V OLUME X, I SSUE III
Inside this issue:
Board & Committees 2
FROM THE PRESIDENT: ALISON BARTHEL JACOBSON, CP
District Reports 3
It is my pleasure to be serving as the President of this tremendous organiza-
NePA is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year. My
Parliamentarian Rpt 4 tion in the coming year. I have big shoes to fill following the outstanding leadership
and ideas of the past president, Loretta Phillips. me that the 35 anniversary is
internet research tells Her vision for giving back to the
Milestones & News 6 certification the “jade” be a hard act to the Chinese culture,
members and promotingtraditionally will certainlyanniversary. In follow. Luckily,
she remains on the Board of Directors and will continueato provide us with the sage I
the saying goes: “Gold has value; jade is invaluable.”
NALA Liaison Sponsor wisdom and guidance we have all come to expect.
think that translates well to what NePA does for the
Latimer Reporting 7 paralegals of Nebraska – group invaluable tool in the
I am also excited to be working with a greatit is an of people that comprise
YOUR Board of Directors. Christina Koch, ACP, President Elect, brings years of experi-
NALA Connection 8 paralegal toolbox. NePA Elect is chairperson and
ence and fresh ideas to her position. The President provides educationof the Semi-
information, offers mentoring, promotes education,
nar Committee and I look forward to more great education opportunities to be avail-
ARTICLES: under her leadership and guidance. for Hansen is once
able for our membershipprofessional and ethical standards Kim paralegals, and offers
again our Vice President. Kim has done a tremendous job at keeping track of every-
“LB254 Becomes Law “ 11 networking opportunities – all of which are invaluable to a
one, keeping everyone updated with the various announcements that affect all of us
and answering those miscellaneous lot of hard work and way. We have a newly
professional paralegal. It takes aquestions that come hergreat people for any
“Proper Notarization” 12 elected Secretary in Carla Larson, ACP. Carla has and a great like to congratulate
organization to keep going strong for 35 years,done I wouldjob as the past District all
“Highlights of 2 Director and
great accomplishment and acknowledge a of NePA’s achievements.
of you for this I look forward to her input and expertise on allnumber of matters in
2011 Spring Seminar “ 14 the coming year. You have also elected a new Treasurer in Jaci O’Brien, ACP, MBA. I
am excited not able to a qualified NePA Mid-Year Seminar and Her knowledge
If you wereto have such attend theofficer in the Treasurer position.Meeting, you
In Brief Sponsor of finance as well as her past service as Secretary will be a great asset for our organi-
missed a great one! We tried something new this year with vendor tables, and I
Fraser Stryker 17
think that it was a tremendous success. Not only did those vendor tables help to
VERY Important keep the cost of attendance down for our members, but it was another great
Sponsors 18 networking opportunity for the attendees. I received feedback from both the
NALA PRESS RELEASE 20 attendees and the vendors that they really enjoyed the seminar. It was great to
see so many smiling and eager-to-learn faces at Mahoney State Park.
17 I take great pleasure in receiving positive feedback from the people that I interact
with outside of the NePA membership. I have had the great pleasure to be on the
receiving end of tremendously positive comments in the past two months. As you
will recall, Marge Dover, NALA’s Executive Director, was the featured speaker at the
District 1 luncheon on March 23. Following her visit to Nebraska, she expressed
how wonderful our Nebraska group was. One of the vendors from the Spring
Seminar was the second to express his gratitude for warmly welcoming him to our
seminar and shared with me that that he felt our members are on the “short list” of
P.O. BOX 24943
great paralegal associations. I am so pleased to say that I am associated with this
Omaha, NE 68124 great group of educated, interested, intelligent, outgoing, and active paralegals.
Combining the past contributions and future commitment of the dedicated
www.nebraskaparalegal.org paralegals in Nebraska, I am certain that this association will keep going strong for
another 35 years.
