Monday, December 10, 2007

Monday, November 5, 2007

Friday, November 2, 2007

The Power of PowerPoint 2007

The Power of PowerPoint 2007. Article by IPA's Technology Director, Courtney David Mills, Hall Render Killian Heath & Lyman, P.C.  

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

ABA Techshow 2008 information is available

American Bar Association has opened registration for its annual Legal Technology Conference "ABA Techshow" in Chicago, Illinois, March 13-15, 2008. (click here).

Thursday, October 18, 2007


We are very pleased to report that the Board of Governors of the Indiana State Bar Association fully supported comments to proposed Rule 2.2 as gathered by John Conlon, the ISBA appointed Chair of the subcommittee on proposed Rule 2.2 Paralegals.

A report of the comments gathered by John Conlon was made to the ISBA House of Delegates and additional comments were received from various Delegates. Pursuant to his earlier request, all comments will be forwarded by ISBA to Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard for action by the Supreme Court.

We are pleased that proposed Rule 2.2 continues to move forward.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


The Indiana Paralegal Association is proud to honor two of its newest PACE Registered Paralegals, Joshua H. Woolley, R.P. and Tracy S. Oprea, R.P.

Joshua H. Woolley, R.P., is a PACE Registered Paralegal at the Indianapolis office of Scopelitis, Garvin, Light, & Hanson, P.C., where he currently focuses on workers’ compensation and insurance defense.

Joshua is a lifelong native of Indiana, having been born and raised in Plainfield, Indiana. Joshua was the recipient of the Outstanding Citizen Award for Hendricks County in 1992, for his countless hours of volunteer work with the Hendricks County K-9 Search & Rescue Team.


Joshua eventually helped spearhead the formation of the first Boy Scouts of America Explorer Post in the United States in the field of K-9 Search & Rescue Team, where he served as the President for several years.

During high school, Joshua worked with several supported living programs for developmentally disabled adults in Indiana. After high school, Joshua put his passion for dogs to use by opening up an in-home dog training company, Top Dog Training Services. After a few years of training dogs, Joshua was subsequently introduced to a fellow dog-lover and an Indiana attorney, and began his work in the legal profession.

Starting in August, 1996, Joshua began working for several sole practitioners, all of whom focused on family law, bankruptcy and criminal defense. It was not until June, 1998, when Joshua began working with Clifford W. Shepard, an attorney who focused his practice on the representation of consumers, that Joshua decided to stay in the area of law as his chosen career path. Joshua stayed with Mr. Shepard for eight (8) years, helping Mr. Shepard litigate individual and class action lawsuits. During his time with Mr. Shepard, Joshua developed a deep passion of both federal and state appellate work.

In May, 2006, Joshua left Mr. Shepard to join the Indianapolis office of Scopelitis, Garvin, Light & Hanson, P.C., where he works under the direction of partner, Carla R. Hounshel, who leads the firm's Indiana workers’ compensation defense practice.

Joshua began thinking about taking the PACE sometime in 2005. However, it was not until he joined Scopelitis, Garvin, Light & Hanson, P.C. that he decided to proceed with taking the PACE. Both Mrs. Hounshel and managing partner, Timothy W. Wiseman, personally encouraged Joshua to sit for the PACE in order to advance his career. Joshua sent in his Application to become a PACE candidate on November 2, 2006, and was subsequently approved as a candidate by the NFPA in December, 2006. After receiving notice of his candidacy to sit for the PACE, Joshua immediately scheduled his exam and took and passed the PACE on January 5, 2007. Joshua believes that passing the PACE has provided the validation he needed to prove to himself, and others, that he was a paralegal of the highest caliber.

Tracy S. Oprea, R.P., a PACE Registered Paralegal at Beckman, Kelly & Smith in Hammond, Indiana, graduated from South Suburban College in South Holland, Illinois in 1994 with an A.A.S., majoring in the curriculum of Paralegal Studies.

Tracy has over a decade of Paralegal experience. She specializes in civil litigation. Tracy's love for the law dates back to the late 1980's when she began working part-time at a law firm through a co-op program at her high school. Tracy is a member of the Indiana State Bar Association, Indiana Paralegal Association and the National Federation of Paralegal Associations.


Tracy recently presented at a seminar sponsored by the National Business Institute entitled "Medical Record Evaluation for Paralegals." Tracy’s presentation addressed “Getting the Medical Records You Need", where she covered in depth the process of obtaining medical records. After her presentation, Tracy used this forum to briefly share her experience with the PACE Exam and strongly encouraged the Paralegals attending the seminar to seriously consider making application to take the examination.

In speaking with Tracy about what motivated her to take PACE, her story is quite interesting, as she stated:

“When I first heard about the PACE Exam, I was curious and thought briefly about maybe taking the exam. Quite some time passed and then I kept hearing and reading about the exam through the Indiana Paralegal Association and it finally hit me last fall that I needed to take the PACE Exam. Taking the PACE Exam was very important to me, both personally and professionally. I felt that taking the exam supported my dedication to the Paralegal profession, as well as my dedication to the legal field in general. I'm so grateful I had the opportunity to take the PACE Exam and for the support and encouragement I received from the partners at Beckman, Kelly & Smith.

“I highly recommend that everyone take the On-Line Review Course that is offered. It is truly a beneficial course that helps you successfully prepare for the PACE Exam. I realize the course is time consuming; however, if someone is committed to becoming an R.P., they should be able to commit to the seven (7) week course.”

Tracy is a life long resident of Lake County Indiana and currently lives in Highland with her 10-year-old son. When Tracy is not at the office, she can be found on the football field watching her son play Pop Warner Football.

Joshua and Tracy now join 48 other PACE Registered Paralegals as well as 3 NALA Certified Paralegals, as credentialed paralegals in Indiana, most of whom are members of IPA. This places Indiana in second place nationwide, led only by Texas with 50 RP’s. Having passed PACE, Joshua and Tracy are now permitted to use the “R.P.” credentials following their names. They have also received beautiful certificates from the NFPA which they will be able to display in their offices.

Both Joshua and Tracy are members of the Indiana Paralegal Association and the National Federation of Paralegal Associations. In fact, Joshua is one of IPA’s newest members, having joined shortly after he became a PACE Registered Paralegal. Welcome!

Please join IPA in sending a personal message to Joshua and Tracy to congratulate them for their support of the paralegal profession in Indiana by taking the extra effort to become a credentialed paralegal.

Congratulations, Joshua and Tracy!
IPA honors both of you for your extraordinary accomplishment!

Debi Neale, R.P.
IPA PACE Ambassador

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Get Ready For a Whole New Vista on E-Discovery

By: Courtney David Mills
IPA Technology Director and Litigation Paralegal at Hall Render Killian Heath & Lyman, P.C.

Just when you were getting comfortable with the amendments to the FRCP, terms like “electronically stored information”, and the latest litigation support software, Microsoft has come along to rain on your parade. Microsoft has introduced its newest operating system, Windows Vista, and its companion office suite, Office 2007. These products have a full bag of tricks to make Electronic Data Discovery (“EDD”) more challenging and more important than ever. This article with discuss Vista’s security features, shadow copy tracking, and the new file formats and PDF support offered in Office 2007. It will also discuss the practical impact of these features on the EDD process. One of the most probable impacts will relate to Vista’s encryption feature, Bitlocker.


Bitlocker is a very sophisticated form of drive encryption that is built-in to Enterprise and Ultimate editions of Vista. It is hardware based solution rather than a software based solution. It is built on 128-bit encryption which is the same level of security for most online banks on government information sites (in geek terms, it is another way of saying that there are 2^128 possible keys and nearly impossible to crack using brute force). Bitlocker is characterized by utilizing multiple layers of security during the boot process. The current options include (1) enter a pin code while the computer is booting-up, or (2) insert a USB key during the boot process. Either of these methods will still require a standard windows password during the login process. Once logged in, you may still encounter encrypted files or entire folders that are encrypted.

The impact of this feature on EDD and computer forensics can be alarming. In today’s litigation environment, it is still relatively rare to encounter large amounts of encrypted information in the corporate environment. In fact, many companies have a policy against encrypting files without express permission. Certain areas of law that deal with large amounts of sensitive information, i.e. health law, will almost certainly integrate this function into their IT policies. Bitlocker was designed towards companies that have mobile workforces that often carry large amounts of sensitive information, i.e. health records, social security numbers, and credit card information. It is not uncommon to hear a story on the evening news about a company losing an employee laptop with sensitive information on thousands of customers. Often, the cost of the laptop is irrelevant when compared to the costs of waging a public relations campaign or potential litigation exposure. With Bitlocker, a lost or stolen laptop is not as serious of a concern because a user would need two methods of authentication to even turn on the laptop. Also, since Bitlocker is a form of hardware based security, users cannot simply remove the hard drive to another computer for access to cracking the hard drive. This aspect presents a unique problem for EDD experts. Clients may no longer be able to simply remove and store a hard drive for EDD preservation obligations. It may be necessary to decommission the entire laptop and preserve the laptop (with hard drive intact).

