so important?
Conflict checks are important because an attorney cannot represent partieswhose interests are adverse to one another or to former clients because theycannot zealously represent one client when doing so would compromise theinterests of another client.
What is the benefit of having a cover sheet?
The benefit of the coversheet is to facilitate the current status of the case,you can immediately find out what pleadings have been filed, what discoveryrequests have been responded to, and what motions have been filed.
Why is good file organization important?
Good file organization minimizes the chances of documents getting lost and ifeveryone on the legal team is familiar with the organizational scheme thestress of sorting through hundreds of documents to find the one sought after iseliminated.
Describe the following and explain why they are helpful:
- Central Index: Central Index is the command center of the case. It lists all the categories ofdocuments as they can be located in the file, where a particular file islocated, and it also tracks demonstrative evidence. This is helpful because thelegal team will have a road map of where things are located when looking forsomething regarding the client’s case file.
- Pleadings Index: A Pleadings Index helps people quickly and easily access information about theevents in a case when preparing subsequent pleadings and it can also be used toeducated new members of the legal team and to prepare for trial.
- Discovery Index: A Discovery Index is similar to the Pleadings Index, but is used to sort thediscovery documents, the responses to the discovery requests, and a descriptionof the document. Someone looking at this index could easily ascertain whenparticular discovery requests were filed, whether a response was filed, andwhether that response was timely.
- Deposition Schedule: The preparation of a deposition schedule allows the legal team to know who hasbeen deposed, who is yet to be deposed, whose transcripts have arrived, andwhose transcripts have been summarized. It would be easy to ascertain thestatus of any individual in the deposing process.
What can you do to make it easier to sort pleadings and discovery documents?
An easy way to sort pleadings and discovery documents is to place Post-it-Notesat the top of each page indicating its appropriate date of when the documentwas filed and ensure that the requests and the responses are paper-clippedtogether.
What dates should be used when sorting documents and in what order of preference?
You should use the filing date when sorting the documents and sort them inchorological order
What is the value of a working file?
The working file is the file that paralegals take with them to meetings bothwithin and outside the office and if the case goes to trial that file alsoaccompanies them to court.
What must be done before a file can be closed?
Before a file can be closed, once the case has been completed the file must bechanged from active to inactive status so that it can be put into storage. Allthe final documents must be completed, the client must have paid all bills, theappeal period must have ended, and all the necessary documents must have beenremoved from the file, thereby minimizing the size of the file when it isstored. All the original documents that belong to the client must also bereturned.
Marvin Body Language”
Mayor Hance, I would like you to meet one of our Senior Partners Mr. Raul
Sanchez, one of our associates Ms. Marjorie Mandel, our Law Clerk Mr. William
Humperdink, and I apologize for my forgetfulness but I cannot recall your name
at this moment do you mind repeating your name for me? (After being provided
the paralegal’s name) And this is our Paralegal Intern Ms. Donna March.
Marvin’s nonverbal cues are stating that he is bored, insincere, or lying.
“Basic Telephone Skills”
Avoid slang, and use complete sentences as responses to assure the caller youare listening.I chose this rule because it can often refer to jargon language that is notknown to the client such as legal terms. I have been working in the bankingindustry for over 14 years now and also in the military so I find myself oftenreferring to industry jargon while on the phone or engaging in conversations. Ihave to sometimes catch myself and remind myself that people that are not inthese particular fields may not be privy to the jargon/language that I amusing. I plan to remain mindful in my conversations and continue to practiceleaving the jargon out of my dialogues if I am not speaking to someone withinthe industry that would know and understand.
1. I would first identify to Mr. Edison who I am and advise him that myattorney is currently unavailable at the moment to take his call and offer myassistance. If it is something within the scope of my authority I would assisthim with it, if it is not I would offer to take message for him.2. If I will have to step away from the phone and my desk to get Mr. Edison’sfile, I would ask him for permission to place him on hold in order to retrievehis file.3. If I have a problem locating the file I would return to the phone thank Mr.Edison for holding, apologizing for the delay, advise him that it will requireadditional time to locate his file and ask his permission if it is okay for meto call him back once I have located his file in order to assist him with hisquestions.