V OLUME X, I SSUE III Page 2
2010-2011 BOARD OF DIRECTORS 2010-2011 COMMITTEES
Chair – Christina Koch, ACP, Kim Hansen,
Alison Barthel-Jacobson, CP, Gross & Welch
Elece Raglin, Angel Younger, CP, Laurie Montag, CP,
Laurie Vik , CP, Ruth Bahr, Andrea Maldonado, ACP
Loretta Phillips, City of Omaha
Kris McMahon, CP, Mary Jo Schettler, CP, Karen Boyd, CP
Christina L. Koch, ACP, Inserra & Kelley
Ann Atkinson, ACP & Linda Hess, ACP
Kim Hansen, Omaha World Herald
Carla Larson, ACP, Cline Williams Wright
Johnson & Oldfather, LLP
Teresa Barnes, CP, Christina Koch , ACP, Joyce Buller, CP
Lori Froistad, ACP, Linda Hess, ACP
Jaci O’Brien, ACP, Gross & Welch
Nominations & Elections:
Mieko Young, CP, Janie Boswell, ACP, Chris Shrader, CP
Laurie S. Vik, CP, Kiewit Corporation
Student Services & Mentoring:
Laurie Vik, CP, Jaci O’Brien, ACP, Carla Larson, ACP, Angela Potter,
Kim Brown, ACP, Baird Holm
Caryn Redding, CP, Janie Boswell, ACP
District 1 Director
Ruth Bahr, Baird Holm
District 2 Director Teri Gibbons, Laurie Vik, CP, Leslie Duling
Laurie Montag, CP, Cline Williams Wright CLA Scholarship:
Johnson & Oldfather, LLP Kalisha Reed, CP, Chris Shrader, CP
Web Administrator Web Site:
Kylie Clayton, ACP, Berkshire Hathaway Kylie Clayton, ACP, Misty Cowan, Jodie Gardner-Grandberry,
Publications Editor Patti Dittmann, CP, Kimberly Brown, ACP
Teresa Barnes, CP, Gross & Welch Public Relations/NSBA Liaison:
Christina Koch, ACP , Carla Larson, CP , Kimberly Brown, ACP,
Annette Dieteman, CP, Jaci O’Brien, ACP, Melinda Dubay, Teri Gibbons
Upcoming Board of Directors Law Day Poster Contest:
Meeting Dates Loretta Phillips, Tom Tilden, ACP, Judy Heiserman
CP Review Course Ad Hoc Committee:
June 14, 2011 @ Gross & Welch
Janie Boswell , ACP, Loretta Phillips, Ann Atkinson, ACP,
Annette Dieteman, CP
August 9, 2011 @ Gross & Welch
Ad Hoc-Ad/Donations Committee:
Jaci O’Brien , ACP, Christina Koch, ACP, Kimberly Brown, ACP
Volume X, Issue III Page 3
DISTRICT I DIRECTOR—RUTH BAHR
District 1 meetings have been well attended again this year. NePA continued
to implement the Economic Stimulus Package benefit for one more year,
charging NePA members $10.00 for the luncheon.
We have enjoyed the following speakers:
October D. Nick Caporale, Of Counsel, Baird Holm LLP
“Moving a Case to and thru the Nebraska Supreme Court”
November David Karmer, Attorney, Baird Holm LLP
“Public Sector Contracts and Pensions: Why is everyone
talking about the Omaha Police and Firefighters?”
January Don Kohtz, Attorney, Continuum Worldwide
“Social Media & Social Networking –
Managing Dynamic Legal Issues”
February Carrie Conley, President, Nebraska Innocence Project
“Wrongful Conviction: Causes & Consequences”
March Marge Dover, Executive Director, NALA
“The Road to NALAOmaha 2012”
May Jo Wandel, Dir. of Paralegal Studies for Metro Community College
The last luncheon meeting before the summer break will be held June 22, 2011. All luncheons are held
on the 4th Wednesday of the month beginning at 11:30 a.m. at:
CoCo Key Water Resort Hotel & Convention Center
72nd & Grover
DISTRICT II DIRECTOR—LAURIE MONTAG, CP
Warmer weather greetings to all District 2 members!
District 2’s quarterly meeting was held at the Green Gateau on April 28, 2011.
Court Reporters Sue Wurm and David Francis gave a very interesting
presentation entitled “Court Reporting, Then and Now” during which Sue actually
transcribed the program as David was presenting. They also brought a collection
of old and antique transcriber machines, as well as provided us with a diagram of
the unlabeled keys on the machine. Their presentation was a window into the
still-mysterious-to-me world of transcription, and was an education for all
eighteen members and guests in attendance.
Our next meeting will be July 28, 2011 at the Green Gateau. The program has
yet to be determined. If you have suggestions for future topics or presenters, please direct them to
V OLUME X, I SSUE III Page 4
PARLIAMENTARIAN - LAURIE VIK, CP
Issues brought to the Parliamentarian:
1. Expense Reimbursement form.
The expense reimbursement form is being changed to include the signature of the
relevant committee chair and the President before the Treasurer pays the expense.
Do we need Board approval for the new form?
RESULT: Board approval is not necessary for administrative processing and
changing to forms.
