Best Law Podcasts of 2018

5698ef0b-f3db-4b49-ae93-4b250f110b55Are you a podcast fan?  New podcasts arrive weekly, it seems, on topics that run the gamut from pop culture to comedy to politics to sports.  Mixed in there are several podcasts on law and legal matters.

The ABA Journal just published its list of the best law podcasts of 2018, which includes  The Paralegal Voicea podcast solely dedicated to paralegals!  The Paralegal Voice is hosted by Carl Morrison, who is a long time friend and former member of TAPA.  Carl is a certified paralegal, published author, and paralegal educator who now lives and works in Nevada and hosts the monthly episodes of The Paralegal Voice.

Former TAPA President and current board member Tracy Mosz was the guest on the June 2017 episode of The Paralegal Voice, called  “The Life of a Litigation Paralegal.” TAPA President Lisa Stone, was the guest on the May 2018 episode, discussing “Paralegals in Pop Culture.”

TAPA friend April Ferguson, CEO of Opveon, Inc., was a guest on The Paralegal Voicein July 2018, discussing “The Important Role of a Trial Consultant.”

The Paralegal Voice can be found here.  The archives of every episode since 2009 are available on the website and you may find many of these interesting or relevant to our industry.

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Community Outreach Update – Lindsey House

13987431_1067856243300312_1826981919189952794_oOne of TAPA’s key missions is community outreach.  This is the third year that TAPA focused its outreach efforts on Tulsa’s Lindsey House.  In July, the Lindsey House held its first Annual Summer Clothing Sale as a fundraiser and TAPA was on hand to provide volunteers and donations.

New and gently used adult clothing, shoes, jewelry and handbags were available for purchase for $1 on Saturday, July 21st.  TAPA members donated many bags of clothings items and three of our Board members volunteered on the day of the sale:  Jaime McKay, the Chair of TAPA’s Community Outreach Committee, June Brown, NALA Liaison, and Elaine Raguse, Director-At-Large.

TAPA is so honored to work with this wonderful organization, which receives no United Way funding and is completely dependent on the Tulsa community for support.  There will be more activities and opportunities to support Lindsey House this year.  To learn more about Lindsey House, visit their website and their Facebook page.

 

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Summer Seminar: DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals)

Summer Seminar 2018On June 25, 2018, TAPA will host attorney Marvin Lizama as our Summer Seminar speaker.  Mr. Lizama will speak on DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals).  This is a hot button topic in our news and this is your opportunity to learn about it in depth and understand the implications of 

DACA was a 2012 policy initiated by the Obama administration that allowed individuals who were brought into the United States as children without proper immigration documentation or status to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and to become eligible for a work permit in the US.   In 2017, President Trump announced his plans to phase out DACA.  There have been numerous legal challenges to DACA over the last several years and the current status is complicated.  

Make your plans to attend this seminar, which has been approved for 1.5 hours of continuing legal education credit from NALA.  We will be meeting at the lovely Tulsa Historical Society in midtown Tulsa and a light dinner will be provided. 

In order to provide enough food, we ask that attendees register.  Current TAPA members may attend all 2018 educational events at no charge.  Non-members are welcome to attend for $25.  Non-members may also join TAPA prior to June 25 to attend this seminar and our remaining events for free.

All details about this event can be found at TAPA’s website:  www.tulsaparalegals.org.

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TAPA’s Mother’s Day Project

13987431_1067856243300312_1826981919189952794_oTAPA is in its third year of partnering with the Lindsey House in Tulsa as the focus of our community outreach efforts.  This is also the third year that TAPA has provided baskets of personal care items for the 13 mothers that reside at Lindsey House, in honor of Mother’s Day.  Once again, TAPA members donated money and items and baskets were assembled by Jaime McKay, the Chair of TAPA’s Community Outreach Committee.

The baskets were filled with nail care kits, bath products, toothbrushes and toothpaste, soap, and other personal items.  

 

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TAPA VP Christian Chicas (R) with Lindsey House Administrative Assistant Nicole Eddy (L)

Jaime and Christian Chicas, TAPA’s First Vice President (Membership), delivered the baskets to the Lindsey House administrative office just before Mother’s Day.  On Mother’s Day weekend, the baskets were placed outside the door to each apartment as a surprise for these wonderful mothers.

