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Legal Assistants Section
State Bar of Michigan
     Spring 2006
                           THE GROWING NEED FOR ELDER LAW
                                         Linda D. Wallace, Program Coordinator, Oakland University

                               At the Oakland University Paralegal Faculty meeting last winter, the question was raised as to new
                           electives we could add to our ABA-approved paralegal program for the upcoming semesters. What area
                           of law do we need to expose our students to that will benefit them as they enter the job market? The
                           general consensus was that Elder Law was a growing area due to the aging of the baby boom population.

                           Public Need
                               According to the U.S. Census data as taken from the report 65+ in the United States: 2005,
                           commissioned by the National Institute on Aging (NIA,) the U. S. population age 65 and over is
                           expected to double in size within the next 25 years.
                               The report goes on to state that by 2030, almost one out of five Americans (some 72 million people)
                           will be 65 years or older. The age group 85 and older is now the fastest growing segment of the U.S.
                           population. In 2000, nine states, including Michigan, had more than 1 million people age 65 or older.
                               People in the U.S. are living longer, healthier lives than ever before. The average life expectancy rose
                           from 47.3 years in 1900 to 76.9 years in 2000. Many observers expect a major wave of retirement in 2011,
                           when the first baby boomers turn age 65.1 People are no longer dying within five years of retirement;
                           instead, many people will be enjoying 10-20 more years of living.

                           Legal Need
                               The legal needs of elders have grown, as has the need for attorneys to specialize. Mary T. Schmitt
                           Smith, Esq., the first Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA)2 in the state of Michigan, believes that
                           working with clients and their families involves a holistic approach. Her Bloomfield Hills law firm,
                           known as the Theresa Law Center, P.C.,3 protects the interests of elders and their families as they navigate
                           legal issues associated with the aging process.
                               A case summary is completed on each client addressing the following elder law issues. The legal
                           issues listed below are also the category listings for the CELA task requirements wherein an attorney
                           must provide services in these areas prior to the short-term application process of becoming a CELA.
                               • Health and Personal Care Planning–giving advice regarding powers of attorney, living wills,
                                   health care declarations, attorneys-in-fact, and families about medical and life-sustaining choices.
                              •   Pre-Mortem legal planning–wills, trusts, durable general or financial powers of attorney, real
                                  estate, gifting, financial and tax implications.
                              •   Fiduciary Representation–seeking the appointment of, giving advice to, representing or serving
                                  as executor, personal representative, trustee, guardian, conservator.
                              •   Legal Capacity Counseling–how capacity is determined and the level for various legal activities.
                              •   Advice on Insurance matters–life, health, long-term, home care, COBRA, medigap, long-term
                                  disability, dread disease, burial/funeral policies.
                              •   Resident Rights Advocacy–advising rights of patients and residents of hospitals, nursing homes,
                                  and assisted living facilities.
                              •   Housing Counseling–reviewing the options and the financing of those options such as mortgage
                                  alternatives, loan programs, life care contracts, and home equity conversion.
                              •   Employment and Retirement advice–pensions, retiree health benefits.
                              •   Income, Estate, and Gift Tax advice.
                              •   Counseling about tort claims against nursing homes.

                                                                                                            Continued on back cover
Michigan Paralegal

                                                                                                                              Spring 2006

Message From the Chair                                                                                           COUNCIL AND
      THE VALUE OF VOLUNTEERS                                                                                     DIRECTORY
                                                                                                                   Vicki Voisin, CLAS
                                                                                                                     (231) 547-8990
                               In the Message        to the Section as she wanted. Every bit of en-        
                           From the Chair ap-        ergy she gives the Section will be appreciated.
                           pearing in the Winter          Many people assist the Section behind the               CHAIRPERSON-ELECT
                           2006 issue of the         scenes without actually serving on the Coun-                      Vacant
                           Michigan Paralegal, I     cil. Margaret Lucas Agius, CP, keeps the ob
                           told you about a call I   bank up to date. The scholarship committee                       EX-OFFICIO
                           got from an attorney      is headed by Heather Hill, CP. Membership                  Kathleen D. Kasiorek, CP
                           with a question that I    applications are processed by Kevin Gaziews-
                           could actually answer.    ki, CLAS. Linda Jevahirian handles publicity
                                                                                                                     Denise E. Gau
  Vicki Voisin, CLAS I liked that!                   and has been instrumental this year in having
                               Last week I got an    May 3 proclaimed Legal Assistant Day.                             TREASURER
                           even better call, this         The Section could not survive without                    KathyAnn Blunck
time with a question from Section member             these volunteers.
Marianne Delaney, CP. Her question: “Does                 Running for office is important, also.                        COUNCIL
the Council need help with anything? I would         Declaration of Candidacy forms for officers                    Susan M. LaFerier
love to help out!”                                   and Council members for 2006-07 are in this                 Cheryl J. Nodarse, CLA
     Many of you may know Marianne. She has          issue. Please consider getting involved. You                   Jennifer M. Petty
been active in both the Section and LAAM. She        will never regret taking that step.                           Tami R. Salzbrenner
                                                                                                                   Christine L. Welton
is a paralegal employed by Ford Motor Compa-              If running for office is not possible for
                                                                                                                 Jaxine L. Wintjen, CLA
ny. If it were within my powers, she might also      you, then do as Marianne did: offer to help
be elevated to sainthood as a result of her call.    in some small way. You will find that your                 COMMISSIONER LIAISON
     Marianne was volunteering to help the Sec-      involvement in the Section will be welcomed.              Michael S. Hohauser, Esq.
tion in any way she could. So many people shy             I urge all of you to become involved. It is
away from volunteering, not realizing that the       good for us to think beyond our jobs, to ex-            STANDING COMMITTEES
amount of time they may have to give is mini-        pand our horizons. I believe it was Shakespeare               ANNUAL MEETING
mal. As little as 15 minutes a week will help get    who said, “We know what we are, but know                   KathyAnn Blunck, Chair
much of the work done. The rewards they will         not what we may be.” Involvement in the Sec-
reap are huge.                                       tion will help you become what you may be.                        EDUCATION
     The Section needs volunteers to carry out its        Now is the time to explore and expand                   Denise E. Gau, Chair
programs and to guarantee its continued success.     your professional horizons. Volunteer to work
                                                                                                                      JOB BANK
As Marianne says, “I have always felt that an        with the Section today!
                                                                                                           Margaret Lucas Agius, CLA, Chair
organization such as the Legal Assistants Section
of the State Bar belongs to the people who join                                                                       MEMBERSHIP
it, so why not make it what you want by becom-            Vicki Voisin, CLAS, is chair of the Legal         Kevin D. Gasiewski, CLAS, Chair
ing involved.”                                       Assistants Section of the State Bar of Michigan
     The bylaws of the Section were carefully        and the Section’s 2000 Mentor Award recipient.                   NEWSLETTER
drafted to ensure that the same members do           Vicki is also an active member of the National           Tami R. Salzbrenner, Co-Chair
not continue serving the Section year after year.    Association of Legal Assistants, Inc. (NALA).             Jennifer M. Petty, Co-Chair
For instance, I cannot repeat my term as chair.      She is a past president of NALA (1998-2000)                         POLICIES
This is good for me and for the Section. All as-     and NALA’s 2003 President’s Award recipient.          Kathleen D. Kasiorek, CP, Co-Chair
sociations need fresh ideas and the energy that      Vicki is a nationally-known speaker on the topic      Jaxine L. Wintjen, CLA, Co-Chair
new Council members bring.                           of ethics for legal support staff and will be a key
     Running for office, though, is not the only     speaker at NALA’s 2006 convention in Tampa,                       PRO BONO
way to serve the Section. Marianne called to         Florida. She received LAAM’s first annual Vicki         Kathleen D. Kasiorek, CP, Chair
offer help with anything. Anything? Yes! We          Voisin Legal Assistant of the Year Award in
                                                                                                                    PUBLIC RELATIONS
could use her help with the Annual Day of            2000. Vicki is a graduate of Central Michigan
                                                                                                                Linda S. Jevahirian, Chair
Education. Yes! We could use her help with the       University. In 1984, she achieved NALA’s Certi-
Michigan Paralegal. Yes! The Annual Meeting is       fied Legal Assistant designation and, in 1992,                  SCHOLARSHIPS
being planned for September, and we will need        achieved NALA’s Real Estate Specialist designa-            Heather A. Hill, CP, Chair
help with that.                                      tion. A practicing legal assistant for more than
     Marianne could have her choice of jobs,         25 years, Vicki is employed by Running Wise &                      WEBSITE
and she could devote as much or as little time       Ford in their Charlevoix office.                        Kathleen D. Kasiorek, CP, Chair

