E A ER NT NA V
P R E S I D E N T ’DS PP R T MSEP E C T IM EE
It is an Honor... Congratulations...
BY KRISTINE FARMER, RP BY DIANNA SMILEY, RP
... to be elected NFPA’s President, and I would like to again thank I am pleased to announce that Susan Ippoliti, Michele Boerder RP,
my local member association, the Dallas Area Paralegal Celia Elwell RP, Victorialei “Nohea” Naka’ahiki, Nancy Heller RP, and
Association, and the Western New York Paralegal Association for Deborah Hampton, to name a few have been selected as “legal experts
their vote of confidence in nominating me for this position; and to in their respective fields” by Carole A. Bruno, author. Ms. Bruno features
the delegates who expressed their support, congratulations and
these individuals and others in her forthcoming book: Lessons From
good wishes. I would also be remiss if I did not thank my firm,
The Top Paralegal Experts: The 15 Most Successful Paralegals in
Godwin Gruber, LLP in Dallas, and the attorneys with whom I work
America and What You Can Learn From Them. These individuals
for their support and encouragement.
I look forward to a terrific year working with the talented and have long been active in and supportive of NFPA and it is very exciting
dedicated members of the Board of Directors, coordinators and to see that they have been recognized and honored in this fashion. If
committee members along with the delegates who create the poli- you would like more information on these and the other individuals
cies that drive our Federation forward. who were selected, how they were selected, or about Ms. Bruno’s book,
My first glimpse of NFPA came in 1998 when I attended my first visit her website at: www.carolebruno.com.
NFPA convention in Alaska. Wide-eyed and overwhelmed, I returned
home to Dallas with the realization that I had just participated in an T h a n k Yo u !
experience of a lifetime. The following year, I attended both conven- I want to once again thank everyone associated with NFPA for the
tions in New Orleans and Atlanta, and also NFPA’s National tremendous support and encouragement they have provided me the past
Leadership Conference, and believed that I had found my “True two years while I served as NFPA President. It has been the most reward-
North.” Since that time, I have plotted a course using NFPA as the ing experience of my life. I congratulate the NFPA delegates for electing
North for my professional compass. And the journey has led me here a Board of Directors who I know will continue to lead NFPA and the par-
— to this place 7 years later — as President. alegal profession to new heights. I now turn over the reins to Kristine
My purpose in seeking the office of NFPA President was not because Farmer and wish you all a very successful year.
of its glories but because of its challenges. As I mentioned in my can-
didate speech, a leader does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one Dianna L. Smiley, RP resides and works in the Sacramento,
California area. She is a contract paralegal working primarily in
by the quality of her actions and the integrity of her intent. the practice areas of family law, probate and estate planning and
Within my Statement of Candidacy I set out some of the main goals social security. Dianna has been a paralegal for over thirteen
I would like us to accomplish over the next year: (1) creating a con- years and was most recently NFPA President from 2003-2005.
The NFPA Board of Directors recently appointed Dianna to serve
vention planning committee; (2) giving our website a facelift; (3) as PACE Coordinator for 2005-2006.
creating new high-level goals to further our Strategic Plan; and (4)
growing our Federation by another 3 associations. The achievement support, and all of the board members with whom I served over the past
of these goals will require a lot of our time and talent. We will need dele- two years for their team spirit, confidence and passion for NFPA and the
gates and members to step forward to fill the many coordinator positions. paralegal profession, all of whom have been an inspiration to me.
It will mean working hard — but the payoff will be well worth our col- NFPA is the oldest national paralegal association and its members are
lective efforts. the very best paralegals in the country – the crème de la crème. I would
We are well on our way to accomplishing those goals. During the like to share with you a sentiment from my favorite television show The
incoming board meeting at the convention, committees were formed West Wing: “NFPA’s a group. We’re a team. From the president on
and charges and timelines were created to lay the groundwork for suc- through to our newest member association, we’re a team. We win
cess. It’s going to be an exciting year! together. We lose together. We celebrate and we mourn together. And
Also in my Statement of Candidacy, I discussed Jim Collins and his defeats are softened and victories sweetened because we did them
terrific book entitled, Good to Great. In reading this book, I learned of together.”
the successes and failures of good companies and great companies. The beginning of a new year for NFPA brings us together again to
From my own experience as a former delegate and coordinator, and continue our journey down the path from Good
then as board member of NFPA, I have learned that the path to great- to Great. I look forward to the adventure.
ness is paved with many challenges and obstacles. The key to meeting
those challenges and overcoming those obstacles is the ability to work S. Kristine Farmer, RP, is a paralegal with the law firm of
Godwin Gruber, LLP in Dallas, Texas. She is a board certified
together for the betterment of NFPA and the paralegal profession as a legal assistant in civil trial law by the Texas Board of Legal
whole. Specialization, and has been a paralegal for 15 years, working
I especially would like to thank Dianna Smiley for her unwaivering primarily in the areas of labor/employment and surety/con-
National Paralegal Reporter June/July 2005 1
Immigration Law, at a Large Corporation
6 This litigation paralegal also handles immigra-
10 Immigration from First Person
Perspective: Legal Status of Immigration
The client situations this paralegal deals with
everyday are very different from her own immi-
14 Accent Discrimination in Employment:
Say What? Between 1990 and 2000, the
foreign-born population in the U.S. increased
by 57 percent...
17 Immigration Law for Paralegals: A book
Review This book offers practical informa-
tion for handling immigration cases.
Selecting A Reputable Translation Agency
38 If you need an accurate translation...
4 2 A Few Good Tips: Finding the Right to
Investigation Firm Paralegals are turning Publisher ROI Marketing Services Articles: Readers are invited to submit
Managing Editor Barbara Riedel article queries, material for consideration
corporate investigative firms for conducting Editor Dan O’Leary
for publication, and replies to previously
published articles to: Editor, 11826
research and background checks. Proofreaders Sue Macfee, Helen Washington Street, Kansas City, MO
64114 or send to firstname.lastname@example.org
Federline, Holly Manlove, Dianna Smiley,
Irene Yakovlevich or email@example.com. All materials are
subject to editorial revision.
4 4 Using the Internet for Legal Research: Dead Advertising Manager Dan O’Leary
National Paralegal Reporter, ISSN 1058-
482X, is published six times per year in
Print and Book TV While the Internet has Circulation Manager Duane Feb/March, April/May, June/July,
Braconnier (206) 652-4120 ext 120 Aug/Sept, Oct/Nov, and Dec/Jan for $33
changed the way paralegals do research, where (subscriptions & back issues) per year ($59 for two years) by the
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do you find the information you need? Postmaster: Send address changes to
NFPA, 2517 Eastlake Avenue E, Suite
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4 8 Criteria and Qualifications for Forensic Publishing Policy: Articles printed in the City, MO, and additional mailing offices.
National Paralegal Reporter express the Please direct all National Paralegal
Accounting This article briefly discusses the opinions of the individual authors and do Reporter inquiries to ROI Marketing,
not necessarily represent the formal posi- 11826 Washington Street, Kansas City,
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reserved. Seattle, WA 98102, (206) 652-4120,
2 June/July 2005 National Paralegal Reporter
A First-Timer’s Look at the Convention
1 President’s Perspective News from the new and
outgoing Presidents. There’s nothing like Las Vegas to make an Annual
Convention unique. Add to that the fact that it is your first NFPA
4 First Timers Look This first timer recaps the
convention — how exciting! Annual Convention and you’ve never been to Las Vegas before,
and you have the makings of a good time.
13 Trip to South Africa Are you ready to go? Join
us on a trip to South Africa! As the Paralegal Program Director at Pioneer Pacific College
I feel that it is important to keep up with trends in the paralegal
18 Technology Department Mac Operating
System vs Windows — do you know the options?
profession. I am involved with the Oregon Paralegal Association
and have a good idea of what the trends are locally. What bet-
20 News of Note These interesting cases highlight
the value of paralegals and fee recovery issues.
ter place to see what the national trends are than the NFPA
Annual Convention? After convincing the President of that fact,
22 Region Director Updates News from the
I was on my way. As I suspected, the Convention was the per-
fect place to identify national and regional trends. It also gave
PACE Update The instant test results are a suc- me the opportunity to meet paralegals from around the country
23 cess — hear about the details. who are the best at what they do.
I attended four seminars on Thursday that taught me about
24 NFPA Membership A quick update about mem-
bership from Susan Ippoliti and the Coordinators. how paralegals make trial presentations more effective, how to
Treasurer’s Report The audit and budget are manage stress (I have to admit I am still working on this one),
25 both complete, learn more details. how e-discovery is done and effective internet research, and
how to develop people within organizations.
National Pro Bono News With the passing of
26 the new Medicaid Act, participants need to... Friday started off with the Regional meetings. Boy, am I glad
I’m in Region I with Hawaii. They bring great treats. The Friday
Ethics Is it moral or ethical? These two terms
28 are used interchangeably, but are they? afternoon sessions brought more information. By now I was about
ready to ask if I could be excused because my brain was full. The
Association News Here is news from local
30 NFPA Associations!
Gordie Brown show released some tension by causing me to laugh
until my face ached. The Treasure Hunt following the show had us
NFPA Membership Benefit Learn more about
34 Community American Credit Union.
racing up and down Freemont Street. Region I was robbed of vic-
tory by Region IV (Watch out, we’ll get you next year).
2005 Annual Convention Update A few photos Saturday and Sunday brought the Policy Meeting. It was
35 and a thanks.
here that the issues were debated and decided. As an observ-
Legislative Update Legislative updates from er it was interesting to track how the various associations felt
40 Arkansas, Florida, Illinois and Montana. about the topics as they were brought to the floor.
Utah Paralegal Day NFPA Member chats with After late nights and early mornings, I left Vegas tired, but
46 the Governor of Utah. inspired. The people I meet in Las Vegas are dedicated to their
profession and have a vision of what the future of that profes-
IN EVERY ISSUE sion should look like. This is not to say that everyone agreed on
what the future will bring, as evidenced in the policy meeting,
13 Upcoming Events
but everyone seemed to agree that this is a defining time for the
13 PACE Pins
17 NFPA Chats
My hope is that I can inspire my students to follow in the
23 PACE Study Manuals
footsteps of each of you. Thank you for sharing your knowledge,
36 NFPA Textbooks & Materials
opinions, and experiences. I’m already putting together my pro-
36 Order Form posal for next year. Hopefully, I’ll see you in Chicago.
35 Advertisers Index
37 NFPA Member Associations Shannon M. Donivan, JD, MBA
41 NFPA Leaders & Advisors Paralegal Program Director, Pioneer Pacific College
3 June/July 2005 National Paralegal Reporter
at a Large Corporation
BY KAREN SANTAGATA
As a paralegal working in a corporate setting, employees from our
I have found that my job description has Canadian subsidiary down
expanded to include areas of the law that I to World Headquarters in
would have never imagined I would be working the United States. However,
in. My current title is “Litigation Specialist” and lately, due to the hiring for
my primary duties include the obvious – litiga- technical positions, the
tion, insurance defense, and bankruptcy. more recent petitions have
However, because I support the Assistant been for visas in the skilled
General Counsel who is responsible for all liti- laborers classification
gation and employment matters for the corpo- (H1B). The recruiters from
ration, my duties have also expanded into the our Human Resources
employment arena. As you might guess, respon- Department have seen an
sibilities of immigration fall into the employ- influx in foreign students
ment portion of my job. graduating from colleges
throughout the United
R o l e s Pa r a l e g a l s P l ay States, who then wish to
in the Immigration seek employment in the
Process United States. In this
regard, we have hired sev-
Now the question is what role do paralegals eral graduated students
have in the immigration process in a corpora- who have received their
tion? Unless you know the complete structure of Optical Practical Training
the corporation, you would not know that a corporation could be a parent corporation of (OPT) work permits through the college allowing them to
many smaller subsidiary companies or vice versa. The different companies do not have to work in the United States for a one-year period upon grad-
be in the same state, let alone in the same country. American Greetings Corporation has uating. It is sometimes hard to convey to a hiring man-
subsidiary companies in Mexico, Canada, United Kingdom, and Australia, to name a few. ager that if an individual is perfect for a position and is
Also, we have employees who work throughout the world, including all across Europe and working on his/her OPT, that after the initial year there is
Asia. Because of this worldwide employment base, at times there are opportunities for a possibility that he/she will no longer be allowed to be
employees to transfer between companies and between countries. Thus, you can start to see employed by the company. With the combined efforts of
the connection between employment law, immigration, and the responsibilities of a par- the human resources’ recruiter and myself, we work to
alegal in a corporate legal department. provide guidance for all involved.