2. President-Elect term.
President-Elect term and Standing Rule language regarding same. This issue was
brought before the Board of Directors meeting on January 11, 2011. At that time, I reported:
“Currently, the Standing Rules indicate that the President-Elect shall assume the duties of and
shall become President commencing the beginning of the fiscal year following the year of
election as President-Elect. Proposed change to the verbiage would be that the President-
Elect’s term will take over the Presidency at the end of the President’s term so that the
President can be President for two years and the President-Elect can hold that office for two
Discussion was had by members of the Board and Treasurer Jaci O’Brien offered to provide proposed revised
language. See attached Exhibit A.*
At the March 8, 2011 meeting, the following was reported:
As Parliamentarian, I sought the advice of three former presidents of NePA who currently serve at the
national level. I gave them the facts and asked two questions: (1) has this issue come up at any time in the
past, and (2) does it warrant concern to the point of amending the Standing Rules.
Their comments are as follows: This issue has come up in the past both with NePA and on the national level.
The solution has been to work through any unexpected vacancies. In the past, issues of this nature have
been resolved by working together as a Board and helping each other out to make it a seamless transition.
The overall interpretation is that the President is not elected; the office is automatically filled by the President
-Elect. Likewise, the President-Elect cannot run for a second term because he or she advances to the office
of President. If all goes according to NePA’s Standing Rules, a President will not serve a two year term
unless the office of President-Elect is vacant.
Making a change to the Standing Rules is not a matter to be taken lightly. Perhaps it would be more prudent
that changes of this magnitude relating to officers and their election and/or term be brought before the
membership, even though not required by the Standing Rules.
Continued on page 5
V OLUME X, I SSUE III Page 5
Parliamentarian Report continued from page 4
RESULT: The Board of Directors voted on the proposed language change at the March 8, 2011
meeting where a majority of the Board of Directors in attendance declined to approve the proposed
language and change to the Standing Rules.
3. Approve suspension of Standing Rule 12.A.(1).
Standing Rule 12.A.(1) states that membership meetings or conventions of NePA shall be held
in April and September of each year, the time, date and place to be determined by the Board of
Because the original date scheduled for the 2011 Mid-Year Seminar and Membership Meeting of NePA
was set for April 22 which is Good Friday, the Board of Directors suggested the date be changed and
May 6 was the next available date for the venue selected for the seminar. The change from April to
May requires that Standing Rule 12.A.(1) be suspended for this purpose only.
Standing Rule 14. A. and B. set out the procedure to suspend. The Parliamentarian received a written
recommendation by an active NePA member on February 4, 2011, which was within the required
thirty (30) days prior to the Board meeting, asking that standing rule 12.A.(1) be suspended to
accommodate holding the 2011 Spring Membership Meeting in May 2011 instead of April 2011. See
attached Exhibit B. The Board will vote on this matter.
RESULT: On March 8, 2011, the Board of Directors voted on the suspension of Standing Rule 12.A.
(1) for this one purpose only, and the suspension was approved by a majority of the Board of
Directors in attendance.
Laurie S. Vik, CP
* A copy of Exhibit A can be requested from NePA Secretary Carla Larson at firstname.lastname@example.org
Message From the Secretary
If a NePA member is interested in the proceedings of any of the October 2010 through September 2011
Board of Directors meetings, please contact me at email@example.com to request a pdf copy of
the meeting minutes. Minutes of board meetings held prior to October 2010 are archived with the NePA
Carla Larson, ACP
NePA Secretary, 2010-2011
Volume 8, Issue 2 III
V OLUME X, I SSUE Page 6
SS MEMBERSHIP MILESTONES, NEWS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
American Kennel Club
Champion, Victory Taylor Made for
Back Nine - “Taylor” and her proud
owner, NePA member, Loretta
Phillips, after their AKC championship
win at the Boston Terrier National
Specialty in Reno, Nevada in April.
Taylor & Loretta competed with over
100 other Boston Terriers from all over
the United States for this
prestigious win and were also awarded
the coveted“Award of Merit”, beating
over 200 contenders. Loretta will pursue Grand Championship titles forTaylor and
her male Boston, Champion Back Nine’s Ace of Happytails, “Dooley”, in the up-
LEGAL BEAGLES UPDATE
Teri Gibbons raised over $500 with her Jeans Day and
NePA raised over $600 on the bake sale held on May
27th! Go Legal Beagles!
NEW CERTIFIED PARALEGALS !
