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IPA Blawg

Indiana Paralegal Association, Inc. Legal Blog

Updated: 2018-03-06T20:38:18.092-05:00


Upcoming Technology Topics


This is a very exciting time for the release of
new technologies. I am unsure if it is the
result of pent-up ideas that are finally being
released after years of anticipation or simply
companies seeking to one-up each other
with the release of new products. Whatever
the reason, there are some exciting new
products that are being released in the next
few months. Here a few to keep an eye out
for. (click here)

Paralegals in a down economy


Great podcast from Legal Talk Network

Laid-Off Lawyer Competes with Other Attorneys for Paralegal Jobs


Laid-Off Lawyer Competes with Other Attorneys for Paralegal Jobs
Posted Feb 17, 2009, 09:22 am CST
By Debra Cassens Weiss

A 43-year-old Los Angeles lawyer who was laid off from her in-house job more than a year ago still has no permanent job, as unemployment takes a toll on her marriage and her finances.

The lawyer, Ellie Trope, has 15 years of experience, but her job search has still been difficult. This year she landed a temporary job and hopes it becomes permanent. She spoke to Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez about her struggle over the past year.
(continue reading)

Paralegals Outrank Lawyers on Best Jobs List


Much is made of the fact that federal judges must make substantial financial sacrifices when they leave private law practice.

But the editors of a new best jobs list believe it’s better to be a federal judge, and better still to be a paralegal assistant. Lawyers were ranked 82nd on the list of best jobs by the new job site Federal judges were 69th on the list and paralegal assistants 17th, just below meteorologists and medical laboratory technicians.

(Continue reading)

Mac Announces New Laptop without Keyboard.


This is simply brilliant. Best Apple product yet (click here to see).

ITunes goes DRM free


Changes Coming to the iTunes Store

- All Songs DRM-Free

- Users Can Download Songs Directly Onto iPhone 3G Over Their 3G Network for the Same Price

- In April 2009, Songs on iTunes Will be Available at Three Price Points




The PACE Standards Committee has approved a one-time amnesty period effective immediately through the end of April, 2009. During this limited time, any former RP who has not timely renewed can submit a renewal application without having to petition the PACE Standards Committee for a waiver. (click here)

Gifts for Geeks


It is that time of the year again. Year-end reviews, meeting billing goals, crappy
weather, long lines, noisy kids, and shopping. Over the years, I have concluded that
geeks are surprisingly easy to shop for. There are never a shortage of cool gifts to give to that special geek (or nerd) in your life. The following is a list of some gizmos and gadgets as well as some old-time classics. (click here)

Wake Up! - Alarm Clock Technology


I guess I do not have a hard time waking up in the morning. Do not get me wrong, I like to sleep in on the weekend as much as the next person. However, if I do not want to get-up, I simply do not set an alarm. That aside, I guess there are people out there who set alarms, but have a hard time (perhaps on some unconscious level) of actually getting-up out of bed when the alarm goes off. If you know someone like this, the following products may be helpful.

Sfera Alarm Clock:

This alarm is an orb that you mount on your ceiling to hover over your head. When the alarm sounds, the sleeper can hit the orb to activate the snooze. However, each time the user hits the snooze button, the cord will retract toward the ceiling and will get higher and higher forcing the person to eventually get-up out of bed to turn off the alarm.

...(click here to continue reading)

Hello Google Chrome -- Goodbye IE7


Google is preparing to launch its debut in the internet browser market with an open source browser that is expected to compete with Firefox, Apple Safari, and of course Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 (“IE7”). Several years ago I wrote an article that discussed IE7 and some of its promising features. I personally use IE7 at home and at work. I believe it is very good browser and I have no major criticisms of IE7. That being said, I’m getting my bags packed and preparing to go on a trip with Google’s new browser called “Chrome.” I believe that Chrome has a very promising future for the following reasons.

(Click here to continue reading)

The Indiana Supreme Court rejects Regulation Rule 2.2


The Indiana Supreme Court has rejected the proposed Rule 2.2 to offer voluntary regulation of paralegals (click here).

Paralegal Appreciation Week


IPA is pleased to announce Paralegal Appreciation Week (April 25 - May 2, 2008).

ABA Techshow 2008 – A Paralegal's Perspective


By: Courtney David Mills
IPA Technology Director, Chair of IPA's Litigation Section, and Litigation Paralegal at Hall Render Killian Heath & Lyman, P.C.