Immigration law is a very complex category of law -— especially more so after September
11, 2001. It takes a great dedication to master it, or to at least get a handle on what fits the Fa s t C h a n g i n g L aw s a n d
needs of your particular corporation. It has become my responsibility to facilitate the visa
process for employees who are asked to transfer between World Headquarters and our foreign
subsidiary locations. I also work with our Human Resources Department when a new hire As you can imagine, it takes an attorney who is very spe-
is brought on board who requires a visa in order to be able to work for a U.S. company. cialized in the immigration field to be able to keep up-to-
As an employer, it is our responsibility to petition the U.S. Citizenship Immigration date with the fast changing laws and regulations. What is
Service/Department of Homeland Security for the different employer-sponsored working true today may change tomorrow. We tend to rely heavily
visas. The most popular type of visa in our corporation is the intra-company transferee non- on an outside attorney whose primary focus is immigra-
immigrant visa (L1A), with most recently a skilled laborer non-immigrant visa (H1B) tion to keep us informed of anything that may impact the
holding a close second. For some time, the majority of my immigration assignments foreign employees who we > continued on page 8
4 June/July 2005 National Paralegal Reporter
have hired and the
requirements of the – as time is money out of the corporation’s pocket. The
corporation to keep us attorney will prepare all of the paperwork, but it is my
in compliance with the responsibility to completely and thoroughly proofread all
newest regulations. documents for not only typographical errors, but also for
As part of my job, I the correct corporate information and the general content
work very closely with of the facts. When they are submitted to the internal attor-
our outside attorney in ney for signature, they must be in perfect format.
the preparation of the As with any good paralegal or immigration attorney,
documents to be sub- patience is a virtue. Once the petition has been filed, the
mitted to the waiting game begins. Because of my close working rela-
Department of tionship with the waiting employee, I have learned to give
Homeland Security for complete support and understanding during the waiting
approval. It is my process.
responsibility to be the
company liaison Other Responsibilities
between the foreign It is also my responsibility to make sure that the corpora-
national and the attor- tion and the employees with the visas are both always in com-
ney. By the time I am pliance with the regulations of both the U.S. Citizenship and
brought into the pro- Immigration Service and the Department of Labor, in the
cess, a job has usually case of the individuals working for the corporation on a H1B
been offered and the visa. I periodically check with the employees to make sure
individual wants to that everything has remained the same in their status and to
start immediately or is make sure that the corporation is totally in compliance.
> continued from page 6 actually needed imme- Not only do I work on obtaining the different employer-
diately in the new position. I related visas, I am also involved in the applications for per-
must be highly organized and efficient and manent residency/green cards for the
start working immediately gathering the employees that the corporation has
proper backup documentation. The first step It is my responsibility to be the agreed to sponsor. Again, I work on
in the process is for me to completely analyze gathering all the documents and sup-
and understand the type of visa that will be company liaison between the ply the outside attorney with those
needed. While the different types of visas may foreign national and the attorney. documents all the way through the
seem to have very basic guidelines, when you final submission for approval. As
try to fit those guidelines into a specific job, before, I must use the same profes-
the more I know upfront, the quicker I can sional skills throughout this process. As we all know, this is
answer questions posed. Through years of working hands on with the attorney, I have a very tedious waiting period and all emotions and feelings
learned exactly what minimum requirements are needed for a specific type of visa – need to be considered, together with maintaining a sense of
both from an employee standpoint and from that of the employer. respect and trust. On top of the list in my mind is the fact it
is someone’s future that I am responsible for. I must treat
In the Beginning Stage each person with the utmost respect, dignity and sensitivity.
In the beginning stage, it is my responsibility to gather all the necessary documents in It can be very hard to convey to someone who is playing the
order for the outside attorney to prepare the petition. I need to know which documents waiting game that there is virtually nothing that can be
will be needed from the employee, including the documents for his/her family, (i.e., pass- done to hurry the process along. They only want to hear the
port, birth certificate, marriage certificate, curriculum vitae), which ones from the cur- positive things.
rent employer (i.e., employment verification letter, current job description, salary docu- Some of the other areas in the immigration area that I
mentation, organization chart), and which documents need to come from the new have come across are smaller in nature, but at least worth
employer (i.e., very detailed job description, organization chart, salary documentation). mentioning. As was previously mentioned, American
As mentioned, the majority of the visa recipients are current employees of the corpora- Greetings Corporation has employees throughout Europe
tion. However, because subsidiaries are considered completely separate corporate entities, and Asia. Over the past few years, I have assisted in giving
I must be in contact with both the foreign location and the United States base location. guidance to employees who have been transferred to
After I have gathered the documents, I then work very closely with our outside attor- Okinawa and Germany. While most of the legwork must be
ney during the preparation of the visa petition and the supporting documentation. It is placed upon the employees themselves upon arriving at
very important that I am very thorough when submitting the paperwork to the attorney their foreign location, I have been able to lay the ground-
5 June/July 2005 National Paralegal Reporter
work out for those employees. I have contacted foreign
embassies to formulate the guidelines for our employees to
work in these foreign locations, so that once they arrive in
South Africa Trip
the new location they can begin working and not be both- The paralegal delegation to South Africa was rescheduled because
ered with the minor details. I also work closely with our we did not have enough people sign up in 2004. A deposit of
Human Resources Department when various other topics $500 is required by May 30 to reserve a spot for the 2005 trip.
relating to immigration arise — i.e., tax consequences for Our delegation departs for South Africa from New York on
an employee working overseas, I-9 verification questions, September 26, 2005. Following our professional and cul-
or an explanation of the North American Free Trade tural program in Johannesburg, we will travel to Kruger
Agreement. (NAFTA). National Park and Cape Town for further exchange. We
will arrive back in the United States on Oct. 5. Activities
C o n s t a n t l y C h a n g i n g L aw s for spouses and guests (who are welcome to participate)
will include visits to historical and cultural sites for an
Immigration laws are constantly changing and all of us
opportunity to explore many aspects of South African
have become affected one way or another. From the creation
life, culture and customs.
of the stricter guidelines established by the Department of
The delegation will meet with our paralegal counter-
Homeland Security to the intense security at your local air-
parts in South Africa to exchange information on the
port, immigration law has become a way of life for everyone.
use of non-lawyer professionals in the delivery of legal
Karen Santagata works for American services, how the legal system functions and ethical issues
Greetings Corporation in Cleveland, Ohio as a relating to paralegal utilization. We expect to meet with par-
Litigation Specialist. She received her
Paralegal Certificate from the American alegals employed in law firms, corporations, dispute resolu-
Institute for Paralegal Studies, Inc. (AIPS). tion centers and the government.
Karen is also a mentor for AIPS, and teaches
a seminar that she developed, Practical Skills Program details and a registration form are available by calling 1-877-
for the Litigation Paralegal, this past winter. 787-2000, e-mailing email@example.com or, emailing me at bethk-
Karen is an active member of the Cleveland
Association for Paralegals. firstname.lastname@example.org. More information on People to People Ambassador Programs can
be found on the Web site, www.ambassadorprograms.org.
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National Paralegal Reporter June/July 6
Immigration from First Person Perspective:
Legal Status of Immigration
BY NATASHA SAMUELS
The situation of the client’s whose
On any given weekday morning the phones of DelCastillo & Associates, a small
Immigration law firm in Hartford, Connecticut can be heard ringing off the hook. file I deal with everyday are very
On the other end of those calls are usually anxious clients who hope that their early different from my own immigration
morning effort will connect them to the attorney for a status update on their case before he
disappears into the Federal building for court or is immersed into his long day of sched- experience. My journey to the United
uled meetings with clients. States was via easy street. This was
From one corner of the office, someone alerts our bilingual staff of a Spanish caller by
yelling “Spanish line 1.” Another employee can be heard on the phone speak- thanks in part to my mother...
ing with the Department of Labor about the status of a labor certification
application and another can be seen checking the status of a case on
the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service website.
Far away from the hustle and bustle of the employees, on this par-
ticular morning a nervous couple with solemn faces can be seen sit-
ting in the waiting area consulting each other over dates and former
addresses while they complete our firm’s intake form.
Like most of the firm’s clients, based on the solemn faces, one of
the two has more than likely overstayed a non-immigrant visa
which they used to gain admission into the country some years
before. Or perhaps one person entered the country sometime in the
past without inspection and has now met and married the love of
their life and is now facing deportation as a result of their lack of
My Own Immigration Experience
The situation of the clients whose files I deal with every day are
very different from my own immigration experience. My journey to Natasha, with her uncle, the day she arrived in America.
the United States was via easy street. This was thanks in part to my
mother who spared me the indignation and abuse suffered by many immi-
my father’s beaming brown face on the stand, I blew him a
grants here in the United States by going through the process herself.
kiss goodbye and gave a general wave to the crowd before
Once her papers were “straight” a flare up of political violence in my native Jamaica con-
mounting the portable silver steps that led into the
vinced my mother that it was time for me to move from the island. It took a total of four
American Airlines jet.
months for the approval of my petition for alien relative application and to be granted the
At seven years of age I was too young to recognize the
coveted immigrant visa interview at the U.S. consulate office in Kingston, Jamaica.
opportunity that I was being afforded and the fact that at
As it was the custom then, my entire village district traveled, most of them in open backs of
that very moment there were people at the borders of Mexico
the big Tata and Leyland trucks to the Norman Manley Airport in Kingston. There they said
who were risking their lives and freedom for that very same
their goodbyes, good wishes, and don’t forget me’s before I disappeared with my Dad into the
My thoughts at that time were occupied with colorful toys,
At the side of my appointed American Airlines flight attendant, I walked out onto the air-
Nancy Drew books, chocolate ice cream and the beautiful
port tarmac with the other travelers and my tell-tale, “first timer” big brown envelope which
white snow that I would be able to play in. As I thought
contained my medical records and x-rays.
about my friends and family, I stubbornly vowed to return
I strained against the sun and the hot Kingston heat to make out the faces of my family
to the island as soon as I was old enough to make that deci-
and neighbors who were crowded out on the airport’s viewing stand. Being only able to spot
sion on my own.