TAPA is so honored to work with this wonderful organization.  There will be more activities and opportunities to support Lindsey House later this year.  To learn more about Lindsey House, visit their website and their Facebook page.

 

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Don’t Miss TAPA On Facebook

Notifications-730x280If you are a Facebook user, you already know that Facebook’s powers that be frequently tweak the algorithms that affect what you see in your News Feed.  The latest changes mean that pages like TAPA’s won’t naturally show up in your News Feed as much as before…unless you make a few simple adjustments to your settings:

  1.  Navigate to TAPA’s page:  https://www.facebook.com/tulsaparalegals/
  2. Click on the “Follow” icon.  (Don’t forget to click “Like” if you haven’t already “liked” us!)
  3. Next to the “Follow” icon is a drop-down menu arrow.  If you select this arrow, you can adjust your notification settings:

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4.  To get notifications of posts made to TAPA’s page, select the “All On (Posts)” option.

5.  In the mobile app, you can open the menu next to the “Follow” icon and select “Get Notifications.”

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You will be notified with a red icon on the bell in the mobile Facebook app or the globe in the upper corner of the Facebook desktop browser version.

With these simple steps you won’t miss any of our posts about upcoming events, interesting features and articles, and general information about our organization!

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Why I Joined A Paralegal Association

Lisa Stone, ACP

When I was a young paralegal, the firm I worked for paid for its paralegals to belong to multiple professional associations.  For several years, I only belonged to the national association through which I am certified, NALA.  Opportunities for continuing legal education were plentiful to me during those early years so I didn’t think too much about joining a local association.

A few of the more experienced paralegals at my firm invited me to attend the monthly lunch meetings held by the Tulsa Area Paralegal Association (TAPA).  I did that several times and eventually became a member.  For several years I did nothing more than attend the occasional monthly meeting.

As I was approaching the 15-year mark of my paralegal career, I began to look for opportunities to be more involved in the paralegal industry, both on a local level and on a wider scope.  I was still at the same firm where I started my career and while I was very happy with my job, I had noticed that the legal industry was changing all around me.  It began to become clear that if I didn’t expand my view, I could wake up one day and find myself trapped in a narrow practice niche with no other skills or experience and a shrinking list of network contacts.

I craved ways to meet other paralegals, not just in other firms like mine, but in corporate legal departments, government agencies, and non-traditional settings.  I was curious about what other paralegals did.  I worked in a specialty practice group I loved but I worried I would become a one-trick pony.   I also had a very natural curiosity about learning about other areas of the law, at least at a level that I could carry on a semi-intelligent conversation if I was ever in a situation to make a first impression on someone.

With all these thoughts swirling around my brain, I swallowed my apprehension and introduced myself to the then-president of TAPA, June Brown.  I told June I was looking for a way to be more involved and asked if there were any opportunities for a volunteer.  My timing was prescient.  June had just been re-elected as the president and was putting together her board and committees for the following year.  She needed someone to lead community outreach, an important part of TAPA’s mission.  I accepted the challenge and joined the TAPA board the following year as a member of the community outreach committee.  I attended the board meetings and became an integral part of the TAPA leadership.  That automatically led me to attending most TAPA events and I suddenly made a lot of new friends and acquaintances.  I began to pay more attention to the monthly meetings that covered topics I previously would have ignored.  I learned a few things outside my normal practice area and got some exposure to attorneys in Tulsa I would normally have had little opportunity to hear.

My year on the community outreach committee led to a board position the following year.  During that time, I attended my first NALA convention and began to make contacts and acquaintances on a national level.   I was eventually appointed to the Certifying Board for NALA, the national organization with whom TAPA is affiliated.  This national position has introduced me to attorneys, paralegals, and paralegal educators from across the United States and who work in a wide variety of practice areas.  We work closely together throughout the year and strong friendships have been forged.