CHRISTINA BRADLEY, CP
MADONNA BURLEIGH, CP
CARYN REDDING, CP
CHARITY SCHLUETER, CP
RHONDA SPENCE, CP
V OLUME X, I SSUE III Page 7
MANY THANKS TO OUR 2010-2011 NALA LIAISON SPONSOR,
V OLUME X, I SSUE III Page 8
NALA CONNECTION—KIM BROWN, ACP
What a fabulous NePA Spring Seminar! I haven't stopped talking about the
education, the new friends we made, and the laughs we had watching Jurassic
Park clips during the IP session at the Spring Seminar. Please give a big
round of applause to the Seminar Committee! If you are looking for more CLE
hours in a fabulous setting, you have come to the right place, NALA's 36th
Annual Convention and Summer Institute, which is right around the corner!
NALA 36th Annual Convention and Summer Institute
NALA's 36th Annual Convention and Summer Institutes is July 27-30, 2011 in
Dallas, Texas. This is NALA’s first “All Institute” convention and will feature
seven institutes: Corporate, Personal Injury, Essential Skills, Real Estate,
Estate Planning/Administration, Social Security, and Litigation/Technology.
NALA is presenting its FIRST Personal Injury Summer Institute! The
Advanced Paralegal Certification Personal Injury Core Course will be Kim Brown, ACP
presented live at the NALA Convention. Certified Paralegals who attend and
complete this live session will be provided with login information so that they NALA Liaison
may complete the Core Course module tests, pre-test, and other forms
needed to complete the PI Core Course. There is no additional charge for
access to the on-line information. NALA recognized that some individuals
prefer live instruction as opposed to the on-line self study, and they are
delivering the live course in Dallas! The program will satisfy the PI Core
Course requirement once members login and complete the tests, however in
order to earn the ACP credential, CPs must go on to finish one of the practice
area courses, Automobile Accidents, Entity Medical Liability, Individual
Medical Liability, Intentional Torts, Premises Liability, Product Liability,
Workers' Compensation and Wrongful Death. There is an additional charge
for the practice area courses.
2011 Candidates for Office and Board of Directors Announced: Please see
http://www.nala.org/11candidates.aspx for a preview of the 2011 candidates
for national officer and board member positions. Our very own, Ann Atkinson,
ACP, is a candidate for NALA's First Vice President! Congratulations, Ann! If
you are an active member of NALA and cannot attend the NALA annual
meeting, you may designate another NALA member to carry your vote to the
meeting. Please find the proxy form at www.nala.org/right.aspx. You must
return the proxy form by June 29, 2011. Instructions for returning the proxy
are included online – don't forget to instruct the voting member how you want
them to cast your vote for each of the candidates. You may designate me or
Alison Barthel Jacobson, CP, as your proxy if you wish, as both of us will be
attending the convention.
Defenders of Freedom: Each year during the NALA Annual Meeting, those in
attendance are invited to make contributions to an organization that supports NALA
our troops. This year, donations will be presented to the Defenders of
Freedom. If you would like to make a donation, please contact me, or you CONNECTION
may go directly to their web site at http://defendersoffreedom.us.
CONT’D ON PAGE 9
V OLUME X, I SSUE III Page 9
NALA CONNECTION CONTINUED FROM PAGE 8
Interesting Dallas Facts: Did you know that the nation's first convenience stores, the vast 7-Eleven,
started in Dallas in 1922? And that in 1938, Highland Park Village, opened the first shopping center
with stores surrounding a central parking area? How about that the first integrated circuit, which
became the microchip, was invented by Jack Kilby in 1958 at Texas Instruments? Learn more of
these interesting facts in Dallas in July! So…SAVE THE DATE, BOOK YOUR HOTEL, BOOK YOUR
FLIGHT, KICK UP YOUR HEELS AND COME ON DOWN TO NALLAS! If it is your first convention, plan
to attend an Orientation Webinar on June 22, 2011 at 1:00 p.m. Central Time for tips on how to get
the most out of your Convention experience. More information about the webinar can be found at
http://nala.org/convention.aspx. If you are attending the National Convention, please let me know
via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org so I may connect with you in Dallas.
NePA's Annual Report: I will submit NePA's Annual Affiliated Associations Report to NALA on June 1,
2011. The report provides NePA an opportunity to share successes and challenges with our fellow
associations, and provides NePA with current information on recent events and happenings for all
affiliates. I will receive a copy of each Affiliate's Report on a CD at National Convention. Please let
me know if you would like a copy of a report.