7 June/July 2005 National Paralegal Reporter > continued on page 12
> continued from page 10 reeling from the shock of the events and were mourn-
Apart from the snow, my thick accent and a few mean spirited banana boat jokes, I quickly adjust- ing the enormous loss of lives, immigrant communi-
ed to my new life in America. My only immigration issue during my first 10 years was a missing alien ties were already nervously whispering of the wrath
card followed by a threat from an Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) officials that I was that was to come.
too old to have the fingerprint waived from my alien card. The entire immigrant community was now sus-
Still on easy street, and against my wishes, I acquired my United States citizenship as a derivative pect, and all of us were thrown under the powerful
beneficiary of my mother’s approved application. microscope of U.S. officials. The old INS gave way to
organizations like I.C.E. (Immigration and Customs
A Return Trip to the Island Enforcement), U.S.C.I.S. (United States Citizenship
A trip to Jamaica following my 1995 college graduation opened my eyes to the economic value and and Immigration Services) and the Department of
unlimited prospects of life Homeland Security.
in America. I was now The Patriot Act, which is
finally able to understand essentially an anti Bill of
the plight of those people Rights law, was passed.
who made it their point Those who were intending to
to reach America by any travel to the United States as
means necessary. visitors and students were
As Jamaicans we hud- placed under greater scrutiny
dled together in our com- than before. The law also
munities where we spoke called for the photographing
our native dialect, caught and fingerprinting of any
up on the latest reggae non-immigrant visitor who
and dancehall tunes and entered the country legally or
shared our exotic dishes at a place and time designat-
of ackee, bammy and ed by the Attorney General of
breadfruit, which for the United States.
years we were only able to The wrath included
get when someone trav- requirements such as
eled from the island. NSEERS which required
While I was beginning men from certain Middle
to reap the economic Eastern countries to register
benefits of my rekindled with the local United States
interest in America, some- Citizenship and Immigration
time in 1996 two new Immigration Laws were passed (Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act Service office. As if address, phone number, and fin-
(AEDPA) and Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA). gerprinting wasn’t enough information, the NSEERS
These two laws expanded the criteria for crimes involving moral turpitude by including persons who application requires applicants to include informa-
were convicted of crimes where a sentence of one year or more was imposed. The laws also broad- tion such as any U.S. landmarks that were visited in
ened the definitions of aggravated felonies to include additional crimes. the past or would be visited in the near future.
In 1997 we began to hear tales of “upstanding” business leaders, soccer coaches, fathers and Now officials are threatening the passage of Real
mothers, who, on their return trips back into the United States from Jamaica were being detained by ID, a national identification system which includes
Immigration officials and were being deported from the United States. laws which will further restrict the already hard to win
At the time we were convinced and the rumors were flying high that if you had a parking ticket Political Asylum applications, and the possible
you could be subjected to deportation or removal from the United States. Without the full facts, the removal of such benefits such as stays of removal
West Indian community banded together and began a citizenship drive in hopes that as citizens we which are granted to many immigrants pending the
would be protected by America who had beckoned us in with her invitation of give me your huddled outcome of their immigration appeals.
masses and your weak.
Enjoying Immigration Law
To our horror, even those who were applying for citizenship were getting rejections followed by a
swift kick back to our island with Ms. Liberty’s iron clad slipper. Based on my own experience, I knew early in my
paralegal studies that I wanted to work in
After September 11 Immigration Law.
The events of September 11, 2001 affected us in more ways than imagined. While many of us were My experience thus far has given me the opportu-
nity to work with a number of people from countries
8 June/July 2005 National Paralegal Reporter
that include Macedonia, Colombia, Based on my own experience, Natasha G. Samuels is a 1995
graduate of Syracuse University
Mexico and Brazil. Although I haven’t had School of Information Studies. While
the opportunity yet, I share in the celebra- I knew early in my Paralegal at Syracuse, Natasha served as Vice-
President and President of the
tion with the other staffers of working on a studies, that I wanted to work Caribbean Students Association. She
file from Legal Status to citizenship before has received numerous recognition
the next phase of their immigrant journey in Immigration Law. which including: the Louis W.
Batchelder English Scholar Award,
begins. That journey is the petitioning for Who’s Who Among American High
School Students, Bloomfield Civitan and Citizenship Scholarship
the relatives or husbands and wives who have waited patiently, sometimes award and the 1999 Manchester Community Technical College Mintz & Hoke Public Relations Student
for years, to reap the benefits of that relative’s legal status. of the Year award. After completing the University of Hartford’s Paralegal Certificate 2004, Natasha is
currently employed as an Immigration Paralegal at DelCastillo & Associates in Hartford, Connecticut.
The couple emerges from their consultation with the attorney
still a bit nervous looking but at the same time somewhat
relieved. Perhaps for them the chance of obtaining Legal Status
Utah Chapter of RMPA
There’s a New Law in Town H.B. 136; Are Your
Construction Lien Rights Protected? Seminar on May 25,
2005 a Lorman Education seminar featuring Jim Barber,
Utah Chapter Coordinator as moderator & speaker.
San Francisco Paralegal Association
California Paralegal Day, Friday, June 17, 2005. 11:30
a.m. to 4:00 p.m. World Trade Club, One Ferry Plaza, Pier
2, San Francisco. John Russo, Oakland City Attorney’s
Office, Keynote Speaker, (12:15-2:00). Afternoon seminars
on estate planning, landlord tenant, and DTI. For reserva-
tions and more information, contact Rhoda Singer at
(415) 777-2390, or visit our website at www.sfpa.com
Wear your gold-filled RP
lapel pin with pride!
Available in two sizes, the
larger size has word
“Registered” on the “R” 1 1/2” by 3/4”
and word “Paralegal” on the “P”; the enlarged to show detail
smaller pin is simply “RP.” Both sizes
also available in silver. To purchase
either pin, you must have passed the
PACE Registered Paralegal exam.
Order form is on page 36. 7/8” by 3/8” enlarged
to show detail
Gold Price: $25 plus shipping
Silver Price: $15 plus shipping
National Paralegal Reporter J u n e / J u l y 2 0 0 5 9
Accent Discrimination in Employment:
BY ERIC MATUSEWITCH, PHR, CAAP
The Lord spoke to Moses and said
G r ow t h i n Fo r e i g n - B o r n R e s i d e n t s … When an alien settles with you
Between 1990 and 2000, the foreign-born population in the U.S. increased by 57 per-
cent, jumping from 19.8 million to 31.1 million. Of the foreign-born in the U.S. at the in your land, you shall not oppress
millennium, 51.7% were from Latin America and 26.4% were from Asia. him. He shall be treated as a native
As the ethnic composition of the nation changes under a growing tide of immigra-
tion, foreign accents—particularly non-European accents—have become more of an born among you, and you shall love
impediment to finding and keeping a job. Indeed, the U.S. Equal Employment him as a man like yourself…
Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency responsible for enforcing the federal EEO
statutes, recently reported that it is dealing more frequently with claims of bias based on Leviticus 19:33 (New English Bible)
an individual’s manner of speaking. EEOC, Performance and Accountability Report
FY 2004, available on the Commission’s website, www.eeoc.gov. Employers should
be aware that adverse employment decisions based upon a person’s
foreign accent may violate federal and state civil rights laws.
No federal law specifically bans employment discrimination on
the basis of a foreign accent. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,
though, prohibits workplace bias on the basis of race, color, religion,
sex or national origin. Guidelines issued by the U.S. Equal
Employment Opportunity (EEOC) in 1980 define national origin
discrimination to include discrimination based on the “linguistic
characteristics of a national origin group” Guidelines on
Discrimination Because of National Origin, 29 C.F.R. sec. 1601.1.
The agency will therefore closely scrutinize employment decisions
based on claims that an individual is unable to communicate ade-
quately in English.
In 2002, the EEOC issued an updated guidance on national origin
discrimination. The agency released the document in response both
to the large increase in America’s immigrant workforce over the last
decade and to concerns over the aftermath of September 11, 2001
(backlash against Muslims and persons of Middle Eastern origin).
While recognizing that a heavy accent may interfere with an indi-
vidual’s ability to fully and properly perform a job, the EEOC takes
the position that a foreign accent should be considered in an
employment decision only if it materially interferes with the individ-
ual’s ability to perform. EEOC Guidance on National Origin
Discrimination, Directive No. 915.003 (Dec. 2, 2002),
The EEOC has issued several decisions on this subject. One case
involved an individual of Iranian national origin who, while work-
ing part time for the employer, unsuccessfully sought a full time
position. During the period in question, the employer hired fourteen
people as full time librarians including nine who were less qualified
10 J u n e / J u l y 2 0 0 5 N a t i o n a l P a r a l e g a l R e p o r t e r
than the complainant. Four of the nine had no prior experience as librarians. Russian lady.” Berke v. Ohio Department of Public Welfare,
The complainant alleged the failure to hire was not because of the large number 30 FEP Cases (BNA) 387 (S.D. Ohio 1978), aff’d, 628 F.2d 980
of qualified applicants, as the employer claimed, but rather a result of his accent. (6th Cir. 1980).
The employer denied the allegations of discrimination but offered no evidence
that unaccented speech is related to successful performance as a librarian. R e a s o n s fo r T i t l e V I I V i o l a t i o n s
Significantly, the evaluations of the plaintiff rated him as satisfactory and made Another example is Loiseau v. Dept. of Human Resources,
no mention of any problems related to his accent. The EEOC inferred from this 567 F. Supp. 1211 (D. Ore. 1983). This case involved a French-
that “the ability to speak English clearly is not necessary for successful perfor- speaking West Indian employee who was denied a promotion.
mance of the position of librarian…[and] whatever language deficiencies [the The Oregon Department of Human Resources unsuccessfully
complainant] had did not preclude his successful performance of the position of argued that the plaintiff, a welfare assistance worker, lawfully
librarian.” As a result, the agency found the reasons given by the employer were was rejected for the position of welfare assistance supervisor, in
pretextual for national origin discrimination. EEOC Decision No. 79-16, 1978 part, because of poor communication skills.
EEOC LEXIS 31 (Nov. 16, 1978).
A c c e n t s P l ay A R o l e i n
The EEOC also found that an employer vio-
lated Title VII by immediately disqualifying a
job applicant who had a noticeable Spanish
accent. The job seeker’s qualifications com-
pared favorably with other persons who were
allowed to complete applications, and no evi-
dence was introduced linking his accent to an
inability to perform the job. EEOC Case No. A1
68-1-155E (May 19, 1969), CCH EEOC
Decisions (1973), para. 6008. For a more
recent decision involving a federal employee
with a Korean accent, see Anne Stone v.
O’Neill, Secretary, Department of the
Treasury, Appeal No. 01A02572, 2001 EEOP-
UB LEXIS 5154 (July 6, 2001).
Federal courts have also found Title VII viola-
tions where an English language deficiency or
foreign manner of speaking did not interfere
with an individual’s ability to perform the duties
of a job. For example, a Polish-born employee
who was rejected for two higher-level positions
because of a pronounced foreign accent success-
fully sued her employer for national origin dis-
The district court found that the plaintiff
was well qualified for those positions—she
was an efficient, dependable and organized
employee, whose accent did not impede job
performance. The court described the plain-
tiff’s accent as “pronounced” but readily
understandable, and her command of the lan-
guage as “well above that of the average adult
American.” The court also found ample evi-
dence of a discriminatory work environment,
as some co-workers mimicked her accent and
occasionally referred to her as “the big-foot
N a t i o n a l P a r a l e g a l R e p o r t e r J u n e / J u l y 2 0 0 5 11
The Ninth Circuit reversed the dis-
trict court’s summary judgment in
favor of the school district.