To make the matter even more difficult, there is reportedly no “back-door” (secret security protocol that allows law enforcement officials to access encrypted drives or files) to Bitlocker. This point has become an issue of contention between Microsoft and the FBI. In other words, if you receive a laptop from a client that was confiscated from an employee who was being discharged and the laptop has Windows Vista with encrypted files, do not plan on simply sending the laptop to your firm’s IT department. You will need to hire a computer forensic expert and possible a computer cryptologist to attempt to bypass the encryption.

Shadow copies:

Another interesting feature of Vista is the built-in shadow file function that will save a shadow copy of files that you are working on at pre-established intervals. This feature is referred to as “Transactional NTFS” or “TxF”. It essentially creates point-in-time copies of files as you work so that you can retrieve versions of files that may have been accidently deleted or saved over. This feature is available on the Ultimate, Business, and Enterprise versions of Vista. This feature can be configured to work on a single file or an entire folder.
The impact of this feature on EDD cannot be understated. This feature will eliminate the damage caused to the “last access time” metadata field when a person peeks at a document without a write protector, or when an antivirus program scans a file. It will also create a very significant “version trail” of a document that can easily be the smoking gun in a given case. This function is very similar to “document history” index that is available with many document management programs. This feature also makes the process of preserving and producing such information much more important. For years, I have told attorneys that metadata is more often than not, irrelevant in particular types of litigation. This axiom may no longer be accurate. While metadata fields such as “last access time” are usually not very helpful in everyday litigation, information showing different versions of a letter (such as the first draft of the letter drafted in the heat of the moment) can be invaluable evidence.

File Formats:

One of the features of vista that has frustrated just about everyone I know in the legal is the creation of new file types. Not only does Office 2007 have several new programs, it features new file formats. Office Ultimate 2007 includes: Accounting Express 2007 (an accounting program), InfoPath 2007 (a form and template program), Groove 2007 (a project and document collaboration program), and OneNote 2007 (a program that can potentially act as a litigation support program to create virtual trial binders). Some of the new file formats include: .docx (Word 2007), .xlsx (Excel 2007), and .pptx (Power Point 2007). These new file types are not even readable in Word 2003 without downloading an update from Microsoft.
Another interesting change with Office 2007 file types is the ability save files in XML (a type of computer code language). This feature will essentially allow EDD professionals to redact files in native format. This feature will likely continue the trend of EDD productions in native format and also challenge the generally held belief that “you cannot redact files in native format”.

These new file types (just like any other file type) offer new features and frustrations during the EDD process. It was less than a year ago when I spent an entire luncheon with several attorneys discussing the difference between .pdf, .doc, .txt, and .tiff files in the EDD process. I mentioned that it is almost always okay to accept .doc files in some kind of converted or quasi-native production, but would always recommend .xls files be requested in native format. Based on the features discussed above, I now suggest that .docx files be produced in native format.

PDF Support:

There has been on ongoing feud over the last few years between Adobe and Microsoft. Unfortunately, the feud has spoiled what could have been a great partnership of two great products, Adobe Professional 8 and Microsoft Office 2007. As it currently stands, the two products are not compatible. This is coming from someone that had to test this claim for himself. There are updates that users can download to perform simple functions such as print to PDF, converting files, etc. However, users that want to convert entire email folders to a PDF package must use Office 2003.


Although it should cause for wide-spread panic or rioting in the streets, the impact of Microsoft Vista and Office 2007 on the EDD process is considered one of the most important themes for the coming months and years. The wait-and-see approach to companies adopting Windows Vista and Office 2007 coupled with the delay period between incidents and litigation, will likely allow the legal field a little more time to become acquainted with the issues discussed above. It is important to keep in mind that many of the features discussed above (Bitlocker and shadow copy feature) are only relevant on certain versions of Windows Vista (there are five different versions of Vista to choose from). It is important to know which version of Vista your client or the opposing party is using. For those of you just getting used to Windows XP and Office 2003, do not worry. The riots will start for at least a few months.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Adobe Professional 8 for Advanced Users

By: Courtney David Mills
IPA Technology Director and Litigation Paralegal at Hall Render Killian Heath & Lyman, P.C.

Several months ago I wrote an article introducing Adobe Professional 8, the latest and greatest in Adobe Acrobat family. Since that time, I have had time to look under the hood and play with some of Adobe’s more advanced features. These features move beyond the bates numbering, redaction and OCRing features discussed in the earlier article and aim to introduce more advanced features. This article will discuss the typewriter tool, form creator and Outlook functionality.

Typewriter Tool:

Adobe Professional 8 features a tool that was part of the upgrade package to Acrobat 7 (so you will not be blamed if you missed it). This tool features the ability to simply click and type directly on a PDF (regardless of whether the file is a PDF with text, a simple image or a PDF form). The typewriter tool can be accessed from the “tools” menu under “typewriter”. It is one of the most convenient and overlooked tools in Adobe. You can fill out PDF forms regardless of their formatting and you can make quick notes directly on PDF documents without using comment features. It can be used for filling out fax cover sheets that are saved as PDF images and to complete the IPA monthly luncheon reservation form (which is posted monthly on IPA’s website).

Form Creator:

The form creation tools in Adobe 8 are a vast improvement from previous versions. These tools essentially allow a user to take a PDF form that is a simple scanned image (much like the static forms stored on many websites). The user can run the form creation tool and Adobe will review the image and attempt to discern actually form fields. It will recognize the text of the document and try and isolate obvious fields (i.e. NAME: ____________________). It will also attempt to find check boxes and signature fields. All of the identified fields will then be converted to text boxes etc. It is a great tool for those who have PDF forms that they have to fill out as a matter of routine. This is especially true for most federal court websites that feature PDF as an acceptable file format and feature many court forms in PDF format.

Outlook Functionality:

The Outlook functionality is by far my favorite feature of Adobe Professional 8. Anyone who has worked on e-discovery projects knows that printing emails for paper production is sometimes simply not practical. Many times it is necessary to convert the email to an image format such as PDF or TIFF. PDF files have many advantages over TIFF files (it is like comparing plain text files to dynamic Word documents). Printing or converting email to PDF can be very messy and the resultant files usually have to be cleaned up to avoid misleading headers and footers (as well as issues with email attachments). For the first few months I was disappointed about this feature because this feature in Acrobat 8 did not function properly with Outlook 2007. The compatibility issue has since been addressed and it is a very helpful feature. It allows users to take select emails (or select email folders or subfolders in Outlook) and package the emails into a PDF file. This feature is very useful in litigation where discovery of email is becoming the norm. This practice maintains the searchability inherent with native or quasi-native production, alleviates some compatibility issues on the reviewers end, and will negate some concerns about tricky metadata. The PDF package of emails (wrapped into a single file) can be easily burned to a CD for production purposes. The recipient can easily navigate the production through Adobe Acrobat (even with the most basic Reader version) and can access attachments, etc.

In summary, Adobe Acrobat 8 is a very impressive tool that has features to please the common paralegal who would like to type notes on a PDF record or fill out a PDF form to more advanced features that are going to assist with e-discovery collection and production.

Blog of the Month:

Dennis Kennedy Blog: Dennis Kennedy is a well known legal techie and features very insightful articles and commentary on a wide range of legal tech issues.

Website of the Month:

Acrobat Solutions for legal professionals: This site is within Adobe’s primary site, but is specifically geared towards legal professionals. It features great articles and white papers on Adobe features for the legal field as well as free webinars on adobe features for legal professionals.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

IPA Honors Its Credentialed Paralegals And Awards First PACE Scholarship

On Wednesday, June 20, 2007, during an historical luncheon in the Victory Ballroom at The Hilton, the Indiana Paralegal Association honored its PACE Registered Paralegals of NPFA and Certified Paralegals of NALA for the first time in the history of IPA. Indiana is one of the leaders nationwide with paralegals who have accepted the national challenge to become credentialed. This celebration luncheon coincided with the Tenth Anniversary of the development of PACE.

At the luncheon, the honored guests and attendees were privileged to be addressed by The Honorable Heather Welch, Marion Superior Court Judge, who gave a dynamic and inspiring presentation on her personal experience with the work involved in becoming a Judge and the correlation to those paralegals who have made the extra effort to become credentialed.

