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MSBA Paralegal Committee

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12/04/03 | 11/7/03 | 10/3/03

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The meeting was convened at 4:15 p.m.
ATTENDEES:   In Person:  Sarah Dannecker, Patti Drury, MSBA President – Brent Routman, Staff Liaison – Nancy Mischel.  By phone:  Mary Fenske, Cindy Costello, DeAnne Brooks, Penny Cierzan, Barb Peppersack, Sally Dahlquist.

  1.  Meeting Minutes:  Meeting minutes from January 26, 2012 were approved.
  2. Clarification to February 23, 2012 meeting Agenda: 3) Discussion with Brent Routman re advertising CLE through section chairs and Committee 36 discussion of possible seminar on Paralegal Utilization with Committee 36.
  3. Update on CLE preparation
  4. Addition of Bor Yang as panel discussion member for Family Law section of CLE.  Bor is a professor of Family Law at NHCC, has her own Family Law practice and can speak on relevant topics as well as how she partners with paralegals in her profession. 
  5. Bor Yang and entry level paralegal to be part of panel discussion and provide input on what a paralegal can do within the family law practice and possibly have a senior paralegal discuss their role within a family law practice.
  6. Need to find a main speaker for Family Law part of the CLE - Mary Fenske will email Bor for Hot Topic areas in family law and provide Sarah Dannecker with suggestions for topics as well as potential speakers.  September Holmblad to email Susan Rhode and/or Dana McKenzie for potential mail speaker role?
  7. Sarah Dannecker to follow up with Helen Federline regarding topic and suggestions for panel speakers (attorneys and paralegals) for Solo/Small Firm Panel part of the CLE.
  8. Do we need to find a main speaker for this part of the CLE?
  9. Damien Riehl has agreed to present on Cloud Computing for the Cloud Based Technology part of the CLE.  Damien will provide DeAnne Brooks with his bio and presentation intro before next Paralegal Committee meeting.  Damien will present in the 2-3pm timeslot.
  10. Do we need to find panel speakers for this part of the CLE (attorney and paralegal)? Sarah Dannecker to contact Carol Cummins for possible panel participation?
  11. Are we planning to present something at the start of the CLE on Paralegal utilization (see Topics section on webinar Cheat Sheet)– an intro leading into the CLE, brief background on what a paralegal is, how they increase attorney practice, economics of using a paralegal, etc.?
  12. Live facilitator for CLE? – touched on briefly, but no decision was made as to who this will be – need ideas.
  13. How are we going to integrate the Q&A portion into the CLE?
  14. Registration Process – we need to finalize details regarding how to get the information from about the registration process (logging in to the webinar) to the registrants.  Possibly have Mary Fenske email IT at NHCC for this information – is the registration info provided in an email that we can distribute to registrants?
  15. CLE approval: Nancy will submit the request for CLE credit approval once the agenda for the day, bios of all speakers and materials to be presented have been provided to her.
  16. Advertising the CLE
  17. Discussion with Brent on how to advertise – provided the following suggestions:

Counsel of Sections/Section Chairs
Bench and Bar
President’s column

  1. Consensus is that CLE presentation needs to be formalized before we can successfully advertise – due date to have advertisement requests go out to various groups= March 16, 2012
  2. Sarah Dannecker to work on coordinating advertisement once CLE details have been finalized
  3. Sponsor letter  - Penny provided a draft of a mock sponsor letter
  4. 2 areas to be finalized: “brief outline of the webinar” and “sponsorship levels”
  5. Mary Fenske to talk to IT at NHCC to figure out how vendors can be “advertised” on the webinar – once this is determined, Sarah and Penny to finalize sponsorship levels
  6. Deadline to send out finalized sponsor letter to vendors = March 31, 2012
  7. Penny and Sarah to meet on March 7, 2012 to work on (h) (i) and finalize
  8. Paralegal committee members to review vendor list and email Penny and Sarah if you have a relationship with any vendor – we are looking for volunteers to help distribute the letters to the various vendors!!
  1. Update on utilization manual.

Sarah Dannecker will send an email to Janice for another update on the completed utilization manual assignments(what sections are incomplete) and will send out 2 further emails (1 reminder, 1 final) regarding missing assignments

  1. Decision made to have all sections finalized (drafted, proofed, revised, and finalized) by April 15, 2012
  2. Any sections not completed by this date will not be included in the utilization manual
  3. Copies of utilization manual to be provided to registrants of the CLE – will need to work with Renae Fry once we have the completed manual for copies and possible binding
  4. MSBA Committee 36 – discussion with Brent and he is in agreement that any involvement with Committee 36 on the part of the Paralegal committee would be welcome
  5. Making copies of the utilization manual available on the Committee 36 website
  6. Paralegal seminar
  7. Status of proposal for Paralegal Reception: Nancy submitted the proposal and will advise once a decision is made 
  8. Other Business.  NA
  9. Next meeting:  March 22, 2012 at 4:15 p.m.

The meeting was adjourned at 5:25.

Minutes prepared by:  Sarah Dannecker

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The meeting was convened at 4:15 p.m.

ATTENDEES:   In Person:  Michelle McCullough, Jean Diekmann, Patti Keyes, Staff Liaison – Nancy Mischel.  By phone:  Mary Fenske, Cindy Costello, Helen Federline, Penny Cierzan, Janice Voshoska.

1.)  Meeting Minutes:  One revision noted:  Under NHCC Seminar on Utilization – Costs:  Renae Fry’s law firm would cover the cost of the copies and would also do binding if needed at some point.   Minutes were otherwise approved.

2.) Update on completed assignments for utilization manual

Sarah Dannecker sent an email with an update regarding the article revisions and assignments.    Jean Diekmann and Patty Drury will advise Nancy Mischel on status of each and Nancy update through link on the website.  Sarah’s email will be redistributed to everyone.

3.) Review of Solo Attorney/Small Firm calendar of upcoming CLE events.

Michelle checked the calendar and did not note much posted at this date.

This section is working on a 3 part series on litigation – 3 separate topics, over 6 week period covering effective motion practice, evidence and appeals 101.  Hoping to present in February. 

4.) CLE Topic selection.

Discussed what topics we may want to present at the CLE and were in agreement that they should be identified today.  The group decided on the three: 

Family Law:  Mary Fenske will discuss with her instructor.

Solo/Small Firm Panel – 4 attorneys and 4 paralegals; and

Cloud Based Technology.

We do have some names but are looking for more suggestions to provide a variety of speakers.

5.) Sponsors.

Penny will put together a mock up letter and list of sponsors.  Discussed breaking the list down to make calls to the sponsors.  Also, should work on possible script when we do reach out.

6.) Request for MSBA funding.

We have the opportunity to request funding from the MSBA for projects during the next bar year (July 1, 2012 – June 30, 2013).  Nancy is going to put a proposal together for a Paralegal Reception to be held at the MSBA Offices.  We would hold this reception in the hopes of attracting new paralegal members.  We had done this in the past and Helen seemed to recall that we had 50 or so attendees.   We will also include in the budget a request for a give-away of one free paralegal membership to a paralegal attending the reception.  The request must be made in writing by February 1st.  Michelle will send out an email to the committee advising them of this and request any other suggestions from anyone for funding requests to be made asap.

7.) MSBA Committee 36.

This committee was started in response to the unique challenges new law graduates face as they enter the profession, including but not limited to: securing employment, gaining practical professional training, connecting with other members of the legal community, and debt burden.  

Through the work of Committee 36, the MSBA will connect new members of the profession with supportive members of the Minnesota legal community, provide resources, create educational and social programming, and assist new graduates with the transition into the profession for the benefit of the graduates and the profession as a whole.

This could be a wonderful opportunity for our committee to host a short seminar for the initial and future cohorts on paralegal utilization.  Michelle will send an email to Brent about the possibility. 

8.) Other Business.  NA

9.) Next meeting:  February 23, 2012 at 4:15 p.m.

The meeting was adjourned at 5:25.

Minutes prepared by:  Patti Keyes

MSBA Paralegal Committee Meeting
November 17, 2011

The meeting convened at 4:15 p.m
ATTENDEES:  In Person:  Sarah Dannecker, Co-Chair; MSBA Staff Liaison:  Nancy Mischel; Members: DeAnne Brooks, September Holmblad, Cindy Costello, Patti Drury, Helen Federline, Barb Peppersack, Jean Diekmann, Patti Keyes.  By phone:  Mary Fenske

  1.  Meeting Minutes from October 27, 2011 were reviewed.  One correction – Joan Biebelhausen’s name should be removed from (d) as a potential speaker for solo firms and listed in (e) with Judge Morrow under for Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers in the “Recruit Speakers” section.   Minutes were approved.
  2. News, Announcements and Association Updates:
    1. The MPA Fall Social is scheduled for this evening. 
    2. Meeting of all MSBA committee chairs is scheduled for Tuesday December 6th.  Sarah Dannecker is planning to attend to report updates and projects currently being undertaken by our committee.
  3. Current Projects:   

NHCC Seminar on Utilization.

    1. Sarah Dannecker has been talking with Renae Fry.  They discussed:
      1.  Possibility of promoting advanced topics.  Come up with a list of areas that need attention and would increase visibility of the paralegal role and partnership with attorneys.  What things are relevant to the practitioner?
      2.  Using a team approach (paralegal and attorney) for presentation.  Use a dialog between attorneys and paralegals covering how they work together. 
      3.  Costs.  Back end:  IT costs should run around $2,000.  Should include 6 hours of web contact available for 6 months to a year after the seminar.  Upfront costs would include marketing, advertising and promotion.  This should be the biggest up front cost.  Renae could copy materials at N. Hennepin for no charge. 
    2. Advertising. 
        1.   We need to determine the best approach to advertise.  E-blasts, mailing lists, section chairs to get the word out, website link to events, Bench & Bar on calendar.  The more places, the better.  The best bet may be to get the word out to the section chairs.  Sarah will discuss with Brent.  Broadest strategy – target 1000 people with hope of 20 – 30 attorneys signing up to cover costs. 
      1.  CLE – should we consider co-sponsoring with CLE committee?  Would help with getting the word out.   Would need to share revenue if we pursue this.
    3.  Topics
        1.  They need to qualify for CLE credits.  We need to work within a format that is relevant and advanced.  A question and answer session would be required for CLE credit.
        2.  Topics to fill a 6 hour time frame.  Or should we shorten to focus on one advanced topic in a 3 to 4 hour time frame.  We could have a morning buffet of various topics, in the afternoon we could focus more on advanced hot topics.  IP and Cloud Based Technology are hot topics.  Or, we could have a panel in the morning covering a variety of areas.
        3.  We should determine the length and format and have these topics decided by January or February.
        4. Other ideas for topics.  Utilizing a paralegal in general;  Start out with a panel in a variety of areas;  Must have Q & A for any substantive section; How do paralegals provide value?
        5. Based on target, what should we present?  Family law (hot topic – neutral evaluators), Personal Injury, Bankruptcy, eDiscovery, Litigation, Probate, Real Estate?

d. Target audience

  1.  Determining the target audience will help to determine what topics we should cover as well as format.  Solo, young attorneys and small firms tend to need the help and they tend to be the ones that do not know how to utilize paralegals.
  2. Sponsor levels
  3. Finalize sponsor levels, work out details and contact sponsors by February or March.
  4.  Speakers
      1.  Mary Fenske indicated that their Family Law instructor would be willing to present on Family law.
      2.  Helen Federline mentioned Bob Woodke from Bemidji is typically a very big draw and his firm is very diverse.  He has done a lot of speaking on solo and small firm issues.

Utilization Outlines

  1.   Have received two new outlines.  There are a few still missing.  There may be other topics that we should consider including.
  2.  Did not feel we needed Juvenile Law or Special District Law. 
  3. Appellate – Helen will check with Bob Woodke to ask him to update.
  4. Employee Benefits – Barb Peppersack will check with someone in her office to for updating.
  5. Environmental Law – Jean Diekmann will check with someone in her office.
  6. General Practice -  Helen Federline will check with someone to update that area.
  7. ADR - DeAnne Brooks will look for someone to review. 
  8. Public Benefits - September Holmblad will look into.
  9. DeAnne Brooks offered to contact Janice to ask her to send an update on where we are as far as the outlines and upload onto the website.  The people that have outstanding outlines due should be emailed.
  10. Action Items
    1. List of utilization outline materials should be updated.  DeAnne, Janice and Sarah offered to work on.
    2. Outline sections should be finished.
    3. Determination of CLE credits, topics and target audience should be completed.  Solo, small firms and young lawyers appear to be the best target.
    4. The entire committee should peruse websites for ideas and topics should be agreed upon.
    5. By February:  Topics and speakers identified and materials submitted.
    6. Finalize sponsor levels, work out details and contact sponsors by February or March.

The meeting was concluded at 5:20 p.m.
Next meeting:  Thursday, December 15 at 4:10 p.m.
Minutes prepared by Patti Keyes


October 27, 2011

The meeting was convened at 4:20 p.m.

ATTENDEES:  In Person:  Co-Chairs Michelle McCullough and Sarah Dannecker; MSBA Staff Liaison: Nancy Mischel; Members: Patti Drury, Patti Keyes, Jean Diekmann, DeAnne Brooks, Penny Cierzan. By Phone: Mary Fenske, Barb Peppersack, September Holmblad, Janice Vochoska.  Guest: Alice Bolton

  1. Meeting Minutes from September 22, 2011 were reviewed and approved.


  1. News, Announcements, and Association Updates: 
    1. Jean Diekmann attended NFPA conference – entry level paralegal exams to be instituted
    2. National Pro Bono Week 10/26/2011 – 10/28/2011
  1. Current Projects:
    1. Online Webpage for Posting Outlines on MSBA website and Online seminar with NHCC:
      1. Utilization outlines:
        1. Several more outlines completed as of 10-27-11 meeting – posted online.
          1. Several outlines not assigned: Securities, General Practice, Public Benefits, Social Security/Disability, Elder Law, Juvenile Litigation, *Special District Law
  2. Securities – Barb Peppersack to meet with Securities section
  3. DeAnne Brooks to review unassigned areas to see if there are any contacts/specialist for those outlines
  4. Discussed removing Special District Law from outlines – does this pertain to Minnesota?
          1. No new deadline to complete outstanding outlines set – those who are still working on their outlines will email Nancy Mischel ( with their assignments as they are completed and she will post updated assignments online.
          2.  Update on completed assignments at next committee meeting.
        1. Proofreaders: Patti Drury and Jean Diekmann 
          1. Outlines that are being sent to the proofreaders should be marked “1st draft, 2nd draft, Revised, etc.” and emailed to Patti and/or Jean.
          2.  Proofreaders will get comments back to author of outline for revisions, if necessary – email or post online these revisions?
          3. Once outline is in final draft form, document should be marked “final version” and emailed to Nancy Mischel, who will create an online sub-set folder entitled “Completed Outlines”.