According to the appellate court ...
The job required dealing with as many as 300 people each
day, many of whom were irate, disgruntled or hostile, and
interviewers determined that his accent made him difficult
to understand. The EEOC sued under Title VII, charging
national origin discrimination.
The appeals court ruled that “an adverse employment
decision may be predicated upon an individual’s accent
when—but only when—it interferes materially with job
performance.” In this case, effective oral English skills were
reasonably related to job performance, and the employer
was motivated solely by reasonable business necessity.
A preference for a particular type of accent, though, may
violate Title VII. For example, if a candidate with a British
accent is favored for a receptionist position, while candidates
The court gave several reasons for finding a Title VII violation: The plaintiff received with Cantonese or Spanish accents are rejected, the employ-
a favorable performance appraisal in the lower-level position; he was the only candi- er may have engaged in unlawful discrimination by showing
date required to submit to an oral interview; and his manner of speaking (which a bias against the accent associated with some national ori-
included a heavy French accent) struck many of his colleagues and supervisors as gins, but not against others.
peculiar. As a final note—protection against accent discrimination
More recently, a substitute teacher of Lebanese descent sued a school district for based on national origin does not apply to regional accents
national origin discrimination based on its repeated refusal to hire her as a perma- from around the United States typical of native speakers of
nent teacher due to her foreign accent. The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court’s English. So if your coworkers tease you about your thick
summary judgment in favor of the school district. According to the appellate court, “New Yawk” accent or your southern drawl, you will not get
the record contained evidence that the teacher’s accent did not impair her perfor- far with an EEO complaint.
mance as a teacher, including recommendations written by her graduate school These cases demonstrate that employers should carefully
instructors, requests for her as a substitute teacher by other teachers employed by the scrutinize any employment decision based on an individual’s
District, and the District’s own continued employment of her as a substitute. Raad v. accent. Indeed, an employer’s assessment of an individual’s
Fairbanks North Star Borough, 323 F.3d 1185 (9th Cir. 2003). foreign accent must relate to the specific duties of the posi-
tion and the extent to which the individual’s accent will affect
T i t l e V I I V i o l a t i o n s N o t Fo u n d his or her ability to perform those duties. The employer must
Not all cases are decided in the plaintiff’s favor, however. Courts have found no Title make a distinction between a merely discernable foreign
VII violation where the defendants’ accents demonstrably interfered with effective job accent and one that actually interferes with successful per-
performance. In Hou v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Dept. of Education, 573 formance of the job. Furthermore, if an employee has been
F. Supp. 1539 (W.D. Pa. 1983), no Title VII violation was found when a Chinese- successfully performing the job for years, a dismissal or
American associate mathematics professor was denied promotion to full professor demotion based on an accent probably will be regarded as a
because of poor English language skills. Testimony presented at trial indicated that pretext for national origin discrimination. Finally, an
the plaintiff had accent and grammatical problems, and students complained about employer who tolerates slurs regarding an employee’s man-
his ability to answer questions clearly. The problem was compounded because the col- ner of speaking may face national origin harassment claims.
lege was primarily a teaching rather than a research institution.
Eric Matusewitch, PHR CAAP is deputy director
Similarly, the U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco found that a foreign accent of the New York City Equal Employment Practices
was a legitimate basis for rejecting an applicant for a job that required dealing with Commission. He has written the Manager’s
Handbook on Employment Discrimination Law
the public. Fragante v. City and County of Honolulu, 888 F.2d 591 (9th Cir. 1989), (Andrews Publications, 2000) and lectured wide-
cert. denied, 494 U.S. 1081 (1990). In applying for a clerk position at a state depart- ly on discrimination law. He holds masters’
degrees in political science and library science
ment of motor vehicles office, the plaintiff scored the highest of all candidates on a and a certificate in paralegal studies from George
written examination, but was rejected because of his heavy Filipino accent. Washington University in Washington, D.C. He
can be reached at email@example.com.
12 J u n e / J u l y 2 0 0 5 N a t i o n a l P a r a l e g a l R e p o r t e r
Immigration Law for Paralegals
REVIEWED BY DIANNA SMILEY, RP
Immigration Law for Paralegals by Maria Isabel
Casablanca and Gloria Roa Bodin; publisher Carolina
Academic Press, Durham, North Carolina.
Immigration Law for Paralegals is excellently writ-
ten and should be on the desk of every paralegal who
works or is interested in the field of Immigration Law.
The text defines immigration, citizenship and visa pro-
cedures. It takes the reader from the initial telephone
contact, interview process, and
through the completion of petitions,
applications and declarations
required in the various processes.
The book contains definitions of
legal terms, sample completed
forms, applications, petitions
The book contains definitions of
legal terms, sample completed forms, and declarations.
applications, petitions and declara-
tions. Contents include interviewing
and case management techniques. There are also exercises and scenarios similar to those that
would be encountered by the paralegal in an immigration law office. Students and practicing
paralegals will be able to visualize the problems and issues that arise in immigration casework,
and are given guidance in researching the statutes, administrative rules and regulations, and
case law governing immigration.
E a s y t o U s e Fo r m a t
The authors have created an easy-to-use format which will guide students as well as seasoned
paralegals through the immigration maze. The book is current and thus includes the new rules
and regulations, especially as they pertain to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
I was very impressed with this book, its practical format, and how it seemed to cover every con-
ceivable facet of immigration law. The cost of the book is $45.00 for desk version and $39.00 for
classroom use. Included with the cost of the book is a CD that contains the U.S. (previously INS)
forms, blank and with completed samples.
For more information about the book and its authors or other Carolina
Academic Press books and publications, visit their website at www.cap-
press.com. Their telephone number is 919-489-7486.
Dianna L. Smiley, RP resides and works in the Sacramento, California area. She is a con-
tract paralegal working primarily in the practice areas of family law, probate and estate plan-
ning and social security. Dianna has been a paralegal for over thirteen years and was most
recently NFPA President from 2003-2005. The NFPA Board of Directors recently appointed
Dianna to serve as PACE Coordinator for 2005-2006.
N F PA I N T E R N E T C H AT S
Chats: go to www.paralegals.org, click on Networking. Use the user name
“NFPA” and the password “member.”
N a t i o n a l P a r a l e g a l R e p o r t e r J u n e / J u l y 2 0 0 5 13
A S S O C I AT I O N N E W S
Central Pennsylvania now Christian Andersen, of President and Director of
Paralegal Association Verizon. The President-Elect Allen Professional Development &
Mihecoby attained his NALA spe- Public Relations.
CPPA held its first paralegal cialty certification in Corporate The 2005-2006 Board are:
Pro Bono partnership with the and Business Law, and our President: Danie Kakazu, CLAS,
Dauphin County Bar Association Membership Vice President, Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing; Vice-
(DCBA) in September, 2003. Mariela Evora, CLA, recently President; B.J. Wade, the Law Office
Like many legal aid programs, passed her Texas Board of Legal of John W. Schmidtke, Jr.; Secretary;
MidPenn Legal Services lacks soda
Specialization exam which earned Evelyn Gomez, the Hawaii State Bar available for
funding to keep up with the her the designation of Board Association; Treasurer: Cynthia Ney,
growing legal needs of the com- members and take donations
Certified Legal Assistant – Civil Carlsmith Ball, LLP; Job Bank towards the cost. LCPA will also
munity. CPPA paralegal volun- Trial law. Other members who Director: Lynn Little, RP, Carlsmith
teers were happy to help. be involved in Law Day. Students
attained the coveted designation Ball LLP; Membership Director: from area schools write essays on
On February 23, 2005, a recep- from the Texas Board of Legal Christine Tatum, Bank of Hawaii;
tion was held in the Lawyers’ a certain law subject. The essays
Specialization were Rebecca Professional Development: Debra are then judged.
Lounge of the Dauphin County Cervantes, Personal Injury; Kobashigawa, Alston Hunt Floyd &
Courthouse to honor all 2004 Pro Kathryn Moore, Personal Injury; Ing; Publications: Kelliann Shimote, Maryland Association
Bono participants. CPPA mem- and Kay Redburn, Family Law. Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing; Standards of Paralegals
bers Cathy Kohr, Sheri-su Breski, Events: 2005 Career Day was Director & Website Chairperson: R.
Holly Bratton, Belinda Clouser, MAP is teaming with the
held April 9, with the theme of Elton Johnson, III, RP
Nancy Ludwig and Mary Sprunk National Capital Area Paralegal
Pathway to Your Future; the
attended the reception. Annual Vendor Fair will take
Illinois Paralegal Association (NCAPA) to hold a
2004 Pro Bono participants Association joint meeting in June for mem-
place in August; the Legal
received certificates of apprecia- bers on the benefits of joining the
Assistants Division’s (of the State IPA continues to be very active
tion and a mug filled with Maryland State Bar Association. A
Bar of Texas) Annual Meeting is in outreach by speaking at law
Hershey’s kisses! Judge Lewis State Bar representative will also
scheduled for June 23-24, 2005 firms, participating in career
addressed the crowd of judges, discuss how the associations can
in Dallas; and various CLE semi- fairs at several schools, and writ-
attorneys, law students and par- work with the Bar.
nars are in the planning stages. ing weekly articles for the
alegals. He expressed appreciation Plans are underway for MAP’s
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin’s
to those who contribute to this Hawaii Paralegal annual Paralegal Day held dur-
Association Legal Employment Weekly. ing Law Week. The cocktail recep-
very important social program.
IPA continues to improve the tion is scheduled for Thursday,
Dallas Area Paralegal HPA held its 27th Annual content and expand on the May 5 with guest speaker Karen
Association Meeting at Indigo’s. 30 members information provided on the Cook, President of the Anne
attended the event. The keynote website. It held an Educator’s Arundel County Bar Association
Pro Bono Efforts: In January speaker was Bob LeClair, Conference February 12, 2005
the Bears on Patrol Program and a paralegal educator. Ms.
Director of the Kapiolani and its 2nd Spring Education Cook published the article Make
kick-off was a huge success. We Community College Paralegal Conference in conjunction with
collect Bears at monthly member- your law office more efficient
Program. its Annual Meeting on April 21, and more profitable . . . Hire a
ship meetings and at all our HPA presented a $500 2005. Members will be asked to
Section meetings to be distributed Paralegal in the The Anne
Scholarship to Penny-Bee contribute to a Teddy Bear drive. Arundel County Barrister.
to various law enforcement agen- Bovard; she also received a com- The Teddy Bears are given to the
cies. Our thanks to the Pro Bono MAP will award 1-2 vendor spon-
plimentary 1-year associate Illinois State Police. sored student scholarships and
and Community Services membership to HPA. Outgoing
Committee for their hard work in Lycoming County door prizes.
President Mary Peddie presented MAP developed a Yahoo discus-
promoting this project! DAPA Paralegal Association
two President’s Certificate of sion group for members to post
members also volunteer many Appreciation; one each to Susan LCPA is planning its annual jobs and volunteer opportunities,
collective hours in various Dallas D. Alden, RP, Outgoing Vice- CLE seminar and a few lunch practical questions, general net-
Volunteer Attorney Program President & Director of and learns, where speakers talk working and announcements.
neighborhood clinics. Membership and to Donna about a topic during the lunch MAP has grown by leaps and
Officer and Member Woodin, Outgoing Vice- hour. Each will have pizza and bounds this year. As a statewide
News: The Newsletter Editor is
14 J u n e / J u l y 2 0 0 5 N a t i o n a l P a r a l e g a l R e p o r t e r
A S S O C I AT I O N N E W S
association, it is difficult to deliv- On April 19, 2005 MCPA held chapter also hosted a Career Fair even greater services to their
er benefits to all the members. an informative lecture on April 23 with a theme of Sports members. Legalmen around the
With the creation of Area Computer Forensics, given by and Entertainment Law with a U.S. would also be interested in
Coordinators, more members are David Yarnell. The Community resume workshop hosted by expe- participating in local association
attending meetings, and the Outreach Committee has raised rienced paralegals. activities near where they are sta-
meetings are more convenient to $320 for Tsunami Relief. In February, NCAPA’s PACE tioned. They will encourage
members’ work or home. Ambassador traveled to the members to reach out to local
National Capital Area Department of Justice to present associations.