The Honorable Heather Welch
Marion Superior Court Judge

During the celebration luncheon, which was generously sponsored by IKON, IPA and IKON jointly presented their first annual PACE Scholarship to Lisa E. Keffaber, Paralegal at Tiede Metz & Downs, P.C. in Wabash, Indiana. These scholarships combined total approximately $800 and can be used for the PACE Study Manual, PACE Candidate’s Handbook, PACE examination fee, online mock examination and the 7-week online review course offered by the American Institute for Paralegal Studies in their Distance Learning Program.

Steve Finchum of IKON Presents PACE Scholarship To Lisa Keffaber, Paralegal

Janet Logan, CP, Presents PACE Scholarship On Behalf of IPA to Lisa Keffaber, Paralegal

The guests honored during this celebration included not only the IPA members who are credentialed paralegals, but also three members of IPA who are national officials with NFPA: Anita Haworth, RP, NFPA President; Linda McGirr, Vice President & Director of Membership and Susan Heisler, Director of Pro Bono Services. Also present among honored guests was Kevin McGoff, President of the Indianapolis Bar Association.

The Credentialed Paralegals who were honored during IPA’s historic luncheon are:

Jocelyn L. Acker, RP
Passed PACE 01-05-00

Joetta J. Allgood, RP
Passed PACE 06-30-99
Bose McKinney & Evans, LLP

Ryan M. Ayres, RP
Passed PACE 10-12-00
St. Francis Hospital and Health Centers

Diane S. Brow, RP
Passed PACE 11-17-00
One America

Denise M. Brown, RP
Passed PACE 03-01-01
Stevens & Associates

Daena J. Cooper, RP
Passed PACE 03-16-01
State Farm Litigation Counsel

Lesley Cox, RP
Passed PACE 03-29-99
Church, Church, Hittle & Antrim

PACE Registered Paralegals of NFPA and Certified Paralegals of NALA are Recognized at IPA’s Inaugural Celebration of its Credentialed Paralegals at the Hilton’s Victory Ballroom

Becky A. Fehr, RP
Passed PACE 02-17-03
Wyatt Tarrent & Combs, LLP

Brenda K. Ferguson, RP
Passed PACE 04-10-01
Dow AgroSciences, LLC

Terry J. Gilstrap, PC
Passed PACE 03-01-01
William A. Goebel, Attorney

Teresa Gross, CLA
Passed CLA Exam 01-01-89
Bose, McKinney & Evans, LLP
IPA’s First Credentialed Paralegal

Lynn C. Hannon, RP
Passed PACE 12-27-04
Dow AgroSciences

Anita G. Haworth, RP
Passed PACE 09-07-99
Campbell Kyle Proffitt, LLP

Christopher J. Holly, RP
Passed PACE 03-29-00
Medicaid Solutions

Melissa L. Hubler, RP
Passed PACE 10-07-00
Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Inc.

Tia L.Jackson, RP
Passed PACE 11-27-06
Conseco Services, LLC

Lauren K. Jones, RP
Passed PACE 03-09-01
Bowers Harrison LLP

Linda G. Kaufman, RP
Passed PACE 12-08-00
The Pardieck Law Firm

Cynthia L. Kirchhofer, RP
Passed PACE 12-09-00
St. Francis Hospital and Health Centers

Janet S. Logan, CP
Passed CLA Exam 05-01-90
Krieg Devault LLP

Linda D. Moorman, RP
Passed PACE 04-09-01
Dow AgroSciences LLP

Nancy J. Mulder, RP
Passed PACE 06-15-00

Deborah K. Neale, RP
Passed PACE 12-11-00
Tabbert Hahn Earnest & Weddle LLP

M. Kim Richardson, RP, CP
Passed PACE 02-28-05
Ice Miller, LLP
Passed CLA Exam 01-01-06
IPA’s Only RP/CP

Cynthia K. Rooks, RP
Passed PACE 12-02-00
Locke Reynolds, LLP

Cheryl L. Saalfrank, RP
Passed PACE 11-10-03
Scannell Properties

Edna M. Wallace, RP
Passed PACE 07-11-97
Whitman, Hebenstreit & Zubek, LLP
IPA’s First PACE Registered Paralegal

Barbara D. Wayne, RP
Passed PACE 08-21-00
Tabbert Hahn Earnest & Weddle, LLP

Beverly A. Zimmerman, RP
Passed PACE 04-03-99
Boren, Oliver & Coffey

Special Thanks to IKON for its tremendous sponsorship of this special event!

For more information regarding PACE, contact Debi Neale, RP, IPA PACE Ambassador at 317-639-5444 or .

By Debi Neale, RP
IPA PACE Ambassador
The tenth in a series of
PACE Ambassador Reports

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

5 jobs with the law

The Indianapolis Star is feature an article about "5 jobs with the law" which includes Paralegals.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Tireless Wireless

By: Courtney David Mills
IPA Technology Director and Litigation Paralegal at Hall Render Killian Heath & Lyman, P.C.

Whenever I think about wireless technology, I cannot help but think about what is around the corner, even twenty years from now. If you stop and think about it, twenty years ago, computers were in their infancy and the idea of wireless technology was mostly relegated to telephones and remote controls. Although wireless technology has definitely come of age, it is important to note that all wireless technology is not created equal. This article will discuss some different standards or types of wireless technology and also discuss some uses for same. I will start with Bluetooth technology since it has the hippest name.

Bluetooth Technology:

Bluetooth was named after a late 900s king, Harald Bluetooth King of Denmark and Norway. He is known for his unification of previously warring tribes from Denmark and Norway. Bluetooth likewise was intended to unify different technologies, such as computers and mobile phones. The Bluetooth logo merges the Nordic runes analogous to the modern Latin H and B: (haglaz) and (berkanan) forming a bind rune. Bluetooth technology seems confuse a lot of consumers. I think the primary reasons for the confusion are that its name has no descriptive qualities to it other than the fact that some Bluetooth devices have blue lights on them. The other source of the confusion stems from the fact that the Bluetooth technology is very versatile and can be found in laptops, desktops, key boards, mice, headphones, microphones, headsets, game controllers, printers, cell phones, digital cameras, etc. Bluetooth technology is essentially a wireless technology that is marked by low power consumption and short range between the devices. It allows two devices to connect wirelessly and communicate with each other. This process is called “pairing”. If your laptop has a built-in or external Bluetooth connection device, you can connect to your cell phone (which can be across the room in your jacket or purse) and you can access the internet. You can also connect your laptop to you digital camera to transfer digital pictures (wirelessly), while you listen to music on your wireless headphones. Once the pictures are transferred, you can print them wirelessly on your Bluetooth enabled printer that is located in an upstairs office. Some newer cars even have the option of integrated Bluetooth technology which automatically detects your cell phone when you enter the vehicle and allows you to make and receive phone calls (hands free) and even route the audio of your phone through the car speakers.


Wi-Fi is actually a brand name originally trademarked by the Wi-Fi Alliance, a trade organization that tests and certifies wireless technology. Wi-Fi refers to the technology of Wireless Local Area Networks (WLAN) which run on the 802.11 frequency. There are two primary types of WLANs. The first is a computer to computer network or “ad-hoc” network. This type of network allows two or more computers to connect to each other (wirelessly), most often to share files or documents. Ad-hoc networks are not commonly used, but would be extremely useful for a trial team who has a single set of electronic documents that need to be shared amongst the group. You could set-up a small WLAN so that different members of the trial team could all access the files (that are stored on just one person’s computer) in a war room setting. Wi-Fi networks that allow you access to the internet are often referred to as “hot spots” or “access points”. Some are free (i.e. Panera Bread, Shapiro’s Deli, Qdoba, and Au Bon Pain), and some are not (i.e. Starbucks, and Border’s Books). Most hot spots have a relatively short range of 20 – 100 feet (depending on thickness of walls and barriers), but other more powerful transmitters can project several hundred feet. Some businesses and law firms have some sort WLAN in place, but most are hesitant to adopt this technology due to the inherent security concerns present with any sort of wireless technology. In order to connect to the internet at a hot spot, your device (either laptop computer or smartphone) must have either an internal or external wireless card. Most newer laptops have built-in wireless cards and Bluetooth cards. If your laptop does not have a wireless card, you can purchase a card for $20-$60. It is also important to note that there are different levels of wireless technology (802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, and 802.11n). The primary difference between each of the above technologies is range and data capacity. 802.11g is considered the current standard and 802.11n is considered the latest and greatest. The primary area of confusion that I hear from attorneys is that they seem to believe that just because they have a laptop and wireless card, they believe they can access the internet. This is not the case. Unless you have wireless card from your cell phone company (or have the ability to use your cell phone as a modem), you have to be within range of a hotspot or be in a city that has city-wide wireless (referred to Municipal Fi, or Mu-Fi). Mu-Fi is a world-wide movement towards having municipalities offer wide-range wireless networks that cover entire towns and cities. Beech Grove, Indiana is the latest Indiana city to go wireless. Once Beech Grove’s plan is up and running, you can take your laptop anywhere in the city and have instant internet access. You can be in the park, or at your child’s baseball practice. When I told this to one of the attorneys that I work with, he jokingly commented that I should find a court reporter in Beech Grove and start scheduling his depositions there. That way he could at least check his email during a particularly boring deposition. At least, I think he was kidding.