      1. Vendor/Sponsor List:
        1. Penny Cierzan and Alice Bolton have created a vendor list with names and contact information and sponsor levels
          1. Sponsor Levels: Platinum, Gold ($500.00), Silver ($300.00), Bronze ($100.00)
          2. Platinum = one specific vendor, special advertising during webinar
        2. Committee members to review list to determine if anyone has a specific relationship with vendors and email Penny ( with any information.
          1. Discussion re: cash v. “in kind donations.”
            1. Decided that cash is what we need.
          2. Have decided to approach firms in January as budgets may be tight in the fall.
        3. Contacting city bar associations, first year law student committees for donations?
          1. Ramsey, Anoka counties?
          2. City bar association budgets may be limited, law student organizations not likely to utilize paralegals
      1. Budget:
        1. Overall cost for webinar = $3000.00 (approximately), Income expected = $5,600.00 - $6,600.00 (approximately)
        2. Costs
          1. Room fee = none
          2. Tech costs = $2,000.00 (covered by registration fees?)
          3. Start end mailings and marketing costs = TBD
          4. Michelle and Sarah to talk to Renae Fry for exact cost of webinar
        3. Fees
          1. General Registration Fee = $100.00 - $150.00
          2. Registration Fee for Paralegals = $40.00
          3. 1 rate for entire webinar?  Register for certain topics at one price?  May be difficult to “section out” only specific parts of webinar


      1. Topics for Speakers/Presenters:
        1. Panel discussion w/attorneys and paralegals – how the partnership works
          1. Possibly roll this feature into the topics that are presented at webinar
          2. 1 attorney, 1 paralegal panel discussion per topic
        2. Further Preliminary Topic Discussion
          1. Suggestions:

(i)   Utilizing the Paralegal
(a) combine Ch. 1-4 of Utilization Manual into 1 presentation
(b) Lynda Nelson possible speaker – who is going to contact?

        1. Michelle and Sarah to talk to Renae Fry for refocused topic ideas
        2. Recruit speakers
          1. Damien Riehl – potential speaker for cloud based technology systems – who is going to contact?
          2. Eric Mandel – potential speaker for E-Discovery, Janice Vochoska to contact
          3. Mary Fenske to look to NHCC for potential speakers for Family law, Wills, and Property law
          4. Joan Biebelhausen and Bob Burns potential speakers for Solo/Small Office Issues – who is going to contact?
          5. Judge Morrow potential speaker for Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers – who is going to contact?
          6. Need finalize more details of webinar before we recruit speakers, set agenda, obtain speaker bios, etc.
      1. Length of Seminar:
        1. 3.5 hours
      2. CLE Approval:
        1. Michelle to contact Frank Harris about getting involved in future institutes.


  1. New Items:  none.
  1. Other Business
    1. Does time work for monthly meetings?  4:15pm might work better so those driving in can get after hours parking rates and make the meeting on time.
    2. Sarah Dannecker to create webinar “cheat sheet” template
      1. Brief outline of the project information (e.g., dates, objectives, purpose, fees, etc.)
      2. Useful for having when we start contacting vendors for sponsorship funds, for distributing to committee members, for organizational purposes


  1. Action Items
    1. Need to finish outline sections
    2. Co-chairs to speak with Renae Fry re: budget & webinar topics
    3. Review vendor list and advise of any relationships with identified contacts
    4. Create cheat sheet for webinar project
    5. CLE institutes – Michelle to contact

The meeting was concluded at 5:20pm.

Next Meeting:  November 17, 2011 (3rd Thursday) at 4:15pm. 

Minutes prepared by Sarah Dannecker

Approved: ______________

September 22, 2011

The meeting was convened at 4:10 p.m.

ATTENDEES:  In Person:  Co-Chairs Michelle McCullough and Sarah Dannecker; MSBA Staff Liaison: Nancy Mischel; Members: Patti Keyes, Jean Diekmann, DeAnne Brooks, and Cindy Costello. By Phone: Renae Frye, Penny Cierzan, Janice Vochoska, Henry Evans, Sally Dahlquist, and Helen Federline.  

  1. Meeting Minutes from June 22, 2011 were reviewed and approved
  1. News, Announcements, and Association Updates:  NFPA Regional Conference will be held October 13-16 at the Airport Hilton in Bloomington
  1. Current Projects:
    1. Online seminar with NHCC scheduled for May 16, 2002:
      1. Utilization outlines:
        1. Janice has received 8 outlines. She will send out a list of unassigned topics and will look for volunteers to finish those sections before next meeting.
          1. Henry Evans suggested an additional topic: LCC issues
        2. Janice set new deadline to get the additional outlines to her:  October 21, 2011. Should be sent to
        3. Patti Drury and Jean Diekmann will act as proofreaders.  No proofreading done yet. 
          1. Outlines will be posted so anyone can review.
          2. Nancy will look into creating a Google docs folder for the outlines.
      1. Vendor/Sponsor List:
        1. Penny Cierzan and a student (Alice) have created a vendor list with names and contact information that will be ready by the next meeting.
        2. Need to determine what we are asking for:
          1. Discussion re: cash v. “in kind donations.”
            1. Decided that cash is what we need.
          2. Have decided to approach firms in January as budgets may be tight in the fall.
        3. Sarah Danneker will work with Penny to determine sponsor levels.
      1. Budget:
        1. Renae Fry indicated that our overhead would be limited.
          1. No room fee
          2. Tech costs: Money may be covered by registration fees
          3. Do we want to do mailings v. eblast?
            1. Discussed buying list from MSBA and MPA
          4. Costs for advertising?
          5. Handouts?  Do they need to be bound?
            1. Decided to show outline on webinar and then provide copies via CD or email to all registrants.
            2. We will want some printed materials on hand
      2. Topics for Speakers/Presenters:
        1. How many topics/speakers do we want?
          1. Should be geared toward “more efficient utilization of paralegals” and/or stressing economics of using paralegals
            1. Suggestions:
              1. Ethics Re: Using Paralegals
                1. Suggested Lynda Nelson as a possible speaker on this
                2. Include CH 1-4 of Outline
              2. IP Law – America Invents Act
              3. Bankruptcy
              4. Technology –
                1. Cloud based technology systems
                2. Summation, Clearwell
                3. E-Discovery
                4. Transcription Software, e.g. Dragon
              5. Solo/Small Office Issues
                1. Joan Biebelhausen, Bob Burns possible speakers
              6. Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers
                1. Judge Morrow possible speaker
              7. Immigration Issues
                1. Henry Evans has people who can speak on this
              8. Mergers & Acquisitions
              9. Courts – How paralegals are involved in trial presentation; how much should they be involved
        2. Need to narrow down topics
        3. Recruit speakers
        4. Get Bios of Speakers
        5. Set Agenda
      1. Length of Seminar:
        1. Discussed half day (3-3.5 hours)
      2. CLE Approval:
        1. In order to apply for CLE approval we will need Bios, agenda and teaching format.
        2. Types of credit: law office management, ethics, mental health
          1. Need minimum of ½ hour to get Ethics credit
          2. Takes around 30 days to get approval
  1. Website Updates:  No discussion.
  1. Other Business
    1. Does time work for monthly meetings? 
      1. Decided 4:10 works better than noon for most people.
  1. Action Items
    1. Need to finish outline sections
    2. Narrow down topics for presentation
    3. Recruit speakers
    4. Get Bios of Speakers
    5. Set Agenda

Next Meeting:  October 27, 2011 (4th Thursday). 

Minutes prepared by DeAnne Brooks

Approved: ______________

April 28, 2011

The meeting was convened at 4:10 p.m. via tele-conference call.  Co-Chair September Holmblad, PP, PLS attended; Co-Chair Sylvia Naim, RP was unable to attend.

ATTENDEES:  Co-Chair above, MSBA Staff Liaison: Nancy Mischel; Members:  Patti Drury, Lynette R. Gilliland, PP, PLS, DeAnne Brooks, Barb Peppersack, Mary Eichorn-Hicks, Patti Keyes, Michelle McCullough, Mary Fenske and Renae Frye.

Meeting Minutes from March 24, 2011 were reviewed and approved.

News, Announcements, and Association Updates:  There were none.

Current Projects:

  1. Online seminar with NHCC: 
  2. Volunteers are needed to develop vendor list and contact vendors, tabled for June meeting. 
  3. Utilization outlines:
  4.  Complete assignments, members offered to take additional parts. 
  5. Volunteer needed to track completion and assemble final outlines.
  6. Website Updates: no report; however, the committee discussed the request from Remington College to include a link on the website.  The committee had previously determined that it will be removing individual school links and have one link to AAfPE for schools.  September will notify Remington College. 
  7. Membership Brochure was approved. 
  8. 2011-12 Committee Chair Position:  September and Sylvia will step down as co-chairs when their second term ends at the end of June 2011.  The committee needs a new chair; the co-chairs have recommended that a co-chair situation continue.  The incoming bar president approves the chair appointments. 

Action Items:  September will wait to hear from some committee members regarding the utilization outline review, then she will send updated outline and email to committee members regarding the outlines, vendors, chair position, etc 

Next Meeting:  June 2, 2011
Meeting Adjourned at 4:30.

Minutes prepared by Lynette R. Gilliland, PP, PLS.


March 24, 2011

The meeting was convened at 4:10 p.m. Co-Chair September Holmblad, PP, PLS attended; Co-Chair Sylvia Naim, RP was unable to attend.

ATTENDEES:  In Person:  Co-Chair above, MSBA Staff Liaison: Nancy Mischel; Members:  DeAnne Brooks, Cindy Costello, Shirley Munson, Helen Federline, Jean Diekmann. By Phone:  Barb Peppersack, Joseph Bazan, Renae Fry.  Guests: Janice Vochoska and Mary Fenske attended via phone. 

Meeting Minutes from February 24, 2011, were reviewed and approved.

News, Announcements, and Association Updates:  No Announcements.

Strategic Planning Update/Current Projects:

A.        Lunch seminar sponsored by MSBA on District Court E-Filing scheduled for March 31, 2011, from 12-1:30 p.m. at the Dorsey Law firm.  September Holmblad, Lynnette Gilliland, and Helen Federline were planning to attend.

B.         Utilization materials were passed out and people volunteered to review different sections.  That outline is attached.  September will ask for volunteers from the committee to fill in the remaining sections.  DeAnne Brooks volunteered to contact the MPA Section heads with any remaining topics that need completing.  The review will be our summer homework project. 


Minnesota Lawyer
Minnesota Lawyers Mutual
Farmers Insurance
First Lawyers Trust
ABA Retirement
Eide Bailly
Merchant & Gould
Superior Settlements/Westfield Bank
Paradigm Reporting and Captioning
Loffler Companies
Sieben, Grose, Von Holtum & Carey

TDS Metrocom



E.         Action items:


F.         Next Meeting:  April 28, 2011:  This will be a call-in meeting.

Meeting Adjourned

Minutes prepared by DeAnne Brooks

Approved: ______________

February 24, 2011

The meeting was convened at 4:10 p.m. Co-Chair September Holmblad, PP, PLS attended; Co-Chair Sylvia Naim, RP was unable to attend.

ATTENDEES:  In Person:  Co-Chair above, MSBA Staff Liaison: Nancy Mischel; Members:  Lynette R. Gilliland, PP, PLS, DeAnne Brooks, Barb Peppersack, and Mary Eichhorn-Hicks.  By Phone:  Helen Federline, Joseph Bazan, Penny Cierzan, Patti Keyes, Michelle McCullough, and Renae Fry.  Guests: Patti Drury, Cindy Costello, Lisa Harreld and Toni Decker (in person) and Jeanne Cooley (by phone). 

Meeting Minutes from January 27, 2011, were reviewed and approved.

News, Announcements, and Association Updates:  Lynette Gilliland, PP, reported that NALS will hold the PP Certification Exam the first weekend in March, and the NALS Professional Development Conference will be in Tulsa, OK from March 10-12, 2011.

Strategic Planning Update/Current Projects:

A.        Online seminar with NHCC:  Renae Fry, Dean of Business and Career Programs and Paralegal Program Director North Hennepin Community College, reported on her findings to hold a seminar at NHCC: 

Discussion was held by committee members. 


B.         Lunch seminar at MSBA on District Court E-Filing: Civil Litigation Section will be hosting a seminar in March.  Nancy Mischel has not heard of date set.  Barb Peppersack had checked on e-filing.  Nancy said it could be a breakfast or lunch @ MSBA, 1 hour, Civil Litigation Section will waive fee for paralegal members.

C.        Utilization outlines:  see A above.

D.        Website Updates: nothing new to report.  Suggestions were given for updates.

E.         Nancy Mischel reported that the paralegal listserv should be ready shortly.  We would use this to exchange information, program updates.  Some have rules, discussed general comment and approved wording.  Do not use to post personal attacks.  E-mail will be coming out inviting us to join.

E.         Survey results will be sent to MSBA paralegal members with announcement of paralegal listserv. 

Action Items: 

Next Meeting:  March 24, 2011 at 4:10 p.m. (Note: This is 4th, not last, Thursday)

Change of Meeting schedule:  April 28, 2011, will be a phone conference call meeting; change May 26, 2011 meeting to June 2, 2011.

Meeting Adjourned at 5:15 p.m.

Minutes prepared by Lynette R. Gilliland, PP, PLS.

Approved: ______________

January 27, 2011

The meeting was convened at 4:10 p.m. by Co-Chair September Holmblad, PP, PLS; Co-Chair Sylvia Naim, RP was unable to attend.  This meeting was held via conference telephone call only.

ATTENDEES:  Co-Chair above, MSBA Staff Liaison: Nancy Mischel; Members: DeAnne Brooks, Penny Cierzan, Lynette R. Gilliland, PP, PLS, Jean Diekmann, Barb Peppersack, Henry Evans, Esq., Michelle McCullough, Joseph Bazan; and guests: Jillian Kase and Mary Eichorn-Hicks.

Meeting Minutes from December, 2010 were reviewed and approved as corrected.

News, Announcements, and Association Updates:  There were none given.

