Paralegals: 10 No-Cost Resources for Your Professional Arsenal

10 No-Cost Resources for Your Professional Arsenal

By Vicki Voisin, ACP

The #1 goal of every paralegal should be to remain competitive in the profession. If you simply do your job day in and day out, ignoring the change going on around you, your professional growth will come to a halt.

Yet…you’re busy and time is limited. How can you manage to balance your job, your continuing education, your personal obligations…and at the same time focus on your professional growth? How do you keep up with the latest trends in legal technology and practice management? How do you stay on top of current paralegal news?

Fortunately, technology has come to your rescue. The solution to your dilemma is to use the many, many great web sites, newsletters and blogs available on the Internet. There are many, many great web sites, newsletters and blogs available on the Internet.

While it difficult to whittle the list down, here are my top 10 suggested resources for your professional arsenal, all of which are available to you at no cost:

1. Legal Talk Network offers legal podcasts, hosted by leading attorneys and legal experts. Not only do they produce The Paralegal Voice, but also many other podcasts that highlight the important issues in the legal profession. The podcasts are available on-demand on the Legal Talk Network website (www.legaltalknetwork.com), in the podcast directory at iTunes, and by f’ree subscription to RSS feeds. Not only do listeners worldwide get the latest legal topics and trends, but legal professionals make connections with colleagues. This helps everyone meet the challenges of a changing legal world. Follow this link to my last blog post to see the variety of programs that were produced last week.

2. Paralegal Gateway is an all-inclusive site (honestly, it’s like the Mall of America for paralegals!) that you should check frequently for paralegal news and events, as well as employment opportunities and lots of other resources. There’s also a forum for paralegals to connect with other paralegals and a newsletter. Jeannie Johnston has done a terrific job with this site and is to be congratulated for the service she offers paralegals. (www.paralegalgateway.com)

3. About.com: Legal Careers is a daily blog is authored by attorney Sally Anne Kane who is also the editor of Paralegal Today. Recent must-read articles include: Reasons to Choose a Legal Career, Legal Education and Training, Hot Legal Careers for Non-Lawyers, Hot Careers in Law Enforcement, and Law firm Life. (http://legalcareers.about.com/)

4. Practical Paralegalism: To say that North Carolina paralegal Lynne DeVenny, NCCP, is a prolific blogger is an understatement. At her blog, Practical Paralegalism, she celebrates paralegals and offers a few cautionary tales as well. Lynne is also my co-host on The Paralegal Voice. (www.practicalparalegalism.com)

5. Patti’s Paralegal Page:Patti F. Clapper, ACP, NCCP, is the President of the North Carolina Paralegal Association (NCPA). She blogs about cool and unusual web sites for paralegals and other legal professionals with a few funny legal stories along the way. (http://lglduck.blogspot.com)

6. Oregon Law Practice Management. Don’t let ‘Oregon’ fool you. While this blog is authored by Beverly Michaelis, Paralegal Management Advisor for Oregon Law Practice Management, and is geared toward practice management tips for Oregon lawyers, it offers practical information that anyone can apply in any state. For instance, one of Beverly’s recent articles is titled, ‘Lexis Nexis News Channel’. (http://oregonlawpracticemanagement.wordpress.com)

7. The Empowered Paralegal. Robert Mongue is Assistant Professor of Legal Studies at the University of Mississippi. He blogs for and about professional paralegals and the paralegal profession. (www.theempoweredparalegal.com)

8. Inter Alia is an internet legal research weblog where you’ll find attorney Tom Mighell’s fabulous Mighell Marker, a newsletter that delivers relevant and timely legal research information, and other fun stuff, to your inbox every Sunday. (http://www.inter-alia.net)

9. ABA Journal Top Stories is a great way to get your legal news. You’ll want to check it frequently for the latest happenings in the profession. http://www.abajournal.com/news.

10. Jim Calloway’s Law Practice Tips Blog provides excellent practice management tips. Mr. Calloway is an Oklahoma-based weblog about law practice management, the Internet and technology as it applies both in law practice and in all our lives. (http://jimcalloway.typepad.com/)

As I said, it was difficult to narrow the list to 10 so I have some bonus mentions for you:

* Digital Paralegal Services: Cathy Ribble, CP, a virtual paralegal working out of Guthrie OK has established this web site and she publishes a newsletter, Connect with Cathy. She has lots of great tips for everyone working in the legal environment. Cathy also collaborated with me to produce “Sixty-Six Solid Tips from Your Virtual Paralegal Success Team”.

* Mid-Missouri Paralegal: Lori Robinett is both a talented author and President of Mid-Missouri Paralegal Association. She fills this blog with really interesting material you’ll be able to utilize in your paralegal practice. (www.midmoparalegal.com)

* Richmond Paralegal Association (RPA) and Washington State Paralegal Association (WSPA) tie for their good material and consistency. Amy Vaughn, ACP and David Richardson are the force behind the RPA site, while WSPA President Brian Haberly, RP provides the information

* Last, there’s a “new kid on the block” and it appears Barbara Haubein, an Advanced Certified Paralegal in Trial Practices, and a California Advanced Specialist in Civil Litigation, has a winner on her hands! She’s the author of The California Litigator, a bi-weekly newsletter for California legal professionals who are interested in enhancing their knowledge and strategies in the area of California state civil litigation support.

Finally, do remember that the purpose of the Paralegal Mentor program is to provide this newsletter to boost your professional growth, so I hope you’ll continue to follow it, forward it to other paralegals, and reprint the articles in your association’s newsletters. Another resource is the Paralegal Mentor Blog. And if you’re interested in working virtually, you might want to check out “Sixty-Six Solid Tips from Your Virtual Paralegal Success Team”. Again, all are offered to you at no cost.

There are many, many resources available over the Internet and it was difficult to pick only those mentioned in this article. This will get you started, though, and once you get the hang of using these you can expand your resource base. Always pay attention to what others in the career field are reading so you can make additions to your own list of favorites.

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©2010 Vicki Voisin, Inc.

Do you want to use this article in your newsletter, ezine or Web site? You can so long as you include this entire blurb with it: Vicki Voisin, “The Paralegal Mentor”, delivers simple strategies for paralegals and other professionals to create success and satisfaction by achieving goals and determining the direction they will take their careers. Vicki spotlights resources, organizational tips, ethics issues, and other areas of continuing education to help paralegals and others reach their full potential. She publishes a weekly ezine titled Paralegal Strategies and co-hosts The Paralegal Voice, a monthly podcast produced by Legal Talk Network. More information is available at www.paralegalmentor.com.