In summary, wireless connectivity holds the key to the future. If you listen to the people like Bill Gates or Paul Allen who are designing the technology of the future, you will quickly discover that they envision a world where location is irrelevant and everything is connected (without the wires). There is no real doubt that in the future, nearly every city will be wireless. Besides the obvious factor of initial investment in infrastructure, the major roadblock to implementing such plans has been lobbying pressure from the telcos that currently provide broad-band internet access. However, cities have realized that Mu-Fi is a great perk to draw-in companies and residents. It also offers a lot of benefits to public safety officials and the ability to better integrate emergency services. The question of Mu-Fi coming to a city near you is no longer if, but when.

Blog of the Month:

The Estrin Report: This blog is perhaps the number one paralegal blog in the country. It is updated several times every day (even on the weekend) and always has interesting stories and links connected to the paralegal profession. It is one of the very few blogs that I check every morning and evening. I also like the self-identifying description, “Created for professional paralegals – not of a certain level, specialty or firm – but of a particular attitude.

Website of the Month:

Muni Wireless – The Voice of Public Broadband: This is a great resource for information on Mu-Fi projects in Indiana and across the country.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Want To Be More Professionally Respected In Your Workplace? Consider Becoming A Credentialed Paralegal Through A National Exam

One of the problems the paralegal profession has always faced is the seemingly unending struggle to be accepted as a legal professional. This concern affects each paralegal differently in their career. Some may not be affected at all. Others continue to be forced to “prove” their worth through experience, education, involvement in local or national professional organizations, through speaking engagements, teaching classes, or perhaps through constant and frustrating negotiations within the workplace. I certainly experienced this early in my career.

At a recent IPA Board Retreat, one of the Board members insightfully commented that one of the best ways we, as paralegals, can hope to be more professionally respected in the workplace is to become a credentialed paralegal through a national exam. Another Board member, who is currently making plans to begin studying for PACE, also told me recently that she has noticed increased respect from her employer simply by virtue of showing an interest in sitting for the examination. She also saw a noticeable difference in her employer’s professional respect for her through her involvement on the IPA Board. Two other PACE Registered Paralegals recently pondered whether employers even understand what an “RP” or “CP” means to the legal profession. There seems to be little question as to the meaning, for example, when someone writes “RN” after his or her name. All of these points are very well taken.

Earlier this year, Stacey Hunt, CLA, CAS, and Ann Price, RP wrote an article in Legal Assistant Today discussing the two most widely taken examinations to become a credentialed paralegal ~ NALA’s Certified Legal Assistant exam (“the CLA exam”), created in 1976, and NFPA’s Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam (“PACE”), created in 1994. NALA also recently began offering Advanced Specialty Certification exams which is also a part of NFPA’s two-tiered, long range plan.

Interestingly, the very first sentence in the LAT article meets this issue head on ~ “Professional certification lends credibility to any profession, and the paralegal profession is no exception.” [Emphasis added].

Paralegals who pass the CLA exam earn the CLA/CP designation and/or other specialty certifications, while paralegals who pass PACE, are authorized to use the trademarked phrase “PACE Registered Paralegal” or “RP.” Indiana currently has 44 PACE Registered Paralegals, 28 of whom are members of IPA. Quite likely, some of the remaining Indiana RP’s are members of the other two paralegal associations in Indiana, also affiliated with NFPA ~ Michiana Paralegal Association and the Northeast Indiana Paralegal Association. According to NALA’s website, there are also 49 CLA/CP’s in Indiana; 3 of those are members of IPA. IPA, as a member of NFPA, promotes PACE to its membership; however, IPA respectfully acknowledges with pride all of its members who are credentialed paralegals through national testing, whether RP or CP, as well as one distinguished member, Kim Richardson, RP, CP of Ice Miller, who has taken and successfully passed both examinations. If you haven’t looked at the updated list on the PACE website, I invite you to do so.

Dianna Noyes, RP, NFPA PACE Ambassador Coordinator, recently compiled a chart that compared PACE, the CLA exam and a paralegal examination offered by NALS.

(click here to access remainder of article)

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

IE 7 is even cooler than I originally thought

I wrote an article several months about about some of the new features available in Microsoft's update webbrowser, IE7. One feature that I did not mention in my article (but feel compeled to mention now) is IE7 mulitple home page feature. I do not know about you, but for years, I have had a hard time deciding on a home page. I like the idea of news in the morning, but its not really work related. I use Google a fair ammount, but also use a physician directory site alot also. IE7 gives you the ability to have multiple home pages through its home page button (the button that looks like a house on the tool bar). You simple open all of the web pages that you want to use as your home pages (using the tabbed browsing feature). Once you have the pages open, you simply go to the drop down menu next to the home page button and select "add or change home page". You will be given some choices to add a particular page to your home page list or to reset all of the tabs. Once you complete this step, everytime you open your browser or click the home page button, you will get all of your home pages as tabs.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

NFPA 2007 Tech Institute

In case you have not heard, the National Federation of Paralegal Associations ("NFPA") is hosting the first annual legal tech conference geared specifically towards paralegals. The conference will be held in Pittsburgh, PA, on July 19-20, 2007. NFPA has been a buzz lately about the conference and the excitement it has roused within the paralegal community. I have been very impressed with the seminar topics that are published on NFPA's website The topics range from advanced sessions on courtroom and trial presentation software tricks and tips to more general information sessions on internet websites and technology tricks for paralegals. I hope to see you all there. (click here)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Report from the 2007 NFPA Regulation Conference in Dallas, TX

California, Texas, Florida, Washington, Indiana, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New York, Arkansas, Oregon, Minnesota, Connecticut…..They converged from all corners of the country to meet in Dallas, Texas on March 17-18, 2007, to obtain and to share information regarding implementation of regulation of the paralegal profession. All twenty-six attendees were there with one focus……to see that regulation and standards are implemented for the paralegal profession.

Presentations were made by NFPA representatives describing various forms of regulation, licensure, certification and registration, as well as the status of regulation efforts nationally. Understanding the legislative process, working with bar associations and lobbyists as well as the connection between PACE and regulation were other topics presented.

National Paralegal Regulation Status

Wisconsin is seriously considering paralegal licensure by its petition for licensure pending on the Supreme Court’s list of Pending Rules and Petition. The State of Minnesota closely watches Wisconsin and will likely follow suit upon Wisconsin’s implementation of paralegal licensure.

North Carolina, a pioneer in paralegal regulation, presently has a voluntary paralegal certification program through the North Carolina State Bar Association that went into effect in 2004 and now requires successful completion of an examination.

Florida has worked diligently and appeared to be close to paralegal regulation through its legislature and bar association, but the paralegal organizations of Florida are still working toward coming together on agreement as to exactly what standards they wish to be implemented.

In June, 2006, the Ohio State Bar Association established a voluntary credential program for paralegals in Ohio which provides for certification requiring specific educational standards and experience, the completion of an examination and continuing legal education.

The New Mexico Supreme Court has established minimum standards for the use of the occupational title of “paralegal”.

California has enacted legislation that defines the occupational title of “paralegal”, sets standards for those people who use the title “paralegal” and defines and limits the functions that paralegals can perform. It differentiates “paralegals” from “legal document assistants.”

The State Bar of Texas adopted a voluntary specialty certification program for paralegals in 1974 which was structured after the voluntary specialty certification program for attorneys in Texas. After successful completion of a specialty certification examination, one may use the credential, “Board Certified Legal Assistant – [Area of Law].”

We were happy to report that Proposed Rule 2.2 is pending before the Indiana Supreme Court and will again be a topic for discussion at the ISBA Annual Meeting in October, 2007.

Internationally, the Ontario government recently passed legislation extending protection to consumers who hire independent paralegals. Paralegals will be required to receive training, carry liability insurance and report to a public body that can investigate complaints. This legislation is effective May 1, 2007.

The Bottom Line

It is very clear that the dedicated professional paralegals are determined to see that standards and criteria be agreed upon and implemented to allow the paralegal profession to be quantified and held to expectations and stated standards by the trained, educated professionals that make up the paralegal profession.

Thanks to DAPA

The Dallas Area Paralegal Association provided first class hosting for this conference in its selection of an excellent meeting facility at Esquire Depositions, providing sumptuous food, goodies, gifts and fabulous Texas hospitality. Our thanks go to DAPA for hosting this conference.