Strategic Planning Update/Current Projects:
A.        Survey results from MSBA paralegal members:  There were 40 survey responses out of about 140 or so paralegal members.  The response largely centered over the theme of paralegal utilization by attorneys.
B.         Report from subcommittee regarding action plan discussion:  September, Renae Fry, Penny, Patti Keys, and Michelle met to review the results and discussed how the committee might implement some of the suggestions.  Items considered are:
            1.         Create LinkedIn and FaceBook sites: concerns regarding FaceBook being too personal
            2.         Utilization aspect:
a.         Possibly partner with North Hennepin Community College to live stream a CLE on utilization at low cost to paralegals and attorneys.
b.         Nancy Mischel advised that committees do not have budgets to work with.  They can request funds from Operations and if approved by Operations, the request would go to the MSBA Assembly.  Funds for the next fiscal year beginning 7-1-11 need to be requested now.  Short term suggestions:  partner with a section to present a CLE program (i.e., General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Section; Helen Federline may have additional information to assist and give guidance since she is a member of the section).  Section chairs decide which MSBA-sponsored CLE programs to advertise to their members.  The Committee could talk to and partner with Minnesota CLE for a webcast over noon hour; MN CLE may be willing to assist in advertising; MSBA can host a seminar over lunch for a nominal fee to cover cost of lunch and use available teleconferencing.  Ways to reach potential attendees would be via Legal News Digest (weekly email to MSBA members), the website, and via the paralegal committee and/or listserv.
c.         Try to reach rural, satellite offices.
d.         September will work with Renae Fry to formalize some details to pursue programs through North Hennepin.
e.         Review and develop utilization outlines.  Michele found information in this regard on the Colorado Bar Association Paralegal Website, where they list utilization outlines, written parts for website. 
f.          Create a listserv for paralegals; we would want to provide information regarding the listserv on the paralegal committee website.
g.         Host/sponsor lunch seminar at MSBA, MSBA can accommodate up to 70 people; one topic to consider is District Court e-filing.  Barb will check with people who did this seminar at her law firm to get additional information. 

C.  Website Updates: nothing new

Next Meeting:  February 24, 2011 at 4:10 p.m.

Meeting Adjourned at 4:50 p.m.


Minutes prepared by Lynette R. Gilliland, PP, PLS.

Approved: ______________

December 9, 2010

The meeting was convened at 4:10 p.m. by Co-Chairs September Holmblad, PP, PLS and Sylvia Naim, RP.

ATTENDEES IN PERSON:  Co-Chairs above, MSBA Staff Liaison: Nancy Mischel; Members: Lynette R. Gilliland, PP, PLS, Jean Diekmann, and Barb Peppersack.

ATTENDEES BY PHONE:   Michelle McCullough, Henry Evans, Esq., DeAnne Brooks, and Penny Cierzan.

Meeting Minutes from October 27, 2010 were reviewed and approved.

News, Announcements, and Association Updates were given.

Strategic Planning Update/Current Projects:
a.  Survey for MSBA paralegal committee members:  A proposed survey was presented,          discussed and revised.
b.  Action plans for new goals: tabled until results of survey.
c.  Website Updates: nothing new
d.  Membership Activities are to be determined at future meetings.

No Action items.  Complete and post survey; subcommittee will meet on January 15th to review previous discussions and survey and suggest an action plan for the committee. 

Meeting Schedule:  This was reviewed and it was agreed that the meetings would start at 4:10 p.m. (to allow evening parking rates) at the MSBA offices.

Meeting Adjourned at 4:45 p.m.


Minutes prepared by Lynette R. Gilliland, PP, PLS.


Held on Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The meeting was convened at 12:10 p.m. by Co-Chairs September Holmblad, PP, PLS and Sylvia Naim, RP.

Attendees in person:  Co-Chairs: September Holmblad and Sylvia Naim; MSBA Staff Liaison: Nancy Mischel; Committee Members: Jean Diekmann, Penny Cierzan, DeAnne Brooks and Patricia Keyes. 

Attendees by phone:  Committee Members:  Lynette Gilliland, PP, PLS, Joseph Bazan, Lisa Scott, Sally Dahlquist, Michelle McCullough, Henry Evans, Barbara Peppersack, and Steven Schneider. 

Meeting Minutes from June 7, 2010 were approved with corrections.

Volunteer to take Minutes:  Lynette Gilliland offered to take minutes of our meetings.

News, Announcements, and Association Updates: 

Strategic Planning Update/Current projects:  The Co-Chairs advised that the MSBA President, Terry Votel, approved the committee’s new mission and goals, which are now posted on the committee’s page website, and now we need to work on developing some action plans to implement these goals.  Everyone was invited to share ideas and thoughts, no matter how big, with no negative comments.  The following represents some of the ideas presented by members:

1)         Survey MSBA Paralegal Members on what they want to see or get out of the committee or bar.  It was suggested that the survey be simple and multiple choice so the chance of completion is greater.

2)         Go where the attorneys are, i.e., attend their committee meetings and CLE opportunities.  Present information to the attorneys and invite attorneys to our meetings, etc.

3)         Review what other state bar association benefits are for paralegal members; how do the paralegal committees function; how do they get attorney support, etc.

4)         “Utilization of Paralegals”, make it simple to present to law firms; demo standards of education and utilization; bring staff on board; advance standards and utilization. 

5)         As to utilization, this is where educators and recruiters come in, i.e., fresh approach would be to have recruiters do this.  NOTE:  economic times have changed utilization, for example, associates are doing what paralegals once did.

6)         Obtain perspective of the following:
Attorney:  this is what we need; this is how we use a paralegal.
Paralegal:  this is what we are doing; this is what we can do; and this is what we want to do. 
Recruiters: what is their client looking for; what is in demand from their firms?
Educators:  this is what we teach; how do we need to change this?
Clients:  lower cost, use paralegals
How has the economy affected this? 
How has technology affected this? 

Additional Comments in General Included:

Project Updates:  Michelle McCullough has agreed to continue to update information on committee webpage. 

Meeting Schedule:  Co-Chairs requested comments on possibly changing meeting time from 12:00-1:30 to 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. on Wednesdays or another day. No one voiced opposition.  Post Meeting:  Nancy has sent out a new schedule for meetings as follows:

December 9, 2010 (combined November/December meeting)
January 27, 2011
February 24, 2011
March 24, 2011 (4th Thursday, not last)
April 28, 2011 (date/time dependent on Twins baseball schedule)
May 26, 2011 (this is the Thursday before Memorial Day consider moving to early June as last meeting of the year). 

All meetings will be held at 4:00 p.m. at the MSBA offices.  Conference calling is available and the number will be included with the agenda.

Action Items:

  1. Prepare short survey of questions to paralegal members of the bar. September/Sylvia to prepare draft.
  2. Fine tune goals and tasks on paralegal utilization discussion

Meeting was adjourned at 1:10 p.m.


Minutes taken by Lynette Gilliland, PP, PLS


Minutes approved on_____________


Held on Monday, June 7, 2010

The meeting was convened at 12:00 p.m. by Co-Chairs September Holmblad, PP, PLS and Sylvia Naim, RP. 

Introductions. Attendees In-Person:  Co-Chairs:  September Holmblad and Sylvia Naim; MSBA Staff Liaison: Nancy Mischel; Committee Members:  Patti Keyes, DeAnne Brooks and Jean Diekmann.

Attendees via phone: Committee Members:  Lisa Scott, Michelle McCullough and Penny Cierzan. 

Minutes.  Meeting Minutes from March 31, 2010, were approved.

News, Announcements, and Association Updates.  Sylvia announced the MPA Annual Convention will be held on June 18th.  DeAnne Brooks announced that the NALS Twin Cities Chapter will be hosting the Region Meeting on July 9th.  DeAnne also announced that the MN Lawyer is looking for nominations for their upcoming Unsung Heroes award.

Strategic Planning - Future Direction of Committee.  September gave a brief summary regarding the strategic planning meeting held on April 24th.  Sylvia briefly went through some of the changes and revisions made to the committee’s mission statement and goals.  The committee (members in attendance) approved the changes to the committee’s mission statement.  Next, the committee discussed its’ goals and the following goals were approved:


The committee’s revised mission statement and goals will be submitted to the President-Elect for approval. The changes to MSBA Professionalism Goal will be submitted as a proposal to MSBA’s strategic planning committee.  Nancy informed the committee that the strategic planning committee is made up of the four bar officers, three MSBA staff members, and three additional MSBA council members.  Cincinnatus, a strategic planning consultant, has been hired to assist the MSBA with its strategic planning. The strategic planning committee will begin meeting in July with December as the target date for completion.

Also, briefly discussed was the ABA’s definition of a Paralegal and the committee’s adoption of it. The committee agreed to adopt the ABA’s definition and include it on the committee’s website with our mission and goals.

Next the committee discussed the brochure.  Prior to today’s meeting, September circulated a draft of the brochure with revisions.  Committee members discussed this and suggestions for additional changes were made and noted.  September will incorporate changes and send to Penny Cierzan for distribution at the upcoming MPA Annual Convention and to DeAnne Brooks for distribution at the upcoming NALS Region 5 Conference.  A suggestion was made to add a link to the brochure to the committee’s web page.  This is a “quick fix” for these upcoming conferences; further revisions are anticipated.  Nancy advised that we can monitor the paralegal membership to see if we pick up any new members over the summer. 

Current Projects:


Action Items

Next Meeting:  September 29, 2010 at noon at the MSBA Offices in City Center. 

Meeting adjourned at 1:00 p.m.

Minutes prepared by Sylvia Naim, RP, September D. Holmblad, PP, PLS and Nancy Mischel.

Held on Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The meeting was convened at 12:00 p.m. by Co-Chairs September Holmblad, PP, PLS and Sylvia Naim, RP. 

Introductions. Attendees In-Person:  Co-Chairs:  September Holmblad and Sylvia Naim; MSBA Staff Liaison: Nancy Mischel; Committee Members:  Patti Keyes, Leondra Hanson, Michelle McCullough, Penny Cierzan and Nicole Battles, MSBA Membership Outreach Manager.  Attendees via phone: Committee Members:  Lisa Scott, Barb Peppersack, Renae Fry, and Henry Evans. 

MSBA Membership Benefits for Paralegals.  Nicole Battles presented a short membership PPT explaining the benefits of membership. 

Minutes.  Meeting Minutes from January 27, 2010, were approved.

News, Announcements, and Association Updates.  September announced the New Lawyers reception to be held in May. A notice went out to all MSBA Committee and Section chairs.

Strategic Planning - Future Direction of Committee.  September gave a short explanation regarding strategic planning by referring the committee to the MSBA Mission and Goals, stating that what our committee does needs to help the MSBA reach its goals.  She went on to state that one way to not lose track of the regulation (or voluntary certification) goals is to add them to the committee’s goals and then come up with strategies and projects to make it happen.  After further discussion, the committee began looking at and discussing the MSBA Professionalism Goal and the committee’s purpose and goals.  The committee agreed that the MSBA Professionalism goal needed to be revised to include Paralegals. Nancy advised that if the committee wanted to change the bar’s goals, the committee would need to submit a recommendation to amend the MSBA goal via a resolution to the Governance Committee, stating why it should consider the amendment. The Governance Committee would review the recommendation, and they would make a recommendation to approve or disapprove the amendment to the Assembly. The Governance Committee typically meets at least several weeks before the full Assembly meeting.  The next Assembly meeting is June 25th, our target date to submit a recommendation would May 24 or 25th.  [September and Sylvia have received updated information regarding this procedure and will provide it at the meeting in June.]

Regulation/Certification:  Michelle advised that Wisconsin is moving forwarding with licensure through the legislature.  Addendum: Michelle shared an email post-meeting on this matter.  Additional discussion regarding this issue was part of the strategic planning discussion. 

Membership:  September will work on the Paralegal Committee Brochure to update information based on information shared by Nicole Battles.  There was some discussion about asking the MSBA to offer free membership to paralegal students, assuming that law students receive free membership.  Addendum: Nancy advised post-meeting that law students do not receive free membership in the MSBA, they pay $20/year to join, plus they must join a district bar.  Each district bar decides what to charge for its dues.  The lowest amount a law student could pay to join the MSBA would be $30.

Current Projects:

  1. Website, Coordinator Michelle McCullough: There was discussion regarding what school information should be included on the website.  This also tied into the Utilization materials.  Leondra and Renae agreed to review the school information for the Utilization seminar materials. 
  2. Local/District Bar Membership, Coordinators Penny Cierzan and Jean Diekman.  Penny discussed responses from the various district bar associations and Michelle reported on her meeting with the 8th  District Bar Association. 
  3. Articles in General: Nothing to report. 
  4. Paralegal-related CLEs:  September and Sylvia brought up the possibility of holding a free paralegal utilization seminar for all MSBA paralegal members next year. 


Action Items:  Continue working on committee purpose and goals and strategic planning. 

Post Adjournment Discussion:  Sylvia, September, Michelle and Patti discussed potentially changing the April meeting to a different date to allow additional time for strategic discussion.  September and Sylvia checked with Nancy regarding staff participation and Nancy advised that we could hold committee meetings without staff presence and away from the MSBA offices. 

Subsequent to the meeting, a group of committee members will meet on April 24, 2010, to continue the strategic planning discussions started at the March 31st meeting. 

Next Meeting:  May 26, 2010 at noon at the MSBA Offices in City Center. 

Meeting adjourned at 1:20 p.m.

Minutes prepared by Sylvia Naim, RP, September D. Holmblad, PP, PLS and Nancy Mischel.


Held on Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The meeting was convened at 12:00 p.m. by Co-Chairs September Holmblad, PP, PLS and Sylvia Naim, RP. 

Introductions were made of persons present and joining by phone.

Attendees via in-person:  Co-Chairs:  September Holmblad and Sylvia Naim; MSBA Staff Liaison: Nancy Mischel; Committee Members:  Patti Keyes, Lynette Gilliland, PP, Leondra Hanson, Mary Beth Marti, and Jean Diekmann.   

Attendees via phone: Committee Members:  Lisa Scott, Steve Schneider, Michelle McCullough, Barb Peppersack, and Beth Sullivan.

Meeting Minutes from December 9, 2009 were approved with corrections.