A few years later and I am the president of TAPA for 2018.  I have made some very dear friends and discovered some very important relationships as a direct result of being involved with and serving TAPA.  The networking opportunities are invaluable.  I have also found our outreach opportunities in our community to be very rewarding on a personal level.  I am passionate about our profession and am committed to representing paralegals and the value that we provide to the legal profession.

This is my story.  How about creating one of your own?  If you’re already a member of TAPA, how about taking that step and getting more involved?  Not ready for that yet?  Try introducing yourself to someone new at the next meeting.  Exchange contact information.  Maybe you’ll make a new friend that knows something about what you do!

If you’re not a member of TAPA, why not check us out?  Visit our website to learn about the events we have planned for this year.  We’re holding a minimum of four seminars, each with 2-3 hours of educational sessions and a meal.  These seminars are completely free with your membership. For the cost of our annual membership, you can easily experience at least 10 hours of legal educational sessions on a variety of interesting and timely topics.

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Lindsey House Christmas Project

13987431_1067856243300312_1826981919189952794_oFor the last two years, TAPA has chosen the Lindsey House as its primary community outreach project.  The Lindsey House is a local non-profit organization whose mission is to help mothers caring for children transition out of situational homelessness, learn important life skills, including money management and financial responsibility, and gain the confidence to become self-sufficient.  In the 2014-2016 time period, 24 mothers and 62 children were served by the Lindsey House, resulting in $99,927 saved by the mothers and $39,580 in debt paid off.  The average stay of a mother and her family is 16 months, and 11 women graduated from the program during that time period.  Lindsey House does not receive United Way funds and is completely dependent on its own fundraising efforts and corporate and private donations.

As we have learned more about the Lindsey House, TAPA has found this partnership incredibly gratifying.  In the past, we have provided Mother’s Day baskets to the Lindsey House residents and have thrown a “Back to School Bash” for children, in which we provided books for the Lindsey House library and monetary donations for the purchase of school supplies.  In October, the TAPA Board attended the Lindsey House’s primary annual fundraiser, the “Savor & Stroll” event in the Kendall-Whittier district.

IMG_5927In 2017, we decided to sponsor one of the Lindsey House families — a mother and her one-year-old daughter.  The mother provided a list of specific needs.  We raised $540 in donations from TAPA members, which enabled us to purchase everything on the mother’s list and a whole lot more!  With that money, we purchased:

  • 12 outfits
  • Three pairs of shoes
  • 10 books, including a child’s e-reader
  • Minnie Mouse comforter and pillow
  • Minnie Mouse doll
  • Three educational toys, including a tea set that teaches manners
  • DVD items for the mother
  • Three months of unlimited use bus passes
  • $100 gift card to Target
  • $100 gift card to JC Penney
  • Diapers

Just before Christmas, Community Outreach Chair Jaime McKay and TAPA Board member Christian Chicas delivered the gift-wrapped packages to the mother and daughter.  Both Jaime and Christian said that the experience was very touching.  A big thanks is given to Jaime for her hard work in doing the shopping and gift-wrapping.

TAPA is very happy to continue its relationship with the Lindsey House in 2018.  To read more about this organization’s mission, visit its website.

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Commonly Confused Words, Part 2

writing-quotes-grammarThe English language has many words that are easily confused.  Words that sound alike or look alike can have completely different meanings.

It is imperative that legal professionals have superior communications skills.   Poor grammar can tarnish a reputation and image very quickly.  This is part two of our series on commonly confused words.

Its and It’s

While the differences between these words may seem obvious, misuse of these words is the leading grammatical error.

It’s is a contraction of it is.  The confusion is that it seems as it should be the possessive version of the pronoun “it.”  One of the confusing quirks of the English language is that the possessive form of “it” does not have an apostrophe.  Thus, “its” is the possessive pronoun of “it.”

  • It’s very cold outside this morning. [Contraction of “it is”]
  • TAPA is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year. [Possessive of TAPA]
  • It’s time to go!
  • My hair seems to have a mind of its own.

They’re, Their, and There

They’re is a contraction of they are.  Their is a plural possessive of they.

  • They’re happy to be selected for the trial team.
  • The trial team members have been working very hard on their assigned tasks.

There has a variety of meanings.  

