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  • Tuesday, April 12, 2022 3:30 PM | Kate Stuart (Administrator)

    You know that satisfying feeling when you’ve crafted the perfect email? It says all you want it to say and so eloquently. You send it to your attorney. You wait for a response. You wait some more for a response.

    Then you break down and ask your attorney about the email, and they haven’t even read it. “Oh,” they say, “why don’t you just tell me what it says,” they say.

    I feel your pain. The desire to sputter and protest. All that time! All those beautiful words! Wasted on a troglodyte who apparently doesn’t read.

    Alas! Attorneys are never going to read the long, eloquent, beautifully-crafted email. When it comes to the people who have all the attention span of a five year old on a sugar high, short emails rule.

    Here are a few tips to increase the chances that your boss will pay attention to, and maybe even read, your email:

    Tip #1: Put the most important information at the very top.

    Attorneys are not going to wade through groundwork information to get to the nut. Even if the groundwork is essential for understanding the issue. However, if they read the important information, they may go on to read the rest of the email. Maybe. If it’s not too long and is in easily digestible chunks.

    Tip #2: Short sentences. The fewer the words, the better.

    Tip #3: Short paragraphs. The more white space, the better.

    No matter how much I love the beautiful words and even more the beautiful sentences, one essential key to effective communication is to know your audience. When your audience is an attorney?

    Hone your verbal communication skills.

  • Monday, December 27, 2021 1:39 PM | Kate Stuart (Administrator)

    Recently, I read Sisters in Law: How Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Went to the Supreme Court and Changed the World by Linda Hirshman.

    Hirshman did a nice job fleshing out the women’s rights movement as a backdrop for O’Connor’s and Ginsberg’s experiences and tying that context to their opinions and their work at the Supreme Court.

    Hirshman covers O’Connor and Ginsberg from their early lives and education through their time on the Supreme Court particularly in the context of the work they did individually and together on the Court. Of course, O’Connor and Ginsberg were not very much alike. O’Connor grew up on a ranch in the West; Ginsberg grew up in a city on the East Coast. O’Connor was conservative; Ginsberg was liberal. O’Connor spent years working in the Arizona legislature, hardly “practicing” law at all. Ginsberg worked in academia and practiced law at the ACLU.

    What I loved most about this book was the way that, though Hirshman was obviously a bigger fan of Ginsberg, she understood and showed that O’Connor’s appointment to the Supreme Court was just as beneficial to women. Hirshman discussed the ways in which O’Connor helped women’s rights just by being a voice at the table. The primary purpose of the book was to show the ways in which Ginsberg and O’Connor were essential to the progress of women’s rights, and equality in general, during their time on the Court.

    If you’re a fan of Ginsberg, there wasn’t a whole lot of new material here. If you’re a fan of O’Connor, this book might be something of a disappointment. Hirshman obviously struggled with O’Connor’s legacy. But I would say, it’s still worth reading such an insightful and illuminating discourse on the legacy of the first two women on the Supreme Court.

  • Friday, October 08, 2021 12:41 PM | Kate Stuart (Administrator)

    Aren’t we sick to death of new software and the constant bombardment of scary clickbait headlines? Headlines such as: Your Client’s Data Is Under Attack – Fight Back; How to Protect Your Data; 10 Ways You Are Making Yourself Vulnerable to Hackers!

    Wave after wave of new software, patches and updates and the latest rounds of multi-factor authentication. I hate multi-factor authentication. The sheer volume of texts and/or emails is enough to make me want to run away screaming.

    But alas and alack, here we are in the information age. We are not just bombarded by new software; we are in a constant state of software transitions and upgrades. Even the old software seems new as the way a software program works or where tools or functions are located is changed.

    Additionally, in the past year, we have all gone through crash courses on Zoom and other videoconferencing platforms. Personally, I did two trials by Bluejeans. We fileshare; we encrypt; we program. As paralegals, the bulk of this technological work falls to us.

    It falls to me to know how to use the programs we use, and how to teach the attorneys to use the programs we use. I’m the one who knows how the Zoom conferences work; I’m the one testing the limits of the Bluejeans platform. I’m the one who has done the training on the new document review software.