Michigan Paralegal
                                                                                 DECLARATION OF CANDIDACY

                                                                    I hereby declare my candidacy for the position checked below:

                                                                               2 year term as Chairperson, and Ex-Officio
                                                                               3 year term as Chairperson-Elect, Chairperson, and
                                                                               2 year term as Member of the Council

                                                                    of the Legal Assistants Section of the State Bar of Michigan
                                                                    and consent to the placing of my name and information about
                                                                    me on the slate of candidates to be prepared prior to and in
                                                                    conjunction with the elections at the Annual Meeting in
                                                                    Ypsilanti on September 15, 2006.

                                                                    Name:               __________________________________
    Notice of Call for Declaration of Candidacy for Officers
    and Members of the Section’s Council                            Member No.:         __________________________________

    To: All Members of the Legal Assistants Section of              Employer:           __________________________________
        the State Bar of Michigan
                                                                    Address:            __________________________________
    Officers and members of the Council, listed below, will be
    elected by the members of the Section, voting either by mail    Telephone No.:      __________________________________
    or in person at the Annual Meeting in Ypsilanti on September
    15, 2006. Ballots will be tallied by the Nominations and        Email:              __________________________________
    Elections Committee prior to the annual meeting. Ballots cast
    at the annual meeting will be tallied and added to this count   Area(s):            __________________________________
    and the election results will be announced at the annual
    meeting. A term year runs from the end of the Annual Meeting    Statement of qualifications for office (100 words or less):
    to the end of the following Annual Meeting.

    The positions to be filled are:
    Chairperson                     2 year term
       (1 year Chair, 1 year Ex-Officio)
    Chairperson-Elect               3 year term
       (1 year Chair-Elect, 1 year Chair, 1 year Ex-Officio)
    3 Members of the Council        2 year terms

    This is a notice of call for declaration of candidacy. Any
    member of the Section who wishes to declare himself or
    herself a candidate for an office or a member position on the
    Council must complete and submit the Declaration of
    Candidacy form.       Excerpts from the Section’s Bylaws
    regarding the duties of officers and members of the Council     Signed: _____________________________ Dated: ________
    should be reviewed before responding (a copy of which can be
    found on the Section’s Web site at
                                                                    I would like to serve on the following committees. CHECK as
    The Section’s Nominations and Elections Committee, by           many as you wish. You DO NOT need to run for office to
    authority under the Bylaws, may nominate additional             serve on a committee.
    candidates. The Bylaws also permit other nominations for the
                                                                      NEWSLETTER              EDUCATION         PRO BONO
    same offices to be made from the floor at the Annual Meeting      PUBLIC RELATIONS        MEMBERSHIP        SCHOLARSHIP
    of the Section. If you have any questions, please call any
    member of the Nominations and Elections Committee.
                                                                    Return by July 15, 2006 to:
                                                                    Vicki Voisin, CLAS
                                                                    Running Wise & Ford, PLC
    Vicki Voisin, CLAS (231) 547-8990
                                                                    203 Mason Street, PO Box 490
    Kathy Ann Blunck (231) 929-4878
                                                                    Charlevoix, MI 49720
    Kathleen Kasiorek, CP (616) 752-2264
                                                                    Fax: 231-547-3014
    Dated: March 20, 2006

                                                                                                                           Spring 2006

Ethics Corner

                                    Tami R. Salzbrenner, Legal Assistant; Joseph H. Spiegel, P.C.