2008 Regulation Conference

The Indiana Paralegal Association, Inc. has communicated to NFPA that it is ready and willing to host the next NFPA Paralegal Regulation Conference in 2008. Such a conference held at our central national location would attract many attendees.

We will keep you posted.

Janet S. Logan, C.P.
Paralegal Regulation Committee Chair
Indiana Paralegal Association, Inc.

Edna Wallace, R.P.
NFPA Primary Representative
Indiana Paralegal Association, Inc.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

A Paralegal's View of The ABA Techshow

By: Courtney David Mills
IPA Technology Director and Litigation Paralegal at Hall Render Killian Heath & Lyman, P.C.

As I write this article, I am on the train heading back from Chicago after four (4) days of legal tech submersion at the annual The America Bar Association Legal Techshow. The ABA Techshow is an annual gathering of the most prominent legal techies from across the country and some say in the entire world. It includes; lawyers, paralegals, IT professionals, litigation support specialists, law librarians, office managers, etc . I was very impressed with the turn-out of Indiana Paralegals during the convention, but somewhat surprised at the lack of CLE courses directed towards paralegals. However; overall, I believe the conference was a success, and I am already looking forward to next year’s conference. Below are some of the highlights of the conference.

Collaboration Tools in the Legal Field:

The first CLE track that I attended was directed towards Google Docs, Wikis and other web tools used to collaborate with clients and co-counsel on documents and projects. For those that are not familiar with the above applications, Google Docs is essentially a free web-based program (you access it using a web browser and do not download any software) that is designed to allow people to create, edit, and collaborate on word processing documents and spreadsheets in real time. Wikis are essentially editable web pages that use the same general principles as mention above. The most famous Wiki is probably Wikipedia which is an online encyclopedia written, updated, and edited by users. This track also discussed some features of Adobe Professional 8.0 that you allow you send PDF documents to clients and colleagues for review and comment. The exciting part of the new line of Adobe Acrobat products is that as long as the originator of the document has Adobe Standard or Professional 8, the end-users who are actually reviewing the document only need Adobe Reader 8 (free product available for download) in order to make comments on the document. This track also discussed a newer Microsoft product, MS Office Groove, which allows users to set-up teams for working on projects. It allows users to collaborate, review and edit MS Office documents, including power point projects, spreadsheets, presentation documents, etc., in real time, while working with one set of documents (instead of floating version around by email). I believe that many people see this kind of collaborative engagement as the future of the legal profession and the business world in general. These collaborative products give a team the ability to have a centralized copy of a project or single document that is stored on a secure server. The authorized users can review, edit and collaborate on the document. This replaces the old fashion methods of emailing different versions to colleagues, etc. It also makes the location and work schedules of the participants largely irrelevant. You could have a physician expert in New York, an attorney at a deposition in Houston, and a paralegal in Indiana all working on cross examination questions / outline for an opposing expert who is being deposed in Houston.

Courtroom Technology:

There were several CLE sessions discussing judges' opinions on courtroom technology and Electronic Evidence Presentation (“EEP”). A lot of these discussions centered around the under utilization of EEP in real world litigation. Several of the judges admitted that when they speak to jurors following some form of EEP (even something as simple as a power point presentation played during closing statements), they discovered that overwhelmingly, jurors appreciated the use of technology and were surprised that it was not being used more often. There were also some exciting products on display that give an idea about the immediate future of courtroom technology. There were computers with 55 inch plasma screens that enabled users to show evidence as 3-D objects that could be manipulated and controlled from the computer. There were large white boards that used projection technology and touch screen technology to essentially allow users to work interactively with documents or other forms of evidence, i.e. presenting documents on large screens, circling key words or using your hand as a highlighter to highlight key evidence on the screen.

Document Automation:

When I saw the track title about document automation, I was thinking about mail merge features in Word and Word Perfect that allow users to create a template letter, and merge the template with a list of addresses that will create a stack of letters for you in seconds. This form of document automation is simply a very sophisticated version of copying and pasting. The newer programs available are the next generation of document automation. There are new software programs that are designed for document intensive areas of the law, i.e. probate law, contract work, etc. These programs essentially automate many of the functions that an attorney/paralegal will do when opening the case. If you paste the caption, and answer some quick "interview questions", i.e. who is the injured party or decedent, are the parties male or female, what type of case is it (you select from a set of pre-programmed templates)? The program will create all documents that you have set it to create, i.e., your initial letter to your client acknowledging representation, letters to insurance carrier regarding same, initial discovery requests to Plaintiff and co-counsel, an appearance, and initial motion for enlargement of time, etc. The program fills in the correct names, dates, pronouns, singular/plural references, and other details using a form of artificial intelligence. It automates the entire process, and can essentially complete the work that usually takes an attorney, paralegal, and secretary several hours, in several minutes. However, there are several downsides to this technology. For instance, a system as described above takes time and money to set-up on the front-end (and will save time in the long run). Also, these systems are really designed towards project based billing practices or flat-fee billing systems.

As I discussed above, the ABA Techshow is a chance for legal techies to get together and talk about current issues, i.e. the best practices for production of ESI, new legal tech software, websites, etc. Another new feature at this year’s techshow is the ability to sign-up for dinners with the speakers. You sign-up for whatever topic/speaker you would like and the Techshow staff makes the arrangements and reservations, etc. You get to enjoy a nice meal and really get to talk to the presenters. The ABA Techshow has been welcoming to paralegals from across the country and since the conference is held in Chicago, it has been especially convenient for Indiana Paralegals. I keep telling my colleagues that the attorneys are going to be increasingly looking to paralegals and litigation support specialists for answers to legal technology questions. I hope to see even more Indiana Paralegals at next year’s tech show.

Blog of the Month:

ABA Techshow Blog: The ABA Techshow Blog is regularly updated by the Techshow presenters and staff. You will catch the latest and greatest from the Techshow faculty.

Website of the Month:

You Send It: If you have ever been frustrated while trying to send a large document or PDF to someone and getting a bounce-back message due to size limitations for the recipients email system, this website is for your. This is a free service that allows you send large files to someone. You essentially upload the file, enter the receipiant's email address and your email address the systems send the other person and email (it looks like it is from your email address) with a link to the file. The person clicks on the link, and down loads the file. Best of all, its free.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Tremendous showing of Indiana Paralegals at ABA Techshow

The ABA Techshow is going well and is a tremendous success. Some new features this year include a larger and more diverse vendor floor and dinners with the presenters. The spots filled up quickly, but the show supervisors have been trying to arrange additional dinners. The keynote address following lunch yesterday included a discussion with Hon. Shira A. Scheindlin, the judge who authored the Zublake decisions.

The attendies include lawyers, paralegals, IT professionals, litigation support specialists, office and practice managers, etc. The following persons are listed on the ABA list of conference attendies from Indianapolis, Indiana:

Pamela Badger - Wooden & McLaughlin
Stacy Bissonnette - Price Waicukauski & Riley, LLC
Robin Bradford -
Monica Dabio - Price Waicukauski & Riley, LLC
Nancy Dowe - Hall Render Killian Heath & Lyman, P.C.
Patrick Grayson-Denmark - Bingham McHale
Ryan Ledbetter - The Nice Law Firm
Abigal Martin - Betz & Associates
Deanna Medsker -
Courtney David Mills - Hall Render Killian Heath & Lyman, P.C.
Robert Rath
Kenneth Reese - Lewis Wagner
Kathi Trimble - Baker & Daniels LLP
Angela White - Bingham McHale

I know that the persons identified in bold are paralegals and members of IPA. I'm not sure about the background of the others, but apoligize ahead of time for any paralegals that missed.

Monday, March 19, 2007

ABA Tech Show is almost here!!!

The ABA Tech Conference is about 2 days away. There are more than 50 CLE sessions to choose from with topics geared toward every aspect of the law firm environment; solo practitioners, paralegals, associates, HR directors, IT, litigation support, finance, practice management, vendors, clowns, hobos and a dunk tank. Okay, I made the few up, but you get the point. It's the legal geek's paradise. Hope to see you there. If you are still interested, get your butt to Chicago for onsite registration (click here).

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Equivocal Demand Letters Did Not Trigger Duty to Preserve; No Duty To Run System-Wide Key Word Searches

Cache La Poudre Feeds, LLC v. Land O' Lakes, Inc., 2007 WL 684001 (D. Colo. Mar. 2, 2007)

I suppose the moral of this story is that Plaintiff's counsels need to be very clear in pre-litigation demand letters regarding the potential or imminence of litigation. Also, they should state a duty to preserve datat.

I believe the other moral of the story is that anyone who thought the changes to FRCP were going to make opposing counsel sit around and sing Koom-by-ya, may have been slightly off in their prediction.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

What Can Adobe do For You?