    I am the one going through the online tutorials. Tutorials for both new software, such as: Zoom Tutorials, and BlueJeans Tutorials. And tried and true software, such as: Microsoft Office Tutorials. Tutorials can be a paralegal’s best friend, answering questions we didn’t even know we had and showing us better, easier ways to do things we thought we already knew how to do.

    What I have learned in my time working for a law firm is that being able to work with, learn and use new programs, or upgraded old programs, exponentially increases my value to firm. This means that no matter how much I want to pull my hair out, I volunteer to be at the front of the line when it comes to software demos, trials, training sessions, and tutorials.

     Until next time, stay educated!

  • Tuesday, June 01, 2021 1:00 PM | Kate Stuart (Administrator)

    Today, I’m going to discuss court rules. When you work in civil litigation, like I do, and when you practice in two different states on both a state and federal level, doublechecking the rules becomes second nature. But, as I learned recently, searching out just the local rules is not always enough.

    A couple of months ago, I made two mistakes that involved instructions that were not in the local rules. The first mistake I made was to submit the proposed Scheduling Order in the wrong manner. The local rules of the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri don’t say anything about the way to submit a Scheduling Order. However, on the Western District of Missouri Local Rules webpage, under the Procedures tab there is a “CM/ECF Administration Guide” which instructs that unlike other proposed orders, which are submitted to chambers in Word, Proposed Scheduling Orders are actually filed through the CM/ECF system. There is no real way of knowing this without looking at the Administration Guide.

    The second mistake I made was also in the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri, but it was in a different case which was a minor relief. I hate making mistakes, and I certainly hate making multiple mistakes. This time it involved the MAP order. MAP is the Western District of Missouri’s “Mediation and Assessment Program.” Every civil case that’s filed in this District is subject to an order that is entered shortly after the Complaint is filed. This order compels early mediation sometimes through a Judge and sometimes parties are allowed to agree upon an outside mediator from an approved list. The order compels mediation by a certain date, and in this case we wanted to extend that deadline. So what did I do? I filed a motion for extension. However, in the MAP Order it clearly states that if the parties would like to request an extension to mediate then they have need to contact the MAP Director. Oh! if only I had read the order.

    Anyone who works in civil litigation knows that the rules of each jurisdiction are many and various, but we should also remember that the local rules do not always contain all the pertinent information.

    We all do ourselves a huge favor if we take the time to familiarize ourselves with the websites of the courts we are working in and with the phone numbers and emails to the clerk’s offices, to ensure we are actually in compliance.

  • Wednesday, April 07, 2021 1:22 PM | Kate Stuart (Administrator)

    Hey, everybody! My name is Kate Stuart. I’m going to be taking over the HPA blog, and I thought I would start off with an introduction before we jump into the interesting stuff. I got my B.A. in English from UMKC in 2004, and I graduated from JCCC’s Paralegal Program in 2012. For about 12 years, I was self-employed, but with the 2008 downturn in the economy, I found myself in dire need of a career change. And the thing is, I had been trying to change careers for years by that point. The list of careers I had contemplated and discarded is endless. But now it was crunch time and I really needed to decide. I’m in my car one sunny afternoon, and it comes to me, out of the blue, I should be a paralegal.

    Finally! A career choice I could get behind. I was so excited. I did some research and in the fall of 2010, I entered JCCC’s Paralegal Program. About a month later, I had a job at the Hollis Law Firm in Prairie Village working on medical products liability claims. In the summer of 2011, I was offered a job at Horn Aylward and Bandy (HAB) and I have been there ever since.

    HAB is a civil litigation firm mainly focusing on medical malpractice defense work. My team however works in class action and complex litigation. We also have a strong construction law team. Most of my posts will be about civil litigation paralegals and tips and tricks for the work we do, but if there’s a particular topic you would like me to discussed, let me know and I will do my best to accommodate.

    I’m excited to be here and I look forward to any feedback you care to send my way.

  • Wednesday, October 26, 2016 9:08 AM | Deleted user

    HPA members voted at the September 2016 meeting to focus this year's annual fundraiser on Mother's Refuge in Independence. Specifically, HPA is collecting cash or check donations to be given to the organization in December.

    Each year, Heartland Paralegal Association selects an organization for its annual fundraising campaign. HPA matches member donations up to $500.00.