Minnesota Paralegal Paralegal Association the RP pin in a ceremony to
Association honor NCAPA’s newest RP, New Orleans
NCAPA began 2005 with enthu- Paralegal Association
The Bears on Patrol Region II siasm and a great slate of events Barbara Stannard. NCAPA con-
community service project is designed to appeal to its more than tinues to offer numerous CLE NOPA started a Comfort for
underway, as a joint project with 500 members. The new President, seminars to its members. Kids Program. NOPA will collect
the MN State Bar. We’re also Kathi Ingram, NCAPA started the Navy Legalmen teddy bears and other stuffed ani-
receiving some help from a local year by presiding over a leadership Association mals at its monthly meetings to
high school group, Students conference January 8 at Finnegan donate them to the New Orleans
Stepping Up. We expect to collect Henderson’s offices in Reston, VA. In early March, NLA members, Police Department and other
lots & lots of bears for the State The board of directors, committee joined board members of the agencies that work with victims
Patrol. We are also accepting chairs, student liaisons and others MAP and NCAPA for an evening of child abuse.
cash donations. I’ve found a attended the conference. of fun, networking and a great NOPA is also in the process of
wholesale source for teddy bears; In February, the Experienced dinner. The event was arranged tabulating the results of its bian-
so cash donations will go even Paralegal network hosted a semi- by the Region IV Director. A num- nual salary survey. The 65 ques-
further. To date, we’ve collected nar on “The Things You Don’t ber of legalmen were in DC for an tion survey covers many issues
99 bears, and just over $35; many Know About Managing” and awards presentation. They came including salary, benefits, work
of the major events for both MPA the speaker was a popular long- from as far as Japan and Hawaii conditions, regulation and testing.
and MSBA are coming up soon, time manager of one of DC’s and as close as Norfolk, VA and NOPA will hold its annual CLE
so we expect this total to jump! largest law firms. The room was Groton, CT. NCAPA, as its mentor Seminar on Friday, Sept. 23,
We participated in Law Week packed and everyone who attend- organization, stands ready to 2005. Topics will include Ethics,
the first week of May. MPA volun- ed enjoyed the event. The lend a hand where necessary. Bankruptcy and Legal Writing
teers help with the “Ask a Experienced Paralegal Network MAP and NCAPA members were among others.
Lawyer” project, doing intake will also sponsor a seminar on particularly impressed with the
and directing consumers to the April 16 to help experienced par- diversity of activities paralegals Oregon Paralegal
appropriate lawyer or providing alegals market him/herself and perform in the military services. Association
information. to provide tips for job searches. Even though the Legalmen are OPA is especially proud to note
The Corporate and Securities headquartered in Washington, three candidates were elected as
Montgomery County Network has held two meetings D.C., their members may be sta-
Paralegal Association NFPA Board members. Beth King
so far in 2005, focused on the tioned at bases across the United was elected VPPD, Wayne Akin
MCPA offered a seminar on expanding role of registered States, on larger ships, or in for- was elected VPPI, and De
March 16 entitled Last Things agents to assist paralegals and eign countries. It is hoped that Dishman was elected Region I
First addressing the issues of on rethinking retirement. the three organizations that exist Director. Our association has
Elder Law. The presentation was NCAPA’s Suburban Maryland within close geographic proximi- committed to supporting NFPA by
given by Lois A. Nafziger, Esquire, Chapter met March 1 for a social ty can work together to provide
an Elder Law and Estate event at a Rockville restaurant.
Planning attorney from the law They have plans to meet with the Copy Service
firm of High, Swartz, Roberts & MAP representatives of the
Seidel, and LLP. Ms. Nafziger Maryland State Bar in June to copy4you
spoke to the members of the discuss benefits of paralegal We copy4you, so you don’t have to. We have access to
MCPA about the importance of membership in the Maryland some of the top libraries in the world.
planning for declining health State Bar. Use our time to photocopy the articles you need.
and understanding the involved NCAPA’s Northern Virginia
procedures in our age of sophisti- Chapter normally meets www.copy4you.com
cated medical technology. monthly for a social event. This 314-496-0771
N a t i o n a l P a r a l e g a l R e p o r t e r J u n e / J u l y 2 0 0 5 15
A S S O C I AT I O N N E W S
becoming more involved Salt Lake City. Jim Barber, the Creek; Esther Lane: Probate the anniversary. WSPA launched
instead of retreating. Utah coordinator, feels that this Section; and Gino Altamarino, its first ever eNews — an elec-
Last April the Oregon Paralegal will be a great opportunity to Mary Olsen and Betty tronic newsletter to supplement
Association celebrated its 25th market RMPA and NFPA to area Cavanaugh: Environmental/ the regular publication.
anniversary. The association has paralegals. Finally, we are try- Real Estate. WSPA Chapters continue to
grown to over 350 members! This ing to start a Bears on Patrol SFPA held a student career hold monthly or bi-monthly
year-long celebration included a program. One of our directors, workshop March 12, 2005 in brown bag lunches. The South
site-seeing cruise and an Annual Laura Teter, has been contacting Oakland at California State East Puget Sound Chapter held a
Meeting in October at the law enforcement agencies, hos- Bay. Four paralegals spoke at pizza social January 21; the
KaNeeTa Indian Reservation in pitals, and non-profits to set up the workshop, discussing what South Puget Sound Chapter
Warm Springs, Oregon. the program. type of work they provided for also held its first annual wine
attorneys, the type of law they social Friday, February 11, the
Philadelphia Sacramento Valley worked in and their likes and event was sold out!
Association of Paralegal Association dislikes of the profession. SFPA The Seattle Chapter continues
Paralegals plans on hosting at least two to host regular monthly elec-
SVPA held its Annual
PAP held its 2005 leadership Membership Meeting on January more career workshops, one in tronic litigation brown bag sem-
Luncheon February 16, 2005 to 26. President Cynthia Park San Francisco and one down inars and general interest brown
encourage members to meet the announced the 2005 officers were the Peninsula. bag meetings. January’s topic
Association’s committees and unanimously elected. They are: California Paralegal Day is was real estate transactions.
learn what the committees do. It scheduled for June 17, 2005 at WSPA held a student dinner
President: Cynthia Park; Vice
was a great way to increase the San Francisco World Trade January 28 at the Washington
President Newsletter: Mary
member participation in Center. A luncheon and semi- Athletic Club. The roundtable dis-
Cicchetti; Vice President
Association activities. nars with guest speakers: Mr. cussion with paralegals, a
Membership: Mike Dickey;
PAP’s Annual Student Forum Russo and Cindi Adams. Human Resources Administrator,
Secretary: Bonnie Lally; Treasurer:
was held April 7. This great Seminars for probate, litigation and an employment agency
Janine Orsi; Director: Lacian and real estate are planned. answered students’ questions
event gives students a free Henderson; Director: Veronica
lunch, the opportunity to meet MCLE credit will be provided. about interviewing and resumes.
Caylor; Director: Gail Davis. Vickie Newman, RP, has been WSPA held its first annual
and network with working par- SVPA’s first crab feed fundrais-
alegals, and ask questions to working to set up PACE study technology conference February
er held on January 29, 2005 was groups and speak at events about 3 - 4 at the Washington State
learn more about PAP. a huge success. SVPA will award PACE. Congratulations to our Trade and Convention Center
Pittsburgh Paralegal two $500 scholarships this year newest RP, Pamela Wolpa (she is for 40 participants. The
Association and $500 has been donated to the SFPA Vice President Policy). Conference was designed for
Voluntary Legal Services 2005 workshops will include experienced paralegals, lawyers,
PPA’s February General Program. SVPA plans another an ethics seminar scheduled for and other legal professionals.
Meeting included a CLE on title crab feed for January 2006. September with Kay Klasic. SFPA WSPA held an informational
searches with a speaker from This year SVPA plans to have is also partnering with California meeting February 17 at the law
Chicago Title. PPA members students from local paralegal State College East Bay to host firm of Forsberg & Umlauf in
participated as volunteer lay schools attend board meetings. seminars and workshops for par- the Bank of California Building.
witnesses at the Annual Gourly SVPA also plans to create an out- alegals in the bay area. The evening included network-
Moot Court Competition spon- reach program for paralegals ing, hors d’oeuvres and soft
sored by the Academy of Trial who are too far away to attend South Jersey drinks and a presentation by
Lawyers. This is a moot trial local meetings. Paralegal Association Marya Granger of Woods and
competition held with 16 differ- Associates. Granger talked about
San Francisco SJPA will be partnering with
ent law schools. how paralegals can use their
Paralegal Association the North Jersey Legal Assistant
Rocky Mountain Association for the Annual legal skills in non-traditional
Paralegal Association SFPA has started off with a Garden State Association legal environments.
bang, beginning with a January Convention April 1, 2005. WSPA will be awarding a
RMPA has been busy prepar- retreat. In February, Jeanne $1,000 scholarship to one par-
ing for its upcoming Annual Crooks held a luncheon meeting Washington State alegal student who demon-
Meeting and election of 2005- for members interested in coordi- Paralegal Association strates academic excellence.
2006 Officers and Directors. Our nator positions. From this meet- WSPA is gearing up for its annu-
WSPA celebrated its 30 year
newly formed Utah Chapter will ing, SFPA welcomes a new East al election of officers and direc-
anniversary on January 16, 2005
sponsor a coffee break at their Bay Coordinator: Kerry Jones of and is modifing its logo to mark tors, who are elected in the
premier annual CLE event in Morgan, Miller & Blair in Walnut spring and take office on June 1.
16 J u n e / J u l y 2 0 0 5 N a t i o n a l P a r a l e g a l R e p o r t e r
N F PA M E M B E R S H I P B E N E F I T:
CommunityAmerica Credit Union
D i s c ove r H ow M u c h N i c e r B a n k i n g C a n B e.
CommunityAmerica Credit Union welcomes you!
CommunityAmerica Credit Union provides a full suite of financial
products including checking, savings, loans and investments. At
CommunityAmerica, we know that you have many choices for
financial services today. That’s why we choose to make banking with
CommunityAmerica so much nicer by offering you:
• Financial products and services to meet your needs
• Great rates on loans, savings and investments
• The convenience of banking where you live, work and play
• Personal, professional service
CommunityAmerica is the fifth largest Kansas City-based finan-
cial institution and the seventh largest financial institution in
Kansas City with assets exceeding $1.4 billion and a membership of 113,000. As a community-based credit union, CommunityAmerica offers its
outstanding products and services to members and their families.
CommunityAmerica Credit Union has deep roots in the Kansas City community. The credit union began on March 19, 1940 as TWA Club
Credit Union. The credit union continued to grow and prosper through the years. In 1992, TWA Club Credit Union changed its name to Members
America Credit Union. In 1998, Members America Credit Union adopted the name CommunityAmerica Credit Union. Today,
CommunityAmerica is one of the largest credit unions in the country.