By: Courtney David Mills
IPA Technology Director and Litigation Paralegal at Hall Render Killian Heath & Lyman, P.C.

During the early implementation of Case Management and Electronic Case Files (“CM/ECF”) in 2002, the Federal Judiciary made a decision to adopt Adobe Acrobat (a.k.a. PDF files) as its standard file format in its electronic filing/docket system. Despite its popularity in the federal judiciary, some legal professionals are still apprehensive about PDF files. This article will provide a brief background about PDFs, discuss some misconceptions about PDFs, and also focus on a few features that make PDFs such a great file format for the legal field. One of the most unique things about the PDF file format, is that name of the file actually explains a lot about why PDFs are so important and versatile.

The name of the file, PDF, stands for Portable Document Format. One of most useful features of PDFs is that the contents of the file look the same regardless of the settings on the users’ computers (hence the term “portable”). It doesn’t matter if you using a PC or a Mac, viewing the file on a computer or website in the U.S. or a computer halfway around the globe. The file will look the same. The secret to this feature is that a PDF's font and format information are stored as part of the actual file itself. This is one reason that PDFs can only utilize certain fonts and formatting information. Another important feature of PDFs also leads to some of the greatest misconceptions about PDFs; namely, that PDFs, like onions, have layers.

In its most basic form, a PDF is just a picture or image of an actual document. This simple PDF is very similar to another image format, TIFF. What makes PDFs more unique is the ability to manipulate and work with the imaged document. PDF can have a layer of text, a layer of comments (including underlining, highlighting, cross-outs, etc.), and even integrated functions like hyperlinks and bookmarks (creates a table of contents with links to particular sections of the document). PDFs can be larger more complex files that utilize one or more of the above features, or they can be more compact basic image files. The ability to take advantage of the above features depends in large part, on what version of Adobe Acrobat you have loaded on your PC.

The three (3) versions of Adobe Acrobat are; Adobe Reader, Adobe Standard, and Adobe Professional. The versions of Adobe are also named in order of release. At the time of this article, the most current version was Adobe 8. Adobe Reader is a free program available for download. It allows the users to open, and review PDFs, but users are otherwise limited and cannot edit PDFs. Adobe Standard and Adobe Professional are very similar products, and you can checkout adobe's website to compare specific features of each product. The following section will discuss Adobe Professional 8, which is Adobe latest (available $159 – upgrade from previous versions of Adobe Acrobat, $449 for the full version).

Adobe Professional 8 has a lot of new features that are designed specifically for the legal field. The following segment will focus on three (3) features that show the potential for Adobe Professional 8 in the legal field; redaction tool, built-in Bates numbering, and an improved OCR engine.

Redaction Tool:

The Redaction Tool is a new feature that is only found in the Adobe Professional 8 software package. The redaction tool allows you securely redact information from PDF files. This feature is more or less a necessity in the e-discovery world where large amounts of information is being stored, and produced in PDF format. The ability to redact certain information saves the need to prepare mixed productions (regular documents in electronic format, and privileged documents in paper form). The two (2) basic forms of electronic redaction have always been to either “cover-up” or “remove” certain information. Adobe Professional 8 uses the “remove” technique which basically erases or removes a section of the document or image. This redaction tool is guaranteed effective and secure. The only warning is that this redaction is permanent and cannot be reversed (which I suppose is the whole point). When using this feature, Adobe will warn you several times before completing the redaction and encourages you to save a back-up copy of the file before redaction. The redaction feature is also part of the commenting package. This essentially allows a paralegal or associate to mark a section for redaction, send the file to the lead attorney for final review/approval, and then click accept redactions (which then redacts the information).

Bates Numbering:

Built-in Bates numbering is also an exciting feature of Adobe Professional 8. It allows you Bates number a 10,000 page PDF in a matter of seconds with any bates numbering system that you would like. You can use letters, numbers, and even symbols. You can select different fonts and specify the location of the Bates number on the page. You can also choose to print/produce the document with or without the Bates numbers. This feature is especially nice in a world where most records are scanned at some point for integration into a document management system or litigation management system. With high-speed printers and copiers, it is almost always easier to scan the records, use the electronic Bates numbering tool, and the re-print the records for either production or to utilize as a working set of records. The original records can then be stored in the file as a secure, unaltered original for litigation purposes.

Improved OCR engine:

Although OCRing (Optical Character Recognition, a.k.a. scan to text) has been available on previous versions of Adobe for several years, the OCR engine in Adobe Professional 8 is actually worth getting excited about. It can OCR thousands of pages within hours. The accuracy is very impressive, even with faded or second generation copies of documents. This feature can essentially turn a box of documents into searchable PDF file within a matter of hours. Most of the work is done by the computer, so the human time involved is extremely limited and thus cost-effective. The OCRing feature in Adobe is called “paper capture.”

In summary, the PDF file format is a standard format in both state and federal courts. Due to the complexity of the file format and the myriad of options available, there are a lot of misunderstandings about PDFs in general. PDFs can be regular image files (much like regular TIFF files), or they can have layers with searchable text, comments, etc. The newest version of Adobe Acrobat (Adobe Professional 8) was specifically designed with the legal professional in mind. The tools featured in Adobe Professional 8 are quickly becoming a required program for litigation paralegals, especially those who are involved in e-discovery.

Blog of the Month:

Acrobat for Legal Professionals. This blog features great tips for legal professionals who utilize Adobe. It is updated about every 1-2 weeks with a new article or discussion.

Website of the Month:

Indiana State Climate Office. This website is a great tool to research all sorts of whether and climate information stored since 1996. It compiles vast amounts of data from whether stations across the state. It can tell you whether it was rainy and slick at 8:30 a.m. on the morning of April 14, 2000 (as a litigant contends). It reports very, very detailed information on visibility conditions, temperature, wind speed, precipitation, etc. All reports are free.
(the above links are directed to different sections of the same website)

Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Here's a great website ( that will allow you to dictate memos from your cell phone (by dialing a 1-877-... number). The process is ENTIRELY free, very simple, and takes about 90 seconds to set-up. From my tests, it even does a great job at dictation. You essentially call the number, dictate your message, hang-up, and the message is emailed to your preset email address within minutes. It is really that easy.

The only down side is that each dication is limited to 15 seconds (altough you can dicatate several messages back-to-back without any trouble). The email with the dictation also includes a link to the audio file of the dicatation. Its a great way to send yourself a quick memo at the office, or any other use that you can think of.

For instance, I will have an email in my inbox tomorrow morning that reads: "note to self, don't forget to write your article for the March Precedent. It is due no later than TODAY!"

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

I’m Studying for PACE: Should I Be Part of A Study Group?

By Debi Neale, R.P.
IPA PACE Ambassador
The fifth in a series of
PACE Ambassador Reports

One of many ways that you can study for PACE is to consider participating in a Study Group. This method of study certainly has many advantages, the primary advantage being that you can find out everyone’s strengths and weaknesses and learn from one another. You can glean the knowledge of other experienced paralegals in areas in which you have less experience ~ turn your weaknesses into strengths in a fun and positive environment ~ and they can learn from you. Everyone benefits ~ helping each other in achieving their goal ~ to pass PACE.

Not only can members learn together, marshal resources, and motivate one another, but they may be able to reinforce discipline and help the members stay focused. Group study can be more interesting than studying alone, and it allows the members to share the stress that they are experiencing. The group can be a sounding board in proof that "two heads are better than one.” They bring to the table each individual member's professional and personal knowledge and experience. Moreover, the group can utilize various media formats that may be unavailable in individual study. Finally, the group is there for support before, during, and after the exam.

If there is not a current Study Group in your area, you might consider organizing one, or contact the Pace Ambassador and we’ll see if we can put one together. Here are some suggestions to help get your Study Group organized.

A. Study Group Organization

1. Determine logistics of Study Group Process(meetings - date, time, location)

a. Determine place and time of first meeting.
b. Prepare an organizational meeting timeline
c. Total length of study process
(1) 4 months? 5 months? Less?
(2) How long to meet? 90 minutes, 2 hours
d. When to meet
(1) Every two weeks for 90 minutes
(2) Every month for 3 hours
e. What time to meet
(1) Morning
(2) Lunch hour
(3) After work
(4) Weekend
(5) During commute

f. Place of meeting
(1) Conference room in a firm
(2) Member’s home
g. Chart time frame

2. Select group leader. Leader should notify PACE Ambassador of names of
group members, meeting logistics

3. Assemble study materials, review resources within the group. Contact
PACE Ambassador for help in locating study materials.

a. Determine who shall lead on each domain of PACE
(1) Study group to do list
(2) Study group list of dates and what is due
b. Determine what to use as study materials
(1) PACE Study Manual
(2) Other reference material from courses, seminars, etc.
(3) Paralegal textbooks
(4) Bar charts
(5) Flashcards
(6) Materials from association’s previous study group, if any
(7) Who is responsible for these materials?