Mayor Hance, I would like you to meet one of our Senior Partners Mr. RaulSanchez, one of our associates Ms. Marjorie Mandel, our Law Clerk Mr. WilliamHumperdink, and I apologize for my forgetfulness but I cannot recall your nameat this moment do you mind repeating your name for me? (After being providedthe paralegal’s name) And this is our Paralegal Intern Ms. Donna March.
What are the author’s suggestions regarding sending email?
- Some of the things the author suggests when sending emails you should: create single-subject messages whenever possible, assume that any message you send is permanent, have in mind a model of your intended audience, keep the list of recipients and Cc’s to a minimums, separate opinion from non-opinion and clearly label each, if you express an emotion within the message clearly label it, think about the level of formality, identify yourself and affiliations clearly, do not insult or criticize third parties, and be selective in the
- broadcasts for information.
What are the author’s suggestions regarding responding to email?
- The author suggests that when responding to email you should: if a message was intended for someone else don’t ignore it, avoid responding while emotional, if a message generates emotions look at it again, assume the honesty and
- competence of the sender, try to separate the opinion from non-opinion, consider whom you should respond to, consider alternative media, and avoid irrelevancies.
Why should you send single-subject messages?
The author suggests that you should send single-subject messages because each message can be filed, retrieved, and forwarded separately by the recipient and the sender, subject lines can be descriptive of the contents of the message allowing more meaningful scanning of header listings in an individual’s inbox, replies can be tailored to specific messages, and others can be copied on the responses that apply to them without a burden of the parts that don’t pertain to them.
Why should you label emotions?
- Emotions should be labeled to reduce shock, surprise, or disappointment in the reader that are normally avoided by other social conventions in face-to-face interactions. It also puts formality within a message and a reminder that there
- could be readers of your message that are a different place and time for whom the labels might be inappropriate.
Why should you care about the level of formality of a message?
You should care about the level of formality of a message because the content of the second message should be given more attention and care when received than the first and the word choice should carefully convey the meaning intended.
Why is it important to be selective about whom you send information to?
- You should be selective with whom you send information to because the information is assumed to be permanent, the message may be sitting in someone’s private files, it could be sitting on someone’s computer elsewhere in the world that
- you don’t know, it could be forwarded to someone else without your knowledge,
- it could be printed, and there may be some risks to the information included.
“Personal Email Policy”
Based on what I have read these are things that I need to start and incorporate within my Email Policy:
- a) Single-Subject messages (I sometimes group things together that can be separated if the recipient has to forward to someone else or only has one answer at the time.)
- b) Ensure that I am only sending the information to the person intended so that sensitive information does not reach the wrong individual.
- c) Refrain from responding to an email when I am emotional. Read, re-read, separate myself, and then come back to it once I have cooled off.
“Deciding Your Work Priorities”
- What questions would I ask to determine what it takes to be excellent in myjob?
- What is the purpose of the job?
- What are the measures of success?
- What is exceptional performance?
- What are the priorities and deadlines?
- What resources are available?
- What costs are acceptable?
- How does this relate to other people?
“Time Management Skills”
- 1. If you have to make several phone calls do them all in a burst.
- 2. Arrange your breaks at times when you cannot work effectively.
- 3. Stress and fatigue are caused by the thought of what you haven’t done.
- 4. To silence “paper talk” you can put any in/out trays in a drawer, behind you on a credenza, outside of your office, or ensure that it is a real in-tray and not a miscellaneous file.
- 5. Clearing your desk can allow you to plan activities for the next day and eliminate distractions.
- 6. Up to 85% of documents retained by an organization will never be looked at again.
- 7. Instead of saying hold agree to a time to call back or leave a message and your phone number.
- 8. If the information is not immediately available arrange a call back later.
“Late for Work”
Things that you can do to avoid being habitually late for work is:
- •Prepare before you go to bed
- • Place your coat, keys, mobile and briefcase by the door ready to grab on your way out
- • Set your alarm clock fifteen minutes earlier
- • ***Iron my clothes at night
- 1. The tickler system consists of 31 daily files (letter or legal size) and twelve monthly files
- 2. The monthly files go behind the file labeled “31”
- 3. Allen recommends that you:
- a. Keep it updated every day
- b. Don’t store data or documents here which you or others may need access before the date filed (tickle a copy or a note saying pull X file when you want to see the material again)
- 1. As a student I can bill 5.7 hours for the work that I did for the past threedays.