I can finally put away my thumb drive lanyard, bluetooth earpiece and pocket protector for another year. The 2008 ABA Techshow has concluded : (

For those that have not attended yet, the ABA Techshow is considered the top legal technology conference in the U.S. The conference is 3 days of legal technology emersion and occurs during early spring each year in Chicago, IL. The conference features some of the top legal technology minds in the U.S. and even borrows some expertise from our neighbors to the North. The conference is designed for everyone (i.e., judges, attorneys, paralegals, office administrators, IT professionals, litigation support professionals, etc.). There are 4 sessions per day, with 7 available tracks per session to choose from. The tracks include, "Advanced IT/Security", "Records Management", and "Litigation" (to name a few). This year's confernece featured new tracks on "Going Green" (building sustainable and environmentally friendly legal practices), and "Mac Track" (featuring cool looking computers that do not work with any mainstream computer applications and are prone to crashing unexpectedly, j/k – Mac people are free to send emails to Below are some of the highlights from 2008 Techshow.

(click here to continue)



IPA and IKON proudly announce that they will award the second annual PACE Scholarship in 2008. Applications for the IPA-IKON PACE Scholarship are currently being accepted. One scholarship will be awarded. The criteria for this scholarship are:


1. Candidates must be a voting member of IPA.


2. Candidates must be PACE-eligible in meeting education and experience requirements at the time of application.


3. Candidates must have exhausted other possibilities for funding costs associated with sitting for PACE, without incurring debt, including employer support, prior to making application for this scholarship.

.... (read more).

Let's Get Chumby


By: Courtney David Mills
IPA Technology Director, Chair of IPA's Litigation Section, and Litigation Paralegal at Hall Render Killian Heath & Lyman, P.C.

During my browsing for a topic to write about, I came across a review for a “Chumby.” At first, I thought it was some kind of overpriced brick that you could use to decorate your home. However, after watching a short video on the product, the geek in me was seriously impressed. The Chumby is essentially a small linux-based wi-fi enabled miniature computer with a small touch screen and built-in speakers. The following are some features of the Chumby.

Alarm Clock: If nothing else, the Chumby makes a decorative and amusing alarm clock. The alarm feature can be set to wake-up to preset pictures, music, internet radio stations, podcasts, etc. The Chumby is connected to your home internet and can be programmed from any internet ready computer. Users can download different backgrounds and clock settings.

Picture Frame: The Chumby can also be used a nice looking quality digital picture frame. Again, you can either transfer pictures on to the Chumby’s internal memory or utilize a free online picture archiving website (i.e., Flickr, Photobucket, etc.). Users can set the Chumby to randomly display pictures at preset intervals or even show random video clips.

Games: Users can also download free games that utilize the Chumby’s touch screen and motion sensor. The games are referred to as “widgets” and can be previewed and downloaded from a computer and sent to your Chumby via your home network.
Messaging / E-Mail: The Chumby allows users to send other Chumby users (a.k.a. "chums") messages or access their email account (POP3 or Gmail). This is a great feature if you are awaiting an email and do not want to be tied to your home PC. The features also allow you keep track of your social networking sites (Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc.) and keep in contact with friends and family.
Misc.: This device has constant internet access through your home internet connection so it can keep track of Ebay auctions that you are bidding on or watching. Users can watch videos or set-up videos to play as a video frame (a great treat for the Harry Potter fans). You can have it set to update with constant sports scores or other news information from most news sites. You can keep up to date on podcasts, blogs, and even stream live internet radio to the Chumby (through the built-in speakers) and also connect your IPod or MP3 player to play music. Weather widgets are also available that act as quick weather forecast (very similar to weatherbug).

The Chumby is an interesting innovative product that is designed for just about anyone. It combines some very useful features ranging from simple (i.e. clock, digital photo frame) to more geeky features that allows users to wake-up to their favorite song and a quick summary of the overnight news. The content (including widgets, games, etc.) are free and are based on open-source code (which is designed for allow programmers to create free and innovative widgets for the device). The price of the product is $179.00 (free shipping). Considering all of the features, this is a bargain.

Websites of the Month: This website has all of the information on the product and is the only source for ordering the product. Users can also create a virtual Chumby online. It allows users to test different widgets, games, and see what the Chumby is capable of doing.

