e-In Brief is the on-line version
of the Kansas Paralegal Association Newsletter
SUMMER 2002 Issue
INDEXPresident’s Desk: Jamie A. Dismang, RP
Editor’s Column: Debra Christy, RP
Motion by Numbers: by Celia Elwell, RP
District Reports: KPA has three districts in Kansas: District I-Wichita, District II-Topeka, and District III-Kansas City
Calendar: Upcoming events and luncheons
National News: Inside NFPA, Issues
of interest to paralegals across the US.
By Jamie A. Dismang
I am honored to serve as your Kansas Paralegal Association President for this term. I am a Paralegal for the Law Firm Of Carpenter, Chartered. We handle Veterans’ Disability Benefits nationally. I have 19 years experience in the legal field with the last 10 years working as a Paralegal. I graduated from Washburn University in 1992 with an Associates Degree in the Legal Assistant Program.
I have been an active member of the Kansas Paralegal Association and the National Federation of Paralegal Associations, Inc., since 1992; an Associate member of the Kansas Bar Association and the Topeka Legal Professionals since 1999.
On Friday, June 21, 2002, we held the 2002 Annual Meeting and Seminar at Holiday Inn in Olathe, Kansas. The KPA Board members did a great job in reporting all their activities and hard work throughout the year.
The speakers were outstanding and we were fortunate to have our very own KPA members participating as speakers which included: a) Mary M. Thomas, PACE Registered Paralegal, with Payless Shoesource, discussing “Professional Communication Skills” and b) Holly Manlove, Paralegal for Fort Dodge Animal Health, discussing “Introduction To Courtroom Assistance, and c) Tara L. Schuck and Jamie Gebauer, Paralegals with Wallace, Saunders, Austin, Brown & Enochs discussing “Introduction to Litigation Support”. Special thanks to all the Board members for a great job, the outstanding speakers and excellent exhibitors, sponsors, advertisers, and of course, all the attendees for making it a success.
I am looking very forward to working with a great Board this year. We had several new faces appointed and/or elected to the board this year. We welcome Debra J. Christians of Sloan, Listrom, Eisenbarth, Sloan & Glassman, LLC of Topeka, Kansas, as our new Treasurer; Madonna C. Moranville of SCL Health System, Lenexa, Kansas, and Jamie M. Gebauer of Wallace, Saunders, Austin, Brown & Enochs of Overland Park, Kansas, as the new District III Directors.
We will continue to strive to make you feel comfortable in being involved, exchanging ideas, providing speakers, continuing education, and promotion for the Paralegal profession.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any suggestions, compliments or criticism because this organization is about all of us working together to make it the very best.
Contact me at:
(785) 357-5251 Ext 236 (work)
(785) 228-2497 (home)
Home E-Mail: Rjtjamie@aol.com
It seems like any time of year is a busy time, but the summer months can be very busy. In addition to a substantial workload in which most of us are involved, we also try to cram in all kinds of summer activities, whether sports, recreation or travel.
We commend the directors and members of KPA who still find time to participate in KPA activities and fulfill their board duties. I would particularly like to welcome Jamie Dismang, our new President, and her unlimited energy!
Hats off also to Jennifer Keller, our outgoing President, for all her contributions during the past year and in putting together another successful annual seminar and meeting.
In this issue is an informative article about computer viruses, which have been a topic of discussion lately on certain of the NFPA listservs. You will also meet Laurie Mansell, the new NFPA President.
The Paralegal Reporter is looking for articles on Fraud written by anyone with experience in the area. More detail is found later in this issue.
Ceila Elwell had an article published in the July/August 2002 issue of Legal Assistant Today on how to properly write motions. Permission was granted to reprint her article in our August newsletter. Celia’s regular column “Dear Celia” will appear in our next newsletter.
Stay cool and have a safe summer.
DISTRICT I: By Traci Girrens. District I started out the board year by organizing a Members Retention Committee and Bosses Day Luncheon.
The Members Retention Committee organized an after hours social function in which the members socialized and played KPA BINGO. The game was designed to get to know the other member by looking at the description of a member on the Bingo card and guessing which description fit that member. If they guessed correctly then they obtained a sticker from the member for that particular spot. The committee also sent out Welcome cards to new members who joined the association.