Future Direction of Committee:

  1. Certification:   Issues relating to MSBA President Brisbois’ meeting with us last month were discussed.  Barb Peppersack reported that Kentucky is continuing to look at voluntary certification, while Wisconsin is gearing up for presenting a proposal on licensure of paralegals to the legislature.  If such a proposal were accepted, this would be the first state to go beyond voluntary certification.  It was agreed that we would re-route our certification strategy, always keeping it on the agenda to avoid losing momentum. Committee members agreed to shift focus on utilization, educating attorneys regarding paralegals, and membership growth, then re-focus our efforts onto certification. Committee members also agreed to monitor other states’ certification news and that information would be funneled to co-chairs who would advise the entire committee. Barb Peppersack reported that NFPA is currently working on a basic certification exam.  Leondra Hanson reported that she heard from attendees at the recent AAfPE Conference that the Ohio certification program is not doing so well. In addition, any committee member who comes across any articles regarding other states’ certification plans or utilization of paralegals, should submit them to the co-chairs.  Co-Chairs will assemble and track this information.
  1. Membership Growth:  Nancy advised there were approximately 151 paralegal members in the MSBA.  In response to questions about how a committee might become a section, Nancy advised the committee that in order for a committee to become a section, it needs at least 50 members to sign a petition and take it before the Assembly.  There are other requirements in the MSBA Bylaws as well, which Nancy will forward to us.  Discussion was held to update and complete a Paralegal Committee Brochure for circulation.  Michelle McCollough indicated that at one point she had started working on an MSBA Paralegal Committee Brochure, but it was never completed.  Michelle agreed to distribute the unfinished brochure to the co-chairs or committee members. Mary Beth Marti indicated the MPA is willing to include a line item on its application for requesting MSBA membership information.  Nancy advised that we could request funds be included in the MSBA budget for our committee, however, the deadline for the 2010-11 budget is fast approaching.  Nancy further advised that the committee could submit a request for unbudgeted funds outside of the regular budgeting process, but the request would need to address why the funds were not requested during the regular budgeting process.  Sylvia and September will work with Nancy regarding future budget requests.  Members agreed to work on membership issues and utilization of paralegals.  There was also some discussion about committee members being active in other sections.   

News, Announcements, and Association Updates:  Nothing to report. 

Current Projects:
a.         Website, Coordinator: Michelle McCullough had nothing to report.

b.         Local/District bar membership, Coordinators Penny Cierzan and Jean Diekman had nothing to report
c.         Articles in General: Lynette Gilliland, PP and Helen Federline were featured in an article in Minnesota Lawyer on Virtual Paralegals.  Lynette will check with author of article to get permission to link or post article on the committee website. 
d.         Paralegal-related CLEs:  Nothing to report.
e.         Haiti Relief: Michelle McCullough informed the committee on MSBA efforts to raise funds via website 
f.          Joint Paralegal Panel at North Hennepin Community College:  September Holmblad, PP, advised the committee of a note she received requesting members to join their panel.  More info will go out to members.


  1. Mary Beth Marti mentioned partnering with MPA and Lorman Education Services with respect to discounts. 
  2. Discussion regarding writing an article or column in each issue of MSBA Bench & Bar regarding utilization and certification, something uniform; Nancy mentioned MSBA In Action and Tips and Traps, something short.


  1. Prepare for strategic planning at next meeting. 
  2. Review questions previously provided. 
  3. Work on Paralegal Committee Brochure.  After some discussion that this committee needs to carve out a “niche” to offer something to paralegal members that is different from what they get within their own associations. 

POST ADJOURNMENT DISCUSSION:  Nancy advised September that she could coordinate a presentation with the membership/marketing people at a future committee meeting to go over the MSBA membership benefits that will take place at the February meeting.  September asked Mary Beth Marti to submit the request regarding Lorman education in writing and to provide additional information to the chairs. 

Next Meeting:  February 24, 2010 at noon at the MSBA Offices in City Center. 

Meeting adjourned at 1:10 p.m.           

Minutes prepared by Lynette Gilliland, PP, PLS, Sylvia Naim, RP, September D. Holmblad, PP, PLS and Nancy Mischel.


Held on Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The meeting was convened at 12:00 p.m. by Co-Chairs September Holmblad, PP, PLS and Sylvia Naim, RP. 

Introductions were made of persons present and joining by phone.

Attendees via in-person:  Co-Chairs:  September Holmblad and Sylvia Naim; MSBA Staff Liaison: Nancy Mischel; Committee Members:  Penny Cierzan, and Jean Diekman.  Guests:  Leo Brisbois, MSBA President, and Tim Groshens, MSBA Executive Director; and Mary Beth Marty. 

Attendees via phone: Committee Members:  Leondra Hanson, Steve Schneider, Helen Federline, Michelle McCullough, Lynette Gilliland, PP, Henry Evans, Sally Dahlquist, Patricia Keyes, and Steven Schneider. 

Certification Proposal:  Discussion from 12:10 to 12:50. 

Immediate Past Chair, Michelle McCullough, and current Co-Chairs, September and Sylvia, led off the discussion by discussing (1) where we have been, (2) where we are now, and (3) where we want to be. 

Michelle gave an outline of the history of paralegal certification and state bar association regulations, indicating what our committee has done, where we are at, and the proposal currently before the MSBA to create a task force.  Michelle discussed why some form of paralegal regulation is needed; including the growth of the profession, the ambiguity of the job description and the confusion surrounding the current use of certificate and other regulatory terms. She added that the committee had conducted surveys of the Minnesota paralegals and attorneys and thought the first place to start was voluntary certification rather than licensure, even though licensure may be the ultimate goal. Michelle said it was important to the committee to have the MSBA support the certification proposal and therefore the committee had asked the MSBA to create a task force.

Sylvia added to the discussion with explanation of association certifications including the PACE/RP (Registered Paralegal) certification by NFPA (National Federation of Paralegal Associations).  Sylvia discussed why she decided to become certified and take the PACE exam through NFPA.  In order to maintain her RP status, she is required to re-certify every 2 years, with 12 CLE credits, including 2 ethics. Sylvia stated there are currently four ABA-Accredited Paralegal schools/programs in the State of MN, and they are: Minnesota Paralegal Institute; Hamline University; North Hennepin Community College; and Inver Hills Community College.  Helen Federline stated that there are actually 5 ABA-approved schools, with the fifth one being Winona State.  Sylvia continued to explain the committee’s reason for wanting certification in the State of Minnesota, by stating that there are quite a few fly-by-night programs that offer a paralegal certificate in just a few days of classes.  Because there are no educational or work standards in place for Paralegals, these fly-by-night programs can do this and get away with it.

September explained the PP certification (Professional Paralegal) by NALS, and also mentioned two other certifications, CLA/CP (The National Association of Legal Assistants – NALA) and the AACP (The American Alliance of Paralegals, Inc. (a certification based on education and experience, not an exam).  September discussed where we want to be, i.e., appointment of a task force (potentially made up of some committee members, attorneys, and educators) to develop a plan to certify paralegals in Minnesota; develop guidelines and standards for paralegal certification; develop a program budget; and ultimately create a Minnesota Certified Paralegal exam.  September further explained that the committee wrote the position paper and requested a separate task force based on instructions from our previous staff liaison.  She mentioned that the task force could be made up of committee members, or the committee could continue to the next step.  She mentioned that the committee felt that it needed some “buy-in” from the MSBA before focusing on the details of creating an exam due to the amount of work involved.  Sylvia added that it might be possible for the committee to forego the idea of a task force, because of the qualified representative group that make up this committee, including educators; attorneys; practicing paralegals; etc.  She continued to say that this would be up to the committee to decide and most likely it will be discussed and decided at the next committee meeting in January.

            Discussion was held on a handful of states that have some form of certification:  Ohio, North Carolina, Texas, California and Florida.  Penny shared some statistics regarding the North Carolina exam.  Leo pointed out that these states, he believed, also are mandatory attorney bar association states.  He explained that the states are involved in their operation and funding.  He asked, in terms of Minnesota, what other degree granting programs are out there.  Response was that several have ABA approved paralegal programs:  Inver Grove Heights, North Hennepin, Minnesota Paralegal Institute, and other non ABA approved because of on-line programs: Minnesota School of Business, Winona State, Moorhead, Lake Superior, and others such as Kaplan and University of Arizona who have online paralegal courses.

            Tim asked if we were looking for a mandatory program, or voluntary and September replied that we were initially looking for a voluntary program and discussed Wisconsin’s issues regarding licensure and other committee members shared their input.  Sylvia stated that she recalled that one of the reasons the Wisconsin Supreme Court denied the petition for mandatory licensure was because they had not involved the State Bar.  Helen stated that the Wisconsin Supreme Court denied the request due to economics and recommended that the various associations go back and develop a voluntary program based on other bar associations. 

            Leo and Tim talked about the existing certification programs that are run by the following sections:  Civil Litigation, Labor and Employment, Criminal Law and Real Property Law.   Sections charge separate dues and therefore are able to underwrite any cost overruns from section funds should their certification program not break even.  There is a directive from the assembly that certification programs be self-sustaining; funds cannot come from the MSBA general fund  This could be a problem for the paralegal certification program unless we could partner with a few MSBA sections that might be willing to underwrite any cost overruns.

            Tim stated that it takes a “critical mass” to get a program going, he wasn’t sure what it was but thought it could be 350 interested persons.  Leo suggested our task force meet with other “overlapping” MSBA committees or sections, particularly Professionalism and Practice Management and Marketing, for their perspectives and to perhaps gain their approval or partnership.  Invite some of those attorneys to be involved and help develop the details.  This would be a short term goal.  Long terms goals would be to determine who is the appropriate certifying entity (he discussed the Supreme Court), staffing, and ultimately funding (staffing and overhead need to be considered).  Can we generate revenues to support the certification—we cannot tap into the general fund.  There was additional discussion about how some committees are being asked to cut back on their staff time so that staff can assist in other areas, i.e., Legislative.  This is why no additional resources can be committed to creating a new Task Force this bar year.

            Leo’s last thought was that if certification is voluntary that perhaps the committee should get input from all the education bodies because their students will be affected.  He then left it to us to decide if we want to form a partnership with other sections and ABA approved schools, and that he would be happy to meet with us again after the first of the year, perhaps February or March, to see where we are going with it. 

            Michelle asked Leo what were his thoughts regarding licensure.  He stated that lawyers are licensed; teachers are licensed, accountants are licensed, nurses are licensed, engineers are licensed.  He believes that licensure is a natural progression of any profession. So he felt that we were on track in considering this issue as something down the road and agreed that voluntary is the first step and licensing is something down the path 5, 10, even 15 years from now. 

            He also left us with the suggestion that it would be helpful to our committee to grow our numbers in Minnesota, primarily within MPA, which would hopefully boost membership within MSBA.  MPA membership of 1200 state-wide will not generate the attention of MSBA as much as a higher membership number would.

            Sylvia and September thanked the guests for meeting with us, and for their input, and excused them at this time.  Sylvia suggested that we devote our January meeting to reviewing this discussion, our plans and formulate future goals.

Minutes:  Minutes of the September, 2009 meeting were approved as distributed.

News, Announcements, and Association Updates:  Sylvia Naim, RP, was appointed as the Regional Vice President – Central for the IPMA; and Helen Federline was re-elected as the NFPA Region 2 Director and appointed a Regional Director Chair. 

Current Projects:
a.         Website, Coordinator: Michelle McCullough, provided suggested revisions regarding faulty links and other links to September, Sylvia, and Nancy to the current website.  The next step is to set up tabs for additional materials and review one each month.  Website recommendations should be sent to Michelle. 
b.         Local/District bar membership, Coordinators Penny Cierzan and Jean Diekman, reported on district bar response, enthusiasm for outreach to paralegals in outstate areas, use this to market utilization of paralegals, and discussion of paralegal associations to advertise MSBA Paralegal Committee membership to their members.  Several districts indicated that they will consider a bylaw amendment to include paralegals as members.  Proposed language from other district bar associations that allow this, should be sent to these district bar association in January at the latest. 
c.         Articles in General: nothing to report
d.         Paralegal-related CLEs:  Helen reported on the “9 days in June” MSBA program offering CLEs to districts, and their willingness to partner with us to do that.  Helen will put forward some information to the General Practice/Small section regarding partnering with this section to offer a paralegal utilization seminar.  Helen indicated that she should be free to travel in June.  Suggestion was also made to offer a seminar in collaboration with MPA. 

There was additional discussion regarding approaching MPA and others about collecting MSBA membership dues. 

Strategic planning discussion regarding future direction of the committee was tabled. 

ACTION ITEMS: (prior to and for the next meeting):

  1. September and Sylvia to get the minutes for this meeting out to the committee as soon as possible for their review.
  1. Committee members are to come prepared to discuss their thoughts, suggestions and recommendations for the committee to proceed with a voluntary state certification.  The goal of the January 27th meeting is for the committee to decide how they are going to proceed with the voluntary state certification issue.
  1. Any and all updates and any additional information regarding local district bar associations should be sent to Penny and Jean.

Next Meeting:  January 27, 2010 at noon at the MSBA Offices in City Center. 

Meeting adjourned at 1:25 p.m.           

Minutes prepared by Lynette Gilliland, PP, PLS, Sylvia Naim, RP, September D. Holmblad, PP, PLS, Michelle McCullough, and Nancy Mischel.


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Meeting convened at 12:10 p.m. by Co-Chairs September Holmblad, PP, PLS and Sylvia Naim, RP

Introductions were made of persons present and joining by phone.

Attendees via in-person: Penny Cierzan, John Kastan, Helen Federline, Jean Diekman, Michelle McCullough, Lynnette Gilliland, Debra Hatlestad, Nancy Mischel, September Holmblad and Sylvia Naim

Attendees via phone: Leondra Hanson, Steve Schneider, Lisa Scott and Barb Peppersack

There were no minutes of past meetings for review as formal minutes were not taken during the first part of 2009 as those meetings were devoted to working on the certification proposal.  Lynette agreed to take minutes. 

News and Announcements:  Sylvia Naim presented the history of certification/regulation attempts and the focus of the committee the last three years.

Current Projects were announced and the following Coordinators were assigned:

            Committee: District Bar Associations
            Coordinators: Jean Dickman and Penny Cierzan

  • Previously, September had NW, Penny had NE, Henry had SW, Michelle SE and Jean had Central; everyone was asked to forward what information they can obtain to Penny. 

Ethics Article, Lynda Nelson wrote, was submitted to Bench and Bar; however, they won’t agree to publish the article unless it’s shortened.  The editor will be making contact with Lynda Nelson regarding her article.

  • Previously, Michelle contacted Bench & Bar, September contacted the Minnesota Lawyer, and Sylvia contacted Law and Politics for publication of Lynda’s article. 

