Category: Paralegal Division (page 2 of 3)

Congratulations To Phebe Kirby, 2017 Paralegal Division Member Scholarship Winner

The Paralegal Member Scholarship Essay topic this year was “What are the benefits of being involved in paralegal associations?” The winning submission is courtesy of Paralegal Division Member Phebe Kirby. The Paralegal Division Member Scholarship provides an award of a Paralegal Division membership, a section membership, registration for the 2018 Paralegal Division Annual Meeting and Seminar, a CLE/CPE Passport to attend eligible programs tuition free, and up to $100 travel expense reimbursement (total value of approximately $800).

What are the benefits of being involved in paralegal associations?

I have been a paralegal for over five years now and I must say that I do love my job. However, a few months ago, I was struggling with two estate files, and it was beginning to cause me a lot of undue stress. Normally, I am able to leave at five and I don’t have an issue with working overtime or bringing my work home with me. But with these two estates files, I was pondering my dilemma at home, thinking about the issues constantly and talking about it to my husband until he frankly was bored. I am not sure why I struggled so much. We don’t do estates in my office, and I let the whole situation become overwhelming to the point that I was not sure what to do.

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Technology Tips To Help You Organize Discovery and Exhibits Efficiently

By Alicia Mitchell-Mercer

It came to my attention recently that some of my fellow paralegals are still using the original Bates stamper.

I was told that some firms do not want to invest in the software which makes this whole Bates thing easier. If you have Adobe Professional at work, there’s already a built-in solution. If you are new to Adobe, click on “tools” on the right side of the screen and select “Bates Numbering” under “Edit Page Design.”

But, if your firm has limited means to purchase new software, here is a great option:

If you need to Bates number/stamp documents but do not have the software like Adobe Professional, you can download it from

It is free to download and it lets you put in prefixes and suffixes for your bates numbers, as well as offsetting numbers making it easy to start at page 1,532 or whatever when more discovery documents are added. There is no malware or ads or anything like that. It’s a safe program.

Also, a little-known fact is if you have a Brother printer at work, you can download a free driver and software from Nuance PDF Reader (albeit from the Brother website). It allows you to drag multiple documents into that platform and stack them in whatever order you like. There are many other great features. It’s awesome for discovery and organizing exhibits.

Oh, my! Why?

Managing Time: Don’t Let Life Get In the Way

By Kimberly M. Johnson

Last Saturday afternoon, my friend from college called me. Well into our gabfest, she mentioned that she was apprehensive about starting graduate school.

Let me pause for a moment. The last time we were in school, Bon Jovi was the coolest band around and “LA Law” was the No. 1 TV show. My response was positive. Her reaction was still lackluster. I asked her what was wrong. She lamented, “I have too much on my plate; you know, Andre (her husband), the kids, work, stuff like that. What time and space do I have for studying? Maybe I should put this on hold for semester or two.”

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Attention Paralegal Division Members: Scholarship Time Is Here!

The NCBA Paralegal Division provides scholarship awards to two members each year. One is a membership scholarship, and one is a student scholarship.

The Paralegal Division Membership Scholarship package is valued at approximately $800 and provides an award of the following:

  • Paralegal Division membership (2017-2018);
  • Section membership (2017-2018);
  • Registration for the 2018 Paralegal Division Annual Meeting and Seminar;
  • A CLE/CPE passport to attend eligible programs tuition free; and
  • Up to $100 travel expense reimbursement.

The Paralegal Division Student Scholarship provides an award of $500 in tuition paid directly to your educational institution.


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Getting Out Of My Comfort Zone

By Kimberly M. Johnson

My first attempt at leaping into the unknown was when I switched careers from meeting deadlines for one editor to meeting deadlines for an attorney, a clerk and a client. My organizational and writing skills were the pillars that held me steady during my time at the public defender’s office. I learned about criminal law and the inner workings of the courthouse, and the unknown became familiar.

A couple of leaps forward landed me in Raleigh. And soon, the unknown became familiar. That’s why I am planning to attend the Paralegal Division Family Law CPE on March 23 at the Bar Center. I will admit it. The closest I have been to family court is a courtroom observation during my paralegal days. So, this seminar is pretty exciting for me.

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Make a Lasting Impression

By Kimberly M. Johnson

The flashing blue light. That’s what I remember about Mrs. Lake’s third grade class. Show-and-tell was the best part of my week; especially when that sheriff’s deputy gave a bunch of us a sightseeing tour of his patrol car. It made a lasting impression.