    Are you thinking about taking a job        ing of the legal assistant would be required,    implemented immediately upon hiring the
with another law firm? If so, you need to      pursuant to MRPC 1.10(a),2 or disqualifi-        legal assistant. In addition to the screening
consider issues of conflicts of interest and   cation would be imputed to the firm.             procedures, the firm hiring the legal assis-
confidentiality so that your new employer                                                       tant must immediately notify all courts in-
is not disqualified from cases you worked      When Is There a Conflict?                        volved in the matters presenting a conflict.
on at your previous firm.                                                                       The notice must indicate the screening and
                                                    A conflict of interest occurs when a
                                                                                                segregation procedures established with
                                               paralegal was privy to confidential client
History: The Rules and Why They Ap-                                                             copies to all parties involved. The screen-
                                               information and/or documents that are
ply to Legal Assistants                                                                         ing procedures must remain in effect until
                                               adverse to his/her current employing law
      Michigan Rules of Professional Con-                                                       there is no possibility that the confidential
                                               firm. Some courts have found that mere ac-
duct at 5.3(a) state that with respect to a                                                     information might be used against the
                                               cess to such files does not create a conflict
non-lawyer employed by, retained by, or                                                         party or for the benefit of the new firm.
                                               of interest sufficient to impute disqualifica-
associated with a lawyer, a partner in a law   tion of the firm. However, State Bar Opin-
firm shall make reasonable efforts to ensure                                                    Who Is Responsible to Protect From
                                               ion RI-115 states that even if the transfer-
that the firm has in effect measures giv-      ring non-lawyer’s tasks at the former firm
ing reasonable assurance that the person’s     were simply secretarial in nature, the mere           The ABA’s Guidelines for the Utiliza-
conduct is compatible with the professional    exposure to protected information, even          tion of Legal Assistants at guideline 7
obligations of the lawyer.                     if it did not include analysis or substan-       states that a lawyer should make reason-
     The American Bar Association (ABA)        tive cognition of confidential information,      able efforts to ensure the conduct of the
has established Model Guidelines for the       necessitates screening of the legal assistant    paralegals they employ is compatible with
Utilization of Paralegal Services. These       from any contact with material relating to       their own professional obligations, includ-
guidelines should be used by attorneys         the particular matter in order for the new       ing the obligation to prevent conflicts of
when employing legal assistants and as-        employer to avoid disqualification.              interest resulting from a paralegal’s other
signing them tasks. The guidelines can be                                                       employment or interests. The guideline
located at     Screening: What Is Considered                    also indicates that the paralegal should
vices/paralegals/home.html. The State Bar of   Adequate?                                        be instructed to inform the supervisory
Michigan has adopted similar guidelines              The legal assistant moving to a new firm   lawyer and the management of the firm of
(known as the Michigan Guidelines for the      is immediately disqualified from any matter      any interest that could result in a conflict
Utilization of Legal Assistants), which are    in which there is a conflict of interest. To     of interest or even give the appearance of a
located at                                                     conflict. In this regard, the ABA recog-
                                               avoid disqualification of the entire firm, the
ethics/utilization.cfm.                                                                         nizes that the paralegal has a responsibility
                                               transferring legal assistant must be screened
     Requiring a non-lawyer’s conduct to                                                        to inform the attorney of any conflicts of
                                               from any participation in the case. At a
be compatible with that of the attorney’s                                                       interest the paralegal might have.
                                               minimum, screening must include the exclu-
obligations, the Michigan Rules of Profes-                                                          The Michigan Guidelines for the
                                               sion of the disqualified legal assistant from
sional Conduct (MRPC) clearly applies to                                                        Utilization of Legal Assistants at guideline
legal assistants who switch firms.             any participation in the action. In addition,    5, also states that in employing a legal as-
     A law firm may avoid disqualifica-        instruction must be given to all other lawyers   sistant or assigning a legal assistant to any
tion for conflicts of interest in a case by    and employees in the firm to not discuss the     particular client or matter, a lawyer should
screening a new employee. The screen is        matter in the legal assistant’s presence, nor    take reasonable measures to ensure that no
sometimes referred to as a “Chinese wall.”     may they allow the screened legal assistant      conflict of interest arises out of the legal
If a legal assistant previously worked on or   to view any documents or other material          assistant’s current or prior employment.
acquired secret, confidential, or material     relating to the action. No one in the firm is    This includes the legal assistant’s business
information regarding a file or client that    permitted to receive any information from        or personal interests. These guidelines,
is adverse to the new firm, MRPC 1.91          the legal assistant concerning the matter. In    as well as the Michigan Rules of Profes-
precludes that legal assistant from work-      addition, all files pertaining to the matter     sional Conduct, clearly state that it is the
ing on the file at the new firm without the    must be moved to a physically segregated         attorney’s responsibility to check for, and
client’s informed written consent. Absent      area or marked with a special coding.            protect against, any conflicts of interest.
that consent, timely and adequate screen-           The screening procedure must be                                   Continued on next page

Michigan Paralegal

Ethics Corner
Continued from page 5
                                                                                                   Articles and columns that appear in the
                                                                                                   Michigan Paralegal do not necessarily
                                                                                                   reflect the official position of the Legal
Conclusion                                                                                         Assistants Section of the State Bar of
     As legal assistants, we have a duty to be candid about potential conflicts. This will         Michigan, and their publication does
protect the firms we work for from disqualification arising out of a failure to be prudent         not constitute an endorsement of views
regarding potential conflicts. If a paralegal is even remotely aware of a potential conflict       that may be expressed. Publication
                                                                                                   and editing are at the discretion of the
from an old firm or any other possible conflict, the paralegal must notify his/her supervis-
                                                                                                   editor. The Michigan Paralegal encourages
ing attorney immediately.                                                                          republication and dissemination of articles
    It is far less costly for a law firm to create effective screening measures to use when they   it publishes. For information regarding
hire new employees than it is to defend a motion to disqualify.                                    permission to reprint articles, please
                                                                                                   address inquiries to the editor.
    Tami R. Salzbrenner earned her parlegal certificate from Oakland University. Tami has been
a paralegal with Joeseph H. Spiegel, PC for seven years.                                           Editor's Note
                                                                                                   The newsletter is published quarterly.
Endnotes                                                                                           The deadline for submission of items for
                                                                                                   the Summer 2006 issue is June 14, 2006.
1 MRPC 1.9 relates to a conflict of interest as a result of a former client.
2 MRPC 1.10(a) states that while lawyers are associated in a firm, none of them shall              Calendar Events/Items, Letters to the
  knowingly represent a client when any one of them practicing alone would be prohib-              Editor, and other special items: Please
  ited from doing so under MRPC.                                                                   send to Tami R. Salzbrenner, by e-mail
                                                                                                   ( or facsimile [(734)
                                                                                                   Section News and Business (Message
                                                                                                   from the Chair, Council News, Ethics
                                                                                                   Corner, and Member Profile): Please
                                                                                                   send to Tami R. Salzbrenner, co-editor,
                                                                                                   by e-mail ( or

