Don’t Forget About Cyber Hygiene During Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak

Alicia Chestler

Alexandria Murphy

This article was originally published in Corporate Counsel magazine and is republished with permission from Baker Donelson.

By Alicia L. Chestler, CIPP/US and Alexandria Murphy 

As organizations prepare for certain contingency work arrangements in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, companies must also focus attention on ensuring appropriate cyber hygiene. Companies are anticipating more individuals working remotely from the safety of their own homes to avoid contracting the virus and other companies are planning for potential quarantines and school closings. The flexibility of working remotely, however, involves real cybersecurity risks that companies should be aware of and work to mitigate in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak. With increased remote work, there is increased risk of employees accessing data through unsecured and unsafe Wi-Fi networks, using personal devices to perform work, and not following general security protocols established by the company. As individuals are approved or otherwise authorized to work remotely, there must be a multi-departmental focus on maintaining proper controls. Management should be coordinating with the Human Resources (HR) and Information Technology (IT) departments to establish security controls and ensure employees are properly trained on those controls in the remote work context.

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Case Management Tips for Paralegals

By Misty Murray

The biggest issue for a lot of Paralegals today is case management. We’re overloaded and overwhelmed, and a lot of the time, we are either working with no case management software or outdated case management software loaded with bells and whistles we simply don’t use, don’t know how to use, and truly don’t need. When law firms do not have procedures in place for case management, it is up to the paralegal to develop the best solutions for his or her cases and manage all the files in their cases.

I coach a lot of paralegals on this very issue. I tell them not to give up, and together, we solve the file management issue. To their surprise, many of the solutions I show them involve using applications readily available to them on their office computers. The key is knowing the tools are there for you and learning how to use them. I’m going to give you my tips on how you can use software on your computer to be the most effective paralegal for any attorney and, more importantly, for your cases.

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Planning the Annual Meeting – A Look Behind the Scenes

By Leslie Pegram 

If you have ever planned an event or continuing education seminar, you know it takes a lot of time and resources. All Paralegal Division CPE planners are volunteers. They take time out of their already busy work days to send emails and hop on phone calls to discuss potential topics, locate speakers and work with Bar Center staff to get the meetings off the ground. While thinking of relevant and useful topics can be challenging, reaching out to attorneys, paralegals and other legal professionals to find potential speakers to ask if they are interested in speaking is even more challenging. All the while, you wait with fingers crossed, hoping that the speaker’s calendar is free on that date.

For live CPE programs, planners start six months out from the date, but for annual meetings, six months is the bare minimum, and it’s really more like 9 to 12 months. The Paralegal Division Council meets and tries to pick potential locations and dates a few years in advance. We then provide that information to the CLE department who work to secure the venue with our preferred dates. Unfortunately, there are times when location and/or date do not line up with the timing or location of previous years.

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Why Mediation Matters: A Step Toward Empowerment

By Salim Uqdah

Domination is potently feared by most people. The concept of an unfair exertion of power over a group or an individual by an entity is menacing because it can be arbitrary and unjust, and can make the recipient feel an overwhelming sense of helplessness. The beauty of the modern world is that we have the ability to decide how to live our lives. In the same way that the principle of manifest destiny was integral to the expansion of the United States, the freedom to make our fate with our own hands is crucial to achieving a positive sense of well-being. It is disheartening when a person can dominate you in a situation, but it is soul-crushing when a person perceives that a system is set up to have a power imbalance that harms them.

That is what I witnessed during my time at the courthouse. As a Judicial Assistant who worked in the Civil, Criminal, and Family Courts, I would see an assemblage of individuals who were dismayed with their experience within the judicial system. Some litigants’ reaction to a missed deadline or court date was a mixture of dread, frustration, and melancholia due to the belief that this was the only way to achieve their objectives. In my capacity as a court official, I could only provide procedure information and a soothing demeanor. I yearned to make a more meaningful impact.

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Nominations for 2020 Distinguished Paralegal Award are Now Open!

By Tina Dadio

The Paralegal Division of North Carolina Bar Association is currently seeking nominations for its 2020 Distinguished Paralegal Award. Please take this time to think about that colleague or professional contact who stands out in your mind as an exceptional paralegal both in the legal community and community in which the nominee lives. The nominee will be selected to receive the 2020 Distinguished Paralegal Award at the annual NCBA Paralegal Division meeting to be held on April 24, at the Holiday Inn Resort in Wrightsville Beach, NC. In addition, the Distinguished Paralegal will be acknowledged at the NCBA Annual Meeting Awards Ceremony taking place in Charlotte on June 25, 2020. This award recognizes the NCBA Paralegal Division member who exemplifies the best of our profession for their outstanding contributions both professionally and personally within the recipient’s community.