Indiana Gets on the E-Discovery Bandwagon


Indiana Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard says, when discussing court reform, Indiana is “rarely first, occasionally last, frequently early.” Well, when looking at the ediscovery rule amendments, Chief Justice Shepard was spot-on. As you may recall, in December 2006, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (“FRCP”) were amended to include provisions governing the discovery of Electronically Stored Information (“ESI”). During 2007, many states followed suit and adopted some version of the amendments at the state level. In September 2007, Indiana formally adopted several sections of the amendments of the FRCP into the Indiana Rules of Civil Procedure ("IRCP"). The amendments to the IRCP went into effect on January 1, 2008 and effect most civil litigation pending in Indiana state courts. This article will briefly discuss the rule changes and their potential impact on civil litigation. The sections below in italics are the amendments to the IRCP...(click here).

Tips To Certification Success


How to Get Started and Take OffFirst, decide to take the exam. Make a commitment. Make an affirmation, telling yourself you can do whatever you set out to do. Visualize yourself passing the exam. Be optimistic--develop a survivor personality. Survivors remember that they are precious people first, and mothers, employees, or otherwise upstanding citizens second. Don't let outside duties keep you from meeting your goal. Tell someone about your decision to take the exam. Hang out with positive people you know will encourage you to complete the test. Don't let any unexpected event or fear stop you. How to Take a TestGeneral rule: Break each question into the stem and the alternatives, understanding the stem first. Underline key terms and clue words in the stem.Read the directions carefully. Some questions may be partly correct in themselves, but not when joined to the stem question.If faced with vague terminology, define in your own words. Think of the correct answer and then look for it among the alternatives.Don't guess too soon. You must select not only a technically correct answer, but the most completely correct answer.Be wary of unqualified absolutes such as "never," "always," "is," "are," "guarantees," "insures." These words make the questions highly restrictive and very difficult to defend. Be wary of the extra-long or "jargon-y option." These are often decoys.Use knowledge of common prefixes, suffixes, and word roots to make intelligent guesses about terminology you don't know, e.g., hypertension has root word "hyper," referring to high, not low, blood pressure. Use information and insights acquired in doing the exam to go back and answer earlier items that you weren't sure of. With the PACE exam, you can “mark” questions to pass and go back to and answer. Often, you will get clues throughout the exam that give you the right answer for those questions you have marked. If you are not certain of an answer, guess . . . but do so methodically. Eliminate some choices you know are incorrect and relate each alternative back to the stem of the question to see if it fits. Narrow the choices, compare them, and make an informed guess.If you have absolutely no idea what the answer is, and there is no scoring penalty for guessing, choose option B or C. Studies indicate that these are correct slightly more often than predicted by chance alone. Don’t leave the answer blank as that will be an automatic wrong answer.Think the answer is wrong? Maybe you should change it? Studies indicate when examinees change their answers, they usually change them to the wrong answer. If you were fairly certain you were correct the first time, leave the answer as it is.Finally, the best way to ensure selection of the correct option is to know the right answer. A word to the test-wise is sufficient.Watch your time. Do easy questions or sections first. This will help calm your nerves, establish your concentration and build your confidence.Mark where you should be after one hour or two hours to ensure you are not falling behind. Work at a fairly quick pace. Reviewing carefully may eat up your time. If you're behind after the first hour, you may have to choose between speeding up (and possibly making errors) or not finishing. Keep up your pace by working through the easy questions quickly, then coming back to the more difficult ones. Answer initially only if you are 100% certain of the answer; otherwise “mark” the questions that need more thought.Process the question. Careless mistakes are often made when rushing through the "stem" or first part of the question, missing important inf[...]

2007 NFPA Convention: An Observer’s Viewpoint.


2007 NFPA Convention: An Observer’s Viewpoint. Article by IPA's PACE Ambassador, Debi Neale, Tabbert Hahn Earnst & Weddle, LLP.

The 'Winners' of the Wired News Saddest-Cubicle Contest


If you think you have an embarrassing work space, check this out.

The Power of PowerPoint 2007


The Power of PowerPoint 2007. Article by IPA's Technology Director, Courtney David Mills, Hall Render Killian Heath & Lyman, P.C.  

ABA Techshow 2008 information is available


American Bar Association has opened registration for its annual Legal Technology Conference "ABA Techshow" in Chicago, Illinois, March 13-15, 2008. (click here).



We are very pleased to report that the Board of Governors of the Indiana State Bar Association fully supported comments to proposed Rule 2.2 as gathered by John Conlon, the ISBA appointed Chair of the subcommittee on proposed Rule 2.2 Paralegals.