The Bosses Day Luncheon Committee successfully organized the first Bosses Day Luncheon with the attendance of 32 attorneys and over 24 members. A letter was sent out each attorney inviting them to the luncheon and thanking them for allowing their Paralegals to participate as members of the association. The letter also made the attorneys aware of the benefits of the association, such as Job Registry, Education, National Affiliation, Networking, Legal Resources, Publications, Marketing, to name a few. Judge G. Joseph Pierron, Jr. spoke at the luncheon and captivated the attention of all attorneys.
Many of the District I members participated in the New Members Recruitment and Participation Program. The members organized functions and speakers. One of the members organized a Media Panel for Christmas consisting of: Anita Cochran from KSNW, Channel 3 news, Brett Harris from B-98 FM Radio, Ron Sylvester from the Wichita Eagle Newspaper and media attorney, William Tretbar from the firm of Fleeson, Gooing, Coulson & Kitch, L.L.C. Other speaker throughout the year included George Dixon from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and Jaclyn Reish from the Kansas Human Rights Commission. In the spirit of Christmas, the members also contributed over $200 to the Ronald McDonald House.
This year District I realized a need to save the Legal Assistant program at Wichita State University. District I was and is currently working with the Kansas Association of Legal Assistants (KALA) and Wichita Legal Professionals (WLP) in a coalition called the Kansas Coalition of Paralegals and Legal Assistants (KCPLA) to help promote the Paralegal and/or Legal Profession. The coalition started as a way to save the Legal Assistant program at Wichita State University (WSU). After many discussions between all three associations it was decided that they could not just single out WSU that they needed to promote the profession in order to get the attendance up, in all Educational Institutions. District I's KPA members actively participated on behalf of KCPLA and attended career affairs in several of the high schools to talk about the profession and the educational steps they took to become a Paralegal.
District I plans to continue the New Members Recruitment & Participation Program and work with KALA and WLP in the coalition to further promote the Paralegal profession.
DISTRICT II By Jamie A Dismang
SUMMARY FOR YEAR-JUNE 2001 TO JUNE 2002
June 22, 2001- KPA Annual Meeting & Seminar.
Panel of Five Speakers from different areas of the Kansas Appellate/Supreme Court systems; brown bag lunch at Kansas Judicial Center, Fatzer Courtroom, 3rd Floor.
Jan Hamilton, Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Trustee discussed the new bankruptcy legislation and how will reform or deform of the present bankruptcy laws affect the consumer, creditors, the courts, attorneys and the economy in general.
Gerald (Jerry) Little, Supervising City Prosecutor, City of Lawrence discussed DUI specifically information regarding the statutory changes, sentencing, breath test, refusal, plea bargaining, fines, jail times, and driver license suspension.
Lt. John Sidwell – police officer – speaking on procedure and safety.
Lt. Jack Collie – EMT with Fire Department – Do’s and Don’ts when helping the injured.
Attorney Gary White – Attorney speaking on the ramifications ob being a “Good Samaritan” and how to protect yourself from being sued. See K.S.A. § 8-16047 and K.S.A. § 65-2891.
Stacy Cook, Litigation Counsel for the Board Of Healing Arts discussed disciplinary process; board information helpful for Paralegals and types of Board cases.
Christmas luncheon help at the Brickyard Barn with special guest Magician Curtis Snedden performing an excellent magic show. *Mr. Snedden is willing to perform at different kinds of events & he is really good and his show is appropriate for all ages. Feel free to contact me for his number to schedule him for a magic show.
Speaker at our January luncheon was Kathy Bush, Admissions Coordinator with heart of America Hospice providing information about hospice care and support. Attorney Vernon Jarboe provided us with the legal aspects for terminal ill persons.
Held Mini-Seminar with Washburn Legal Assistant Society at Washburn University on a) Ethics; b) Interviewing Process; and c) Paralegal Panel – Tips on “How To Be The Best Paralegal”. 3.75 NFPA CLE credits (includes 1.75 ethics CLE credits).
Larry R. Rute, Principal and Co-founder of Associates in Dispute Resolution, LLC, discussed the Paralegals role in mediation.
District News continued
Special Agent Shelly Welch with the Office of the Attorney General provided some major areas of concern including identity theft.
“Social” luncheon to discuss new business and the following: a) Update of June 21st Annual Meeting & Seminar; b) Discussion of Board positions needing to be filled; and c) Opportunity for all members to voice their opinions on any related KPA matters.
Appreciation Awards sent to all members.
Reminders notices sent to all members to attend KPA Annual Meeting & Seminar.