At NePA's Spring Seminar and Mid-Year meeting, I was honored to announce NePA's nomination for
the Affiliate Award and the National Affiliated Associations Achievement Award, Janie Boswell,
ACP. Janie has 30 years of paralegal experience and has been employed at Mutual of Omaha for 14
years. Currently, she is the Manager of Legal Administration, managing a team of 13 paralegals and
performing paralegal work in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, commercial real estate financing,
securities law, and corporate law. Prior to her employment at Mutual, Janie worked for law firms in
Texas and Nebraska, primarily in the areas of estate planning and probate, real estate, tax and
corporate law. Janie has been very active in NePA and NALA over the years. Please look for a future
In Brief article and information on NePA's web site regarding Janie's paralegal career and dedication
to our organization. Congratulations, Janie!
Best wishes to all those who sat for the May 2011 CP exam. NALA had over 800 registrants for the
May 2011 exam. The registration deadline for the September exam is August 1, 2011. Mark your
NALA just announced the Criminal Litigation ACP exam – please see http://www.nala.org/apc-
criminal.aspx for more information relating to the Criminal Litigation ACP exam.
Remember, paralegals who are not seeking the Advanced Paralegal Certification credential are
welcome to register and take any APC course as advanced continuing education programs. CLE credit
is available upon completion of the courses from NALA for Certified Paralegals.
V OLUME IX, I SSUE III
NALA CONNECTION CONTINUED FROM PAGE 9
NALA Announcements & Deadlines/Events
NALA is on Facebook!! www.facebook.com/NALA.Paralegals
Please see www.nalacampus.com/LIVE_schedule.htm for upcoming Campus Live events.
Look for the most current issue of Facts and Findings in your mailbox! The issue is now online
and available to all NALA members through NALA Net.
June 1, 2011: 2011 Affiliated Associations Annual Reports due to NALA
June 15, 2011: 2011 Affiliated Associations Exhibit Registration Form
June 24, 2011: 2011 NePA Photos for the Affiliated Associations Meeting due to NALA
June 30, 2011: Affiliate Quarterly Report Due
July 13, 2011: 2011 Designation of Voting Representatives
August 1, 2011: Applications for September's CP Exam
Please contact me should you have any questions, suggestions, or comments regarding
NALA or my role at convention. I would love to hear from you!
Kim Brown, ACP
V OLUME X, I SSUE III Page 11 Page 11
LB254 SIGNED INTO LAW
By Linda Hess, ACP
LB254, signed into law by the Governor on May 17, 2011, changes the formatting requirements for
documents submitted for recording in the offices of the registers of deeds of Nebraska counties.
Amended are sections 23-1503.01 and 23-1510 of Reissue Revised Statutes of Nebraska.
In brief, to be recorded, a document must:
Have a blank space at least 3 by 8.5 inches at the top of the first page (Absent the space, the
recording office may attach a cover page with the requisite top space and charge an additional
fee for the extra page).
Have 1 inch side and bottom margins on all pages. Nonessential information such as page
numbers may be placed inside the side and bottom margins.
Be printed, typed, or computer-generated on at least twenty-pound weight white paper without
watermarks, with the pages no smaller than 8.5 by 11 inches and no larger than 8.5 by 14
Have type in black ink in a font not less than 8-point.
Have signatures in black or dark blue ink "of sufficient color and clarity to ensure the signature
is readable when the instrument is reproduced. (Author's note: For some signatories, a legible
signature is probably one written by someone else.)
Have the name typed, printed or stamped beneath each signature on the instrument.
COMMUNITYatACTION of the instrument on the first page, below the required 3-
Have a return address and the title
inch blank space the top.
Be readable when reproduced by whatever means used by the register of deeds.
Two of the several exceptions from the requirements are (1) certified copies of documents issued
by governmental agencies, such as death certificates and court orders; and (2) forms prescribed by
the Uniform Commercial Code.
Revise your templates, educate others in your firm, check documents received from outside
sources, watch for notary seals covering printed text or signatures, use your ruler to confirm
margins. Consequences of a document rejected for recording by a register of deeds may be very
DID YOU KNOW THAT NePA IS ON FACEBOOK AND IS ALSO LINKEDIN?
CHECK IT OUT AND JOIN US ON THESE SOCIAL NETWORKS AS WELL AS OUR WEBSITE
FOR IMPORTANT NEWS, EVENTS AND HAPPENINGS IN YOUR ORGANIZATION !
Page 12 12
V OLUME X, I SSUE III Page
NEBRASKA BANKRUPTCY COURT DECISIONS EXEMPLIFY
IMPORTANCE OF PROPER NOTARIZATION OF CREDIT DOCUMENTS
Linda R. Hess, Advanced Certified Paralegal
Ben M. Klocke, Esq.