Conducting a job shadowing event at your office will provide a lasting impression of our chosen profession in the minds of the millennials and the Justin Bieber crowd.

We have plenty to share with them:

  • Think about it. We create an indelible footprint everyday: handling administrative tasks, sifting through personnel matters, building and maintaining relationships, plus mining through the cloud.
  • Think about it. We acquire blocks of knowledge on a consistent basis: CLEs from the North Carolina Bar Association, specialized certifications, certificates and on-the-job training.
  • Think about it. We are adept at adapting: collaborating with courthouse personnel, figuring it out with the IT support service guy, discussing the next action with a partner and smoothing out the rough spots with a client.
  • Think about it. We use our skills in “pressure cooker” situations: When a paralegal abruptly quits and leaves no instructions or when a computer glitch wipes out a document that you did not save on the F drive and did not have a back-up copy located on a portable thumb drive.

Job shadowing is a picture-perfect way to explain your routine and how it relates to other positions within your firm or company. Consider these tips when you start planning: get buy-in from department leaders, encourage your co-workers to participate and provide a take-home packet or business cards.

We can be the flashing blue light for the next generation.




A Fond Farewell To Allan Head

By Annette Phelps

As 2016 came to a close, there were many things and people for which we could be thankful. Our former Executive Director Allan B. Head is one of those people.

One thing that was probably on most of the NCBA members’ minds as the year ended was the retirement of Mr. Head. He has been one of the Paralegal Division’s biggest supporters.  With all of his many duties over the years he somehow found time to check in on our meetings and engage with the paralegals at various events. Mr. Head always wanted us to know that our division was important to the NCBA and he made sure he let each of us know that any chance he got. When interacting with Mr. Head, he had a way of making you feel like you were the most important person at that moment in time; that is a rare quality and a sign of a true gentleman.

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Give Back Because It Is the Right Thing To Do

By Kimberly M. Johnson

It’s hard, sometimes, to give back to the community. Doubts creep into your mind (and your wallet). “Did he really get those items?” “Is she appreciative?”  “Where is the money going?”  I walked that tightrope a time or two when I donated clothes, penned a check or provided in-kind support. Yet, I continue to walk that tightrope because giving back is the right thing to do.

The right thing to do can be demonstrated in a legal setting. When I worked as a paralegal in a public defender’s office, I designed an internship for undergrads (Social work majors, English majors, math majors) not on the pre-law track, but interested in criminal law. The senior administration, attorneys and professors at the local colleges viewed the concept as a win-win.  It helped that one of the professors was a former Family Court judge.  Paralegals and admin staff pitched in to train the interns to succeed in and out of the courtrooms.

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Paralegals Beware: Wire Instruction Fraud Plagues N.C. Lawyers

Stell,CamilleBy Camille Stell

In recent weeks, Lawyers Mutual has received multiple reports of North Carolina attorneys who were targeted by scammers attempting to divert seller closing proceeds following real estate transactions.  Unfortunately, several of these attacks were successful and hundreds of thousands of dollars were stolen and are very unlikely to be recovered.

Often, paralegals are on the front line of client communications and details surrounding loan closings. I’ve asked our claims attorney, Troy Crawford, to talk with me about what went wrong and how to prevent it.

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Upcoming Opportunity For CPE and Notary Update

We are happy to share some exciting news about the upcoming “Practical Skills for the Small Office and General Practice Paralegal” seminar scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016.  Ozie Stallworth, Notary Enforcement and eNotarization Director with the North Carolina Department of Secretary of State will be presenting a notary session titled, “What’s New in the Notary Profession,” wherein he will provide important regulatory updates as well as educate paralegals on new notary laws.  This is a great way to refresh those notary skills and to ensure notarial requirements are being met.  In addition, we have new and improved sessions dedicated to the most popular topics.  This is a great way to get your CLE credit while brushing up on all of the “fundamentals” of general practice work.  Come early to check in and enjoy a continental breakfast before the day begins.  See you there!

Register here to join:

Video replays will be available if you are unable to attend.


Cary, Wednesday, January 11, 2017, NC Bar Center, #577BAR

Gastonia, Wednesday, January 25, 2017, Gastonia Conference Center, #577GAS

Wilmington, Friday, January 13, 2017, Ward and Smith, P.A., #577WLM

Winston-Salem, Wednesday, January 18, 2017, Wake Forest Biotech Place, #577WIN

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