CLA CELEBRATION RECEPTION                                                                          facsimile [(734) 761-9632].
                                                                                                   Section Committee News/Reports
                                                                                                   (Annual Meeting, Job Bank, Education,
                               In Recognition of Law Week                                          Membership, Pro Bono, Public Relations,
                                                                                                   Scholarship, Website, and Policies): Please
                                     May 3, 2006                                                   send to Susan M. LaFerier, assistant editor,
                                Legal Assistants Day                                               by e-mail ( or
                                                                                                   facsimile [(734) 222-3019].
                                      5 - 7 p.m.
                                                                                                   National and International News (i.e.,
                           Baker College, Jackson Campus
                                                                                                   AAPI, AAfPE, ABA, IPMA, LAT, NALA,
                                                                                                   NALS, and NFPA, etc.): Please send to
                          Scholarship winners will be honored                                      Jennifer M. Petty, co-editor, by e-mail
                         All legal assistants/pralegals welcome                                    ( or facsimile [(313)
                                                                                                   State and Local News [i.e., LAAM, SBM
                                                                                                   (non-section), DMBA, GRBA, MCBA,
                                                                                                   NALS of Michigan, OCBA, and WCBA,
                                                                                                   etc.]: Please send to Kathleen D. Kasiorek,

NEW MEMBERS                                                                                        CP, state and local news editor, by e-mail
                                                                                                   ( or facsimile [(616)
                                     (as of March 17, 2006)                                        Advertising: Please send to Christine
                                                                                                   L. Welton, advertising manager, by e-
              Alisha Alexander                                  Timothy D. Gage                    mail ( or facsimile
               Silverwood, MI                                                                      [(231) 941-9568].
                                                                Sault Ste. Marie, MI
                                                                                                   Thank you.
               Nicole M. Cook                                     Sherry L. Orlik
                 Lansing, MI                                     Grand Rapids, MI

                                                                                                                               Spring 2006

                               MEMBER PROFILE: KIM M. CASTEEL
                                                                                Area of Expertise: Elder Law
                                               My background:
                                                   In 1990, I earned an Associate’s degree equivalent/paralegal certificate from Acad-
                                               emy of Court Reporting. I have a B.B.A. from Northwood University. My 15 years
                                               of paralegal experience includes eight years in family law and general practice and
                                               seven years in probate/estate planning at Jaffe, Raitt, Heuer & Weiss. I also maintain
                                               a residential builder’s license.
                                                   Jaffe has close to 100 attorneys and 13 paralegals. Jaffe’s practice areas include
                                               intellectual property and information technology, aviation, bankruptcy and insolvency,
                                               business and commercial law, capital markets, criminal, e-commerce, electronic bank-
                                               ing, labor and employment, environmental, estate planning and probate, family law,
                                               financial services, insurance, litigation, mergers and acquisitions, mortgage banking,
                                               public finance, real estate, securities, and tax law.
                                               Professional Associations and Memberships:
                                                   •   State Bar of Michigan, affiliate member
                                                   •   Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association, Legal Assistant Section
        Kim M. Casteel, Paralegal                  •   Oakland County Bar Association, Legal Assistant Section
        Jaffe Raitte Heuer & Weiss                  •   Residential builder’s license
                                                   •   Gibraltar Recreation Committee member
My Responsibilities:                               •   H.E.A.D.S. member/volunteer
                                                   •   Big Brother/Big Sister volunteer
     I assist three to four estate planning
and other attorneys as follows: extensive          •   Notary public
client contact, including initial interview,   Preferred Resources
phone contact, meetings, etc.; trust fund-
ing; docket and follow up on court and             Listing of resources I have found to be particularly helpful to me in the area of elder law:
other required dates; research asset and           • - Institute of Continuing Legal Education
debt information, financial information,           • - valuable resource for information about all of Social
etc.; draft all varieties of probate and                Security’s programs
estate plan pleadings, Medicaid applica-           • - official U.S. Government site for information pertaining to
tions, and other associated documents                   Medicare
such as deeds, transfer documents, etc.;           • - Department of Human Services site for searching adult
file documents with various Probate                     foster care facilities (includes inspection reports, licensing information, etc.)
Courts; confer with attorneys, court               • - Department of Human Services site for
personnel, financial institutions, etc.                 searching adult foster care facilities (includes inspection reports, licensing informa-
concerning client matters/issues; perform               tion, etc.)
assigned legal research tasks using all            • - official website for AARP containing useful information for seniors
available resources including libraries and             and their families.
computer data systems.                             • - official website for Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services
                                                        (formerly HCFA). CMS is the federal agency responsible for administering Medicare,
                                                        Medicaid, SCHIP and HIPAA.

How I came to be in the Elder Law field:       Advice I have for becoming a paralegal in the field of elder law:

    I work closely with an excellent elder         Find a mentor (as mentioned above), sign up for the listservs, and attend as many
law attorney, Shirley Kaigler, who has         continuing education classes as possible, particularly ICLE, seminars/classes sponsored by
mentored and trained me in the various         local professional groups and local probate courts. Also peruse the various state and local
aspects of elder law.                          websites, which have a plethora of information on elder law.

Michigan Paralegal

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                                                                                                                     A Member of the MPS Group

                                                                                                 Spring 2006

                               the Seventh Annual
                            Legal Assistants Section's
                                Day of Education

                                Friday, May 5, 2006
                                9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
                                    State Bar of Michigan
                                   Michael Franck Building
                                    306 Townsend Street
                                     Lansing, Michigan

The Legal Assistants Section of the State Bar of Michigan is planning an exciting day of eduacation
for legal assistants. With bankruptcy and litigation tracks, there is something for Legal Assistants in
 every area of law. Registration information has been mailed to members. Remember to register for
                          the seminar as soon as possible, as space is limited.