  • Used as a noun, there indicates a place or location.
    • I need to know how long it will take me to get from there to the courthouse.
  • As an adverb, there is the opposite of here.
    • Could you run by there and pick up my order?
    • Put the gifts there and join us in the dining room.
  • Used as a pronoun, there introduces a noun or a phrase.
    • There is too much street noise outside my office.
    • Are there nuts in these cookies?

Principal and Principle

Principal, when used as a noun, refers to head or chief.  In the U.S., it is most commonly used to refer to a head educator.  When used as an adjective, principal is used to describe something that is main or key.

Principal also has special meanings in finance and law.  In finance, principal refers to a loan amount requiring repayment.  In law, principal refers to a person having prime responsibility for an obligation or the main actor in the perpetuation of a crime.

  • Students who continually misbehave in class may find themselves in the principal’s office.
  • The drama department is holding auditions for the principal leads in the spring play.
  • By making payments above the minimum required payment on my mortgage, I hope to reduce the principal on the loan more quickly.

Principle is a noun that generally refers to the idea of a rule, belief, tenet, general law or a code of conduct.

  • As a matter of principle, I must take a stand against unethical conduct.

Complement and Compliment

Both of these words can be used as nouns and verbs, but have very different meanings.

A compliment is something said in admiration, praise or flattery.  It can also be used as a verb, when paying a compliment to someone.

  • My sister is always fishing for compliments about her long hair.
  • I don’t know whether to take your comment as a compliment or an insult.
  • I complimented my friend’s performance after her theater debut.

Complement is a noun that describes something which completes or brings to perfection.  Used as verb, complement means to make complete.

  • Red wine is a frequent complement to a dish with red meat; while white wine is the preferred complement to a poultry dish.
  • When I redecorated my home, I searched long and hard for the perfect drapes to complement my new furniture.

Capital and Capitol

Capital can be a noun or an adjective and can refer to uppercase letters, accumulated wealth, or the city that serves as the seat of government for a state or country.

  • Job titles such as doctor, lawyer, pastor, and teacher are generally not capitalized.
  • Specific names of places should begin with a capital letter, such as the Brooklyn Bridge.  

Capitol refers to a building that may be the seat of government or in which a governmental body meets.  (Memory tip:  capitol buildings often have a dome; capitol has an o in it).

One of those confusing quirks in our language is that capital is used to describe the capital city of a state or country, while capitol refers to the building that is the seat of government.

  • The United States Capitol Building is located the U.S. capital city of Washington, D.C.
  • When traveling, I make a point to visit capitol buildings in state capital cities.

What are some other words that are commonly confused?  What are some grammar and punctuation rules that are to keep straight?  Let us know and we will address these in future blog posts.

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Podcasts For Paralegals

Web_banner_itunesuHave you jumped into the podcast craze?  Podcasts have been around for at least a decade, but their popularity exploded with the release of the Serial podcast in 2014.  Suddenly, everyone was talking about the twists and turns of this true crime investigative narrative, told in episodic form over 12 weeks.

There are literally thousands of podcasts now, covering every imaginable genre and topic — entertainment, comedy, storytelling, hobbies, investigative journalism, books, education, health, lifestyle, and business promotion.  Some are series; others are are separate episodes with hosts and revolving guests.  Podcasts have surpassed blogs (present company notwithstanding) as the media trend of the moment.

For those who may be unfamiliar with podcasts, here’s a brief primer.  Podcasts are audio recordings that can be listened to either as a streaming file or downloaded to a computer or mobile device.  Podcasts can be listened to at any time, which has a lot of appeal in our world of on demand media content.  In 2015, nearly 70% of podcasts were downloaded to mobile devices.  If you are a multi-tasker, podcasts can be played while you are in the car, doing housework, during your lunch hour, in a waiting room, or anywhere you can wear a pair of headphones.

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Of course, our industry is not to be left out of the podcast trend.  Since 2009, Vicki Voisin, a former NALA President and commonly known as the Paralegal Mentor, has hosted a monthly podcast called The Paralegal Voice.  In August, Vicki announced her retirement from the podcast and passed the mantle to Carl Morrison, PP-SC, AACP.  Carl is a certified paralegal, published author, paralegal educator, and a former member of TAPA.  He has been a guest on previous episodes of The Paralegal Voice and is now the new host.