            Committee: Committee Website Pages, including Article Bank
            Coordinator: Michelle McCullough

  • Every member was encouraged to submit articles or links to articles, to Michelle for posting to the website.
  • Both Helen Federline and John Kastan have written articles in the past regarding paralegals, the profession, etc.  Both have agreed to reprint their articles and submit them to Michelle for posting on the website.
  • Other potential publications for articles mentioned were, National Business Institute ~ Institute for Paralegal Education, National Reporter and Paralegal Today f/k/a Legal Assistant Today, NFPA, NALS and NALA.
  • Other suggestions for submissions of articles or offerings of Paralegal–related CLEs, seminars or presentations were to the various MSBA sectionals, MN CLE, MPA and the various paralegal schools.

Paralegal Utilization seminars/presentations were also discussed.  Helen, Jean and Michelle all mentioned that seminars of this topic were done several years ago and the presentation materials for those seminars still exist.  Helen agreed to provide the committee with copies of past seminar materials/notes.  Content of the materials may need to be updated. 

Other Bar News: 

  • 2010 MSBA Conference, “9 Days in June”. MSBA will bring the conference to members, instead of members going to MSBA.  There will be no cost to the conference; the only expense to members will be for the cost of food.
  • A suggestion was made to approach the various law institutes to present on Paralegal Utilization.  Such as, Elder Law, Family Law, Real Estate, Employment and Probate.
  • Helen agreed to coordinate with the Solo/Small firms section to co-sponsor a Paralegal Utilization seminar in conjunction with the MSBA convention.
  • Frank Harris is the current director of MN CLE.
  • There are currently 168 MSBA Paralegal members

Certification Proposal Status:

  • Nancy Mischel, Bar Staff Liaison, advised on the status of Certification Proposal.
  • MSBA would want the program to be self-funding and self-sustaining.  They looked at risk for MSBA, they will not underwrite costs. 
  • MSBA feels the committee should assemble a task force to assemble data. 
  • Nancy advised that the President has authority to appoint a task force and she will discuss this issue with him and report back. 
  • The committee has recommended the task force consist of committee members, paralegals and attorneys, and possibly current and former judges.

Other Association Updates:  

  • NALS Annual Education Conference, Irvine California, October 8-11, 2009
  • IPMA 2009 Annual Conference and Expo, Orlando, Florida, October 14-17, 2009
  • NFPA 2009 Annual Convention, October 29-November 1, 2009

Next Meeting:  October 28, 2009

Meeting adjourned at 1:25 p.m.           


June 1, 2006 Meeting Minutes

PRESENT: Sally Dahlquist, Helen Federline, Kris Gibbons, Barb Peppersack, Jodi Standke (?) and Jean Diekmann

1. NEWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS: Jean repeated her announcement that Michelle McCullough will be our Committee Chairperson for the 2006-2007 bar year.

Helen is all ready to moderate the paralegal utilization program at the upcoming Probate Institute. Cindy Costello and Susan Link, the paralegal–attorney team on the panel, will show a Powerpoint presentation.

Helen also noted that she obtained a report from the ABA, “The Economic Benefits of Paralegal Utilization,” for a nominal fee. Barb offered to obtain an updated, comprehensive legal professional survey from Altman Weil on paralegal economics. It includes paralegal/attorney ratios, along with attorney and support staff salary data. Kris noted that she has a contact person from whom to buy specific data from this report for a reasonable price.. Helen will also check the U.S. and Minnesota Departments of Labor websites, along with that of the Minnesota Association of Legal Administrators. Helen can use all of this information to update the economics section of our paralegal utilization handout. On a similar note, Barb will e-mail to Jean IPMA’s (International Paralegal Management Association) 2005 survey and a January 2006 report entitled “The Top Ten Reasons to Use Paralegals.” Jean will distribute these materials to the Committee

2. MISSION STATEMENT: In continuing our discussion of how to update our mission statement, the Committee reviewed which other state paralegal associations’ mission statements we have studied, as well as which additional states we should examine. Helen will update this list for our next meeting.

3. PARALEGAL MEMBERSHIP AND PARALEGAL UTILIZATION PAMPHLETS: Barb talked about Dupont Corporation’s 2003 book on paralegal utilization . Their paralegal utilization model is well known and used by other corporations’ legal departments. She offered to purchase the book and will get more information from her law firm’s (Larkin & Hoffman) human resources department. Further discussion will continue at our next meeting when more Committee members are present.

4. MPA CONVENTION NOTICES : Now that the MPA Convention brochure appears on that organization’s website, Jean will ask Sue Bores, MSBA Paralegal Committee Liaison, to send out notices regarding this event to all MSBA paralegal members.

5. NEW PROJECTS & NEW BUSINESS: Jean reviewed last month’s discussion regarding improving our relationship with MPA; everyone at this month’s meeting liked this idea. The Committee also discussed the need to find ways to communicate with the 2,000+ paralegals throughout Minnesota and to also consider the diversity of this professional group.

MSBA’s Solo and Small Firm Conference will be held August 6-8, 2006. Helen will check with Frank Harris and Julie Casserly of MN CLE about having another paralegal utilization program and will find panelists for this event.

Helen is writing an article about our paralegal utilization programs for the NFPA Paralegal Reporter magazine . Look for it in the near future! Kris suggested that we write a paralegal utilization book based on our recent panel discussion programs on this topic, and then sell it at the MN CLE Institutes.

NEXT MEETING: Fall 2006 (TBD by Michelle McCullough, the new Committee Chair)

Minutes by Jean Diekmann, Chair

May 4, 2006 Meeting Minutes

PRESENT: Sally Dahlquist, Martha Sartoris, guest Jeanne Kosieradzki and Jean Diekmann

1. NEWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS: Jeanne Kosieradzki, the Paralegal Program Director at Hamline University, attended the meeting to learn more about this committee.

Jean Diekmann reported on the paralegal utilization program at this month’s MN CLE Business Law Institute which she attended. Several attendees had much insight in this topic, and all agreed that paralegals are valuable assets to any law office.

2. COMMITTEE CHAIR FOR for 2006-2007: Jean Diekmann announced that Michelle McCullough will be next year’s chair of this committee. Thank you, Michelle, for offering your leadership skills!

3. MISSION STATEMENT AND OBJECTIVES: This topic was tabled until the next committee meeting, due to the low attendance at this meeting.

4. PARALEGAL MEMBERSHIP PAMPHLET: This topic was also tabled until the next committee meeting, due to the low attendance at this meeting.

5. MPA CONVENTION NOTICES : Jean Diekmann noted that she hasn’t sent these notices out to all MSBA paralegal members because the MPA hasn’t finalized their convention agenda yet. Sally will ask John Kastan, MPA president, when this agenda should be ready.

6. NEW PROJECTS & NEW BUSINESS: The committee discussed their relationship with the MPA—that we should make a better effort to work with them next year. The committee realizes the need to improve communication between the two organizations via meeting attendance, sharing meeting minutes, announcing our events to the MPA, etc. Brad Michael is MPA’s Bar Association Liaison.

NEXT MEETING: June 1, 2006

Minutes by Jean Diekmann, Chair

April 6, 2006 Meeting Minutes

PRESENT: Sue Bores, Mary Beth Curry, Kris Gibbons, Cathy Kennedy, Michelle McCullough, Barb Peppersack, Martha Sartoris, Jodi Standke and Jean Diekmann

1. NEWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS: AAfPE Regional Conference – Some committee members attended or participated in this successful and well-attended conference on March 31st and April 1st. It covered the following topics: Paralegal outsourcing, ethics, online paralegal instruction, copyright law, e-Discovery, paralegal job search advice, and an update from ABA representatives.

Committee Chair for 2006-2007 – Jean inquired about anyone’s interest in being next year’s Paralegal Committee chair. If so, they should let her know of their interest, so she can notify Patrick Kelly, next year’s MSBA president.

2. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY SUPERCONFERENCE: The date of this new superconference has been changed to September 14 and 15, 2006. Barb verified with Cheri Estrin that all paralegal students get a $100 registration discount to attend any of the superconferences. Jean will put a notice on the committee’s website regarding this event.

3. PARALEGAL WEBSITTE ENHANCEMENTS: Helen sent additional website references to Sue, who will forward them to the committee. Sue announced that the committee’s webpage has been revised. Jean will re-e-mail’s disclaimer, along with Kris’ suggested disclaimer language, to the committee. The committee decided that the disclaimer, once decided upon, need only go on the website’s homepage.

4. PARALEGAL MEMBERSHIP PAMPHLET: Michelle distributed a printout of Maricopa County Bar Association Paralegal Division ‘s (“MCBAPD”) mission statement and objectives, along with her revised paralegal membership pamphlet. The committee discussed what its goals are: (a) to advance the paralegal profession; (b) to be a forum for paralegals; (c) to encourage paralegal utilization; and (d) to educate the legal community about paralegal’s role. The committee determined that they need to rewrite their mission statement, especially if they also want a slogan. Michelle will ask MCBAPD if the committee can use the former’s pamphlet to create the latter’s paralegal membership pamphlet. Cathy will ask her school’s (Minnesota School of Business) Graphics class to come up with a logo for the committee. If anyone has additional ideas for this project, they should contact Michelle.

PARALEGAL UTILIZATION PAMPHLET: Michelle distributed a copy of the Paralegal Division of the State Bar of New Mexico’s (“PDSBNM”) paralegal utilization pamphlet. The committee discussed the very stringent paralegal qualifications appearing on this pamphlet. Sue reviewed the paralegal membership requirements as they appear in MSBA Leader Handbook, and the committee noted that these requirements need to be updated, as MPA membership is no longer required for MSBA membership. Michelle will ask PDSBNM if the committee can use the former’s pamphlet to create the latter’s paralegal utilization pamphlet. If anyone has additional ideas for this project, they should contact Michelle.

5. BRIAN CRAIG’S CLE PROPOSAL ON UPL: Cathy reported that the MPA was not interested in Brian Craig’s seminar on unauthorized practice of law, but she will invite Miriam Mastascusa of the MPA to attend Brian’s first presentation to Minnesota School of Business teachers in July. Cathy noted that he might be available this fall to do additional presentations, and Barb suggested that such a presentation would be a good “advanced paralegal program” at an MPA convention.

6 MPA CONVENTION: Jean will put a notice on the committee’s website regarding this annual event, and will also e-mail a message to all paralegal MSBA members, but not until the MPA sets the convention schedule.

NEXT MEETING: May 4, 2006

Minutes by Jean Diekmann, Chair

March 2, 2006 Meeting Minutes

PRESENT: Sue Bores, Mary Beth Curry, Sally Dahlquist, Helen Federline, Kris Gibbons, Michelle McCullough, Barb Peppersack, Martha Sartoris and Jean Diekmann

1. IP PARALEGAL SUPERCONFERENCE: The committee reviewed the dates for this SuperConference and the MPA Annual Conference (May 11th and 12th and June 22nd, respectively). The theme for the MPA conference will be “Paralegals: Who, What, When, Where and Why,” but the agenda hasn’t been finalized yet. As for fees to attend these events, MPA already has a reduced student rate, and Barb will ask Cheri Estrin about reducing the registration fee for students to attend the SuperConference. The committee decided that offering a package deal for those interested in attending both events would not be possible, since actual attendance at both events cannot be enforced.

The committee also discussed how to most effectively advertise both events, and concluded that MSBA could advertise both events via an e-mail message to its paralegal members. A simple e-mail to MPA members, paralegal school administrators, and managing partners of the top 100 Minnesota law firms to make them aware of the events and directing them to websites for details could also be done.

2. PARALEGAL WEBSITE ENHANCEMENTS: Helen e-mailed her revised website list to the committee, and the committee further discussed the Career Development, Paralegal Regulation, Pro Bono, and Legal Resources sections of that list. Sue suggested reviewing the Paralegal Committee description currently on our webpage, and to e-mail suggested changes to the committee for instant “e-review.”

Kris recommended that we put a disclaimer on our webpage stating that we don’t endorse, guarantee nor represent the services of organizations listed on our website. Sue will ask MSBA’s counsel about this, and Kris offered to help draft such a disclaimer.

3. PARALEGAL MEMBERSHIP PAMPHLET: Michelle will e-mail her draft of the pamphlet to the committee to review and discuss at the next meeting. Sue reminded the committee that Jayne Harris, Membership Director of MSBA, must approve our pamphlet.

PARALEGAL UTILIZATION PAMPHLET: Jean e-mailed ABA SCOP’s (Standing Committee on Paralegals) pamphlet to the committee, but will resend it for everyone’s review. Martha stressed including UPL (unauthorized practice of law) in the pamphlet, and Kris encouraged the inclusion of the topic of confidentiality. Helen will compile a current list of each states’ paralegal regulation guidelines.

4. BRIAN CRAIG’S CLE PROPOSAL ON UPL: Jean will follow up with Cathy on contacting Brian about attending our next meeting to discuss his proposal, and also about contacting Miriam Mastascusa (Director of MPA Events) about having a UPL presentation at the annual MPA Conference.

5 UPCOMING PARALEGAL UTILIZATION PROGRAMS: Jean asked for articles and/or guide sheets/working checklists for probate and/or business law to include in those Institutes’ CLE binders. Barb offered to share some of her “cheat sheets” for the Probate Law Institute binder.

NEXT MEETING: April 6, 2006

Minutes by Jean Diekmann, Chair

February 2, 2006 Meeting Minutes

PRESENT: Mary Beth Curry, Sally Dahlquist, Helen Federline, Kris Gibbons, Cathy Kennedy, Martha Sartoris, Jodi Standke, and Jean Diekmann

1. ANNOUNCEMENTS: Martha and Cathy reminded the committee about the AAfPE (American Association for Paralegal Education) Regional Conference in Bloomington, MN on March 31st and April 1st. They encouraged all to attend and Martha offered to e-mail the event brochure and registration form to Jean for immediate distribution to all committee members.

2. IP PARALEGAL SUPERCONFERENCE: The committee discussed why the MPA (Minnesota Paralegal Association) prefers only one area of law as the focus of this event. The committee also discussed ways to increase attendance at both the SuperConference and MPA’s annual conference, such as (i) joint advertising (advertise each event in the brochure for the other event); (ii) reduced registration fee for students; and (iii) offer a package deal with reduced registration fees if you attend both events. Jean will discuss these ideas with the MPA Board and Cheri Estrin of Estrin Legal Ed, the SuperConference organizer.