    How you can help:

    Financial contribution by check payable to Mother's Refuge. Please send donations by check to HPA Community Outreach, P.O. Box 12413, Overland Park, KS. 66282.

    Volunteer to assist with delivery of the monetary donation to Mother's Refuge. The date will be determined.

    Please contact Sara Jarvis for further information.

  • Wednesday, January 06, 2016 7:13 PM | Deleted user

    Thanks to the generosity of HPA members, we were able to present over $1,000 in financial and item donations to City Union Mission in Kansas City.  Members donated travel sized personal hygiene items which will be given in the welcome bags to men and women who seek shelter at City Union Mission.  

  • Tuesday, October 20, 2015 4:33 PM | Deleted user

    HPA members voted at the October 2015 meeting to focus this year's annual fundraiser on Kansas City's City Union Mission.  Specifically, HPA is collecting cash and goods donations for the welcome bags presented to the men, women, and children who seek shelter through City Union Mission.  

    Each year, Heartland Paralegal Association selects an organization for its annual fundraising campaign.  HPA matches member donations up to $500.00.  

    How you can help:  
    Donate items from the following wish list along with your receipt (for financial matching purposes):

    deodorant, soap, shaving cream, shampoo, conditioner, disposable razors, toothpaste, toothbrushes, mouthwash (alcohol-free), hand/body lotion, women's hygiene products, disposable diapers, baby shampoo, baby wash, baby oil,  and baby powder.  Travel size items work best when available.

    Financial contribution by check payable to City Union Mission.  Please send donations by check to HPA Community Outreach, c/o Tomi Holt, Morefield Speicher Bachman, LC, 11814 W. 135th St., Overland Park, KS 66221.

    Cash and item donations accepted at HPA's Fall Seminar on November 6, 2015 at JCCC.

    Volunteer to deliver donations to City Union Mission.  The date will be determined.

    Please contact Tomi Holt for information about donating your items.
  • Monday, June 22, 2015 11:51 AM | Nicole Conner (Administrator)

    Professor Anita Tebbe (center of photo, holding the award) was honored yesterday by the Kansas Bar Association. She received the Distinguished Service Award, recognizing her continuous and longstanding service on behalf of the legal profession and the public. Pictured congratulating Professor Tebbe at the event (from right to left) are JCCC Business and Technology Dean Mike West, Associate Professor of Legal Studies Jay Nadlman, the Honorable Karen Arnold-Burger of the Kansas Court of Appeals, and JCCC Legal Studies Advisory Board Member Connie Shidler, Esq. Please join us in congratulating Professor Tebbe on her lifetime of service to others.

    JCCC Legal Studies Program's photo.


  • Tuesday, February 03, 2015 12:07 PM | Nicole Conner (Administrator)





    The current membership year is counting down, and it will soon be time for election of a new Executive Board for the 2015-2016 membership year. 


    This year's officers are very willing to explain their duties to anyone interested in running for a particular position. None of it is difficult and, in fact, we have a lot of fun! If any member wants to be added to the slate of proposed officers, please contact Nicole Conner or Tomi Holt.


    Here is quick review of the nominations and elections process: 

    ·         Those individuals running for office must complete and return the Declaration of Candidacy form to the Nominations and Election Committee Chair by email no later than February 20, 2015.  

    ·         Late February 2015: newsletter will report all candidates running for office. 

    ·         March 3, 2015: report of potential ballot of candidates due to the HPA Executive Board. 

    ·         Early March 2015: email of voting information, including proxy holder instruction, will go out to all HPA voting members. If no email address, regular mail will be utilized, confirming receipt of each member's voting information. 

    ·         Late March 2015: a second newsletter reporting/review of all candidates for members' review is published. 

    ·         April 6, 2015: completed proxy holder designations (if utilized) are due. 

    ·         April 10, 2015: General membership meeting and election of officers held, followed by installation ceremony of new Executive Board. 

    ·         May 5, 2015: Executive Board "transition" meeting held — outgoing and incoming Board members exchange notebooks and answer questions. 

    ·         May 12, 2015: Names of newly elected or appointed officers are submitted to NALA and the Affiliated Associations Director. 


    Nominations Committee


    Nicole Conner (houserne@hotmail.com) and Tomi Holt (tlhhpa@gmail.com)


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