Archive for November, 2008

Job Posting: Legal Secretary/Paralegal – San Francisco

San Francisco location of Dallas-based litigation law firm with high-level plaintiffs’ practice is looking for experienced Legal Secretary/Paralegal to join our team. Job requires excellent organization, writing, grammar and communication skills. Experience filing in state and federal courts, and e-filing experience required. Candidate must be proficient in MS Word, type at least 60 wpm (Excel skills a plus), have 5+ yrs litigation experience, as well as the ability to multi-task, meet deadlines and operate well in a fast-paced environment. Experience with class action cases is a plus. Candidate must be billable as a paralegal. Employment will be on a temp to hire basis. For immediate consideration, please fax resume/salary requirements to 214/777-0491. EOE. No phone calls please.


How Much Does Your Morning Routine Cost You?

I wanted to point out an interesting post at The Simple Dollar. Entitled When a Treat Stops Being a Treat – and How to Get It Back, the author goes much beyond the “stop spending $3 on your morning latte to save $50 a month” mantra.  He points out that for many office workers, it begins with the morning coffee and progresses to an afternoon “pick me up” and then perhaps a coffee or chai tea at night.  Pretty soon you realize that $150 a month is going into the coffers of your local Peets or Starbucks or here in Chicago it would be Caribou Coffee.

What many don’t realize is this:  it isn’t a matter or “giving up a treat” but adjusting a routine.  More than that triple shot non-fat latte (what can I say, it takes big coffee to move big machinery), as humans we love the familiarity of a routine.  Ever get irked when they don’t have the onion bagel at Einstein’s that you usually order each morning?  Well perhaps if you were to change your “routines” you would see that you can save money by substituting a cheaper alternative.

For me, having worked from home for the past four years, I’ve been lucky.  I usually make my own coffee in the morning.  But I was getting hooked on Starbucks’ iced coffee in the afternoons until I came up with this idea: I just make twice the amount of morning coffee, and place the second cup in the refrigerator.  Then in the afternoon I make a tall iced coffee.  Plus I can always slip in some amaretto or Bailey’s!  See, I’d have to bring my flask to Starbucks for that.

Check out the post and also the rest of The Simple Dollar blog – there is some great advice for those of us watching every penny during these hard times.

Job Posting: Litigation Secretary – San Francisco

This information was passed on to us by Dwight Moody, an ex-Hellerite who is now working in the San Francisco office of Ropes & Gray.  Thanks Dwight!

Job Description:
We are currently looking for an experienced Litigation Legal Secretary. Applicants must have knowledge of the Litigation processes in order to assist legal staff with pleadings from summons and complaints thru discovery documents to briefs and appeal briefs which includes table of contents, table of authorities and styles. This role will provide administrative assistance to firm’s legal staff as well as Ropes & Gray clients utilizing skills in word processing, transcription, telephone communication, filing system maintenance, calendar and travel scheduling and other duties as assigned.

* Opens, sorts and prioritizes mail for assigned legal staff.
Works cooperatively with identified team members, both legal and non-legal.
* Creates and maintains desk information sheet and is knowledgeable about desk information sheets of team members.
* Becomes proficient in firm billing software, Elite Billing with includes Carpe Diem, PreCost. Prepares and processes attorney bills from inception to completion, ensuring that they are distributed to the client.
* Performs routine to complex filing. Develops and maintains filing systems. Maintains electronic files within firm-licensed software.
* Prepares correspondence, memoranda and other legal and non-legal documents in an accurate and timely manner. Spell checks and proofreads each documents for content and context.
* Professional demeanor in all communications.
* Becomes proficient with office procedures and keeps current with policy manual, procedure manual and non exempt staff handbook.
* Remains flexible and responsive to firm’s operational needs.
* Provides overflow and team coverage throughout the firm at the direction of the Supervisor.
* Participates in firm initiatives. (Programs include PIP, training, professional development, focus groups.)
* Organizes daily calendar of assigned legal staff, coordinates conferences and arranges outside travel.

* Knowledge of Litigation processes. Assist legal staff with pleadings from summons and complaints thru discovery documents to briefs and appeal briefs which includes table of contents, table of authorities and styles.
* Track information in databases relating to document production and privilege logs.
* Assist legal staff with file conversions including burning cds, creating pdf files and other formats for documents.
* Proficiency in general in firm licensed software as well as litigation -Litigation specific software.
* Participates actively in litigation- specific training programs.

* Must have law firm litigation secretary experience
* Types 60 wpm. Proficient with Microsoft Office
* Excellent verbal, written, organizational and interpersonal skills
* Minimum requirement High School Diploma. 2 years work experience or 2 years secretarial school preferred

* Must demonstrate the ability to maintain strict confidentiality of the firm’s internal and external business matters.
* Ability to interact effectively with all levels of firm personnel, including management staff and support staff.
* Must be flexible and able to work under tight deadlines, handle multiple tasks, and respond quickly to changing priorities.
* Able to understand and work in a teamwork/collaborative style and environment.
* Must pay attention to details and have the ability to follow up and follow through.
* Ability to maintain professional demeanor in all situations.
* Reliable and punctual.
* Ability to work both independently or under specific direction.
* Ability to work effectively in a culturally and educationally diverse environment.
* Ability to work in a multi-office environment.

Additional Information:

Normal office environment and schedule.

The above is intended to describe the general content of and requirements for the performance of this job. It is not to be construed as an exhaustive statement of essential functions, responsibilities or requirements.