The Paralegal Voice is part of the Legal Talk Network, which broadcasts 25 different podcasts related to the law.   Our own President, Tracy Mosz, was the guest on the June 2017 episode of The Paralegal Voice, called  “The Life of a Litigation Paralegal.”  Lisa Stone, TAPA’s Communications Officer, was the guest on the most recent episode, discussing her post on this blog about Paralegals in Pop Culture.

The Paralegal Voice can be found here.  The archives of every episode since 2009 are available on the website and you may find many of these interesting or relevant to our industry.

Tracy Mosz’s episode, “The Life of a Litigation Paralegal,” can be found here.

Lisa Stone’s episode, “Paralegals in Pop Culture,” can be found here.

Stay tuned for future blog posts about podcasts that you may find interesting!

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Congratulations To Our New ACPs!

ACP_0Four of our TAPA members recently earned Advanced Certified Paralegal (ACP) credentials.

Lacey McPherson, ACP, has been a paralegal since 2004 and recently completed an ACP in E-Discovery.  Over her career, Lacey has worked in adoption law, insurance coverage disputes, and medical malpractice defense.  She currently works in a labor/employment law group at Newton, O’Connor, Turner & Ketchum.  When asked about an interesting story from her paralegal career, Lacey tells about an instance in which she demonstrated how paralegals often go the extra mile, even in the most unusual situation.  While staying in a hotel during an out of town two-week trial, Lacey and a paralegal co-worker had worked long hours ensuring that exhibits, arguments, witnesses and other details had run smoothly  One evening, the two paralegals had gone out to pick up dinner for the trial team and when they returned, discovered that an attorney’s plain cheeseburger was plainer than usual by missing…cheese.  Not wanting to admit defeat over something like cheese, Lacey and her co-worker ordered a piece of cheese from the hotel’s room service.  The cheese arrived frozen, so Lacey ingeniously grabbed her hair dryer and melted the cheese so perfectly that the attorney never knew about the mishap! Lacey is a lifelong Tulsan who loves to travel and has visited 35 countries so far, with plans to visit many more.

Bobbye Meisenheimer, ACP, has been a certified paralegal since 2006 and recently completed an ACP in E-Discovery.  Bobbye is a paralegal at Riggs, Abney, Neal , Turpen, Orbison & Lewis, working primarily in the areas of personal injury and civil rights violations.  She graduated with honors from Northeastern State University in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice – Legal Studies and is currently working toward a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice.  In her spare time, Bobbye enjoys traveling, landscaping, and playing with her four young grandchildren.

Cristan Webb, ACP, has been a paralegal since 2011, most recently working in a family law practice.  She has also worked in corporate law.  She became a Certified Paralegal in 2016 and recently completed her ACP in Discovery.  Cristan has been married 23 years and has two sons, ages 16 and 22.  Her primary hobby is watching her sons play baseball.  Her oldest son was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers last year and Cristan tries to see as many of his games as possible, around also watching her younger son play.  Cristan also enjoys golf.

Jennifer Arnold, ACP, has been a paralegal for over five years and has worked in the legal industry for the last 11 years.  She currently works at Barrow & Grimm, primarily in litigation.  Jennifer has also worked in the Court Clerk’s office for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and Okmulgee County Court Clerk’s office.  Jennifer became a Certified Paralegal in 2015 and completed an ACP credential in E-Discovery earlier this year.  She has an Associate’s degree in Business Management from Oklahoma State University and a Bachelor’s degree from Kaplan University.  Jennifer has been on the TAPA Board of Directors for the last two years, currently serving as the Board Member At Large.  She has three sons — 17-year-old twins and a six-year-old.  As the only female in her household, Jennifer’s hobbies include a lot of outdoor activities, including camping and fishing.

Congratulations, Bobbye, Cristan, Lacey, and Jennifer!

To learn more about NALA’s Advanced Certified Paralegal programs, visit the NALA website.

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