Daniel P. Fischer, Law Student
(This article previously appeared in a newsletter published by Baird Holm LLP)
In BowlNebraska, L.L.C. v. Omaha State Bank (In re BowlNebraska, L.L.C.), 2010 Bankr. LEXIS
1908 (B.A.P. 8th Cir. 2010), the United States Bankruptcy Appellate Panel for the Eighth Circuit
partially overturned a lower court’s decision that two deeds of trust were void because the deeds of
trust were improperly acknowledged under Nebraska law. In the lower court decision, In re Bowl-
Nebraska, L.L.C. v. Omaha State Bank (In re BowlNebraska, L.L.C.), 2010 Bankr. LEXIS 1254
(Bankr. D. Neb. 2010), the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Nebraska ruled an Omaha
bank's deeds of trust securing a $6.5 million loan lacked the proper legal acknowledgment because
they were notarized by a member of the signer/borrower’s immediate family, an improper notarial
act under Nebraska law. Accordingly, the lower court held the deeds of trust were not lawfully
recorded and were therefore fatally defective and failed to provide proper notice to a trustee in
bankruptcy. The lower court’s decision rendered the bank an unsecured creditor for purposes of
the bankruptcy proceedings.
In the appellate court decision, the United States Bankruptcy Appellate Panel effectively overturned
the lower court’s decision. There, the court focused on two notices of default (a statutorily
prescribed document that must be recorded in nonjudicial foreclosure proceedings) that were re-
corded prior to commencement of the bankruptcy proceedings. As required by statute, the notices
of default referenced the bank’s deeds of trust. The court held the validly acknowledged and re-
corded notices of default afforded the bankruptcy trustee inquiry notice of the unlawfully recorded
deeds of trust. Accordingly, the court held that the bankruptcy trustee had proper notice of the
bank’s deeds of trust and thereby restored the bank’s secured creditor status.
While the decision of the United States Bankruptcy Appellate Panel provided relief for the bank in
the case above, it left a potential sinkhole for secured creditors that rely on improperly
acknowledged deeds of trust. Specifically, it is not clear the outcome would have been the same if
the bankruptcy proceedings had commenced prior to the date the bank filed its notices of
commencement. In any event, these cases bring to light the necessity of a secured creditor to
obtain proper acknowledgement on its security documents. In connection therewith, below are
several notorial acts prohibited under Nebraska law of which secured creditors should take note:
Notarizing a signature of a person that does not personally appear in front of the notary;
Notarizing a member of the notary’s immediate family (including, for purposes of the notary
statutes, in-laws, and step- or half-relatives);
Notarizing a signature unless the notary has personal knowledge of the signer's identity or has
examined satisfactory evidence of identity;
Continued on page 13
Page 13 13
V OLUME X, I SSUE III Page
NEBRASKA BANKRUPTCY COURT DECISIONS EXEMPLIFY
IMPORTANCE OF PROPER NOTARIZATION OF CREDIT DOCUMENTS
Continued from page 12
Giving advice on the type of attestation clause to use, the legality of the contents of the
document, or whether the principal should sign, unless the notary is a licensed attorney;
Notarizing a signature on a document from which the notary stands to gain personally or
Affixing the notary's signature by a rubber stamp and using a seal that does not conform to
Affixing the notary's seal or placing the notary's signature over printed wording or signatures on
the document or affixing the seal in which information is illegible or unclear;
Correcting errors in the attestation clause with correction fluid; and
Performing a notarial act outside the jurisdiction issuing the notarial commission; and
Failing to include the legible name of each signer of the instrument, including the name of the
notary, beneath such signature.
As an additional complication, laws governing notaries public and acknowledgments vary from state
to state. Under Nebraska law, notarial acts may be performed outside Nebraska for use in
Nebraska by any person authorized to perform notarial acts in the place in which the act is
performed. The act must be peformed pursuant to the laws and regulations of that place, and if so
performed, the acknowledgment has the same effect as if performed by a Nebraska notary public.
A secured creditor should take proper precautions to ensure that all notarized documents comply
with the requirement of the state in which the notorial act was performed.
COMMUNITY ACTION deeds may refuse to file or record improperly acknowledged
A Nebraska county clerk or register of
documents. However, as evidenced by the above cases, a secured creditor should not rely on the
clerk or register of deeds to catch improperly acknowledged instruments.
(This article previously appeared in a newsletter published by Baird Holm LLP)
V OLUME X, I SSUE III Page 14 14
Highlights of the 2011 NePA Spring Seminar
by: Joyce Buller, CP
On Friday May 6, 2011, the Nebraska Paralegal Association held its spring seminar at Mahoney State Park.