A report of the comments gathered by John Conlon was made to the ISBA House of Delegates and additional comments were received from various Delegates. Pursuant to his earlier request, all comments will be forwarded by ISBA to Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard for action by the Supreme Court.

We are pleased that proposed Rule 2.2 continues to move forward.



The Indiana Paralegal Association is proud to honor two of its newest PACE Registered Paralegals, Joshua H. Woolley, R.P. and Tracy S. Oprea, R.P.Joshua H. Woolley, R.P., is a PACE Registered Paralegal at the Indianapolis office of Scopelitis, Garvin, Light, & Hanson, P.C., where he currently focuses on workers’ compensation and insurance defense. Joshua is a lifelong native of Indiana, having been born and raised in Plainfield, Indiana. Joshua was the recipient of the Outstanding Citizen Award for Hendricks County in 1992, for his countless hours of volunteer work with the Hendricks County K-9 Search & Rescue Team. JOSHUA H. WOOLLEY, RPJoshua eventually helped spearhead the formation of the first Boy Scouts of America Explorer Post in the United States in the field of K-9 Search & Rescue Team, where he served as the President for several years.During high school, Joshua worked with several supported living programs for developmentally disabled adults in Indiana. After high school, Joshua put his passion for dogs to use by opening up an in-home dog training company, Top Dog Training Services. After a few years of training dogs, Joshua was subsequently introduced to a fellow dog-lover and an Indiana attorney, and began his work in the legal profession. Starting in August, 1996, Joshua began working for several sole practitioners, all of whom focused on family law, bankruptcy and criminal defense. It was not until June, 1998, when Joshua began working with Clifford W. Shepard, an attorney who focused his practice on the representation of consumers, that Joshua decided to stay in the area of law as his chosen career path. Joshua stayed with Mr. Shepard for eight (8) years, helping Mr. Shepard litigate individual and class action lawsuits. During his time with Mr. Shepard, Joshua developed a deep passion of both federal and state appellate work. In May, 2006, Joshua left Mr. Shepard to join the Indianapolis office of Scopelitis, Garvin, Light & Hanson, P.C., where he works under the direction of partner, Carla R. Hounshel, who leads the firm's Indiana workers’ compensation defense practice.Joshua began thinking about taking the PACE sometime in 2005. However, it was not until he joined Scopelitis, Garvin, Light & Hanson, P.C. that he decided to proceed with taking the PACE. Both Mrs. Hounshel and managing partner, Timothy W. Wiseman, personally encouraged Joshua to sit for the PACE in order to advance his career. Joshua sent in his Application to become a PACE candidate on November 2, 2006, and was subsequently approved as a candidate by the NFPA in December, 2006. After receiving notice of his candidacy to sit for the PACE, Joshua immediately scheduled his exam and took and passed the PACE on January 5, 2007. Joshua believes that passing the PACE has provided the validation he needed to prove to himself, and others, that he was a paralegal of the highest caliber.Tracy S. Oprea, R.P., a PACE Registered Paralegal at Beckman, Kelly & Smith in Hammond, Indiana, graduated from South Suburban College in South Holland, Illinois in 1994 with an A.A.S., majoring in the curriculum of Paralegal Studies. Tracy has over a decade of Paralegal experience. She specializes in civil litigation. Tracy's love for the law dates back to the late 1980's when she began working part-time at a law firm through a co-op program at her high school. Tracy is a member of the Indiana State Bar Association, Indiana Paralegal Association and the [...]