Community Projects for the Year:
Ronald McDonald House – cookie walk and garage sale.
YMCA Battered Women Task Force – donating items and money.
“Operation Christmas Child” – project of Samaritan’s Purse for children nationally – donated shoe box filled with items (specified age & male or female) enclosed 5.00 for shipping payable to “Samaritan’s Purse”.
Committees for the Year:
Welcoming Committee: Three members volunteered and were in charge of making name tags for our monthly luncheons; sending cards (get well, sympathy, congrats, baby, etc.) to members for encouragement.
Mini-Seminar Committee: Four members volunteered to help with
the mini-seminar for Washburn University Paralegal students. Planning
Speakers Committee: Two Members volunteered to help brainstorm
for a good variety of speakers and topics.
Mentor Committee: Six members volunteered and were active throughout the year in mentoring to a Washburn Paralegal student.
Obtain special committee to be in charge of providing monthly: Spotlight Vendor; Spotlight Paralegal; and/or Spotlight New Member. This same committee will be in charge of contacting members and/or bosses or another party to write articles for KPA In Brief. This same committee to obtain pictures (when get film developed, have them put on disk). Goal – to have plenty of information in our KPA newsletter & get pictures for newsletter of events & to include in articles. Photographer (volunteer) to be available for numerous activities throughout the year for each district and Board Members.
Marketing Membership Volunteer in each district: I’ve sent numerous faxes and calls throughout the year to try to increase our membership to no avail. Need volunteer to commit to this area in each district.
Upcoming for District II:
Need District II Directors (2) asap.
July’s speaker and luncheon has already been scheduled for a panel of speakers at Kansas Appellate/Supreme Court systems; brown bag lunch at Kansas Judicial Center, Fatzer Courtroom, 3rd Floor.
July event – We will be hosting Annual Yard Sale for The Ronald McDonald House on July 26th and July 27th. We will be donating items on the 25th & we will need volunteers for July 27th from 9 to 5.
Checking into changing our luncheons from Top Of Tower at Bank IV to another location possibly. May want to schedule at the Topeka Public Library as they have reasonable sandwich prices and nice rooms available. Need to get prices.
It has been a pleasure to be District II Director.
Jamie A. Dismang
District II Director for 2001 to June 30, 2002
DISTRICT III By Jamie M. Gebauer It has been a busy couple of months!
Unfortunately, District III had to cancel their April Mini Seminar, as one of the scheduled speakers had a personal conflict. However, District III is in the process of rescheduling this Mini Seminar to a future date and will keep its members advised.
District III held its May luncheon at a new location, the Comfort Suites Hotel in Olathe, Kansas. Our speaker, Claude R. Huard of the Occitana Group enlightened us with his expertise on structured settlements. It was a very informative luncheon.
District III recently donated a $50 gift certificate for the Oak Park Mall to Johnson County Community College’s “Dollars for Scholars” program to assist those financially struggling students through college.
In addition, a group of District III members, led by Cheryl Pittman, volunteered their services to participate in the United Way Day of Caring. Although the weather turned out to be a little steamy, that didn’t stop us! Day of Caring 2002 was very successful! The KPA assisted in clean up activities at the Sunflower House, a haven for abused and neglected children. Activities included yard work, removal of tree limbs, etc. Many thanks to all those who participated!
District III held its July luncheon at a new location also, at the Faculty Lounge of Johnson County Community College. It was a hit! At the luncheon, the Paralegal of the Year, Sponsor of the Year and Points Winner were announced. District III’s Paralegal of the Year was Jeanne Robinson, who also serves as District III’s Treasurer. The Sponsor of the Year was Wallace, Saunders, Austin, Brown & Enochs, Chartered, for their support of the paralegal profession and District III. And, the Points Winner this year was Tara Schuck for her recruitment of new members and attendance at KPA events! All recipients greatly deserved their award.
Last but not least, District III welcomed 2 new directors, Jamie Gebauer and Donna Moranville. Both women are very dedicated to their profession and have set many goals for the upcoming year. They have a tough job ahead of them as they work on building their council. In addition, District III’s very own Holly Manlove was elected to serve the KPA on the national level as NFPA Region II Director. Congratulations Holly!