The seminar drew around 60 persons. NePA was fortunate to have four presenters. The topics covered
included the death penalty, intellectual property, the power of a passionate positive attitude, and the un-
authorized practice of law/legal ethics.
The first speaker of the day was Attorney Shawn D. Renner with Cline Williams law firm. Mr. Renner spoke
about Nebraska’s death penalty and the death penalty nationwide. Mr. Renner drew upon his involvement
in Nebraska with six different capital punishment cases. The use of the death penalty has been rare in
Nebraska. In the last 52 years it has only been used twice. The electric chair was the method of execution
for both Charles Starkweather in 1959 and again in 1994 for Harold Lamont Otey. The most current figure
available for the cost of housing an inmate serving a life sentence in Nebraska is approximately $20,000 a
year. Mr. Renner shared that Nebraska is a state that spends a relatively low amount per year on the
housing of death row inmates compared to other states in the country.
By 2008 Nebraska was the only state that had the electric chair as its sole tool for capital punishment. In
February 2008 the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled that the electric chair was cruel and unusual punishment
and therefore banned its use. As of August 30, 2009, the State of Nebraska adapted lethal injection as the
approved means for capital punishment. The injection itself consists of a mix of three drugs. The first drug
administered induces an unconscious state, which is then followed by a second drug that is a muscle
inhibitor creating a paralytic state, and the final and third drug given produces a massive heart attack.
The department of corrections carries out capital punishment. This means when Nebraska utilizes death
by lethal injection it would be performed by staff with the department of corrections, and not by persons
with medical training and experience. Engaging in/assisting in the death of another person is against the
medical community’s Hippocratic oath so when a death sentence by lethal injection is conducted no
medical professionals are present.
Regarding the death penalty nationwide, seminar attendees learned that 16 states in the U.S. do not have
a death penalty. The average person on death row nationwide is on death row for 10 years. In 2010 there
were 38 executions in the United States. Currently in our country there are 32,600 persons on death row.
Mr. Renner discussed the number of people who have been released from death row. 130 individuals since
1973 have been removed from death row. Getting off of death row occurs either because of a procedural
violation of rights of the person sentenced to death row has occurred or because a substantive violation
of rights has occurred. An example of a substantive reason a person is removed from death row includes
late evidence surfacing, such as a DNA test which proves favorable to the death row individual.
The second presenter of the day was Attorney Michael Johannessen of the West Corporation.
Mr. Johannessen spoke on the topic of intellectual property. He provided an overview of the four areas of
intellectual property law. These areas are patents, trade secrets, trademarks, and copyrights. Any material
that is copyrighted in the U.S. is kept on file in the Library of Congress. A copyright means that the owner
Continued on page 15
V OLUME X, I SSUE III Page 15
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has the right to exclude others from copying and using said item. Using copyrighted material without
permission can result in civil and criminal sanctions. An important distinction for copyrighted material is that a
fair use exception exists. The most significant legislation in the area of copyright came with the Copyright
Term Extension Act (CTEA) of 1998 which extended copyright terms in the United States by 20 years. It
replaced the Copyright Act of 1976; that Copyright Act provided that the copyright would last for the life of
the author plus 50 years, or 75 years for a work of corporate authorship. The 1998 Act extended these terms
to life of the author plus 70 years and for works of corporate authorship to 120 years after creation or 95
years after publication, whichever endpoint is earlier. Copyright protection for works published prior to
January 1, 1978, was increased by 20 years to a total of 95 years from their publication date. Under this
1998 Act, additional works made in 1923 or afterward that were still protected by copyright in 1998 will not
enter the public domain until 2019 or later, depending on the date of the product unless the owner of the
copyright releases them into the public domain prior to that or if the copyright gets extended again.
Next Mr. Johannessen discussed Trademarks. A registered trademark is obtained by going through the U.S.
Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) office. A trademark which carries the ® (the symbol for registered)
has be registered with the (USPTO). The Patent office requires that you submit an example of your
trademarked item to them. Trademarks are also protected by common law in both state and federal court;
these items will have a ™ to designate trademark. It is possible for a once trademarked item to become
generic, and no longer be considered trademark worthy. Some examples of items previously trademarked
that have become generic include: tissue, nylons, zipper, and aspirin.