Apply online at the Ropes & Gray website:

Job Posting: Litigation Secretary – Sacramento

Lisa Hild, formerly Heller’s Professional Services Manager in San Francisco, has passed along this job posting at McDonough, Holland & Allen in Sacramento. Lisa is now the Secretarial Supervisor at McDonough, and is looking for a strong litigation secretary. She reports that her commute to Sacramento is only an hour from the East Bay Area (via Amtrak) and she’d like everyone to be aware of this great firm.

McDonough Holland & Allen PC (McDonough) is one of Sacramento’s premiere full-service law firms, focused on providing powerful legal solutions for businesses, individuals, government and health agencies. We are known for the quality, style and effectiveness of our 90-plus attorneys and their work product. While continually seeking exceptional candidates with a desire to work in an environment that prides itself on its services, work products and people, our Sacramento office currently has an opening for a Litigation Secretary.

Candidates should have at least 5 years experience as a litigation secretary, preferably in a large firm setting supporting multiple attorneys. Strong communication, organizational, grammar and proofing skills necessary to manage a busy construction litigation desk. Candidates should have experience in all phases of litigation from beginning phases of discovery through trial and appeals. Experience with construction contracts and mechanic’s liens helpful, but not required. Candidates should have strong technical skills including experience using Word, Outlook and Excel, and preferably experience using document management systems, styles, and document comparison programs. Bachelor’s degree preferred.

McDonough offers a rich benefits package including health, dental, vision, disability, long term care, life insurance and more all paid at 100 percent. McDonough also offers an unprecedented profit sharing program with 100 percent vested after two years of service, 22 paid time off days (PTO) in addition to 10-12 paid holidays per year, paid parking, and the potential for performance and sign-on bonuses. McDonough is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to an active Nondiscrimination Program. All recruitment, hiring, placements, transfers, and promotions will be on the basis of qualifications of the individual for the positions being filled regardless of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, medical condition, or disability (including AIDS). Visit us at for more information about our firm and its rich benefits.

Time Off: How To Put It To Best Use

Keep in mind that many of us have not had soft landings – we are still out there looking for work, sending out resumes, interviewing etc.  Having your job – no, your entire firm – eliminated is much like having a bed sheet pulled taut: all of a sudden you are thrown up in the air and wonder how and where you’ll land.

I am fortunate in that I’ve managed to sock away some savings and I can be added to my partner’s health care benefits at American Express.  Many of us are in similar situations where we are taking some time off to evaluate our situation and consider all our options.  If this sounds like you but you have trouble getting started or adding some structure to your time off, consider these options:


Right now many non-profit groups, especially community-based organizations are looking for people to help out.  Consider volunteering your skills and services with an agency that might help you find work such as a neighborhood chamber of commerce or your city’s visitors and convention bureau.  You’ll most likely work in an office atmosphere and be able to network with a variety of people and companies.

Part-Time Work

Also consider seeking out the companies that manage major conventions in your city.  Very often for large conventions such as MacWorld they need extra hands on a part-time basis.  Seek out conventions that are in your line of work or interest.  Besides picking up some needed cash, you’ll have the credentials so that you can attend the convention on your off time and visit the vendor booths.  One tip: change into your business attire before heading out on the convention floor on your own time – it will make a better impression and show you are serious about networking.

Brush Up Those Life Skills

Have you ever wanted to learn how to type? Cook? Drive a stick shift?  In a post earlier this summer entitled 50 Things Everyone Should Know How To Do, you’ll find a huge collection of links on how to wisely spend your time off learning the things you always wanted to.  Such as:

Build a Fire
Operate a Computer
Use Google Effectively
Perform CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver
Drive a Manual Transmission Vehicle
Do Basic Cooking
Tell a Story that Captivates People’s Attention
Win or Avoid a Fistfight
Deliver Bad News
Change a Tire
Handle a Job Interview
Manage Time
Speed Read
Remember Names
Relocate Living Spaces
Travel Light
Handle the Police
Give Driving Directions
Perform Basic First Aid
Parallel Park
Recognize Personal Alcohol Limits
Select Good Produce
Handle a Hammer, Axe or Handsaw
Make a Simple Budget
Speak at Least Two Common Languages
Do Push-Ups and Sit-Ups Properly
Give a Compliment
Listen Carefully to Others
Recite Basic Geography
Paint a Room
Make a Short, Informative Public Speech
Smile for the Camera
Flirt Without Looking Ridiculous
Take Useful Notes
Be a Respectful House Guest
Make a Good First Impression
Navigate with a Map and Compass
Sew a Button onto Clothing
Hook Up a Basic Home Theater System
Protect Personal Identity Information
Implement Basic Computer Security Best Practices
Detect a Lie
End a Date Politely Without Making Promises
Remove a Stain
Keep a Clean House
Hold a Baby
Jump Start a Car

Job Postings: Information Technology Positions

A quick note to everyone, not just IT professionals, to check out the free job listings over at the International Legal Technology Association website.

Positions are listed nationwide with many California-based position such as Help Desk, Project Manager, Litigation Support Manager, etc.

Negotiating A Salary – Some Tips

Your cruise director has been out on the blogosphere this morning and I’ve stumbled upon a great post titled Salary Negotiation: 32 Job Pay Tips over at The Negotiation Experts blog.

While the article is geared more towards the information technology professional, there are quite a few tips and tricks that might come in handy during your job search and resulting interviews.  Check it.

Life preserver.jpg
Remember the words of Rev. Frank Scott (Gene Hackman in The Poseidon Adventure):

". . . sitting on our butts is not going to help us either. Maybe by climbing out of here, we can save ourselves. If you've got any sense, you'll come along with us."

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This blog has been created by Thomas MacEntee.

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