         8:00 - 9:00 a.m.     Registration, Continental Breakfast, and Vendors
         9:00 - 9:30 a.m.     Keynote Speaker: John T. Berry, Esq. - Executive Director, State Bar of Michigan
       9:30 - 10:30 a.m.      Legal Writing in Plain English II: Jeanette Buttrey, Esq.
           10:30 - Noon       Breakout Session #1
                              • Litigation Track: Identity Theft – Mark Koerner, Esq.
                              • Bankruptcy Track: Credit Counseling – Jill Stroinski and Rachel Hood
       Noon - 1:00 p.m.       Networking Luncheon
        1:00 - 2:30 p.m.      Breakout Session #2
                              • Litigation Track: Securities Law – Joseph H. Spiegel, Esq.
                              • Bankruptcy Track: Three-Paralegal Panel Discussion of Changes in Law
        2:30 - 4:30 p.m.      Breakout Session #3
                              • Litigation Track: Eminent Domain – Michael Woodworth, Esq. and
                                 Geoffrey Seidlein, Esq.
                              • Bankruptcy Track: 10 Things every Paralegal Should Know about Bankruptcy
                                 under the New Laws – Stuart Gold, Esq.

Michigan Paralegal

Compiled and edited by Kathleen D. Kasiorek, CP
State and local news editor

                                                        Lunch meetings take place at the Smart       sons to be learned from these unfortunate
                                                   Detroit Conference Center in the Penob-           situations.
                                                   scot Building, Detroit from 11:45–1:15.                The March meeting was held later
                                                   The trademark meeting is at the Wayne             than normal (March 31) in order to take
                                                   State University Law School Auditorium            advantage of the courtroom technol-
                                                   from 6 – 7:30 pm. Register at www.detroit-        ogy training seminar being offered by
 Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association
               (DMBA)                     Or contact Chair, Vanessa Lozzi       the United States District Court for the
                                                   at; (248) 258-3857.              Western District of Michigan. The section                    The DMBA offers associate member-            used this unique opportunity by extending
    The DMBA continues to hold lun-                ship to legal administrators, legal assistants,   an invitation to the Advanced Litigation
cheons on the fourth Tuesday of each               and librarians.                                   and the Computer Applications classes
month. On March 28, Mandi Ross from                                                                  from Davenport University to attend this
Prism Litigation Technology and Timothy                                                              exciting event.
Piganelli of Legal Technology Consulting                                                                  The GRBA legal assistants section is open
gave a presentation about trial software.                                                            to legal assistants and paralegals meeting its
    Robert Half Legal will lead a presenta-                                                          membership criteria who are employed and
tion on leadership skills at the April 25                                                            sponsored by an attorney member of the
luncheon. Members will learn how to                                                                  GRBA. The section is currently led by Kath-
assert their leadership skills and apply them                                                        erine Mansfield, chairperson.
to their professional goals.
    Michael Fishman and James Carpenter,                                                               Kalamazoo Bar Association (KCBA)
specialists from Rader Fishman, will discuss                                                      
                                                   Grand Rapids Bar Association (GRBA)
trademark law at an evening panel discus-
sion on April 27. The quarterly discussion                    Membership in the Kalamazoo Bar
is produced by the Networking and Career                                                             Association is open to legal assistants and
                                                        The legal assistant’s section of the
Development Committee and chairperson,                                                               paralegals who are members of the State
                                                   Grand Rapids Bar Association kicked off
Marilyn Hobbs.                                                                                       Bar of Michigan Legal Assistants Section
                                                   the 2006 year with two dynamic speakers
    The May 23 luncheon will be a presen-                                                            and are practicing in an office in Kalama-
                                                   at its January and February meetings. Jeff
tation on effective visual aids by Theresa                                                           zoo County.
                                                   Dwarshuis, MSW, CSW spoke to the Sec-
Webster, Owner, Evidence Express. Theresa          tion in January and shared his experience
has fused her legal assistant and graphic          in clinical social work and the positive             Macomb County Bar Association
arts talents to create a service to enhance                                                                       (MCBA)
                                                   results he has experienced in the treatment
evidence presentations.                            of post-traumatic stress disorder by using
                                                                                Eye Movement             The MCBA offers associate member-
                                                                                Desensitization      ship to legal assistants and legal assistant
                                                                                and Reprocess-       students.
                                                                                ing. Mr. Kevin
                                                                                Toler of Ameri-
                                                                                prise Financial
                                                                                Services spoke in
                                                                                February and not
                                                                                only shared some        Oakland County Bar Association
                                                                                basic financial                    (OCBA)
                                                                                planning strate-       
                                                                                gies, but also
                                                                                                         The January meeting of the OCBA
                                                                                some worst case
                                                                                                     legal assistants committee featured a
                                                                                scenarios of fi-
                                                                                                     presentation by Ellen Brisson called “Just
                                                                                nancial planning
                                                                                                     Say NO!!” or “How to Graciously Let the
     Vanessa Lozzi questions panelists Nicole Leff, Linda Jevahirian and         gone bad and the
                                                                                                     Attorney You Work For Know You’ve Got
               Christine Scurto about Career Advancement.                       important les-

                                                                                                           Spring 2006

Enough on Your Plate Already.” The Febru-
ary 16, 2006, meeting was “An Evening with
Milam PI” presented by private investigator
Linda Milam. Ms. Milam shared tips on find-
ing out the good, the bad and the ugly. The
March 16, 2006, meeting was the commit-
tee’s annual Royal Oak Brewery and Mark
Ridley’s Comedy Castle outing.
     The April 20, 2006, meeting will be a
membership drive meeting at 6 p.m. at Butzel
Long, 100 Bloomfield Hills Parkway, Suite
200, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304. It will be
an opportunity to meet the members of the
OCBA legal assistants committee and join at
the same time. Members who join or renew               Michigan’s Premier Association of
their memberships at the April meeting will be
entered into a drawing to receive a free mem-            Professional Process Servers
bership. Additional information is available by
contacting Denise E. Gau at
                                                                  Since 1979
     The OCBA offers legal assistant mem-
bership to those who are qualified through          For the most up to date list of Court Officers, Civil
education, training or work experience and                  Deputies and Process Servers visit:
employed or retained by a lawyer, law office,
governmental agency or other entity in perfor-           
mance of legal services not primarily clerical or                           -or-
secretarial under the ultimate direction and su-
pervision of a licensed attorney. Legal assistant
                                                    Call 800-99-CIVIL to request a printed directory.
members must be sponsored annually by an
OCBA member who certifies as to the above.                     Michigan Court Officer Deputy Sheriff and
The OCBA Legal Assistants Committee is                               Process Servers Association
currently lead by Denise Gau                       1000 W. St. Joseph Hwy, Suite 200
(chair) and Millie Sloan                          Lansing, Michigan 48915
(vice chair).

