Calendar Addiction

So we all know that I have a bit of a calendar/planner addiction as mentioned here. Fortunately, I know that I am not the only one as there is a hashtag for planner addicts on twitter 😉 This year, as calendar purchasing time approaches, I’m wrestling with the want to purchase another. Although I am happy enough with the calendar I have, I am mostly happy with the price – $1.00 for a 2 year calendar! HELLO good deal! Read more

Predictions for the CP Exam

So, here is the deal: my brain feels somewhat like mush. I have studied, procrastinated, studied, registered, crammed, and taken tests. It has been a long eight months (February – September). So long, in fact, that my son thought over a year has passed since I started preparing for the exam.

My test predictions – before taking the exam(s) are as follows: Judgment and Analytical Ability – pass; Ethics – pass; Legal Research – fail; Communications – fail; Substantive Law – fail. Why so negative? I am not certain what percentage I need to pass each exam by! However, if I base my prediction on NALA’s website (which I MUST presume is correct seeing as how this is their exam), I feel confident that I will pass all the sections with the exception of Communications. A 79% seems difficult to do. Perhaps the Substantive Law one also. A 66% is required to pass – so I need to get at least 145 answers right.

How have I arranged my schedule to facilitate studying? Like this:

September 2015
September 2015

I have taken all but the Substantive Law sections as of the writing of this post. I feel good about the effort I made. I think that it is a fun coincidence that I have finally taken (and hopefully pass) this exam exactly 11 years after receiving my AA in Paralegal Studies (September 23, 2004) and starting my first job as a paralegal (September 28, 2004).

It is going to be a long two months waiting for the results. I must admit that I am longing for more free time.Or time to read Sherlock. Super side note: did you know that there is a new book by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar titled Mycroft Holmes about Mycroft and how he came to be a super secret super agent? Yep, totally on my list to buy! It seems like forever since I have done anything crafty, creative, or not-law related. Here’s to finishing this testing period (and hopefully passing all sections!) and getting back to making things! I already have some projects in mind to occupy my time while waiting for the results.

Top Legal Resources for CA Paralegals

To have long-term success as a paralegal in California, it is essential to have reliable resources. While many offices will have their go to resources, these are my top resources (in no particular order).

  • www.courts.ca.gov – California Courts offers links to the California Rules of Courts, all the Judicial Council Forms, self-help, recent news, policies, jury instructions, and other resources.
  • www.findlaw.com – FindLaw provides resources like finding local attorneys, experts, and process servers. It provides codes, case-law, jobs, news, blogs, forms, and other items. I love to use it to find case-law. I also love that it is free.
  • www.thelaw.com – Thelaw.com is a great online resource. However, I use the app on my phone which is a legal dictionary. It is very convenient and has helped me out quite a few times.
  • legalinfo.legislature.ca.gov – California Legislative Information provides ALL the codes and bill information. It is a one stop shop. You can search by code number, by words or phrases, or topic. It is amazing.
  • www.NALA.org – National Association of Legal Assistants offers certification, continuing education, updates and information on the paralegal industry, various resources, and a national community.
  • Various court websites – We practice in Southern California so I have the local court websites bookmarked for convenience. Not only do they contain court phone numbers and local forms, they also have the local rules. Probably one of their best features is the ability to search the case status, pull up minute orders, and review the register of action.

What resources are your goto’s? Do you use any on this list?

Pen-pal Bloggers Mo. 1: Travel

I am fortunate to belong to a wonderful Facebook group of bloggers who do a monthly gift swap – pen-pals for the 21st century. In August the theme was travel and I was paired with newly wed Bethany over at Dandelion Pie.

Burt's Bees travel set!Bethany sent me an amazing travel set of Bert’s Bees lotions and face washes. I am so thankful and excited to use them that I am fairly certain they won’t see any traveling (except the lotion which will go where my purse goes).

This group is so amazing and supportive. Maybe this is amplified by my love of receiving mail. Really though, who does not like getting mail – you know, the kind where you do not have to send them money back?

I am looking forward to making more new friends and sharing them with you!

Billable Hours – The Bane of My Existance

Billable hours are the lifeblood of law offices much liked caffeine is the lifeblood of paralegals. I hate billable hours. Or maybe, billable hours hate me. Either way we never seem to be able to get along. I have a horrible, horrible inability to bill accurately. Of course, this is great for our clients. However, not so good for the office’s income and, in turn, my annual salary. So what did I do?

Time is Money!
                           Time is Money!

I made a goal. I have recently added up all the billable hours for the year based upon my office’s requirements and figured out how much I should be billing per year. I have a general idea of what my annual goal should be. I have estimated that I should bill approximately 1440 hours per year. This doesn’t seem like much I know and comes to about 120 billable hours per month. I also made a bare minimum goal of 1,248 hours per year or 104 billable hours per month. Many other paralegals have a higher minimum billable hours; however, I am not only a paralegal, I am also the HR department, and social media manager. I am likely to be considered the office manager as well. Hmm. Anyway, these other duties require my time which in turn lessens my required billable hours.

Now of course not all clients will pay and there will be things that happen outside of my control that will affect these hours however, this is a good goal. I posted it (because it is written on a post-it like all of my other important notes 😉 ) right on my monitor so I can see it every day.

In an effort to increase my billable time, and actually bill the right amount, because I frequently under-bill, I have started using a timer. Now I know the timer is not anything new, but that does not mean an old dog cannot learn new tricks. Even in the last two months I have noticed a significant increase in my billable time simply by using the timer.

Because I’m nothing if not a workaholic, I have also estimated how many more hours I need to work the rest of this year to meet my goal. I am working diligently to make my goal but know that it may not be possible as I have done some large projects this year as non-billable for one reason or another. Things are looking optimistic though – or maybe that is just my natural cheery disposition, or the motivational quotes posted next to the goal. Sera que sera, but I will control these billable hours!