February 2018 Print

President's Report

I hope you are okay with a message from your Past-President because here I am again. I thought a great topic to share for the new year is our very own local list serve. This is one member benefit that is so meaningful to me.  My Office Managing partner always likes to know what other Jacksonville offices are doing and often use that information to set our bar. The following is a list of examples of requests for information that came through our list serve in 2017:

Does anyone have a contractor they would recommend? 

Quick survey before a 4:00 p.m. meeting today.  If you were to take your annual Westlaw charges and divide by the number of lawyers in your firm, what would the annual cost per lawyer work out to?  This is a great 2017 reminder of our Antitrust Guidelines, which can be found on our website or on the International ALA.

My shareholders would like to know how other firms divided their payroll.  Specifically, are you a weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or bi-monthly run for your hourly employees?  How do your employee’s seem to like it and is it manageable for you/your firm?   

We offer four weeks off for staff for maternity leave.  Do you all mind sharing if your firm offers time in the same ballpark?

We have reached the breaking point with our Comcast phone system and service. Who do you all use?  Are you happy with their response time?

We are in need of an answering service. If you have a company you use and like, please forward me the business name and contact if you have one.

I'm looking to build my resource bank, and was curious of the most reliable local courier service vendors.  Got any recommendations?

Are any of you planning to close early on Friday?

Has anyone made any decisions on closing offices in preparation for Hurricane Irma?

I don't know about you, but I found our membership brought me a wealth of valuable data. 

Mary Beth Wimmer

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Welcome New Members

Jennifer Amoroso - Florida State College Paralegal Program

Kimberly Balance - State's Attorney's Office

Janeena Collins - Cole, Scott & Kissane P. A.

Henry Farber - Jimerson & Cobb, P.A.

Bill Hammill -  Driver, Mc Afee, Peek & Hawthrone, P. L.  

Dawn Marie Henrich - Avera & Smith, LLP

Matthew Salane - Rogers, Towers, .P.A.

Jenna Neal - Gunster

Robin Simmons - Rogers, Towers, P. A.

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The Tipster

  Pasting Text with Track Changes 

One of the Word features commonly used by editors is the Track Changes feature. You may have need, from time to time, to copy text from one document to another and retain the change marks in the text being copied. For instance, if the text in the source document has some words struck through and some others highlighted as inserts, you may want the text to appear the same way in the target document.

Getting the desired results is not a matter of simply cutting and pasting. Here are the explicit steps you should follow to get the desired results:

1. In the source document, select the text you want to copy.

2. Make sure that Track Changes is turned off in the source document. (If you don't do this, Word assumes you want to copy the text as if all the changes in the selection were accepted.)

3. Press Ctrl+C to copy the text to the Clipboard, or Ctrl+X to cut the text.

4. In the target document, place the insertion point where you want the text inserted.

5. Make sure that Track Changes is turned off in the target document.

6. Press Ctrl+V to paste the text from the Clipboard.

Another handy way to copy the text is to use the spike. Word users are so familiar with using the Clipboard to cut, copy, and paste information that we often forget about the spike. This is an area of Word that acts like a secondary Clipboard, with some significant differences. To use the spike to copy and paste text with Track Changes markings intact, follow these steps:

1. In the source document, select the text you want to copy.

2. Press Ctrl+F3. The text is cut from the document and placed on the spike. (If you wanted to copy, not cut, then immediately press Ctrl+Z to undo the cut. The selected text still remains on the spike.)

3. In the target document, place the insertion point where you want the text inserted.

4. Make sure that Track Changes is turned off in the target document. 

5. Press Shift+Ctrl+F3 to clear the spike and insert the spike's text into your document.


Submitted by Jean Pimental


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Information Nuggets

The Jacksonville Chapter of ALA had a top notch program year.  I hope you made it to some of them, if not all. The following is a recap of our monthly meeting programs:

January’s topic was Form I-9 with Giselle Carson;
February’s topic was Step Up CLM Exam Prep with Paula Lawson, CLM;
April’s topic was Survival Tools for Law Firms with Judith Equels;
May’s topic was Challenges of Current Widespread Zika Epidemic by John Jordan;
June’s topic’s was Cutting Edge Leadership – Discovering What it Takes by Chad Sorenson;
July’s topic was Ethics by Carla Miller;
August’s topic was Financial Statement Reporting/Tax Practices by Darrell Clarkson;
October was a round table; and
November was Managing Client Relations by Judith Equels.