                                                    Don't forget about
                                                    the Job Bank!
                                                    The Legal Assistants Section
   Washtenaw County Bar Association                 of the State Bar of Michigan
              (WCBA)                                operates the Internet Job Bank
                                                    as a benefit to its members and
                                                    the legal community. It is free
    The Washtenaw County Bar Association's          of charge to both paralegal
Paralegal & Legal Support Staff Section met         job seekers and prospective
on March 14, 2006. Patricia Murray of Patri-        employers.
cia Murray & Associates gave a presentation
                                                    If you are a prospective employer
on Visionary discovery management and trial
                                                    with a paralegal opening, send
presentation software. Ms. Murray showed
                                                    the posting by e-mail to: la_sbm_
demonstrations of the software and provided
each member with a free CD of the software.
    The WCBA offers a special reduced               Members of the Section can
membership fee to students as well as other         locate additional information at
member benefits. For further informa-     
tion, please contact Judy Van Amburg                legalassistants/ in the "links" area
at or (734)               of the section's web page.

Michigan Paralegal

Compiled and edited by Jennifer M. Petty

                                                 AAfPE Takes Formal Position Regarding              NALA’s 31st Annual Convention &
                                                 Short-Term Programs                                Workshop
                                                     AAfPE’s Board of Directors has issued               The National Association of Legal As-
                                                 the organization’s formal position regard-         sistants (NALA) will hold its 31st Annual
                                                 ing short-term programs for paralegal              Convention and Education Workshop
                                                 education. The position statement clarifies        in Tampa, Florida, July 26-29, 2006.
                                                 AAfPE’s beliefs and concerns.                      This annual event is the nation’s largest
                                                     Use this link to read the full text: http://   gathering of paralegals. This event offers
                                                       outstanding educational opportunities for
                                                                                                    paralegals designed by paralegals.
       AMERICAN ALLIANCE OF                                                                              More information about the 2006
       PARALEGALS, INC. (AAPI)                    INTERNATIONAL PARALEGAL MAN-                      Convention is available at                    AGEMENT ASSOCIATION (IPMA)                           Meanwhile, there will be a 2006 Con-
                                                    http://www.paralegalmanagement.                 vention Orientation Session Web Seminar
                                                                org/ipma/                           on Wednesday, June 28, 2006, at 1p.m.
April 29, 2006
                                                                                                    Central Time. Participants will learn details
   AAPI is hosting a paralegal SkillWorks
                                                     The International Paralegal Manage-            of convention activities, what to expect
One-Day Seminar with Advanced Training
                                                 ment Association, formerly known as the            during the meetings, and answers to any
Workshops at the The Fairmont Hotel in
                                                 Legal Assistant Management Association,            other questions they might have about
Newport Beach, California.
                                                 promotes the development, professional             their participation. Questions should be
   Go to www.careercoachesinternational.
                                                 standing and visibility of paralegal manage-       directed to Krista Lower at NALA Head-
com to register.
                                                 ment professionals.                                quarters.
Annual Meeting                                       IPMA plays an essential role in law
    The dates and place are set!!! So, mark      firm and legal department management.              Advanced Paralegal Certification
your calendars now and save September            IPMA provides a rich resource of infor-                After 3 ½ years of study and research,
22-23, 2006, to attend the American              mation, including current and up to date           the new Advanced Paralegal Certification
Alliance’s Annual Education Seminars and         topics in the area of legal assistant manage-      (APC) program will be available by July
Meeting at the Comfort Suites; 420 River-        ment. Find a wealth of knowledge and               2006. Visit for more details.
boat Row; Newport, Kentucky.                     links to subjects including legal industry             The CLA/CP Advanced Certification
                                                 service providers, consultants and suppliers,      programs are designed to provide first-class
                                                 information exchange from colleagues in            continuing education courses for paralegals
                                                 the paralegal management profession, job           in various specialty areas of the law. They
                                                 openings, industry reports, seminars, and          also provide a certification process to recog-
                                                 much more.                                         nize those who have achieved the CLA/CP
                                                                                                    certification and successfully completed
                                                                         NATIONAL ASSO-
                                                                                                    advanced courses in specialty practice areas.
                                                                        CIATION OF LEGAL
   AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR                                                                             Vicki Voisin, CLAS, a member of the
  PARALEGAL EDUCATION (AAFPE)                                                                       APC board since its inception, was recently                                                   (NALA)
                                                                                                    appointed to a one-year term as chair of
                                                                                                    the board. Ms. Voisin served as NALA
24th Annual Conference to be in New
Orleans, LA Oct. 11-14, 2006                                                                        president 1998-2000 and is currently serv-
                                                                              May 13, 2006          ing as Chair of the Legal Assistants Section
    While it’s too early to have any specifics
just yet, if you are interested in presenting                            is the deadline for        of the State Bar of Michigan.
a program for this event, please download                                applications to take
the call for presenters guidelines and send      the Certified Legal Assistant Examination          NALA Elections 2006-07
your submission to Kathryn Myers, confer-        in July 2006. Applications subject to a late           Tita A. Brewster, CLA, of Las Cruses,
ence chair, at                  registration fee will be accepted through May      New Mexico, has been elected NALA
                                                 31, 2006 for the July 2006 examination.            president for 2006-2007. Ms. Brewster will