3. PARALEGAL WEBSITE ENHANCEMENTS: Helen reported that she is currently working on the list of website links to appear on our revised webpage.

4. PARALEGAL MEMBERSHIP PAMPHLET: Discussion was postponed until the next meeting when Michelle is present.

PARALEGAL UTILIZATION PAMPHLET: Martha mentioned that the ABA SCOP (Standing Committee on Paralegals) has a tri-fold pamphlet regarding paralegal utilization on their website. We could use this pamphlet as a base to draft our paralegal utilization pamphlet. She offered to e-mail it to Jean to distribute to the committee.

5. BRIAN CRAIG’S CLE PROPOSAL ON UPL: The committee discussed in what context this program would be presented. Mary Beth suggested a 45-minute course for paralegal students, and Martha suggested presenting the program at MPA’s annual convention, especially since the topic deals with ethics. Cathy will contact Marian Mastascusa of the MPA regarding the latter idea.

6. UPCOMING PARALEGAL UTILIZATION PROGRAMS: Helen announced that Susan Link and Cindy Costello, both of Maslon Edelman Borman & Brand, will be the attorney-paralegal team for the program at the Probate Law Institute. Jodi announced that John Lang and Nancy Stevens of Messerli & Kramer will be the attorney-paralegal team for a similar program at the Business Law Institute.

7. NEW BUSINESS: The committee discussed the possibility of hosting a continuing education day or a social event to increase our visibility in the local law community. Helen suggested a technology conference with the MSBA’s Practice Management and Marketing Section. Jodi suggested creating a program with Kroll Ontrack Inc., a local company that specializes in data recovery services for litigation and transactional law practices. Sally suggested an MSBA paralegal membership drive, keeping in mind that the MSBA year begins on July 1st. Kris and Helen suggested a technology fair at the Solo and Small Firm Conference next year.

NEXT MEETING: March 2, 2006

Minutes by Jean Diekmann, Chair

January 5, 2006 Meeting Minutes

PRESENT: Sue Bores, Mary Beth Curry, Sally Dahlquist, Helen Federline, Kris Gibbons, Michelle McCullough, Barb Peppersack, Martha Sartoris, Jean Diekmann, and guest Marilyn Montreux

1. MEETING GUEST: Marilyn Montreux is a faculty member of the Legal Administration Support Department of St. Cloud Technical College. She is starting a paralegal program there, so she attended this meeting to meet other paralegal program directors and to connect with some Twin Cities area paralegal professionals.

2. PARALEGAL WEBSITE ENHANCEMENTS: The committee reviewed the long list of website enhancements and Helen volunteered to find website addresses for all of the suggested links. She will e-mail them to Sue, who will track them on a WORD document. Sue noted that Dick Ericson, MSBA staff member, can revise our webpage once we finalize our many enhancement ideas.

3. BRIAN CRAIG’S CLE PROPOSAL ON UPL: Discussion was tabled until next month’s meeting, after the committee members have a chance to review his detailed proposal. Mary Beth said that it would be a good idea for Brian to make his presentation to paralegal students and also at the annual MPA Convention.

4. PARALEGAL MEMBERSHIP PAMPHLET: The committee discussed the need to update the list of MSBA sections, reduced CLE tuition rates, various changes to the text, referencing committees available to members (but don’t list them), removing specific section fees (but include an updatable section insert), and how best to distribute this pamphlet (especially at MPA events). We should create a slogan and logo for the Paralegal Committee to use on our pamphlets and other communications. Sue reminded the committee that we must get approval from the MSBA Membership Committee chair before changes can be made to the paralegal membership application. Helen will update the list of sections, and Michelle will revise the membership pamphlet.

5. UPCOMING PARALEGAL UTILIZATION PROGRAMS: Jean stated that we have a moderator for our panel at the CLE Business Institute (Tom Hurwitz), but she is still looking for an attorney-paralegal team. Helen is working on finding a team for the CLE Probate Institute.

6. PARALEGAL SUPERCONFERENCES: Jean announced the Paralegal Leadership Institute to be sponsored by Estrin LegalEd and Corporation Service Company in Chicago in February. The committee discussed the desire to hold a similar Paralegal SuperConference in the Twin Cities. This could be a joint project of the MPA and the MSBA Paralegal Committee. Barb will speak with Cheri Estrin about arranging this event.

NEXT MEETING: February 2, 2006

Minutes by Jean Diekmann, Chair

November 3, 2005 Meeting Minutes

PRESENT: Sue Bores, Mary Beth Curry, Sally Dahlquist, Helen Federline, Cathy Kennedy, Michelle McCullough, Martha Sartoris, Joan Bibelhausen (Guest: Executive Director, Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers), and Jean Diekmann

1. GUEST ISSUE: LAWYERS & MENTAL HEALTH: Joan Bibelhausen reviewed the history of Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers (“LCL”), a full- service mental health organization that helps attorneys who are struggling with various mental health issues find professional, appropriate help for their particular situation. LCL is proactively focusing on the prevention of chemical dependency and suicide. To reach more attorneys who could use this assistance, LCL wants to reach out to legal support staff, educating them on identifying their attorneys’ stress, depression and chemical dependency problems and on what they can do and where they can go to assist those attorneys.. LCL wants to ensure that law firms have systems in place for support staff to safely report attorneys with suspected mental health problems.

Joan is developing a MN CLE program dealing with this issue and geared toward legal firm management. LCL is also getting a grant to fund the creation of a video commercial to market their services and also to foster awareness of attorney mental health issues. Another project of LCL’s is a mass mailing to all attorneys in Minnesota; Martha suggested that this mailing also go out to all MPA (Minnesota Paralegal Association) members and all paralegal schools in Minnesota. Joan would also like to have an event at the next annual MPA conference in June, so Helen will suggest this at MPA’s next board meeting. Martha, Cathy, Mary Beth and Sally are all interested in making a short presentation to students in their paralegal programs, so Joan will create a pamphlet geared toward paralegals and will give to Sue to distribute to this committee. Cathy thinks that this topic would make a good paralegal course, and Joan agreed that LCL wants to assist with developing a course/curriculum on attorney mental health issues.

2. NEWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS: Paralegal Utilization Slideshow: Cathy and Mary Beth announced that this slide show recently produced by the ABA Standing Committee on Paralegals (“SCOP”) will soon be available. It is part of a 3-part program, and is downloadable for a small fee. Helen will see if this slideshow is available on the ABA’s online bookstore.

ABA Paralegal Utilization Books: Helen brought to the meeting two books she bought from the ABA: (1) Leveraging with Legal Assistants (© 1993) and (2) Paralegals, Profitability, and the Future of Your Law Practice (© 2003) for any committee member to review.

3. 2006 MSBA CONVENTION: The committee discussed whether or not we should present a program regarding paralegal utilization as it relates to this year’s e chosen policy track, “Access to Quality Justice.” The committee decided against it, since the paralegal utilization programs presented at the various CLE Institutes are proving to be more effective than any of the committee’s presentations at past state bar conventions.

4. WEBPAGE ENHANCEMENTS: This topic was tabled until our next meeting.

5. PARALEGAL PAMPHLETS: This topic was also tabled until our next meeting.

6. UPCOMING PARALEGAL UTILIZATION PROGRAMS: Jean contacted the people organizing next spring’s Business, Probate and Employment Law Institutes regarding inclusion of paralegal utilization panels at these events; she will report on their responses at next month’s meeting.

7. NEW BUSINESS: New Lawyers Committee: Sally and Martha suggested that the committee work with the MSBA’s New Lawyers Committee on the issue of paralegal utilization. Coincidentally, there will be a 2-day CLE for new lawyers on January 9 & 10, 2006. The program is already set, but Martha suggested seeing if the committee can put out our paralegal utilization materials at this event. Jean will contact Frank Harris of MN CLE to see if this is possible. On a similar vein, Helen said that we should start marketing paralegal utilization to law school students.

Outsourcing Paralegal Work: Michelle noted that she did find someone to speak on paralegal outsourcing at the regional AAfPE convention that Cathy is planning. (As an aside, Cathy encouraged all of us to attend this $80 day-and-a--half convention; she will e-mail the convention agenda to all committee members.) Sally mentioned that she recently heard an MPR program and read a Star Tribune article regarding outsourcing in general. Basically, she learned that process-oriented jobs can be outsourced, but creative-oriented occupations cannot be outsourced.

NEXT MEETING: December 1, 2005

Minutes by Jean Diekmann, Chair

October 6, 2005 Meeting Minutes

PRESENT: Sue Bores, Mary Beth Curry, Sally Dahlquist, Cathy Kennedy, Martha Sartoris, Nancy Mischel (Guest: MSBA Access to Justice Director), Diane Simerson and Debbie Anderson (Guests: Partner and Paralegal, respectively, at Robins Kaplan Miller & Ciresi LLP), and Jean Diekmann

1. GUESTS ISSUE: L.A.D./PRO BONO: Diane Simerson and Debbie Anderson, who work together at Robins Kaplan Miller & Cerisi law firm attended this meeting to recruit paralegals to do pro bono work. Diane spoke of how her firm promotes pro bono work via full credit for all pro bono hours worked, pro bono awards, and getting new attorneys and paralegals involved in pro bono work right when they begin working at Robins. Debbie enjoys representing women and their issues. Her realization of the difficulty of accessing legal assistance for lower-income citizens motivates her to do pro bono work. In pro bono cases, paralegals can do discovery, deposition prep work, complete forms and organize documents/files. Mary Beth and Diane will discuss how to get paralegal students involved in pro bono work.

Nancy Mischel, MSBA staff liaison to LAD (Legal Assistance to the Disadvantaged) discussed the new “Up Your Pro Bono” program, a joint effort of MSBA and LAD. This program began this month and runs through next March and encourages attorneys, law students, paralegals, and paralegal students who have not done pro bono work in the last year to commit to do so this year. It encourages everyone to recruit five new pro bono volunteers.

Nancy also spoke about the many resources to find pro bono opportunities, such as the ProJustice Minnesota website (—a great website to find opportunities to do pro bono work, per your geographic area and law specialty. It has contact information for specific projects and also has legal research references. She also reviewed types of projects available through Legal Aid Society and transactional law projects.

Diane, Debbie and Nancy all agreed that pro bono work is very rewarding, especially since clients are very grateful for the services provided to them, and their faith in the legal system is restored.

Jean will provide a set of the committee’s pro bono handouts to Mary Beth and Diane and Debbie for them to review and update.

Sue will provide some “Up Your Pro Bono” program materials to Michelle McCullough to share with the MPA.

2. MINNESOTA HIGH SCHOOL MOCK TRIAL PROGRAM: Jean recently spoke with Liz Nelson, MSBA Public Services Manager, about this unique pro bono opportunity. Paralegal volunteers are needed to be site coordinators, score calculators or alternate judges. Training for mock trial volunteers occurs in January, so interested paralegals/attorneys should contact Liz Nelson at the MSBA office.

3. The committee reviewed the September meeting minutes and made some minor changes to item 3B regarding the two different pamphlets to create for attorneys and paralegals.

4. PARALEGAL UTILIZATION PROGRAMS: Jean shared an article she found in the Legal Assistant Today magazine regarding paralegal utilization that she will include in the binder materials for the Real Estate Institute.

Jean will contact the planners of the Business, Employment and Probate Institutes to see if they are interested in having paralegal utilization panels included in those institutes.

5. COMMITTEE WEBPAGE ENHANCEMENTS: The committee reviewed and revised Sally’s schematic of the proposed restructuring of our webpage. Jean will e-mail the discussed changes to Sally so she can make those adjustments to her next schematic draft.


7. PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR LAW AMENDMENT: The committee decided to table this project until next year, since Kim Millman is too busy this fall and winter to work on it, although she is still interested in the issue.

8. PARALEGAL REGULATION IN WISCONSIN: Jean reported that no hearing date has been set by the Wisconsin Supreme Court yet, but a hearing could still be held before yearend, per John Goudie of the Wisconsin Paralegal Association.

9. NEW BUSINESS: Regional AAfPE (American Association of Paralegal Educators) Meeting: Cathy noted that she is organizing this meeting which will be held on March 31 – April 1, 2006 in Bloomington. She encouraged committee members to plan on attending it.

NEXT MEETING: November 3, 2005

Minutes by Jean Diekmann, Chair

September 8, 2005 Meeting Minutes

PRESENT: Sally Dahlquist, Helen Federline, Cathy Kennedy, Michelle McCullough, Mary Beth Curry, Martha Sartoris, Jean Diekmann


a. General Practice Solo/Small Firm Section. Helen reported that the Solo/Small Firm conference in Duluth went very well. Attendance was about 250. The whole conference was rated very high. There was a good variety of courses offered. Questions at the Solo/Small Firm seminar included how paralegals can be used more effectively, what freelance paralegals do, what paralegals can do for an attorney. People were pleased with the presentation and cost of the conference. There were many from out of state, and the section hopes to do this annually.

b. Criminal Law section. Sally Dahlquist moderated. Criminal Law panelists at the Institute discussed utilization of paralegals. Sally reported that the seminar went well, but attendance at the Criminal Law section was small. The room was far away and the time slot was at the very end of the day. Panelists did learn from each other and will be good spokespersons for the committee. A few criminal attorneys discussed sharing paralegals between firms. Panelist Joseph Bazan discussed many practical ways that paralegals can be used. He encouraged the use of contract paralegals. Paralegal utilization materials which listed tasks that paralegals perform were available at the event.

c. Elder Law Section. Jean Diekmann will be giving a 25 minute presentation on paralegal utilization at the Elder Law Institute next month. Jean interviewed attorney Julian Zweber, a solo practice, elder law attorney. Both will present at the Excel Center for the Elder Law Institute in St. Paul on October 20th and 21st.

d. Real Estate Section. Sally Dahlquist will moderate. The Real Estate Institute is scheduled for November 18. There are two attorney-paralegal teams from the Messerli and Dorsey law firms. This event is usually very well attended. Jean indicated that we need articles regarding real estate paralegal utilization for inclusion in the Institute binder. There is an article in LAT (Legal Assistant Today magazine) that Jean is interested in using and will contact LAT for permission.

e. Other Institutes are beginning to plan their winter events. The Committee needs to start talking about what we plan to do for these winter Institutes.


a. The Committee discussed ideas for enhancements to the web page. Some of the suggestions: newsletter, links to paralegal associations, events with which we are involved, paralegal schools, trends in the industry, pro bono opportunities, functions with MPA, a monthly interview (attorneys talk about paralegal use), readings (articles about paralegals). Sally suggested using the pinwheel method she used when she developed ideas for her webpage. Sally will develop and e-mail to the Committee the pinwheel to help visualize what we want to do. We will discuss further at the next meeting.