Please take a few moments to nominate a Paralegal Division member (or feel free to nominate yourself) and summarize the qualities and activities you believe qualify your nominee to receive this award.

Please click here to access the nomination application. Deadline for submissions of all nominations is Friday, April 10, 2020.

Lawyers for Literacy: Gifting Children a Better Future, One Book at a Time

By Shawana W. Almendarez

Did you know . . . ?

“85% of juveniles in the criminal system have below-average reading skills.” –  U.S. Department of Education

Children “do better academically when they read more . . . and have greater access to books and other reading materials in their environment.” – National Center for Education Studies

“For 85% to 90% of poor readers, prevention and intervention programs implemented before third grade can increase a child’s reading skills to the average grade levels. However, if intervention is delayed until 9 years of age, approximately 75% of children will continue to have difficulties learning to read throughout high school and their adult years.” – Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research

Research has shown that 96% of students who read on grade level by the end of third grade will likely graduate high school on time. If you would like to positively engage with some of North Carolina’s youngest residents, then join the NC Bar Foundation’s Lawyers for Literacy Program as a reading volunteer.

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Keeping it All Together: Today’s Family Law Paralegal (6.5 Hours of CPE)

By Peggy Pardue

Are you a North Carolina Certified Paralegal working in family law who likes to earn your credits for the year all at one time? Even if you are not a certified paralegal, you will benefit from this CPE. If you want to hear about a variety of family law topics, this is the CPE for you!

Do you want to learn about the role paralegals play in the appellate court, recent updates to the North Carolina General Statutes, and rules related to parenting coordinators? How about child custody and visitation rights for third parties and grandparents? Do you have the desire to learn procedures in assisting victims in obtaining domestic violence protective orders? Maybe you are a paralegal new to this practice area and want an introduction to family law. If so, you won’t want to miss this CPE, Keeping it All Together: Today’s Family Law Paralegal.

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Embracing Others Can Help Boost Your Holiday Spirit

By Rachel Royal

Holidays were never a big deal for my family when I was growing up. We never put up a Christmas tree, never had extended family over for dinner, never put up Christmas lights. However, November and December have always been one of my favorite times of year, as there is something magical about the lights and the general excitement of the holidays. Living in the mountains where there was snow a good deal of the winter probably also lent to the ambience. After becoming an adult and getting married, my husband and I have worked to create our own holiday traditions, although they have changed over the years. Because neither of our families does much to celebrate the holidays, we have had to adapt and either make the most of them with our little family or celebrate with friends.

Since I was fourteen, I have lived in the vicinity of Camp Lejeune (Jacksonville, NC). Consequently, many of the friends I have made over the years have been affiliated with the military. I have said good-bye to more friends than I can count when they have moved on to the next duty station, but each one of them holds a special place in my heart. One of the things that has always struck me about the military lifestyle is the resilience it requires. Individuals who serve in the armed forces, and those who sacrifice as their spouses, children, and extended families often spend the holidays away from the ones they love the most. Countless births, birthdays, anniversaries, and other important life events are missed, but the holidays are especially difficult.

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Happy Thanksgiving 2019 | A Note From the Chair

By Tina Dadio

It’s that time of year again when we  sit around the table with friends and family giving thanks for the time we share, the food  to be eaten, and the memories we cherish.

I want to share a tradition in my household which I started when my husband and I bought our first house. We actually saw this on a show when we were dating, so we decided to start that tradition in our household. After you all settle down in your seat and before you begin digesting the 12 lb. turkey and all the fixings, each person looks to the person on their right and says one thing they are thankful for about that person. You go all around the table until the last person reaches you. It’s amazing the beautiful things that someone acknowledges about you. I love it when the kids have their turn, and believe me, they certainly have an imagination. You will laugh, cry, and be amazed. You won’t be disappointed.

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By Stephanie Elliott

What I am thankful for? It’s easy to look around me and see a wonderful life. I have a safe and secure home, with a husband and son that love me. I am rich with friends who support, love and encourage me. I have a great job with a firm that appreciates my contributions to my team and supports me personally and professionally. I am an active member of a thriving church that allows me to practice my faith through music and service to my community. I am offered many volunteer opportunities and serve on boards with people that help me see the bigger picture of life. These are all easy things that I should be grateful to have every day. What else in my life is there to be grateful for?

I am grateful for the days when I struggle. These days teach me that I have to get up every day with the mindset to work hard and believe in myself. I changed firms this year, and for the first few months I was overwhelmed with learning the new cases and how to work within them. Almost a year later, I am happy and fulfilled. Those moments of insecurity propelled me to put my head down and work. I have learned to lean into the uncomfortable moments, because on the other side of them is a blessed feeling of accomplishment.

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