                                                                                                                           Spring 2006

take office at the 31st Annual Convention        for the audio portion, and participants        credits, witness firsthand how NFPA
& Workshop in July.                              view slides and other visual examples via an   policies are developed, share ideas with
    Sharon A. Werner, CLAS, has declared         Internet connection.                           other colleagues from across the country,
her candidacy as NALA secretary for                  Courses on NALA Campus Live! range         learn about vanguard technology and
2006-07. That election will take place           from online versions of the convention         participate in an interactive trade show,
at the annual convention. Sharon is a            Membership Exchange and Affiliated Asso-       and discover one of world’s most exciting
member of the Section and has previously         ciation presentations to in-depth educa-       cities. Paralegals are urged to attend to tap
served on the Council.                           tional sessions.                               into their own potential this year. NFPA
    Other Section members who serve on               The dynamic environment of the             promises that they will return to their jobs
the NALA Board of Directors are Kelly J.         interactive NALA Campus Live! programs         more knowledgeable and inspired about
LaGrave, CLAS (certifying board chair)           is conducive to courses that merit timely      their profession. More information is
and Marcy Jankovich, CLAS (Region 5 di-          review and for discussion of new laws or       available at
rector). Kathleen J. Kasiorek, CP, is a mem-     recent changes in the law. Section members         Congratulations to S. Christine Farmer,
ber of the Continuing Education Council.         Kelly A. LaGrave, CLAS; Jaxine Wintjen,        NFPA President, who has been selected
Vicki Voisin, CLAS, serves as chair of the       CLA; and Vicki Voisin, CLAS are all pre-       Paralegal of the Year by Legal Assistant To-
Advanced Paralegal Certification Board.          senters for this program.                      day magazine. Farmer is a senior paralegal
                                                                                                in the Dallas, Texas firm of Godwin Gru-
NALA Online Education Programs                   NATIONAL FEDERAL OF PARALEGAL                  ber. Second runner-up was Mary McKay provides top                                                                of Tampa, Florida. McKay serves as the
quality self study courses. These affordable                                                    NFPA liaison for the Tampa Bay Paralegal
continuing education programs are avail-                                                        Association. She is president-elect and
able on a 24-hour basis, seven days a week                                                      founding member of TBPA.
and allow for education on the participant’s                                                        The 2006 PACE (paralegal advanced
schedule at the participant’s convenience.                          competency exam) Ambassadors’ Confer-
To date, over 22,000 people have registered          The National Federation of Paralegal       ence will take place in Portland, Oregon
on this site. Go to to        Associations’ 2006 Annual Seminar and          on September 16-17. This event is hosted
learn more about this innovative program         Convention will take place May 4-8,            by the Oregon Paralegal Association. Any
for continuing education.                        2006, in Chicago. This year’s theme is         paralegal interested in learning more about
     Completion of a              "Lose Your Blues in Chicago." Attend-          PACE is welcome to attend.
course will qualify for one unit of credit       ees will earn continuing legal education
toward maintenance of the CLA credential.
Courses are now available on the subjects
of American legal system, alternative meth-
ods of dispute resolution, communications,             Nominations for Legal Assistant Today's
civil litigation, contract law, intellectual
property, judgment and analytical analysis,                     Paralegal of the Year
legal ethics, legal research and real estate.
     NALA also continues to offer innova-
tive NALA Campus Live!, using the power                                        Due May 5, 2006
of the Internet to offer continuing legal
education seminars for paralegals and legal                
assistants nationwide. These seminars may
be used for general continuing education,
to prepare for the CLA examination, to
support in-house training programs for law
firms and corporations, by certified legal as-
sistants to meet educational requirements to                      Oakland University
maintain the CLA credential, and to supple-
ment formal classroom instruction.
                                                                      Paralegal Education Seminar
     NALA Campus started offering live on-                                 Meadowbrook Hall
line continuing legal education seminars
in September 2004. All that is required
to participate is a computer with Internet
                                                                         May 19, 2006, 1- 4:30 p.m.
Explorer (6.0 or higher), a high-speed
Internet connection, and a telephone. The             
program uses a telephone conference call

Michigan Paralegal

April 2006                              July 2006                                                          September 2006
April 20, 2006                          July 11, 2006                                                      September 15, 2006
OCBA Membership Drive                   DMBA: Quarterly Panel Discussion                                   Annual Meeting
Butzel Long, Bloomfield Hills           Mediation/Arbitration for Paralegals                               Legal Assistant Section
                                        Smart Center, Penobscot Building                                   State Bar of Michigan
April 25, 2006
DMBA: Monthly Luncheon                  July 15, 2006                                                      September 22-23, 2006
Developing Your Leadership Skills       Declaration of Candidacy Deadline                                  American Alliance of Paralegals, Inc.
Smart Center, Penobscot Building        Legal Assistants Section                                           Annual Education Seminar Meeting
                                        State Bar of Michigan                                              Newport, Kentucky
April 27, 2006
                                        July 25, 2006                                            
DMBA Quarterly Panel Discussion
Trademark Law                           DMBA: Monthly Luncheon                                             October 2006
Wayne State University                  Resume Writing Tips                                                October 11- 14, 2006
                                        Smart Center, Penobscot Building                                   AAfPE Annual Conference
April 29, 2006
Paralegal SkillWorks One-Day Seminar    July 26-29, 2006                                                   New Orleans, Louisiana
Advanced Training Workshops             NALA Annual Conference                                   
American Alliance of Paralegals, Inc.   Tampa, Florida                                                     October 26-28, 2006
The Fairmont Hotel                                                                   CLA Review Course
Newport Beach, California                                                                                  Denver, Colorado
May 2006
May 3, 2006
Legal Assistants Day
State of Michigan
May 4, 2006 — 6 p.m.                    Name(s): __________________________________________
Board Meeting                           Firm/Organization:___________________________________
Legal Assistants Section
May 4-8, 2006
NFPA Annual Seminar and Convention      City:__________________________ State: _______Zip: ______
Chicago, Illinois                       Telephone: (_____ ) ______________________
                                        Cost: Members $55; Non-Member $65; Student $35
May 5, 2006
Annual Day of Education                 Enclosed is check # ______________________ For $________
Legal Assistants Section                Please make check payable to: State Bar of Michigan
Registration form at right
                                        Please bill my:
May 13, 2006
Paralegal Enrichment Day
Baker College                           Card #:_____________________________________________
May 15, 2006                            Expiration Date:_________________
Application Deadline for July Testing
NALA CLA Examination                            Please print name as it appears on credit card:
May 19, 2006                            ________________________________
Meadowbrook Paralegal Seminar
Oakland University                      Authorized Signature: __________________________________
May 23, 2006                            NOTE: Parking available across the street for $8.
DMBA: Monthly Luncheon                  Cancellations must be received at least 48 hours in advance.
Effective Visual Aids
Smart Detroit Conference Center         I wish to participate in the: Bankruptcy Track       Litigation Track
June 2006                               Lunch Options:               Turkey Wrap               Ham Wrap
Date TBA
                                                            Roast Beef Wrap               Veggie Wrap
DMBA: Special Evening Event
Roostertail, Detroit                                        Tuna Wrap