Sue Bores, MSBA staff liaison to the Committee, reminded the Committee that too many links can cause problems and to be aware that if links change or cease, they would have to be removed, requiring more webpage maintenance.


a. Two thoughts on pamphlets were discussed. We could develop and use a pamphlet to promote the MSBA Paralegal Committee. Focus of the pamphlet would be to promote paralegal membership. Other ideas included holding meetings at firms or doing presentations at firms about what the committee does.

b. We could develop and use a different pamphlet to educate attorneys on paralegal use. Ideas for this pamphlet included how to utilize paralegals, paralegal tasks to do and not to do, attorney’s responsibility for paralegal’s work, costs, and paralegal contracting/job-sharing.

c. Cathy said that the Advertising and Design department at her college could work on the final brochure drafts. Students in that program could be assigned that task by their instructor. Helen indicated that she might have some old brochures. Cathy volunteered Joseph Bazan to work with her on developing a brochure for paralegal utilization. Helen put together a utilization seminar a few years ago and will share the documents with the Committee.


Sue Holden sent out an e-mail this past week from the MSBA on how we can help with relief. A task force is being formed to address this issue. We discussed possible ways the legal community could help. Camp Ripley is taking in about 3,000 people and several places around the area are hosting. Many people there will most likely need assistance with their insurance and legal claims. Michelle indicated that MPA will be sending out information on this as well. This will be discussed further at the next meeting.


The Committee discussed this at length during the last legislative session, but the proposed amendment was not brought before the Minnesota House nor Senate, as Kim Millman, author if the amendment, and the Committee need to find a senator to co-author the amendment. Helen indicated that we need to include contract paralegals in the exemption section of the PI law. Jean will contact Ms. Millman regarding another attempt at this amendment proposal this upcoming legislative session.


The Committee discussed potential paralegal regulation in Minnesota. Martha indicated that Wisconsin has similar issues at their Supreme Court level, and it might be wise to wait until they have made their decision before we act.



June 2, 2005 Meeting Minutes

PRESENT: Mary Beth Curry, Sally Dahlquist, Helen Federline, Kris Gibbons, Michelle McCullough, Jodi Standke, and Jean Diekmann

1. NEWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS: Michelle will be meeting with Martha Delaney of Hennepin County Volunteer Lawyers Network to discuss pro bono opportunities for paralegals.

Helen was recently reappointed as NFPA's (National Federation of Paralegal Association's) Bar Association Coordinator.

2. PARALEGAL UTILIZATION PROGRAM AT CRIMINAL LAW INSTITUTE: The paralegal utilization panel will be a one-hour program on August 22nd in the Bloomington Sheraton Hotel. The panelist list is almost finalized, and Sally and Helen are compiling related articles to be included in the institute program binder.

3. PARALEGAL UTILIZATION PROGRAMS FOR OTHER INSTITUTES: Jean reviewed the dates for some pending institutes this fall, and will contact Lynn O'Connell, who is organizing the Elder Law and Tax Law Institutes, to verify whether the paralegal utilization panel will be included in these two institutes. Jean will also ask Julie Casserly, coordinator of the Solo and Small Firm Institute, if our panel event will be a part of that institute. Next week, Mark Hamel, who is on the planning committee for the Real Estate Law Institute, will inform Jean if a similar panel is desired for that institute.

4. PARALEGAL SUPERCONFERENCE IN TWIN CITIES: Jean reviewed her recent experience at the Boston Paralegal SuperConference and the possibility of having one in the Twin Cities. She will explore this with Mitzi Ellis, MPA (Minnesota Paralegal Association) president.

5. PARALEGAL REGULATION IN FLORIDA AND WISCONSIN: Helen noted that the paralegal regulation bill died in Florida, but may come back next year with major changes reflecting more paralegal input. She also mentioned that the Florida Bar Association opposed the bill. Jean stated that the Wisconsin Supreme Court has still not ruled on the paralegal regulation petition yet. So it is still a possibility, and there may be another hearing in the fall, per John Goudie of the Wisconsin Paralegal Association.

6. SUMMER COMMITTEE MEETINGS: The committee prefers to not meet this summer, but Jean will let the committee know if we are going to have paralegal utilization panels at the pending law institutes noted in 3. above. E-mail and teleconferencing will be used to plan these panels.

7. OTHER BUSINESS: MSBA Convention - Sally will attend this year's convention in Brainerd and offered to distribute paralegal literature (i.e., basic utilization of paralegals) at various convention receptions. On a related topic, the committee discussed creating a pamphlet regarding paralegal utilization for attorneys and another pamphlet encouraging paralegals to join the MSBA.

NFPA Convention - Helen recently attended this annual convention and stated that the NFPA is currently working on two position papers: (1) awareness of outsourcing legal services; and (2) court rules regarding legal document preparers.

NEXT MEETING: September 2005 (TBD by Jean Diekmann)

Minutes by Jean Diekmann, Chair


May 5, 2005 Meeting Minutes

PRESENT: Mary Beth Curry, Sally Dahlquist, Kris Gibbons, Cathy Kennedy, Nancy Minder (filling in for Jodi Standke), Alanna Moravetz, Martha Sartoris, and Jean Diekmann

1. NEWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS: New Committee Member: Jean welcomed Mary Beth Curry, Legal Program Coordinator of the Minnesota School of Business-Brooklyn Center campus, to the committee.

Estrin Paralegal SuperConference: Jean shared her great experience and dynamic speakers she heard at this conference in Boston last month. The committee discussed the possibility of having this conference in the Twin Cities. Jean will contact Mitzi Ellis, MPA president, about it.

2. PARALEGAL UTILIZATION PROGRAMS AT FUTURE MN CLE INSTITUTES: Since the paralegal utilization program at the Family Law Institute was so successful, the committee discussed producing similar programs in the near future. Martha thought that having at least two programs per year would greatly increase paralegal visibility. Sally suggested that we have judges moderate the panels to give their perspective on paralegals' effectiveness in the courtroom.

Clarion Legal is a nonprofit organization in St. Paul that offers CLE's in the form of creative, interactive events such as plays. Perhaps the committee could enlist Clarion to co-produce a program with the committee regarding paralegal utilization.

Alanna mentioned that some MSBA sections have their own, smaller conferences without MN CLE's involvement, such as the Solo and Small Firm's conference last month.

Jean spoke with Tim Morrow of MN CLE and obtained a list of dates for future institutes of various law sections. These dates are as follows: Bankruptcy - September 12th & 13th; Business - April 2006; Criminal - August 22nd - 24th; Elder - October 20th & 21st; Employment - June 2nd & 3rd; Probate - June 9th & 10th; Real Estate - November 18th & 19th; Solo & Small Firm - early autumn; Tax - November 7th & 8th. Some sections plan their institutes several months in advance, while others plan just a few months before their event.

Since the planning for the Criminal Law Institute is occurring right now, the committee decided to plan a paralegal utilization program for it. Sally had several ideas of potential paralegal, attorney and judge panelists, so she and Mary Beth volunteered to organize this program. Jean will ask Vince O'Brien of MN CLE where the Criminal Law Institute will be held, and will let him know of the committee's interest in participating in it. She will also provide to Mary Beth copies of handouts, discussion questions, and evaluation forms used in the Family Law Institute event.

3. LAW WEEK: Jean reported that the MPA is assisting the Hennepin County Bar Association ("HCBA") with this event, "Ask-A-Lawyer About Health Care Directives (Living Wills)" on May 3rd - 6th in Gaviidae Common. Thus, they didn't need the committee's help, but Joseph Satter of the HCBA thanked her for the committee's offer.

To get involved in next year's Law Week, Kris suggested that the committee contact Chrysalis-A Center for Women. She said that this nonprofit in south Minneapolis uses volunteer attorneys, but she didn't know if they have been involved in previous Law Weeks, but may be interested in doing this in the future.

4. WISCONSIN PARALEGAL REGULATION: Helen wasn't present at today's meeting to update the committee on the status of this pending regulation, so Jean will check the Wisconsin Paralegal Association's website.

5. ADDITIONAL SUMMER MEETINGS: Normally, this committee doesn't meet in July or August, but they will decide at their next (June) meeting whether it is necessary to meet in the summer to plan paralegal utilization programs for the fall.

NEXT MEETING: Thursday, June 2, 2005 at 12:00 p.m.

Minutes by Jean Diekmann, Chair


April 7, 2005 Meeting Minutes

PRESENT: Helen Federline, Cathy Kennedy, Alanna Moravetz, Jodi Standke and Jean Diekmann

1. NEWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS: New Committee Members: Jean noted that a former coworker of hers who was also on the paralegal utilization panel at the Family Law Institute is interested in joining the Paralegal Committee and will hopefully attend the May committee meeting. Cathy said that there are some colleagues of hers in the Legal Studies Department of the Minnesota School of Business who may join our committee.

Estrin Paralegal SuperConference: Jean will attend this conference in Boston on April 29th and 30th and will report on her conference experience at the May committee meeting.

AAfPE Conference: Cathy Kennedy and Martha Sartoris are co-chairing the planning committee for the annual, regional conference of the American Association for Paralegal Education to be held in the Twin Cities in April 2006.

NFPA Convention: Helen will attend this annual convention of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations in Las Vegas this month. There are many interesting agenda items for this annual meeting, including a new PACE coordinator, outsourcing paralegal work to foreign companies, legal document preparers, etc.

2. PRIVATE DETECTIVE LAW AMENDMENT: Jean contacted Kim Millman about the status of this amendment proposal. Ms. Millman has decided to wait until next year to present the bill to the House and Senate, as a Minnesota senator sponsor has not yet been found. We will resume our work on this project next fall for the possibility of introducing the proposal in next year's legislative session.

3. SUCCESSFUL FAMILY LAW INSTITUTE PROGRAM: Jean attended the attorney-paralegal panel at the Family Law Institute , and reported that it was very successful. At least 25 attorneys attended, 10 of whom completed event evaluation forms. It is quite evident that these family law attorneys want more information on this topic of effective, efficient paralegal utilization.

Helen suggested that we plan to present this program at other upcoming law institutes for those areas of law that typically use or could use paralegals in their practice. It is apparently more effective to have these presentations at the CLE institutes, rather than the annual MSBA convention. Jean will contact Tim Morrow at the Minnesota CLE office to obtain specific dates of future CLE institutes for the bankruptcy, business, criminal, elder, employment, probate, real estate, solo and small firm, and tax areas of law. If any of these sections are having an institute in the early fall, we may decide to hold a committee meeting(s) this summer to prepare for our program(s).

4. LAW WEEK: Jean spoke with Joe Satter, Marketing Director for the Hennepin County Bar Association, and offered the Paralegal Committee's assistance in any HCBA-sponsored Law Week events. Joe said that they hope to provide a week of advice regarding health care directives (i.e., living wills), but they haven't found a place to hold this event yet. He will get back to Jean when the event details have been finalized.

5. NEW BUSINESS: Paralegal Regulation in Florida: Helen reported that paralegal regulation is heating up in Florida, as a bill was recently introduced in that state's House and Senate. Many Floridian paralegals are not happy with the proposed bill because they do not agree with many of its provisions (e.g., certification requirements). Apparently, they didn't have much input in the drafting of it. Helen will e-mail to the committee more detailed information regarding this bill and the resulting discussion among some concerned paralegals in that state.

Paralegal Regulation in Other States: Helen noted that Wisconsin's proposed paralegal regulation is still in the hands of their State's Supreme Court (i.e., they haven't ruled on it yet). Nevada is now looking at paralegal regulation.

NEXT MEETING: Thursday, May 5, 2005 at 12:00 p.m.

Minutes by Jean Diekmann, Chair


March 3, 2005 Meeting Minutes

PRESENT: Sally Dahlquist, Helen Federline, Kris Gibbons, Alanna Moravetz, Martha Sartoris, and Jean Diekmann

1. NEWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS: Next Year's Committee Chair: Jean asked if anyone on the committee desired to be the committee chair during the 2005-2006 bar year. No one expressed an interest, and everyone agreed that Jean will continue her chairpersonship through the next bar year.

Estrin Paralegal SuperConferences: Jean asked the committee members present if they were familiar with the Estrin LegalEd Paralegal SuperConferences. Helen highly recommended these conferences and noted that they have top-notch presenters.

Inver Hills Paralegal Courses: Sally Dahlquist announced a legal writing seminar to be held at Dorsey's law office on March 30th with Judge Gordon Shumaker, and there will be an advanced Westlaw course at Inver Hills Community College on April 15th taught by Paul Hark.

2. PRIVATE DETECTIVE LAW AMENDMENT: Concerning finding a state senator to sponsor this bill, Sally has spoken with her state senator, Joe Atkins; he is interested in it but wants to learn more about it, so Sally will send to Joe the proposed amendment and will refer him to Kim Millman. Helen said that her state senator, Mark Ourada, is not responding to her e-mails. Jean will contact Ms. Millman again to suggest that she ask the two sponsoring state representatives for names of state senators who might be willing to sponsor the proposed amendment.

Jean stated that, so far, the Probate and Trust Section and the General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Committee have given their support of this proposed amendment, and that the Real Estate Section will revisit it at their Legislative Committee's next meeting in June. She has not heard back from the Bankruptcy Section yet, but will follow-up with them. Jean will report these results to John Dornick of the MSBA Legislative Committee after she checks with Ms. Millman on the current status of introducing this amendment bill to the State Legislature.

3. FAMILY LAW INSTITUTE: The committee discussed panel logistics and wondered if any of the panelists have any special audio/visual needs for the panel discussion. They also asked Jean to tell Tim Morrow, the Family Law Institute Coordinator, their concerns about an adequate sound system, microphones, etc. Jean stated that Mr. Morrow verified that all panel event attendees would have to register for the Family Law Institute; however, all panelists receive free registration. Jean will approach Mr. Morrow about waiving the registration requirement for Paralegal Committee members who only intend to attend the panel discussion-not the entire Institute.

Jean will e-mail the finalized list of discussion questions to all committee members, and Sally will write her introductory speech for the event, including why paralegals are valuable assets to family law practice nowadays.