Choosing a Credit Union
Choosing to bank at CommunityAmerica is the choice to be a member – not just a customer. As a member, you know that the financial prod-
ucts and services you use were created to best meet your needs, that your rates work harder and that the people who serve you treat you with the
respect and attention due a member…and an owner
J o i n C o m m u n i t y A m e r i c a To d ay !
To learn more about CommunityAmerica, its products and services visit the branch near you, log on to www.cacu.com or call us at (913)
905-7000 or toll free (800) 892-7957.
In future publications we will spotlight other NFPA membership benefits including:
• Acteva Event Management • Insurance benefits
• American Society of Notary • Job postings
• Car Rental Discounts • National Notary Association
• CLE classes • NFPA Publications
• ExecuTrain Virtual Campus • Corporate gifts — www.flowers.com
• Eyewear discounts • Overnight Deliver Service
• Flight insurance • Dental, vision, hearing aids &
• 1-800-Flowers prescription drug benefit
• Hotel reservations network
17 J u n e / J u l y 2 0 0 5 N a t i o n a l P a r a l e g a l R e p o r t e r
Note: Ther will be more
convention news in the
NFPA 2005 CONVENTION NEWS See an article from a
First Timer on Page 4!
Congratulations to the new NFPA Board of Directors
From left to right, Wayne D. Akin, Vice President and Director of Positions & Issues; Debra Hindin-King, Region II Director; Kelly
S. Montgomery, RP, Secretary and Director of Operations; De L. Dishman, Region I Director; S. Kristine Farmer, RP, President; Elaine
B. Patton, RP, Region IV Director; Anita G. Haworth, RP, Treasurer and Director of Finance; Susan G. Ippoliti, Vice President and
Director of Membership; Beth L. King, RP, Vice President and Director of Profession Development; (not pictured: Linda McGirr,
Region III Director and Sharon S. Spinelli, Region V Director).
A Very Special Thanks to our Las Vegas Hosts
From left to right, Wendy Stoll, Cindy Lein, Melissa Lancaster, Michelle Ketrow, Shirley Blackburn, Debra Schubert, Christy Beckwith, Amy
Dick and Noel Anschutz, Host Convention Chair.
adver tiser index NationalDEPO
1-888-577-DEPO, www.nationaldepo.com, Inside Back
Advertiser Name NNRC (National Network Reporting Corporation)
Phone, Web Address, Page # Guaranteed Subpoena Service 1-866-DEP-NNRC, www.nnrc.com, 45
1-800-672-1952, www.served.com, 35 Purdue University
AIRE (Alliance for Independent Reporting 1-765-494-9876, www.purdue.edu/tis, 25
1-888-522-AIRE, www.AIREdep.com, 7 1-800-973-1177, www.lawcrossing.com, 39 Ralph McElroy Translation Company
1-800-531-9977, www.mcelroytranslation.com, 29
Abraham University IPMA
1-310-202-9999, www..com, 3 1-404-292-4762, www.paralegalmanagement.org, 19 Robert Half Legal Staffing
1-800-870-8367, www.roberthalflegal.com, Back Cover
AAfPE Legal Assistant Today
1-407-834-6688, www.AAfPE.org, 36 1-800-394-2626, www.jamespublishing.com, 27 Spartan Detective Agency
1-800-672-1952, www.served.com, 17
California University of Pennsylvania M & M Reporting, Inc.
1-412-565-2207, www.cup.edu/graduate/legal, 13 1-630-775-1503, www.mmreporting.com, 43 Set Depo
1-800-451-3376, www.setdepo.com, Inside Front Cover
CT Corporation MRC
1-800-624-0909, www.ctadvantage.com, 5 1-888-868-6769, www.mrchouston.com, 22 WestLaw
copy4you National Court Reporters Association
1-314-496-0771, www.copy4you.com, 31 1-800-272-6272, www.NCRAonline.org, 47 Verdict Search
1-800-832-1900, www.VerdictSearch.com, 11
National Paralegal Reporter June/July 2005 18
N F PA T E X T B O O K S & C A R E E R M AT E R I A L S
Items noted with an * can be NFPA brochures available upon request
downloaded for free at www.paralegals.org
Paralegals, Defining the Profession —
Bankruptcy and Collections: The Paralegal Perspective by Darcy this brochure provides an overview of the paralegal pro-
Williamson — This third-edition textbook offers comprehensive infor- fession and steps to become a paralegal, including edu-
mation on bankruptcy and collections, including form examples and cation options, ongoing education and employment
debtor and creditor perspectives. Member: $35. • Non-member: $40. options.
Bulk orders discounted.
NFPA Member Benefits —
Directory of Paralegal Education Programs* — This directory lists this brochure provides an overview of
educational institutions that offer paralegal training and includes “How NFPA member benefits; an explana-
to Choose a Paralegal Education Program.” Member: $10. • Non- tion of NFPA; discusses how members
member: $15. can become involved; and how the fed-
Paralegal Responsibilities (Updated 1998)* — This 60-page publi- eration influences the profession.
cation itemizes a paralegal’s typical duties. Sponsored by The Affiliates.
Member: $1 • Non-member: $20.
CLE Staying Current in the
Profession — this brochure
“Paralegals: Enhancing Practice, Professionalism and explains CLE; the role of the employer;
Profitability” — Video — Sponsored by the West Group, NFPA’s Telly- how staying current in legal issues
winning video available on CD or VHS. 21 minutes. $35. • Educator: impacts a paralegal’s career; and how
$10. Available free online at paralegals.org/CLE/west-ed.html. to evaluate courses.
“Leveraging with Paralegals: Setting the PACE of the Future.” —
PACE Ready to be a PACE-
Video — Sponsored by Lexis/Nexis, discusses economics of paralegal
utilization, ethics, credentialing, and PACE. 22 minutes. Available on CD
setter — this brochure provides a
or VHS. Member: $35. Non-member: $35. • Educator: $10. background of how and why the PACE
program was developed; benefits of taking PACE; and an
The Ethical Wall: Its Application to Paralegals* overview of exam preparation.
Information every paralegal should know. Member: $15. • Non-mem-
To order, clip or copy this form and mail to: NFPA 2517 Eastlake Avenue E, Suite 200, Seattle, WA 98102 • (206) 652-4120
The National Paralegal Item Name or Description Quantity Price
All NFPA members receive a copy of
this magazine. Others can purchase a
Visit www.paralegals.org for a special
one-time subscription offer. PAYMENT OPTIONS Subtotal __________________________
❒ 1 issue: $6/copy ❏ My check for $ _____________ is enclosed
❏ MasterCard ❏ VISA Shipping __________________________
_____________ issue date
❏ American Express Total ____________________________
❒ 1 year: $33/year, 6 issues, Card No. ______________________________________
exp date ______________________________________ Shipping/Handling Charges:
❒ 2 years: $59/year, 12 issues, Signature ______________________________________ Minimum order of $1 $ 1.50 orders $10-$19.99
a $20% savings $ 3.00 orders $20-$39.99 $ 5.00 orders over $40
Canadian residents: $39 for one year
$65 for two years Ship to: Name:______________________________________________________________________
Other countries: $41 for one year Address: __________________________________________________________________________
$67 for two years City, State, Zip: ________________________________ Phone: ____________________________
19 J u n e / J u l y 2 0 0 5 N a t i o n a l P a r a l e g a l R e p o r t e r
N F PA M E M B E R A S S O C I AT I O N S
ALABAMA LOUISIANA NEVADA
Gulf Coast Paralegal Association★ New Orleans Paralegal Association★ Paralegal Association of Southern Nevada
Mobile, AL New Orleans, LA (504) 467-3136 Las Vegas, NV
GulfCoast@paralegals.org NewOrleans@paralegals.org SouthernNevada@paralegals.org
ALASKA MARYLAND PENNSYLVANIA
Alaska Association of Paralegals★ Maryland Association of Paralegals, Inc★ Central Pennsylvania Paralegal Association★
Anchorage, AK Severna Park, MD (410) 576-2252 Harrisburg, PA
Alaska@paralegals.org Maryland@paralegals.org CentralPennsylvania@paralegals.org
CALIFORNIA MASSACHUSETTS Lycoming County Paralegal Association
Central Massachusetts Paralegal Association Williamsport, PA
Sacramento Valley Paralegal Association★
Worcester, MA Lycoming@paralegals.org
CentralMassachusetts@paralegals.org Montgomery County Paralegal Association★
Massachusetts Paralegal Association Lansdale, PA
San Francisco Paralegal Association1★
Boston, MA e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Montgomery@paralegals.org
San Francisco, CA (415) 777-2390
www.massparalegal.org Philadelphia Association of Paralegals★1
Western Massachusetts Paralegal Association★ Philadelphia, PA (215) 255-8405
COLORADO Springfield, MA Philadelphia@paralegals.org
Rocky Mountain Paralegal Association1★ WesternMassachusetts@paralegals.org Pittsburgh Paralegal Association★
Denver, CO (303) 370-9444
MICHIGAN Pittsburgh, PA (412) 344-3904
Henry Ford Community College Paralegal Network Club
CONNECTICUT Detroit, MI RHODE ISLAND
Central Connecticut Paralegal Association, Inc.★ HenryFordstudent@paralegals.org Rhode Island Paralegal Association★
Hartford, CT Providence, RI
Minnesota Paralegal Association1★
Connecticut Association of Paralegals, Inc.★ Roseville, MN (651) 633-2778 SOUTH CAROLINA
Bridgeport, CT Minnesota@paralegals.org Palmetto Paralegal Association★
Connecticut@paralegals.org Columbia, SC
New Haven County Association of Paralegals, Inc.★ Springfield Paralegal Association Palmetto@paralegals.org
New Haven, CT Springfield, MO (417) 886-2000, ext 5949 Carolina Paralegal Association
NewHaven@paralegals.org Sumter, SC
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA Rocky Mountain Paralegal Association★ SOUTH DAKOTA
National Capital Area Paralegal Association1★ Denver, CO (303) 370-9444 Rocky Mountain Paralegal Association★
Washington, DC (202) 659-0243 RockyMountain@paralegals.org Denver, CO (303) 369-1606
Navy Legalmen Association Paralegal Association of New Hampshire★ TENNESSEE
Washington, DC Manchester, NH Memphis Paralegal Association★
FLORIDA NewHampshire@paralegals.org Memphis, TN
Tampa Bay Paralegal Association, Inc.★ NEW JERSEY
Tampa, FL South Jersey Paralegal Association★ Middle Tennessee Paralegal Association★
TampaBay@paralegals.org Haddonfield, NJ Nashville, TN
Georgia Association of Paralegals, Inc.1★ NEW YORK TEXAS
Atlanta, GA (404) 522-1457 Capital District Paralegal Association, Inc. Dallas Area Paralegal Association★
Georgia@paralegals.org Albany, NY Dallas, TX (972) 991-0853
Long Island Paralegal Association UTAH
Hawaii Paralegal Association★
East Meadow, NY Rocky Mountain Paralegal Association★
LongIsland@paralegals.org Denver, CO (303) 369-1606
ILLINOIS Manhattan Paralegal Association, Inc.★
New York, NY (212) 330-8213 VERMONT
Illinois Paralegal Association1★
Manhattan@paralegals.org Vermont Paralegal Organization★
New Lenox, IL (815) 462-4620
Paralegal Association of Rochester, Inc. Burlington, VT
Rochester, NY (716) 234-5923 Vermont@paralegals.org
INDIANA Rochester@paralegals.org WASHINGTON
Indiana Paralegal Association★ Washington State Paralegal Association★
Western New York Paralegal Association★
Indianapolis, IN (317) 767-7798 Burien, WA (800) 288-WSPA
Buffalo, NY (716) 635-8250
Michiana Paralegal Association★ OHIO WYOMING
South Bend, IN Rocky Mountain Paralegal Association★
Cleveland Association of Paralegals★
Michiana@paralegals.org Denver, CO (303) 369-1606
Cleveland, OH (216) 556-5437
Northeast Indiana Paralegal Association, Inc.★ Cleveland@paralegals.org RockyMountain@paralegals.org
Fort Wayne, IN
Greater Dayton Paralegal Association★
NortheastIndiana@paralegals.org If you are interested in obtaining the address and phone
number of any of these associations, please call NFPA
headquarters at (206) 652-4120. Obtain a complete address
Kansas Paralegal Association★ Paralegal Association of Central Ohio★ listing of all NFPA member associations through
Topeka, KS Columbus, OH (614) 224-9700 www.paralegals.org or by sending 40 cents to NFPA, 2517
Kansas@paralegals.org CentralOhio@paralegals.org Eastlake Avenue E, Suite 200 Seattle, WA 98102
Greater Lexington Paralegal Association, Inc. Oregon Paralegal Association★ Charter Member Associations
Lexington, KY Portland, OR (503) 796-1671 ★ Associations with a home page on the Internet at
Lexington@paralegals.org Oregon@paralegals.org www.paralegals.org/Members
N a t i o n a l P a r a l e g a l R e p o r t e r J u n e / J u l y 20
F E AT U R E
Reputable Translation Agency
BY WENDY PEASE
In the last edition of National Paralegal Reporter, I dis-
cussed Machine Translation and the use of it in litigation.