Aug 8 District I Luncheon, Wichita
Aug 10 KPA Board Meeting, Emporia
Aug 10 KPA articles due
Aug 15 District II Luncheon, Topeka
Aug 26 Registration for NFPA Fall Convention
Sept 10 KPA articles due
Sept 12 District I Luncheon, Wichita
Sept 19 District II Luncheon, Topeka
Sept 19 District III Luncheon, TBA
Sept 26-29 NFPA Fall Convention, Cleveland OH
District I luncheons are held in Wichita at the Wichita Bar Association, on the second Thursday of the month.
District II luncheons are held in Topeka on the third Thursday of the month at the Top of the Tower Restaurant.
District III luncheons are held on the third Thursday of every other month. The location will be announced.
How to get the judge to give you what you want.
I belong to several paralegal listservs. And every so often, a paralegal makes a request for a form for some kind of motion. Writing motions is intimidating, especially when you are faced with having to write a particular motion that you have not drafted before.
Motions are actually fairly simple to draft since they basically only have three parts: (1) the nature of the request, (2) the legal authority upon which the movant relies in making the request, and (3) the relief sought. No matter what area of law you practice, once you know what is needed then with practice you too can become a master of motions.
Requirements for All Motions. Rule 7(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure gives three basic requirements for every motion.
First, the motion must be made in writing, unless the motion is made during a trial or hearing.
Second, the motion must state “with particularity” the ground upon which it relies; that is, which authority (such as a court rule or statute) gives the party/movant permission to ask the court for whatever it is and gives the court the authority to grant the request.
Third, the motion must state the relief or order requested.
Different Type of Motions. Motions are always requests to the court to give you something you want. There are generally two types of motions: procedural and dispositive. An example of a procedural motion might be a request for an extension of time from a set deadline within which to file a brief or pleading.
An example of a dispositive motion is one that attacks on the pleadings, such as a motion for summary judgment. Another type of motion requires a supporting brief, such as certain discovery motions or motions in limine. Many dispositive motions require a supporting brief to accompany the motion. However, each type of motion is composed of the same three basic parts.
Drafting a Basic Motion. Drafting a motion is much like painting by numbers. Regardless of what you want the court to do, writing the motion is basically filling in the blanks. You have your basic format in the three elements. Your job is to fill it in.
Motion by Numbers continued
Let us start with the title of the motion that comes after the style of the case. Tell the court up front the reason for your motion. If you are asking the court to grant an extension of time, say so in the title, like this: PLAINTIFF GRASS INC.’S MOTION FOR EXTENSION OF TIME
I have a habit of always including the name of the party rather than simply calling the party “Plaintiff” or “Defendant.” This is particularly useful when there are multiple parties, and helps the reader immediately identify whose motion it is.
Next, draft the paragraph that tells the court the nature of the request. Tell the court why you are drafting the motion, specifically what you are asking for, and provide a citation to the legal authority allowing the court to give you what you want. That paragraph should look something like this: Plaintiff Grass Inc. requests this Court to grant it a five-day extension of time within which to file its First Amended Petition pursuant to [insert the applicable court rule or statute]. In support of this motion, Plaintiff Grass Inc. states:
No matter what legal document you draft, legalese is neither necessary nor desirable. It’s the same when drafting a motion, so leave out the overused, antiquated phrase “Comes Now.” Phrases or words such as this add nothing to the meaning of what you write, and there is no statute, case law or court rule that requires legalese. Give the court a break, use plain English.
The next step in the motion is to tell the court the reasons why the motion should be granted.
For example, in many jurisdictions, there are specific requirements that must be included in a motion for extension of time.
Often those requirements mean you must tell the court information such as whether )you have applied for, or received, a previous extension of time, whether opposing counsel agrees or objects to your motion, whether granting the extension will negatively impact on the other deadlines set in the case, and so on.
This part of the motion can consist of numbered paragraphs, the format often used for procedural motions. It will look something like this:
1. Plaintiff Grass Inc. has not asked this court for any other extension of time.
2. Plaintiff Grass Inc. is authorized to say that counsel for Defendant Bugs-R-Us Inc. has no objection to this motion.
3. This extension of time will have no negative impact on any other deadline set by the Court in its May 3, 2002, Scheduling Order.
Last but not least, you need to finish the motion by restating your request for relief, which will look like this:
For the reasons given above and pursuant to [court rule or statute], Plaintiff Grass Inc. respectfully requests this Court to grant it a five-day extension of time, or until [the new deadline], to file its First Amended Petition.
Many local court rules require you to prepare and attach a proposed order to any procedural motion filed with the court. Even if the rules don’t require this, it’s still a good idea. It gives you the opportunity to suggest specific language for the wording of the order.