Great Job Lisa Murphy!  If you have any great ideas for a speaker, please let us know at [email protected].  


By Jean Pimental

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Special Article


The year in review

In May, we held our annual ALA BP Expo Casino Night. We played blackjack, craps and roulette with our Business Partners. The competition was fierce, everyone came ready to play and fun was had by all!  

In August, we held our ALA Family Bonanza Event at the Baseball Grounds. We had a great turnout for the Crustacean Nation Jumbo Shrimp night. We ate, cheered and had a great time with our members and Business Partners.

In Early September, we held our Business Partner Renewal Breakfast. Our Business Partners were treated to breakfast and we outlined our plans for the 2018-2019 year.

Also in September, we survived Hurricane Irma. Some of our members had great damage and we reschedule our monthly meeting. Things are slowly getting back to normal. This has been a learning experience for most of us and we have tried to support each other as much as possible. Something like this really makes you appreciate your ALA friends. Our members and Board are the best!

On October 14th, we held our Annual Charity Work Day for The Hubbard House. Members and Business Partners volunteer in whatever capacity that is needed, this year it was at the outreach location sorting items for the thirft store. We love giving back to our community and for such a worthwhile cause.

On October 20th, we held our first Top Golf Managing Partner Event. In addition to being able to try out our golf abilities with our managing partners, we held a Judicial Panel! This was a great spin on a traditional event with a new venue.

On December 14th, we held our Annual Holiday Luncheon where we donate gifts to local children through The Hubbard House. Also, we held our annual White Elephant Gift Exchange that always gets pretty exciting when someone steals other gifts!


by Lisa Murphy

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Legal Management

Some fields come with perennial job openings, because basic human needs don’t change very much — health care and education come to mind.

The legal world is like this as well.  It’s an industry that will always be necessary. And if you don’t have or want a law degree, don’t worry! That’s not a barrier to breaking into the field (unless your goal is to be a practicing attorney). If you have stellar organizational skills and an interest in the law, you can break into the industry as a legal secretary. Let’s look at the basic building blocks of this career path.

What’s the difference between paralegals and legal secretaries?

In the legal world, there are a number of non-attorney legal professionals in supporting roles who work for law firms, legal clinics, and government agencies as part of the legal team. These roles are typically broken out into two types:

Legal secretary/assistants: Legal secretaries may organize and file legal documents or case research, but their primary role is to support the lawyers administratively. This can include managing calendars, scheduling appointments, performing many of the same tasks as an administrative professional in virtually every other industry. There’s no specific degree typically required to become a legal secretary, but associate’s degrees are fairly common.

Paralegals: Paralegals focus more on the legal aspects of the supporting role. The paralegal is more likely to work directly with clients, taking and giving information, managing depositions or other legal meetings, and conducting research. Paralegals typically hold a four-year degree in paralegal studies.

What does a legal secretary do?

Legal secretaries are responsible for managing an attorney’s day-to-day office life. That may include the following responsibilities:

  • Maintaining attorney schedules, scheduling appointments

  • Drafting correspondence and legal documents (such as briefs, subpoenas, or motions)

  • Managing and ordering office supplies

  • Answering phones and email

  • Greeting clients

  • Filing legal and administrative documents

  • Copying, scanning, and faxing legal documents

  • Assisting with research and reading legal journals or materials

  • Reviewing and proofreading legal documents

Legal secretaries typically work full-time in an office setting, though the number of hours can vary depending on the needs of the firm or legal office.

What skills do legal secretaries have?

Legal secretaries need to have a very strong administrative skill set to succeed at their jobs. Legal skills and context can be learned, but without that basis of organization and management, a legal secretary would find him- or herself feeling very challenged by the day-to-day work.