Another type of intellectual property is patents. These fall exclusively in the realm of federal law. A patent is
the exclusive right to make, use, or sell an invention for a specified period of time, usually 20 years from the
date of the patent application. What can be patented is anything that is useful, new, and non-obvious. A
patent allows you to exclude others from making, using, selling or offering for sale what is covered by the
patent. There are three steps to submitting a patent to the USPTO:
1. Provide a specification which is a description of the invention and how it works;
2. Include a drawing used to illustrate the specification; and
3. The legal definition of the invention.
Mr. Johannessen also mentioned there is a special bar exam that allows one to become a patent attorney
and represent clients before the U.S. Patent Office.
Trade secrets were covered as well during the seminar. A trade Secret is a formula, process, device, or
information that is kept confidential to maintain an advantage over competitors. Some trade secrets include
suppliers, contracts, pricing and terms, discounts, customer lists, and know-how. Trade secrets are protected
by civil law and are governed at the state level. The benefits of having a trade secret include that it is
perpetual, licensable, and protects an intangible asset. An example of a trade secret is the formula for the
beverage Coca-Cola. A weakness of trade secrets is that once it becomes known through legal or illegal
means, it can be copied and/or reverse-engineered. Once a trade secret is disclosed the benefits are gone.
Methods organizations use to maintain trade secrets include non-disclosure and non-compete agreements.
Non-disclosure agreements often govern an organization’s employees during and after employment. A
non-compete agreement will typically spell out that for a reasonable period time within a reasonable
geographic area former employees can’t compete against their previous employer.
The third speaker of the day was Attorney Holly Hollenbeck of WorkFit, Inc. Ms. Hollenbeck spoke about the
importance of a passionate positive attitude. She said the four traits of an excellent employee are
1. enthusiasm; 2. eagerness; 3. efficiency, i.e. utilizing time, talent and money wisely; and 4. energy so that
he/she can perform at his/her peak.
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Ms. Hollenbeck also shared the 8 key attributes that facilitate success are:
1. Being a risk taker;
2. Respecting your own opinion;
3. Being flexible and adaptable;
4. Taking on new challenges and learning new things;
5. Dealing with pain and loss, not holding on to the suffering they bring;
6. Seeing the glass half full;
7. Taking care of yourself and managing stress;
8. Rejecting society’s myths as true about you.
Seminar participants were told to remember the words of Charles Swindol who said “life is 10% what
happens to me and 90% how I react to it.” The speaker also shared that optimistic people also adopt to
change easily and live “in the now” focusing their energy on making today the best it can be. Roadblocks to
maintaining a positive, passionate outlook include fear and worry, being reactive, and not managing
problems. Remember, you have to work at keeping up a positive attitude. Some steps to this end include
surrounding yourself with positive quotations and happy photographs.
The final speaker of the day was Jessica Wolff, Attorney at Gross & Welch with a presentation on the
unauthorized practice of law (UPL) as well as ethics. Attendees were reminded that only a licensed attorney
can engage in the practice of law. The practice of law means the application of legal principals and
judgments to a specific set of circumstances, giving legal advice/rendering independent legal judgment,
setting legal fees, agreeing to take on a case, representing another party in court, negotiating the legal rights
of another entity or person and adopting legal documents. The speaker and seminar attendees discussed
some different scenarios that would be the unauthorized practice of law or UPL.
Ms. Wolff shared that the State of Nebraska takes seriously charges of the unauthorized practice of law.
There is a commission as part of the Nebraska Bar Association which monitors UPL or potential UPL. The
Nebraska Supreme Court has the final say on what constitutes UPL. When a complaint is filed with the
commission accusing someone of UPL, the commission will investigate. Then if it is determined UPL occurred,
a formal written request is issued which asks that the UPL immediately stop. If the person does not stop
engaging in UPL, then the commission would have the Nebraska Supreme Court issue an injunction to stop
the UPL, or in some situations law enforcement might be immediately contacted to stop the UPL.
As paralegals in order to avoid UPL you should not let a client persuade you into giving legal advice. Another
helpful tip is to always identify your non-lawyer status. You should err on the side of caution by always hav-
ing legal documents or correspondence that could be perceived to be a legal opinion signed by an attorney.
The American Bar Association model guidelines for the utilization of paralegal services specifies that a lawyer
may not delegate to a paralegal the following tasks:
-responsibility for establishing an attorney-client relationship
-responsibility for establishing the amount of a fee to be charged for a legal service; or
-responsibility for a legal opinion rendered to a client.
Attorneys are also responsible for taking reasonable measures to ensure that clients are aware that although
a paralegal’s services are being utilized, a paralegal is not licensed to practice law.
VOLUME X, ISSUE III MANY THANKS TO OUR IN BRIEF SPONSOR!!!
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