Writing a Dispositive Motion. If you are writing a dispositive motion, it should be short and sweet. Why? More than likely, the rules require a supporting brief for the motion.
It’s in the brief where you will elaborate and state the legal authorities to support your position. Even though this type of motion usually requires a supporting brief, you will still state the same three elements.
Plaintiff Grass Inc. requests this Court to grant it summary judgment against Defendant Bugs-R-Us Inc. pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 56.
In support of its Motion, Plaintiff Grass Inc. states that there is no material fact in dispute and, as a matter of law, Plaintiff Grass Inc. should be awarded summary judgment against Defendant Bugs-R-Us Inc.
Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 56, Plaintiff Grass Inc. respectfully moves this Court to grant it summary judgment against Defendant Bugs-R-Us Inc.
Some jurisdictions have rules about whether the supporting brief can be a separate document from the motion. If the rules don’t address this issue, normally you can choose to do whichever suits you. If you wish to start the support brief immediately after your motion, you would simply add this after the last paragraph of your motion:
PLAINTIFF GRASS INC.’S BRIEF IN SUPPORT OF ITS MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
Argument and Authorities
• PLAINTIFF GRASS INC. IS ENTITLED TO SUMMARY JUDGMENT.
Then begin your argument.
Common Mistakes to Avoid. The most frequent mistake made when writing motions is not telling the court what you want, and then failing to cite the proper authority that gives the court the power to do what you request. You must always tell the court what you want, and then give the court the means to give you want you want.
The second most frequent mistake is failing to follow the jurisdiction’s local court rules. In many jurisdictions, local court rules determine the format for motions, such as a motion for summary judgment. The local court rules may have other requirements as well, such as the page number limit. Court rules tell you which motions require an accompanying brief in support and which don’t.
Finally, a common error in supporting briefs is failing to support statements of fact with references to admissible evidence. References to facts should be bolstered with at least one supporting exhibit. Supporting exhibits can be witnesses’ statement or affidavits, deposition testimony, answers to discovery, or a document, such as a contract. These exhibits should be marked at the bottom of the page (Exhibit 1, Exhibit 2, and so on), and attached to the supporting brief.
Applying the Three-Part Rule. Always check the court rules to determine what special requirements should also be included. Make an effort to write your motion in the clearest language possible so that the court can’t misunderstand your request.
The next time you have the opportunity to write a new type of motion,
I hope you will take a stab at drafting it yourself rather than relying
on a boilerplate form. Tackling projects such as this only helps
to increase your writing skills and give you more confidence to take on
more and more complex writing assignments.
“Copyright 2002 James Publishing, Inc. Reprinted courtesy of LEGAL ASSISTANT TODAY magazine. For subscription information call (800) 394-2626, or visit www.legalassistanttoday.com.”
By Brenda Kramer
At the Summer Board meeting, the new NFPA Board of Directors drafted
a new vision statement. If you have any feedback on the new vision statement,
please let your NFPA reps know.
• To become a global association, representing paralegals worldwide, with membership worldwide
• To make NFPA more visible within the legal and greater communities
• To increase membership in NFPA
• To promote paralegal education to paralegals and to the legal and greater communities
FREE STUFF! The Annual NFPA Leadership Conference will be held October 19 & 20 at HMS in Kansas City. There is no registration fee for member associations. You can register on-line at www.paralegals.org/ calendar/membership
NEEDED: SPECIAL VOLUNTEERS
Here are several opportunities to become involved in NFPA at the national level. The NFPA Board is looking for volunteers for these positions:
1. NFPA needs a trademark paralegal who would volunteer to monitor the trademark databases for any new applications filed relating to paralegals.
2. NFPA needs a paralegal who has experience in writing, particularly grant proposals, as we begin utilizing the LEAPP Foundation for solicitation of funds.
3. NFPA need a Chair and members for an ad hoc Committee to restate the NFPA Policy Manual in its entirety. This will involve incorporating all amendments to date into each policy so that we have current policies from which to work without having to flip around in the Policy Manual. The current version will still be maintained for historical purposes, but the restated Manual would be much more user-friendly. The preference would be to have the Chair be a corporate paralegal, but that is not a firm requirement.
PARALEGALS ROCKIN' CLEVELAND
NFPA's Fall 2002 Convention will be held in Cleveland, Ohio September 26 - 30. The Convention will include one full day of education seminars, Region meetings and a two day Policy meeting.
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