4. Determine if you want guest speakers

a. Law librarian on computerized research
b. Attorneys and/or paralegals on basic areas of law such as:
(1) Corporate
(2) Bankruptcy
(3) Contracts
(4) Real Property
(5) Evidence
(6) Discovery
(7) Calendaring systems
(8) PACE Ambassador on test development
(9) Registered Paralegals to talk about their study experience
or test taking experience
(10)Instructors from local paralegal programs to go over legal
writing and research

5. Decide on how homework assignments are handled

6. Decide on who is responsible for making up sample test questions for each
a. Will each member of the group make up a certain amount of questions each
b. Will the “leader” of the week make up questions?

7. Decide if group is going to take the on-line practice test
a. When will you take it?
b. Will you take it as your second to last session so you can discuss
the results at the last meeting?

8. Determine format of group.
a. Lectures by members of group
b. Lecture by group leader
c. Discussion of material
d. Guest speakers

9. Determine review methodology.
a. Mini test after each meeting
b. Flash cards
c. Share questions with the group

10. Make sure the group stays on schedule, if applicable.

11. Consider these suggestions by NFPA.

a. Have members each make up 5 questions to send to PACE Ambassador to use in
future Study Groups and for use within your group
b. Assign one member of the group to lead discussion and do additional
research and study on the area – i.e., bring in excerpts of textbooks, LAT
articles, NPR articles, seminar handouts.
c. If any member attended special training or CLE, summarize presentation for
the rest of the group
d. Make last meeting a time for entire group to review the application process
and complete applications to take the exam
e. Review the testing process – use the “IPA Cares: Candidate Survival Kit”
f. Allow 3-4 weeks for individual study after the group ended
g. Meet one final time to review questionable material and re-take your sample
questions and answer NFPA’s sample test disk
h. Sign up and take the test
i. Notify the PACE Ambassador if you pass!

B. Maintaining Group

1. Get commitment from each member

a. Allow for emergencies
b. Set guidelines for making up work
c. Set guidelines for maximum number of missed meetings

2. Act as support for each other as it is a stressful time

a. Send e-mails and phone calls for encouragement
b. Help talk each other through special or tough assignments at work

3. Do something fun at each meeting

a. Helps keep concentration high
b. Helps members look forward to each study session
c. Helps keep stress levels down

4. Find ways to minimize stress during study process

a. Walk around the block to clear head
b. Yoga exercises to start or end session
c. Provide snack such as fruit

5. Do something social together after study session ends

a. Schedule a celebratory lunch or dinner when finished studying and before
taking test and/or after passing PACE
b. Go to a movie

Most of all, congratulate yourself for being part of a Study Group that has taken the
first step in developing your professional career and the entire paralegal profession!


March 5, 2007
April 16, 2007
June 11, 2007
July 23, 2007
September 10, 2007
October 22, 2007

The cost of the course is $395. The student must purchase the PACE Study Manual
before the 7 week class starts. Contact Debi Neale, R.P. at or for more information.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

ABA extends discount to early registrants for the ABA Legal Tech Conference in Chicago, IL

With the flurry of legal tech conferneces going forward this year, I would again like to reccomend that anyone interested in legal technology attend the ABA legal tech conference on March 22 - 24. The conference has a special paralegal rate of only $295 for the full three (3) day conference (only $245 if you sign up before February 16, 2007). I personally believe that this conference (especially in the post FRCP change world) should be mandatory for attorneys and highly reccomended for paralegals. I continue to see and hear about attorneys printing off obscene ammounts of ESI, and refusing to even attempt EDD (in state court cases). I believe that this conference, and others like it, will only reinforce the ethical questions surrounding the professional obligation to be familar with EDD and to attempt e-discovery when appropiate.

The conference is really a collection of the best and brightest in the legal tech field. I hope to see you there.

ABA Legal Tech Show

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Paralegals and Smartphones

I am willing to go out on a limb with this one, but I have come to the conclusion that smartphones are quickly becoming a requirement for paralegals. Whether we like it or not, we live in a world of invisible fences and constant communication (as one of my collegues constantly reminds me). Several weeks ago, I finally broke down and purchased the Samsung Blackjack smart phone (I highly recommend this phone to anyone interested in a slim smart phone).

Until that point, I had a long standing line-in-the-sand against smart phones. I felt that cell phones should be used for talking and computers should be used for email. This is of course, not to say that I am technophobic or against consolidation of devices. I like Pizza, and I like ice cream. But I like them much more on their own, rather than mixed together. I also felt that the idea of being in constant contact via e-mail, IM, etc., seemed a bit overwhelming. The point that finally forced me to take the plunge was client contact. I have always believed that paralegals are great client ambassadors. In fact, I have always considered client contact a perk of the profession (well, most of the time at least). One aspect of email that I have noticed over the years is how much people honestly appreciate quick email responses. I routinely receive thank you emails from clients who comment on how much they appreciate a quick email response. I believe that it is becoming an expectation of paralegals, that they will be in near constant contact via email. I have even heard of several large law firms purchasing their paralegals smartphones or blackberry devices.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

When a dozen petabytes is not enough

For anyone who doubts the naysayers' warnings about the growing volumes of data storage, just take a look at this interview the IT Director of Lucas Films, Inc. (click here).

Friday, January 26, 2007


By: Lauren K. Jones, RP

Lauren K. Jones, RP continues her articles on Paralegals and the Unauthorized Practice of Law – Where is the Line Drawn?

In making such determination, we begin with Rule 5.3 of the Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct, which sets out an attorney's responsibilities regarding non-lawyer assistants:

(a), (b) make reasonable efforts to ensure that the... [paralegal's] conduct is compatible with the professional obligations of the lawyer

(c) A lawyer shall be responsible for the conduct of...[the paralegal] that would be a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct if engaged in by a lawyer if:

(1) the lawyer orders or, with the knowledge of the specific conduct, ratifies the conduct involved; or

(2) the lawyer...knows of the conduct at a time when its consequences can be avoided or mitigated but fails to take reasonable remedial action.

Comment [2]: Paragraph (a) requires make reasonable efforts to establish policies and procedures designed to provide reasonable assurances that non-lawyers in the firm will act in a way compatible with the Rules of Professional Conduct.

What services can a paralegal perform in Indiana?

Guideline 9.1 through 9.10 of the Ind. Rules of Professional Conduct provides specific guidance for the use of paralegals:

9.1: A non-lawyer assistant shall perform services only under the direct supervision of a lawyer authorized to practice in the State of Indiana...A lawyer...should take reasonable measures to ensure that the non-lawyer assistant's conduct is consistent with the lawyer's obligations under the Rules of Professional Conduct. Note the key words here are: only under the direct supervision of a lawyer. Although Indiana expressly places the responsibility for supervision of paralegals upon lawyers, some states have concluded that a paralegal is not relieved from an independent obligation to work directly under an attorney’s supervision. (ABA Model Guideline for the Utilization of Paralegal Services, 2003 Revisions.) The Supreme Court of New Jersey has held that a “paralegal who recognizes that the attorney is not directly supervising his or her work or that such supervision is illusory because the attorney knows nothing about the field in which the paralegal is working must understand that he or she is engaged in the unauthorized practice of law.” (In Re: Opinion No. 24 of the Committee on the Unauthorized Practice of Law, 607 A.2d 962, 969 (N.J. 1992).)

9.2: *...a lawyer may delegate to a...paralegal any task normally performed by the lawyer; however, any task prohibited by statute, court rule, administrative rule or regulation, controlling authority or the Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct may not be assigned to a non-lawyer. Note that the scope of a paralegal’s work is only limited to (1) any task normally performed by a lawyer (so long as lawyer is responsible for work product; and (2) those tasks not specifically prohibited).
Next Issue: What Tasks are Prohibited by Statute, Court Rule, Administrative Rule or Regulation, Controlling Authority or the Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Finally, a cell phone with mosquito repellant

I have no idea how I have made it this far in life without a phone that features facial recognition software as a security safeguard, a visual privacy filter so that the person sitting next to you can't see your screen, and you for all of you entomophobiatics (people with an morbid fear of insects), it has a built-in super-sonic mosquito repellent. Wow!!