Organizational Skills: Legal secretaries are largely responsible for keeping attorneys (and their work) organized. Being detail-oriented is a must because even small slips or carelessness could have serious legal consequences.

Discretion: Legal information is often privileged information, so the legal secretary needs to be someone who can be trusted with confidential info. Again, breaches of this trust can lead to legal consequences, so being able to keep work at work and being discreet about information learned in the course of the job are essential to the legal secretary’s job.

Time Management: Attorneys often have hectic schedules full of client appointments, court dates, and other important meetings. The legal world is also based very heavily on deadlines. If the legal secretary doesn’t have tight control over making sure things are happening on time, that can put projects or cases at risk.

People Skills: The legal secretary is often the initial go-between for attorneys, legal staff and their clients, making appointments and greeting clients who come in. A friendly, professional demeanor when dealing with guests or colleagues is essential. Legal issues can also be stressful for clients and legal staff alike, so a calm “bedside manner” can be a very helpful asset in this role.

Technology Skills: Being up-to-date on standard administrative tools like word processing, email clients, presentation software/apps, productivity apps, and digital filing systems is a must for legal secretaries. There will likely be paper-based filing for certain things (especially confidential information), but as the world becomes more digital in general, legal secretaries should be well-versed and adaptable when it comes to using technology in their everyday work.

Communication Skills: Clear, solid written and verbal communication skills are a cornerstone for legal assistants — especially for legal correspondence and documents. Details are important always, but in legal matters they can mean everything. Legal secretaries may also work on proofreading or editing legal documents for attorneys, so having a critical, knowledgeable eye for language and grammar is important.

Teamwork: Everyone who works on a case is part of the team — from the attorney to the secretary to the paralegals and research assistants. Everyone has a common goal of providing the best possible legal work and representation, so there’s little room for diva behavior. Legal secretaries should be adept at working with different kinds of people to make sure projects and cases are being worked on with maximum efficiency and minimum drama.

What do you need to become a legal secretary?

For many legal secretary jobs, there is no formal degree requirement, though many employers may prefer at least an associate’s degree in a legal studies field. There are also no specific licensing or certification requirements for the job, but there are a number of professional certification options for legal secretaries who want to take the extra step; the National Association for Legal Secretaries (NALS) and Legal Secretaries International both offer certificate programs.

How much do legal secretaries get paid?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, legal secretaries make a median annual salary of $44,180, which is higher than the median annual salary for other types of secretaries and administrative assistants ($37,320).

What’s the outlook for legal secretaries?

For legal secretaries/assistants and paralegals, the number of job openings is expected to grow by 16% by 2026, which is not only much faster than average for all jobs, but also significantly faster than non-legal secretary jobs (which are expected to dip by about 5% over the same period).

If you’re thinking about this exciting career path and have a passion for details, it could be your ideal path into the legal industry. Once you’ve gained experience as a legal secretary, you can use that as a stepping stone to becoming a paralegal, or maybe even decide to become an attorney yourself! Whatever your goals, it’s a solid administrative role that can bring satisfaction and job security.

Get your resume ready. Time

The post How to become a legal secretary appeared first on TheJobNetwork.

The Job Network is a USA TODAY NETWORK content partner, providing career and job-hunting advice. Its content is produced independently of the USA TODAY NETWORK. 

Submitted by Mary Beth Wimmer



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Calendar of Events

February 2018

7th - Monthly Meeting

12th - Board meeting

14th - Lunch Bunch

19th - Washington's Birthday

20th - BP Social - Breakfast

 March 2018

7th Lunch Bunch

8th - Monthly Meeting

14th - CLM Application Deadline

15th - Board Meeting

20th - BP Socials - Happy Hour

 April  2018


4th - Lunch Bunch

10th - Monthly Meeting

17th -  Board Meeting

25th - Admin Professional Day

 May 2018

2th - Lunch Bunch

3- 6 Annual ALA Conference - National Harbor

9th - Monthly Meeting

14th - CLM Test

16th - Board Meeting

22th -  BP Socials- Breakfast

28th - Memorial Day  


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