Get Ready For a Whole New Vista on E-Discovery


By: Courtney David MillsIPA Technology Director and Litigation Paralegal at Hall Render Killian Heath & Lyman, P.C.Just when you were getting comfortable with the amendments to the FRCP, terms like “electronically stored information”, and the latest litigation support software, Microsoft has come along to rain on your parade. Microsoft has introduced its newest operating system, Windows Vista, and its companion office suite, Office 2007. These products have a full bag of tricks to make Electronic Data Discovery (“EDD”) more challenging and more important than ever. This article with discuss Vista’s security features, shadow copy tracking, and the new file formats and PDF support offered in Office 2007. It will also discuss the practical impact of these features on the EDD process. One of the most probable impacts will relate to Vista’s encryption feature, Bitlocker. Bitlocker: Bitlocker is a very sophisticated form of drive encryption that is built-in to Enterprise and Ultimate editions of Vista. It is hardware based solution rather than a software based solution. It is built on 128-bit encryption which is the same level of security for most online banks on government information sites (in geek terms, it is another way of saying that there are 2^128 possible keys and nearly impossible to crack using brute force). Bitlocker is characterized by utilizing multiple layers of security during the boot process. The current options include (1) enter a pin code while the computer is booting-up, or (2) insert a USB key during the boot process. Either of these methods will still require a standard windows password during the login process. Once logged in, you may still encounter encrypted files or entire folders that are encrypted. The impact of this feature on EDD and computer forensics can be alarming. In today’s litigation environment, it is still relatively rare to encounter large amounts of encrypted information in the corporate environment. In fact, many companies have a policy against encrypting files without express permission. Certain areas of law that deal with large amounts of sensitive information, i.e. health law, will almost certainly integrate this function into their IT policies. Bitlocker was designed towards companies that have mobile workforces that often carry large amounts of sensitive information, i.e. health records, social security numbers, and credit card information. It is not uncommon to hear a story on the evening news about a company losing an employee laptop with sensitive information on thousands of customers. Often, the cost of the laptop is irrelevant when compared to the costs of waging a public relations campaign or potential litigation exposure. With Bitlocker, a lost or stolen laptop is not as serious of a concern because a user would need two methods of authentication to even turn on the laptop. Also, since Bitlocker is a form of hardware based security, users cannot simply remove the hard drive to another computer for access to cracking the hard drive. This aspect presents a unique problem for EDD experts. Clients may no longer be able to simply remove and store a hard drive for EDD preservation obligations. It may be necessary to decommission the entire laptop and preserve the laptop (with hard drive intact). To make the matter even more difficult, there is reportedly no “back-door” (secret security protocol that allows law enforce[...]

Adobe Professional 8 for Advanced Users


By: Courtney David MillsIPA Technology Director and Litigation Paralegal at Hall Render Killian Heath & Lyman, P.C.Several months ago I wrote an article introducing Adobe Professional 8, the latest and greatest in Adobe Acrobat family. Since that time, I have had time to look under the hood and play with some of Adobe’s more advanced features. These features move beyond the bates numbering, redaction and OCRing features discussed in the earlier article and aim to introduce more advanced features. This article will discuss the typewriter tool, form creator and Outlook functionality. Typewriter Tool: Adobe Professional 8 features a tool that was part of the upgrade package to Acrobat 7 (so you will not be blamed if you missed it). This tool features the ability to simply click and type directly on a PDF (regardless of whether the file is a PDF with text, a simple image or a PDF form). The typewriter tool can be accessed from the “tools” menu under “typewriter”. It is one of the most convenient and overlooked tools in Adobe. You can fill out PDF forms regardless of their formatting and you can make quick notes directly on PDF documents without using comment features. It can be used for filling out fax cover sheets that are saved as PDF images and to complete the IPA monthly luncheon reservation form (which is posted monthly on IPA’s website). Form Creator:The form creation tools in Adobe 8 are a vast improvement from previous versions. These tools essentially allow a user to take a PDF form that is a simple scanned image (much like the static forms stored on many websites). The user can run the form creation tool and Adobe will review the image and attempt to discern actually form fields. It will recognize the text of the document and try and isolate obvious fields (i.e. NAME: ____________________). It will also attempt to find check boxes and signature fields. All of the identified fields will then be converted to text boxes etc. It is a great tool for those who have PDF forms that they have to fill out as a matter of routine. This is especially true for most federal court websites that feature PDF as an acceptable file format and feature many court forms in PDF format. Outlook Functionality:The Outlook functionality is by far my favorite feature of Adobe Professional 8. Anyone who has worked on e-discovery projects knows that printing emails for paper production is sometimes simply not practical. Many times it is necessary to convert the email to an image format such as PDF or TIFF. PDF files have many advantages over TIFF files (it is like comparing plain text files to dynamic Word documents). Printing or converting email to PDF can be very messy and the resultant files usually have to be cleaned up to avoid misleading headers and footers (as well as issues with email attachments). For the first few months I was disappointed about this feature because this feature in Acrobat 8 did not function properly with Outlook 2007. The compatibility issue has since been addressed and it is a very helpful feature. It allows users to take select emails (or select email folders or subfolders in Outlook) and package the emails into a PDF file. This feature is very useful in litigation where discovery of email is becoming the norm. This practice maintains the searchability inherent with native or quasi-native production, alleviates some compatibility [...]