I have no idea who this phone is marketed to, but before you get too excited, it is apparently only available in Japan. That is really just a shame. I don't know how I will manage. (click here) to see more.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Microsoft Introduces Internet Explorer 7.0

By: Courtney David Mills

IPA Technology Director and Litigation Paralegal at Hoover Hull LLP

Internet Explorer 7 (“IE7”) is the latest version of Microsoft’s popular web browsing utility. Web browsers are programs created that allow people to browse the internet. The most popular web browsers are; Netscape, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, AOL, and Opera. During the earlier part of the past decade, Microsoft had been accused of monopolizing the web browser market by bundling Internet Explorer with the Windows operating system. In the early years of the internet revolution, Netscape was the most popular web browser. In 1995, Microsoft introduced its own web browser, Internet Explorer, and a fierce battled ensued between Microsoft and Netscape over market share in the web browsing market (this period became known as the browser wars). In 1998, the Department of Justice filed a case against Microsoft
alleging unfair business practices. The crux of the allegations against Microsoft are based on their practice of bundling their operative system and web browser together. Following the end of the browser wars in the late 90s, other web browsers entered the market and gained market share. This move towards alternative web browsers was due in large part to ongoing security concerns with previous versions of Internet Explorer, new features of web browsers such as Mozilla Firefox, and Opera, and the less obvious factor of increased bandwidth speed available to
consumers (one reason for the fall of Netscape is that the program had to be either purchased or requested on a CD because it was too large for most computers to download over dial-up connection). Both Firefox and Opera introduced new features to the public, including tabbed browsing, and built-in RSS readers. These features are now for the first time included in Internet Explorer via IE7.

Tabbed Browsing:

One of the most noticeable aspects of IE7 is the tabbed browsing feature. Tabbed browsing essentially allows you to have multiple web pages open within the same Internet Explorer window. With previous versions of Internet Explorer, if a user had five web pages open at the same time, they would have either five buttons on their toolbar, or would have one button and a stack of buttons (this feature is called grouping and is part of Microsoft Windows XP). With tabbed browsing, you can have multiple web pages open within the same window and switch between the web pages by clicking the tab. If you need a new tab open, you just click the shortened tab to the right of the regular tab, and a new tab will open.

Built-in RSS Reader:

Another feature of IE7 that is sure to draw attention is the integration of a RSS reader. When I wrote an article about RSS Readers in June 2006, I explained that RSS readers were essentially a tool used to subscribe to websites so that updates are made to a particular section or page of a website, you are notified of same (see the Technology Archive on IPA’s website for more information regarding RSS readers). IE7 features a built-in RSS reader that can be accessed under the favorites tab (in IE7, your favorites can be accessed by click the star on the left side of the tool bar). Once you click on the star, you will see separate tabs for favorites and feeds. The
feeds list is similar to your favorites list, but includes all RSS feeds that you have subscribed to. RSS feeds that have been updated since you last visited them are indicated in bold font.

If you have not already seen IE7, it is definitely worth a look. If you are already using Internet Explorer as your default web browser, then it may be time to upgrade. IE7 is free to download, and features optional add-ons, that are nearly identical to Firefox’s extensions. The optional add-ons add new features to IE7 and most are free, although some are not. If you have automatic update feature turned on (you know, that annoying yellow shield thing in the bottom right corner), you have most likely been prompted to download IE7. If you do not have automatic updates turned on, you can visit to access the free download. IE7 will also be included with Microsoft’s new operating system, Windows Vista, due to be released in early 2007.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

A Success Story (Yours) - PACE

A Success Story (Yours)

I read an article recently in Positive Living where Dr. Norman Vincent Peale reminded us of the power of positive thinking. In the article, Dr. Peale was quoted as saying:

Start Your New Year Right!

1. Want this year to go right? Make things right, right now. List all your
debts (not only money, but debts of gratitude) and pay them off. List any
wrongs and make amends.

2. Practice the art of forgetting. Don’t lug resentments, frustrations,
disappointments and regrets into the new year. Let the past go and forge

3. Each day, expect great things. Have high hopes and great dreams.
Believe that life is good, that it is going to be better and that the best is yet
to come. You know something? You’re likely to get just what you

Dr. Peale’s words of positive intention certainly sound like a great plan for growth and success in 2007, even when it comes to PACE. Professionally, one of the best ways to put that plan into action is to make a commitment to fulfill your hopes and dreams ~ make things right for you professionally ~ make a positive statement about your own professional worth. Don’t let this year come and go with regrets or disappointments because you didn’t take that step necessary to work on your professional development…especially, when IPA is here to offer tremendous support and assistance.

As I have expressed to several IPA members, it has been such a blessing to be able to
help members of IPA achieve their hopes and dreams of becoming PACE Registered
Paralegals. In just a few short months, numerous paralegals have contacted me about
helping them get qualified to take PACE ~ or have requested study material information ~ or have requested one of IPA’s new PACE Candidate Survival Kits because they have purchased the Study Manual and are serious about taking their career to the next level. We even have one “RP in Waiting” who has taken PACE and received word at the testing site that she passed, but is now waiting for official notification from NFPA (stay tuned for the big announcement!!) ~ and we have still another IPA member who will take the test within the next 45 days. Another RP told me she took a recent letter from IPA congratulating her on her PACE accomplishments to her Human Resources Department to have added to her personnel file. As an oldtimer, it is absolutely thrilling to see all of these paralegals work towards further professional development ~ to watch their hopes and dreams coming true ~ to watch these Success Stories being told.

If you haven’t done so, please take the time to read some of the PACE Testimonials which we have been posting on the IPA PACE web page. There are more coming, so check often for updates. Every paralegal who sat for PACE was motivated for some reason to take the examination. It is inspiring to read their Success Stories ~ what prompted them to take this step in their professional careers ~ what this accomplishment has meant for them professionally ~ what they learned in the process ~ what they hope for future PACE RP’s.

PACE is not for everyone, but if you have been on the fence, you couldn’t pick a better time to get on the PACE Track. NFPA has started the process of updating PACE with goals to have revised examinations available by the NFPA Annual Meeting in October of this year. It has been suggested that as the PACE item writers (persons who write the test questions) become more experienced and as the paralegal profession becomes more proficient, through specialization, regulation or otherwise, that quite likely the examination will contain tougher questions. Undoubtedly, the revised exams will contain more questions on technology, changes in the Bankruptcy Law, new Federal rules, and other changes with which we are somewhat less familiar.1

Indiana is one of the leaders nationwide in helping to develop the paralegal profession. We rank near the top in the number of PACE Registered Paralegals practicing per state on a national level. Courtney David Mills has put us on the map as the first paralegal organization to develop a Blawg. Our Board is proactive in its efforts to obtain regulation for Indiana paralegals. Undoubtedly, that day is coming. Indeed, how the paralegal profession has changed since a cluster of us met to form IPA! Don’t let 2007 come and go without seriously considering if PACE is right for you. This not only helps you personally and professionally, but it helps the entire paralegal profession.

Yes, PACE is exactly what Dr. Peale speaks to ~ a great way to make things right (right now), forge ahead with high hopes and dreams ~ and free of disappointments and regrets. With positive thinking and the expectation of great things, you CAN “believe that life is good, that it is going to be better and that the best is yet to come.” If you expect to be successful, you’re well on the way!

IPA is here to do whatever we can to help you proudly achieve your goal of successful completion of PACE. Maybe it is time to add one more Success Story to our PACE Testimonials………YOURS!

By Debi Neale, R.P.
IPA PACE Ambassador
The fourth in a series of
PACE Ambassador Reports

1 Also, be mindful of the fact that PES (the testing administration center) only does scoring runs twice a year now – in June and December. So, if you are informed you passed following completion of the exam, you cannot officially be considered a PACE RP until PES completes its scoring run and you are officially notified from NFPA.


January 22, 2007
March 5, 2007
April 16, 2007
June 11, 2007
July 23, 2007
September 10, 2007
October 22, 2007

The cost of the course is $395. The student must purchase the PACE Study Manual
before the 7 week class starts. Contact Debi Neale, R.P. at or for more information.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Buying technology is often the easy part for law firms. Implementing the technology...well, that's another story.

I have found that law firms are often quick to buy technology, especially software, but typically very slow to implement the technology. I think that a major factor in the paradigm is that law firms often neglect to factor in implementation and training costs into the equation of whether to purchase new software and to a lesser extent, new hardware. Here is a great article from Law Practice Today entitled Hardware and Software: You Bought It, You've Got It—Now Use It!

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Upcoming e-discovery meetings and webcasts

Fios releases its winter e-discovery webcast series. (click here).

The International Legal Technology Association ("ILTA") will hold its upcoming meeting on January 11, 2007, in Indianapolis, Indiana, to discuss Video Evidence Presentation System (VEPS). (click here).

Monday, January 1, 2007

String theory for EDD

This is a great article discussing the issues surrounding whether a string of emails should be considered a single document or several documents. Such a decision has an important impact on privlidge logs and descriptions of email strings which contain both privlidged and non-privlidged communication. (click here).