                                                                                                                     Spring 2006

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           michigan paralegal
                   newsletter             American Alliance of Paralegals, Inc., The        Legal Assistants Section Job Bank
     michigan legal assistant
                  newsletter                                                                jobs/
                                          American Association for Paralegal
        print this page                   Education (AAfPE)                                 Macomb County Bar Association
       SBM general                                  
      member directory                    American Bar Association Standing                 NALS
      admissions, ethics, and
                                          Committee on Paralegals                 
      justice initiatives       
      opinions, research and                                                                NALS of Michigan
      links                               Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association    
      programs and services
      public policy resource
                                                                                            National Association of Legal Assistants,
      publications                        EthicsBasics                                      Inc. (NALA)
     for the public
      public resources                    Grand Rapids Bar Association                      National Federation of Paralegal
      media resources            or http://firms.findlaw.      Associations, Inc. (NFPA)

                                          International Paralegal Management                Oakland County Bar Association
                                          Association (IPMA)                      
                                          [Formerly Legal Assistant Management
                                          Association (LAMA)]                               Paralegal Gateway

                                          Legal Assistant Today                             State Bar of Michigan

                                          Legal Assistants Association of Michigan,         Washtenaw County Bar Association
                                          Inc. (LAAM)                             

                                          Legal Assistants Section of the State Bar of

                   Growing Need . . .
                   Continued from front page

                      •   Counseling with regard to age and/or disability                     their parents are now residing in nursing homes.
                          discrimination in employment and housing.                           This also increases the awareness for the families/
                      •   Litigation and Administrative Advocacy–elder                        caregivers that they need estate planning or need
                          abuse including financial or consumer fraud,                         to update their own estate plan.” 4
                          fiduciary administration, public benefits.                         Ms. Casteel stated that her responsibilities have not
                                                                                       changed at all. She continues to have extensive client
                       As you can see from this list, elder law now requires           contact. She meets with them, gathers information needed
                   a combination of unique counseling skills approaching               for the petitions and Medicaid applications, and prepares
Linda              what might be thought of as social work law. The elder              them for review by the attorney for filing. Once filing is
Wallace began      law certification process tests applicants on advance                complete, Ms. Casteel then follows up with the court or
her career as a    directives and end of life decision making, public benefits,         the Department of Human Services.
                   retirement planning, nursing home and assisted living                   As the role of the elder law attorney expands
middle school      facilities residents’ rights, tax consequences of elder law         and they take on more complex and sophisticated
English teacher    planning, financial abuse, and consumer law – areas of law           clients, paralegals will now be required to meet these
and earned         that go beyond the scope of traditional estate planning.            responsibilities and demands to stay ahead of the learning
her paralegal                                                                          curve. Continuing education and training seminars will
certificate from    Paralegal Need                                                      be needed for those paralegals working in the area of
Oakland Uni-           According to the U.S. Department of Labor,                      elder law to keep up their professional competency.
versity in 1984.   Bureau of Labor and Statistics, Occupational Outlook
                   Handbook; Job Outlook, 2006, “…the demand for                       Endnotes
As an instructor   paralegals also is expected to grow as an expanding population      1 U.S. Census Bureau, 65+ in the United States: 2005.
in the parale-     increasingly requires legal services, especially in areas such as
gal program at     intellectual property, health care, international law, elder        2 (Earning the CELA designation states that the attorney has
                                                                                         met the rules and regulations promulgated by The National
Oakland since      issues, criminal law, and environmental law. Paralegals
                                                                                         Elder Law Foundation (NELF) and has passed an examination
1987, she has      who specialize in areas such as real estate, bankruptcy,              designed to demonstrate their knowledge and skills of an elder
                   medical malpractice, and product liability should have ample          law attorney. Because board certification is not available in all
taught Roles of    employment opportunities.”                                            states, it is offered through the NELF in association with The
a Legal Assis-         Due to this influx of seniors, has the role of the paralegal       National Association of Elder Law Attorneys).
tant and Ethics    changed in the legal arena? Have responsibilities increased?        3 The Center’s name is inspired not only by the founder’s
and Internship.    Do paralegals need to become skilled in all the same areas            middle name, but also in honor of the Theresa Foundation,
Since Decem-       in which a CELA is knowledgeable? Kim Casteel, a probate              a national organization recognizing those who provide
                   paralegal at Jaffe, Raitt, Heuer & Weiss, P.C., in Southfield           community service and dedication to individuals with
ber 2003,          states the following regarding elder law:                             disabilities. In 2003, TLC founder Mary T. Schmitt Smith
Linda has been           “I have seen an inrease in the number of cases
                                                                                         was selected to receive the Theresa Foundation’s annual award.
the Parale-              coming into the office, as many baby boomers                    4 Helpful websites used by Ms. Casteel:
gal Program              are taking care of their aging parents who do                    •,
Coordinator,             not have estate plans or who have not done                       •,
                         Medicaid planning. Many of the families need                     •,
advising stu-                                                                             •
                         guardians or conservators for their parents or need
dents, manag-            Medicaid applications prepared as one or both of
ing faculty and

                                                                                                                                 FIRST CLASS
                                                                                                                              U.S. POSTAGE PAID
                                                                                                                              LANSING MI 48933
                                                                                                                               PERMIT NO. 191

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