Bottom line, if you need to know the gist of a large docu-
ment, machine translation is an option, but if you need an
accurate translation, you are still better off finding a rep-
utable translation agency. This article gives pointers on how
to find a reputable translation agency.
There are eight key things to look for in a translation
1. Look for a firm that you want to work with to form a
long-term relationship. This will ensure continued accura-
cy, consistency and timely translations.
2. Make sure the company has a selective screening pro-
cess for the translators. Ask how the company selects trans-
lators. Good agencies have processes for hiring translators.
Ask if the agency administers tests or requires samples. Also,
ask if the agency uses certified translators for projects that
need a certification. Does the agency check references? Does
the agency hire translators with the appropriate technical
and legal background? Translators can be very highly edu-
cated. For technical or complex translations, you want to know that the person is experienced in will be used. Linguistic nuances and cultural differences
translation and the particular jargon of the lawyers and the industry. can arise quite frequently. In addition, expressions can
3. Learn about the company’s quality control. Make sure that the company has quality control vary because of historical influences. For example, Arabic
processes that the company follows. The company should have its own in-language editors and expressions in different Middle Eastern countries are often
proofreaders. In addition, all translations should be reviewed by a project manager before going out dependent upon the identity of their former occupying
to the client. power – the British in Egypt, the Italians in Libya and the
4. Understand the services and in what fields the company specializes. If you need a legal docu- French in Lebanon.
ment translated into five languages and mailed to overseas clients, make sure the company can han- After you screen translation companies, involve others
dle the entire project. Conversely, if all you need is a one-page translation into Spanish, will the com- in your firm in the final decision. The selection of a trans-
pany still take on your small job and not charge you higher rates for unnecessary services? Ask if the lation service should be a firm decision. Sometimes two or
company has translators experienced in legal translations and in the particular subject matter. three different translation services can be engaged simul-
5. Ask for references and samples. When you talk to the references – ask about the company’s per- taneously by lawyers on the same case — leaving others
formance record and reputation for delivering on-time, on-budget and high quality. A reputable involved in the case confused by the sometimes substan-
company will not violate confidentiality by showing you a job done for another client in your indus- tial differences they note in the material received from
try, but will often provide translation samples or a copy of published work. what is ostensibly the same source. The benefits of famil-
6. Find out what resources the company uses. Do the translators have a good library and access iarity and consistency of style, developed as the relation-
to other resources? Good translators will research libraries, reference work and the Internet to ensure ship between a legal firm and a translation service grows
that the translations are accurate. Every year, linguists estimate that at least 3,000 words are added cannot be overestimated.
to major languages. Be sure that your translators stay current.
Wendy Pease is the Executive
7. Find out if the translators are native speakers of the document’s target language. The source Director of Rapport International, an
language is the current language of the document, the target being the language you request. A 18-year old foreign language transla-
tion and interpreting firm that works
qualified translator should be equally proficient in both the source and the target language but with companies throughout the world
translate into his or her native language. to improve global communications
locally. To learn more, go to
8. Find out if the translators used for your documents are from the region where your document www.RapportIntl.com.
21 J u n e / J u l y 2 0 0 5 N a t i o n a l P a r a l e g a l R e p o r t e r
F E AT U R E
Using the Internet for Legal Research:
Dead Print and Book TV
BY ANTHONY AYCOCK
You may not agree with Egon Spengler, who says in the
movie Ghostbusters that “print is dead.” But you can’t
deny that the Internet is changing the way paralegals do
research. Without leaving your office, you can track down
cases, statutes, regulations, newsletters, and even the num-
ber of cell phones used in Ecuador. But how do you find a
specific web page among the billions of pages that are
available? And, once you’ve found it, how do you know you
can trust its content?
One tool for finding information online is search
engines. These are good for researching a narrow topic or
idea (e.g., Charles Dickens or the Americans with
Disabilities Act). A search engine has three major elements.
First is the spider, also called the crawler. The spider visits a
web page, reads it, and then follows links to other pages
within the site. It returns to the site every month or two to
look for changes.
Everything the spider finds goes into the second part of
the search engine—the index. Also called the catalog, the
index contains a copy of every web page that the spider
finds. If a web page changes, then the index is updated.
Sometimes it can take a while for new pages or changes to
old pages to be added to the index. Thus, a web page may have So which is the best search engine?
been “spidered” but not yet indexed, which means a search engine will not find it.
Search engine software is the third part. This is the program that sorts through the Like Pringles potato chips, no one
millions of pages of the index to find and rank matches to a search. Because each search
engine’s elements—spider, index, and search software—work differently, the same
should use just one. This article lists
search run on different search engines will produce different results. You can read more three good options
about how search engines work at www.searchenginewatch.com.
Suppose you’re researching strategies for defending drunk drivers in North Carolina. • Ixquick (http://www.ixquick.com) — good if
Step one is to identify your concepts: drinking, driving, and North Carolina law. The next your topic is obscure or if you want to search several engines
step is to list keywords for each concept. The list might include: DUI, DWI, arrest, trial, at once (this is called meta searching).
defense, and North Carolina. These are terms you can use in a search engine to find rel-
evant web pages. Combine terms with AND, OR, or NOT to refine your results. These are Subject Directories
called Boolean operators (named after the English mathematician George Boole). A Another tool for finding information online is a subject
good tutorial on Boolean searching is available at http://library.albany.edu/inter- directory, also called a gateway site. These sites are good for
net/boolean.html. researching a broad topic or idea (e.g., British literature or
So which is the best search engine? Like Pringles potato chips, no one should use just disabilities). The key to a subject directory is that human
one. Below are three good ones to start with: editors have selected and organized—and maybe annotat-
• Google (http://www.google.com) — ranks pages based on how many high- ed—the included web sites. This cuts out the randomness
quality pages link to them (the first to use this technique); and the repetition that are the bane of search engines. See
• Teoma (http://www.teoma.com) — recommends experts’ links and concept http://lii.org and http://www.aadl.org/favorite for
clusters based on topic keywords; examples of general subject directories.
22 J u n e / J u l y 2 0 0 5 N a t i o n a l P a r a l e g a l R e p o r t e r
Suppose you need a list of expert witnesses and consultants for drunk driving defense. Start with
a legal subject directory. One of the best is http://www.findlaw, owned by West Group. Go to
the For Legal Professionals area and click on Browse by Practice Area. Choose Criminal Law.
From there, you can get to numerous criminal expert links, including Alcohol, Drugs, and DUI.
Or maybe you need to recommend self-help web sites to drunk driving defendants. On the
Criminal Law page, select Web Sites. Scroll down to Drunk Driving Resources to see links to more
web sites (e.g., http://www.dui.com). Findlaw editors have selected these sites, so you know
you can trust the content. Information quality (see below) is an important reason for using a
There are other outstanding legal subject directories besides Findlaw. Here are three good ones
to start with:
• Washlaw (http://www.washlaw.edu) – one of the oldest legal subject directories, man-
aged by Washburn University School of Law;
• Hieros Gamos (http://www.hg.org) – has lots of content not found elsewhere on the
Internet, including consultants and legal services vendors;
• Jurist (http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/) – source of legal news and topic links, managed by
Bernard Hibbits of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.
I n fo r m a t i o n Q u a l i t y
My wife got an e-mail recently from a friend of hers entitled “Life in the 1500s.” The e-mail
explained how certain familiar phrases (like “bring home the bacon” and “raining cats and
dogs”) originated in 16th-century European customs. Having lived too long with a librarian (I
suppose), my wife asked me to verify the ten explanations in the e-mail. Using a few reference
books, I debunked eight of them.
Misinformation abounds on the Internet. Most is casual; some is insidious. How can you eval-
uate the content of a web site you’ve found? Below are five steps :
• Identify source – Look for a “who we are” or “about this site” link. If the author claims to
be a professional (like a lawyer or a CPA), try to verify these credentials.
• Discover expertise – If the author claims to be a professional (like a lawyer or a CPA), veri-
fy these credentials. Look for other articles he or she has published.
• Determine objectivity – Does the writing style try hard to influence your opinion? Does it
seem persuasive without being based on facts?
• Establish date – Look for a copyright notice and date. Review facts and analysis in histori-
cal context. Be cautious about words like always, never, all, none, and most.
• Verify claims – As I did with my wife’s e-mail, look up facts using other reference tools.
Compare opinions and theories to what other experts have written.
For more guidance on information quality, see
At the beginning of the movie The Princess Bride, Peter Falk, who plays a grandfather visiting
his sick grandson, decides to read the boy a story. The boy rolls his eyes, leading Falk to exclaim,
“When I was your age, television was called books.” Certain prophets of literary doom say that
the Internet will have the same effect on the printed page. It won’t happen; computers won’t
replace books. But every paralegal will have to do electronic research. Estimates put the Internet
at about 8 billion pages. The idea of finding just one—or even one hun-
dred—seems daunting, unless you’ve developed search skills. The tech-
niques I’ve outlined in this article will take you several steps down the
Anthony Aycock is the librarian for the Charlotte, NC office of Womble Carlyle Sandridge &
Rice. He also teaches legal research in the paralegal certificate program of the University of
North Carolina at Charlotte. Anthony has lectured on using the Internet for legal research, and
he led his first-ever CLE course on that topic in April.
National Paralegal Reporter J u n e / J u l y 2 0 0 5 2 3
> continued from page 48
ing, or experience is qualified to
Significant complexities may arise Economic Loss Calculation
provide testimony to aid the In determining economic damages, the
in any forensic accounting work accountant relies upon expertise in accountingforensic as well
factfinder in matters that
exceed the common knowledge performed during the course of an as on an understanding of the economic basis of a loss
of ordinary people.” claim. For this reason, most economic damages
engagement; if an expert... experts are CPAs or have a background in economics.