- 2. No I recorded the time as I completed the work uninterrupted
- 3. I did not have any problems recording the time as I had already set timeaside to work on the assignment.4. No situations arose as this time was already dedicated to completing my work5. What I learned from the exercise is how important it is to ensure that youright down the time before and after you start and complete the assignment toensure that you have the correct billable hours for the client6. What I plan to do is set up a routine and incorporate daily now so that onceI do begin my work as a paralegal it will not be a difficult task toincorporate in my daily routine.
- 1. The procedures most commonly followed are:a. Send out a reminder letter 30 days after the last billingb. Follow up with a more pointed letter after another 30 days have passedc. Follow up with a phone calld. Attempt to work out a payment arrangemente. Last resort would be to sue the client
- 2. I would advise her to speak with the attorney concerning her situation. Theattorney may be able to work out something with her. I do not have theauthority to advise my friend in this situation as that would be giving legaladvice. But if the authority was mine I could tell her that if the attorney haschosen to no longer represent her then he will provide her with reasonablenotice and time to find another attorney.
- 3. Georgia Rules of Professional ConductBefore withdrawing from representing a client due to lack of fee payment anAttorney must: Rule 1.16 (c) (d): (c) When a lawyer withdraws it shall be done in compliance with applicable lawsand rules. When ordered to do so by a tribunal, a lawyer shall continuerepresentation notwithstanding good cause for terminating the representation.(d) Upon termination of representation, a lawyer shall take steps to the extentreasonably practicable to protect a client's interests, such as givingreasonable notice to the client, allowing time for employment of other counsel,surrendering papers and property to which the client is entitled and refundingany advance payment of fee that has not been earned. A lawyer may withdraw if the client refuses to abide by the terms of anagreement relating to the representation, such as an agreement concerning feesor court costs or an agreement limiting the objectives of the representation.
There are a few issues, multi-tasking and completing other client’s work whilewaiting on another client’s exhibits. I am not sure if that should be done orif that time should be totally dedicated to that client. There were a lot ofinterruptions so that would case her to ensure that she is taking detailed timestamps of when she started and stopped working on the client.
- Jacalyn Smith Foundation
- (The)Jackass AcresJack,
- Alfred E.Jacka, Harvey (adv.) v. Jaines, Marian
- Jackson, Sarah M.
for Opening File”
- • Client name, address, and phone numbers (work and home)
- • Client’s place of employment, address, department, and position
- • Type of case
- • Name, address, and phone number of other party
- • Fee agreement and amount of retainer received
- • Results of conflicts check and who did it
- • Date file was opened and who opened it
- • File number
“Process of Opening Files”
- • Set up a temporary file for the potential client
- • Take notes during the initial interview of the attorney and the potentialclient
- • Conduct a conflict check to ensure that no conflicts are present
- • If no conflicts are present assign the file a number
- • Prepare a memorandum and send to the secretary or file clerk
- • Prepare file labels
- • Enter the client’s name in the database
- • Obtain and enter billing information
- 1. Witness Files
- 2. Notes and Correspondences
- 3. Pleadings
- 4. Client Documents
- 5. Opposition Documents
To determine the order you must look at the date that the particular documentwas filed and sort them in chronological order.Great job on Module 6! Under Alphabetizing, your order of files and thefile labels are almost all correct. The "Jackass Acres" file shouldbe filed after the "Jacka, Harvey (adv.) v. Jaines, Marion file.All of your answers under Info for Opening File and Process of Opening File arecorrect. Under Organizing Files, I agree with your evaluation of where each item shouldbe filed. In some cases, there can be more than one correct answer, especiallybecause law firms can vary. But I think your answers are the most correct andfollow the readings. Under Correspondence file, you are correct that the letters should be filed inchronological order, but make sure to file them in reverse chronological orderso that the newest document will appear on top of the file folder when it isopened.
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