An effective forensic account-
ing expert can have a signifi- Since most of the principles of economic loss calcula-
cant impact on the trier of fact. Significant complexities may arise in any forensic tion deal with academic theories of economic reality,
accounting work performed during the course of an engagement; if an expert is many economic loss experts are accounting, economic or
unable to successfully defend and explain this work and its inferences to a judge or finance professors and practitioners.
jury, the expert’s work may be for naught. Business Valuation
Qualifications of An Exper t Witness Business valuation experts also draw upon forensic accounting
because many of the financial details used and relied upon in the
An expert can only be as effective as academic education, professional training,
valuation process often need to be reconstructed or thoroughly
years of experience, and charisma will allow. Given the large pool of potential
analyzed. An important, but often overlooked, fact is that there
experts, it can be difficult to differentiate between them.
are differences between the objectives of an audit in compliance
Although many variables must be considered in the selection of an expert, we
with Generally Accepted Accounting Practices (GAAP) and a
posit that, in almost all cases, selection should be driven by the nature of the
forensic accounting reconstruction of accounting records. The
assignment. In this section, we discuss the various qualifications that should be
latter often attempts to reconstruct financial statements from an
evaluated in the selection process.
Academic Business valuation experts typically have the Accredited Senior
Appraiser (ASA) designation, in addition to other designations
It’s safe to say that the majority of potential forensic accounting experts possess such as Certified Business Appraiser (CBA), Accredited in Business
a significant amount of formal training. Typically, a forensic accountant will have Valuation (ABV) , and Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA).
an undergraduate degree, as well as an advanced or post-graduate degree. While The requirements for obtaining these designations vary signifi-
academic training provides a forensic accountant with solid foundational skills, cantly. The ASA designation is the most difficult to obtain, because
such training should be considered only as an entry point for further credentialing. of its education, proficiency, and five year experience requirement,
Accreditations and is consequently considered by most practitioners to be the most
The most applicable accreditations are dependent upon the type of engagement
for which the expert is being retained. Although certain accreditations hold uni- Experience
versal appeal, some are more specifically targeted to particular types of cases. Perhaps the most important characteristic of an effective expert
Investigative Accounting is the extent of prior experience in forensic accounting cases. The
effective application of forensic accounting derives from a wealth of
In analyzing financial records to determine whether they have been manipulated, knowledge accumulated over years of working on similar cases.
investigative accountants draw heavily on an understanding of the accounting process Experience in depositions and with courtroom testimony is also
and procedures used to account for funds, particularly cash. For this reason, most inves- critical. It is important that forensic accountants who wish to
tigative accountants are Certified serve as experts are comfortable and familiar with the litigation
Public Accountants (CPAs) process and courtroom procedure.
and/or Certified Fraud Examiners
(CFEs). In specific instances, par- Selection of An Exper t Witness
ticularly cases involving
The selection of an expert is a process dependent upon on a num-
bankruptcy or troubled business,
ber of factors, including prior interactions with a particular expert
investigative accountants with the
and the type of engagement for which the expert is being retained.
Certified Insolvency and
The type and nature of an assignment should be the main
Restructuring Advisor (CIRA) des-
determinant in the selection of an expert, primarily because this
ignation may also prove extreme-
ensures that the approaches employed to complete the engage-
ly helpful. The CIRA designation
ment will be 1) conducted in conformance with the relevant
denotes that the holder has
authorities and 2) constructed in a supportable manner.
demonstrated a high degree of
Those responsible for selecting an expert should assess their
Jim Barber, RMPA Utah Chapter Coordinator and Utah specialized, professional, finan-
Governor Jon Huntsman, Jr. are discussing the governors case and determine the requisite core skills and experience that
vision for Utah paralegals and the upcoming Paralegal Day
cial, and operational expertise in
are relevant to the case at hand. In reality, attorneys often select
on May 19th.This event was held at the offices of Christensen the area of underperforming and
& Jensen on March 31, 2005 experts with whom they have past dealings and established rela-
24 J u n e / J u l y 2 0 0 5 N a t i o n a l P a r a l e g a l R e p o r t e r
tionships. This often becomes a concern when the case for which the expert is being retained eral lack of university-level courses on investigative account-
contains issues outside the skill set or experience of that individual. Although many foren- ing, economic loss/damage calculation, and business valua-
sic accounting experts can be proficient in most cases involving investigative accounting, tion.
there are a number of instances where investigative accounting is only one of several skill We hope that this article promotes further discussion within
sets required to address the complex issues inherent in a particular case. academic circles on ways that the forensic accounting syllabus
can be strengthened to prepare students to become effective
The Beauty Contest forensic accounting experts.
At some point the selection of an expert will come down to a choice between two or more
Derk G. Rasmussen has over 21 years of expe-
similarly qualified and experienced practitioners. The decision itself has broader implica- rience in litigation support services. He holds a CPA,
tions since, once an expert is retained and has testified, the trier of fact will be required to is a member of the American Institute of Certified
Public Accountants and the Utah Association of
weigh the differing opinions of two experts who may be equally qualified and experienced. Certified Public Accountants. Rasmussen is a
By holding a beauty contest before selecting an expert, those responsible for the selection of Certified Fraud Examiner, a member of the
Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, an
an expert will be able to assess attributes that may not be readily apparent on paper. Accredited Senior Appraiser of the American Society
In a perfect world the quality of an expert’s work product should stand objectively on its of Appraisers, and earned the Accredited in Business
own merits; however, the real world is more often affected by subjective considerations. In Valuation designation from the American Institute
of Certified Public Accountants. Rasmussen earned
addition to having high quality work, an expert must also be persuasive; unfortunately, the a BS in Accounting, BS in Finance and an MBA
most accurate work product is not always the opinion that prevails. The charisma of the from Utah State University.
Joseph L. Leauanae has over eight years experi-
expert is often more convincing than the quality of their work, which frequently leads to the ence in litigation support services. Leauanae holds the
success of a case hinging on the persuasiveness of its expert. If two experts are equally qual- CPA, is a member of the American Institute of Certified
Public Accountants, the Utah Association of Certified
ified and experienced, the expert who can more astutely explain the work without conde- Public Accountants, and the Nevada Society of
scension may prove to be more valuable. Certified Public Accountants. He is also a Certified
Fraud Examiner, a member of the Association of
A beauty contest may not necessarily produce a single winner. A strategy that also works well Certified Fraud Examiners, and an Accredited Senior Appraiser of the American
involves retaining two forensic accounting practitioners as consultants at the outset and then even- Society of Appraisers. He earned the Accredited in Business Valuation designation from
tually designating only one of the practitioners as the expert. This strategy comes with its own pros the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and the Certified Information
Technology Professional designation from the AICPA. Leauanae also serves as a mem-
and cons. ber of the AICPA’s Business Valuation and Forensic & Litigation Services’ Editorial
On the positive side, two consultants can collaborate to strengthen the opinions that are Advisory Board. Leauanae earned a BS in Accounting and an MBA from the
University of Utah.
eventually concluded. Furthermore, if two foren-
sic accountants are retained as consultants —
especially when the case at hand deals with com-
plex or innovative theories — then the attorney
has the option of selecting only one of the con-
sultants to continue as an expert, usually the con-
sultant who develops the most solid opinions
given a preponderance of the evidence.
The potential downside to this strategy, how-
ever, is that retaining two consultants is expen-
sive. Additionally, if both consultants are subse-
quently designated as experts, a separate prob-
lem may arise if the two experts independently
develop different opinions. In such a case, the
two experts could conceivably be used by the
opposition to rebut the opinion of the other.
Conclusions & Challenges
The objective of this article has been to identi-
fy issues that relate to the qualification and selec-
tion of forensic accounting experts. Our motive
in composing this article, however, has been to
challenge academia. The foundational skills of
forensic accounting experts are directly related to
the quality of education received in school.
Currently, most training for forensic accountants
occurs outside of the university environment.
Although universities are beginning to recognize
forensic accounting as an expertise separate and
apart from auditing and tax, there is still a gen-
National Paralegal Reporter June/July 2005 25
F E AT U R E
Criteria and Qualifications Within
BY DERK G. RASMUSSEN, CPA, ABV, CFE, ASA Business and Intangible Asset
AND JOSEPH L. LEAUANAE, CPA, CITP, ABV, ASA, CFE Valuation
This article briefly discusses the criteria and qualifications that should guide the selection of Business valuation refers to the appraisal of an
a forensic accounting expert witness. This discussion draws distinctions between the different equity interest or other interests in a business entity.
skill sets that exist within forensic accounting and how those skill sets drive the selection of Intangible asset valuation refers to the appraisal of
forensic accounting experts. We use these distinctions and classifications as a gauge for identi- intangible assets, such as licenses and patents, which
fying appropriate experts in a variety of situations. may or may not be valued within the context of a
Areas of Exper tise Generally, both busi-
W i t h i n g Fo r e n s i c ness valuations and
intangible asset valua-
Accounting tions are conducted by
The term “forensic accounting” has business appraisers.
come to represent a fairly broad range of For purposes of this
services that can be classified into sever- article, the terms
al distinct skill sets. Each skill set repre- “business valuation”
sents an area of specialization within and “intangible asset
forensic accounting that requires addi- valuation” are consid-
tional expertise and training. This added ered synonymous.
expertise and training is distinguished Business valuations
by separate qualifications and certifica- or appraisals are often
tions. used to provide inde-
We have categorized the types of foren- pendent opinions on
sic accounting skill sets into the follow- business value, or the
ing categories. diminution in busi-
1. Investigative Accounting ness value, based upon
2. Economic Loss Calculation generally accepted val-
3. Business and Intangible Asset Valuation uation theory and an
understanding of business value as it pertains to the
Investigative Accounting past, present, and future.
Investigative accounting refers to the process employed to trace funds or to reconstruct Business appraisers, who usually have formal train-
accounting information. This task has traditionally been undertaken by accountants because of ing in finance, have traditionally undertaken business
their detailed understanding of the financial accounting process and because they are more valuations. More recently, forensic accountants have
aptly trained to trace specific accounting transactions and to identify potential financial state- also joined the business appraisal profession. Given the
ment manipulation. diverse backgrounds of contemporary business apprais-
ers, it is generally observed that those who have a
Economic Loss Calculation finance background are more effective at evaluating the
Economic loss calculation refers to the determination of potential lost profit due to the occur- financial risks and returns inherent in the appraised
rence of a particular event or series of events. Typically these calculations evaluate damages suf- business or intangible asset; while those who have an
fered relative to the past, present, and future performance of companies and individuals under accounting background are more effective at analyzing
varying assumptions and scenarios. the historical and projected financial statements of the
Both economists and forensic accountants traditionally undertake these calculations. appraised business. The effective business appraiser is
Forensic accountants are particularly effective at economic loss calculations because, unlike typically proficient at both.
economists, they can interpret and assess lost revenue and determine the associated fixed and The Expert Witness
As defined by FindLaw, an expert witness is “[a spe-
This article summarizes the paper Expert Witness Qualifications and Selection, published in Journal of Financial cialist] who by virtue of special knowledge, skill, train-
Crime, Vol. 12, No. 2. For more information on this article visit www.henrystewart.com/journals/jfc
26 JUNE/JULY 2005 National Paralegal Reporter > continued on page 46