4. PARALEGAL UTILIZATION FOR OTHER SECTIONS/COMMITTEES: On February 7th, Jean e-mailed the heads of specific MSBA sections and committees most likely to benefit from paralegals. Tom Conlin of the LAD (Legal Assistance for the Disadvantaged) Committee was the only one to respond back to her, saying that he welcomes the Paralegal Committee's interest in educating his committee about paralegal utilization.

5. PARALEGAL WEBPAGE ENHANCEMENTS: Job Opportunities: Jean told the committee that she was approached by a recruiter for Target, asking for assistance in communicating job opportunities to other paralegals. Jean replied that the Committee doesn't have a job bank. The committee discussed the possibility of adding a job bank to their webpage, but decided that they shouldn't get involved with job postings, as job placement assistance is not within the scope of the committee's goals. Instead, the committee will refer future requests from employers and job seekers to the MPA (Minnesota Paralegal Association)'s website.

6. LAW DAY: Jean noted that the annual Law Day would occur in the first week of May-Does the committee want to participate in this event this year? The HCBA (Hennepin County Bar Association) sponsors this event. Alanna will verify the time and place and format of this year's event. The committee feels that its involvement would be a good way to market the MSBA Paralegal Committee to the local legal community, so will discuss this possibility at the next meeting when more event details are available.

NEXT MEETING: Thursday, April 7, 2005 at 12:00 p.m.

Minutes by Jean Diekmann, Chair


February 3, 2005 Meeting Minutes

PRESENT: Sally Dahlquist, Helen Federline, Kris Gibbons, Martha Sartoris, Jodi Standke and Jean Diekmann

1. PRIVATE DETECTIVE LAW AMENDMENT: Concerning finding a state senator to sponsor this bill, Helen has sent the recently revised amendment proposal to her state senator, Mark Ourada. Kris has not yet contacted her state senator, and Sally offered to ask her state senator, Joe Atkins, to sponsor the bill. Jean will call Kim Millman to see if she's secured a senator sponsor yet.

Jean reported that the Probate and Trust Law Section has approved the proposed amendment, and that the Bankruptcy Section would be discussing it at their next meeting. Helen will make sure that the Solo and Small Firm Section discusses the proposed amendment in their next teleconference. To solicit more MSBA section approval, Jean will send another e-mail to those sections likely to be affected by this bill.

2. FAMILY LAW INSTITUTE: The Committee reviewed and revised the list of questions to facilitate the panel discussion. Sally, our panel moderator, will prepare an introduction, including why paralegal utilization is necessary, statistical background, etc.

Jean said she would obtain short biographies of each panelist to include in the program materials. Helen will get a copy of Amber Lang's article which recently appeared in the Paralegal Reporter, along with some other articles on roles and responsibilities of paralegals. Sally will also contribute some articles which she used in her previous paralegal utilization seminar. Jean will ask Tim Morrow of the MN CLE Office when course materials need to be submitted for the Family Law Institute program binder and will pass this date on to Helen and Sally.

3. PARALEGAL UTILIZATION FOR OTHER SECTIONS/COMMITTEES: Jean will e-mail the heads of specific MSBA sections and committees most likely to benefit from paralegals, reminding them of the MSBA Paralegal Committee and their willingness to assist these sections/committees with integrating paralegals into their practice.

Jean contacted Sue Holden, MSBA Convention Co-Chair, regarding the Committee's availability to assist with and/or participate in the "Right Size for a Small Firm" program at this year's convention, as paralegals could be a major factor in this issue.

4. PARALEGAL WEBPAGE ENHANCEMENTS: Helen suggested we create a link from the Committee's webpage to the MSBA paralegal membership application. Martha suggested also having a link to the American Association for Paralegal Education (AafPE), as well as links to all paralegal education programs in Minnesota. Others suggested linking to other paralegal professional organizations, such as MPA (Minnesota Paralegal Association), NFPA (National Federation of Paralegal Associations), NALA (National Association of Legal Assistants), AAPI (American Alliance of Paralegals, Inc.), and NALS (no longer an acronym, but "THE association for legal professionals," per their website). The Committee acknowledged the importance of having an informative website, as many people who are new to the profession begin their research with the MSBA, instead of starting with the MPA, of which they probably aren't aware.

NEXT MEETING: Thursday, March 3, 2005 at 12:00 p.m.

Minutes by Jean Diekmann, Chair


January 6, 2005 Meeting Minutes

PRESENT: Helen Federline, Kris Gibbons, and Jean Diekmann

1. PRIVATE DETECTIVE LAW AMENDMENT: The committee determined which MSBA sections should review and approve the proposed amendment, and Jean will e-mail it to the chairs of these sections. Helen will distribute the entire proposal draft to all committee members. Helen will follow up with her state senator for his sponsorship of the amendment, and Kris also offered to contact her state senator.

2. FAMILY LAW INSTITUTE: The committee decided to have one judge and two attorney/paralegal teams on the paralegal utilization panel. Thus far, Stephen Aldrich, a Hennepin County judge, Thomas Tuft, attorney in St. Paul, and Amber Lang, his paralegal, have all agreed to be on the panel. Kris offered to contact some law firms for possible speakers to be on the panel. Jean will follow-up with Jodi Standke to see if she has found an attorney/paralegal team. Helen will e-mail the list of questions she used in our June 2003 paralegal utilization panel. She will also check two ABA publications, "Leveraging with Legal Assistants" and "Paralegal Utilization," for information to use in planning our panel program.

3. 2005 MSBA CONVENTION: Jean stated that every committee member who responded to her e-mail concerning whether the committee should have a program for this year's convention said "no, unless some other committee or section wants our assistance in their paralegal-related program." Helen suggested that the committee send a message to all MSBA sections and some committees (Legal Assistance to the Disadvantaged, Rules of Professional Conduct, and Women in the Legal Profession), letting them know that we are available to assist them with integrating paralegal usage into their practice/CLE programs/convention seminars. Kris suggested that we should also educate law students about paralegal utilization.

4. PARALEGAL WEBPAGE ENHANCEMENTS: Jean noted that Cathy Kennedy suggested that we create a link to the ABA's Standing Committee on Paralegals webpage entitled "Information for Lawyers: How Paralegals Can Improve Your Practice."

5. NEW BUSINESS -KAPLAN UNIVERSITY'S ONLINE PARALEGAL SCHOOL: Jean said that she was recently contacted by a new student of this paralegal education program who wanted an opinion on it. She was concerned that the credits earned at this school would not transfer to other local paralegal programs. Both Kris and Helen didn't know much about this program, but after reviewing the curriculum requirements for their paralegal certificate program that Jean obtained from their website, the committee determined that the total number of required credits is less than that of local ABA-approved/compliant programs. Also, some specific courses required by the latter were not required by the former.

NEXT MEETING: Thursday, February 3, 2005 at 12:00 p.m.

Minutes by Jean Diekmann, Chair


December 2, 2004 Meeting Minutes

PRESENT: Helen Federline, Kris Gibbons, Cathy Kennedy, Michelle McCullough, Martha Sartoris, Jodi Standke, Diane Vlassis, Alanna Moravetz, Jean Diekmann, and guest Kim Millman

1. NOVEMBER 4th MEETING MINUTES: are approved.

2. BEARS ON PATROL: Helen told the committee about a joint community service project of the MSBA and MPA (Minnesota Paralegal Association) which supplies teddy bears to law enforcement officers to distribute to kids they encounter on their "beats."

3. PRIVATE DETECTIVE LAW AMENDMENT: The committee had a very productive discussion with Kim Millman regarding the most effective wording of the proposed amendment to allow freelance/contract paralegals to legally perform private investigations. The committee expressed their concern about how "paralegal" is defined, specifically the education requirement. Kim told the committee that the police lobby will be the largest group to oppose the amendment, as many retired policemen and policewomen do private investigation work and may see legalized paralegals doing this work as a competitive threat. She believes that the definition of who can perform this type of work cannot be too broad (i.e., must have high paralegal standards), but must include independent paralegal contractors as legal private investigators. Kim also wants the proposal to be short and simple, thus not too difficult and time-consuming for lawmakers to review and understand.

Kim said that she has two state representatives to sponsor this amendment, but is still looking for a state senator. Helen said she will see if her state senator is willing to be a sponsor. Kim also asked for references of private investigators from whom she could get their opinions on her proposed amendment. Cathy and Jodi will forward some references to her. Kim wanted to know if the MPA is concerned about this proposal. Helen will go back to that organization with the final draft of the proposal.

To revise the standards description in the proposal, Kim will look at North Carolina's recently adopted paralegal regulation law. Helen and Kim will draft the results of the discussion summarized above and will e-mail the revised amendment proposal to all committee members.

4. OTHER RELATED ISSUES: The committee discussed the status of paralegal regulation n Minnesota, including where the MSBA and MPA stand on this issue, and what it will take to get this topic in the forefront. They also discussed paralegal billing ethics, and exempt vs. nonexempt status of paralegal employees.

5. FAMILY LAW INSTITUTE: Jean updated the committee on the dates and locations of this annual event - Wednesday & Thursday, March 30 & 31, 2005, at the Excel Center in St. Paul. Helen offered to distribute to the committee a good article regarding paralegals in family law practice that she had recently seen on the Utah State Bar's website.

6. OTHER MSBA SECTION EVENTS RE: PARALEGALS: Helen noted that the General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Section's annual meeting in April 2005 will have a program regarding support staff. Also, the Practice Management and Marketing Section may have an MSBA convention event that will include paralegal utilization, and their MCLE (Minnesota Continuing Legal Education) program in May will be geared toward solo/small firms-perhaps paralegal utilization would fit into that program.

NEXT MEETING: Thursday, January 6, 2005 at 12:00 p.m.

Minutes by Jean Diekmann, Chair


November 4, 2004 Meeting Minutes

PRESENT: Sally Dahlquist, Helen Federline, Cathy Kennedy, Michelle McCullough, Martha Sartoris, Jodi Standke, Diane Vlassis, Alanna Moravetz and Jean Diekmann

1. SEPTEMBER 15 th MEETING MINUTES: Michelle will draft these and will submit them to the committee for review and approval.

2. NEW COMMITTEE MEMBER: Diane Vlassis, Coordinator of Legal Studies at Minnesota School of Business-Plymouth Campus; Martha Wright Sartoris, Director of the Paralegal Program at North Hennepin Community College. Welcome to the committee!.

3. STATE-BY-STATE PARALEGAL REGULATION: Helen noted that the Paralegal Division of the Nevada State Bar is considering paralegal regulation (voluntary certification). She also noted that Wisconsin is making progress on mandatory paralegal licensure; they had a public hearing on October 27th, and the petition is now pending a vote of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

4. PRIVATE DETECTIVE LAW AMENDMENT: Kim Millman was unable to attend our meeting, but Helen spoke with her before the meeting and learned that Kim intends to use this proposed amendment to open the door to paralegal regulation in Minnesota. Also, Kim has two sponsors in the House for her proposed amendment, but is still looking for Senate sponsors. Kim thinks that the MPA's (Minnesota Paralegal Association's) and NFPA's (National Federation of Paralegal Association's) definitions of "paralegal" are too broad. Several committee members voiced their thoughts on the Kim's proposed definition, ranging from too narrow (thus, Legislature won't approve) to favoring a restricted definition (so high standards for paralegals would be preserved).

A main concern that the committee has with the proposed paralegal definition is the educational requirement of graduating from an ABA-approved paralegal program, instead of a paralegal program that is in compliance with ABA standards. Martha noted that about 25% of the roughly 1,000 paralegal programs nationwide are actually ABA-approved, but many more consider themselves to be in compliance with the ABA. Martha also posed the following question: "What are the requirements for licensed private investigators and how do they compare with those of paralegals or with those of ABA-approved paralegals?" Helen will find out which organization licenses private investigators and what the licensing requirements are.

The committee agreed with Martha's observation that this proposal will legitimize a type of paralegal work that has been done for years, and that whatever form of the amendment we support should be well researched and successful, so it supports the credibility of paralegals' work.

The committee will discuss Kim's proposed amendment with her in the near future before deciding if the MSBA should support it. Some committee members voiced their thoughts that we should oppose Kim's proposal if she ultimately uses her current definition of paralegal.

Jean informed the committee that the Legislative Proposal Summary requesting the MSBA's support of this proposed amendment is due in to the MSBA Legislative Committee on November 5th, so the committee discussed how the Summary form should be completed, including statement of issue, proponents and opponents, anticipated role of MSBA staff, and committee actions to advance this legislative initiative. Jean will complete the form, including a statement that the committee is currently considering support of Kim's proposed amendment. She will attach a copy of the current private investigator law and Kim's proposal to the form and will e-mail it to the Legislative Committee by tomorrow.

5. FAMILY LAW INSTITUTE: Sally spoke with Gary Voegele about our committee's breakout session regarding paralegal utilization at this event. He requested that we provide to him a summary of our event to appear in the institute brochure. Helen offered to draft a summary for this upcoming event based on a similar panel discussion event the committee produced for the 2003 MSBA Convention.

NEXT MEETING: Thursday, December 2, 2004 at 12:00 p.m.

Minutes by Jean Diekmann, Chair


October 7, 2004 Meeting Summary

PRESENT: Sally Dahlquist, Helen Federline, Cathy Kennedy, Alanna Moravetz and Jean Diekmann

1. SEPTEMBER 15 th MEETING MINUTES: Michelle will draft these and will submit them to the committee for review and approval.

2. LEGALCORPS: Michelle McCullough will contact Sherene Judeh of the Volunteer Lawyers Network about paralegal participation in this new transactional business law pro bono program.

3. PRIVATE DETECTIVE LAW AMENDMENT: We discussed Kim Millman's proposed change to Minnesota statute 326.3341 (Employment Licensed by State (Private Detectives) - Exemptions). Committee members expressed their questions and concerns about this proposal, including the State's Private Investigator Board's thoughts on this proposed change, the definition of a paralegal, and licensure requirements for private detectives. Helen will discuss with Ms. Millman how paralegal is defined in her draft of the proposal. Jean will verify with John Dornik, chair of the MSBA Legislative Committee, the procedures for obtaining the MSBA's support for this proposal.

4. 2005 FAMILY LAW INSTITUTE: Gary Vogele, chair of the MSBA Family Law Section, would like paralegals to be represented on the pro bono panel at the 2005 Family Law Institute. He would also like to include a session on paralegal utilization. The committee agreed that our participation in these events are great opportunities to communicate the value of paralegals to attorneys! Getting some judges' input and support of these events will help attorneys realize the value of paralegals to their practice. Jean will send a note to Mr. Vogele expressing our interest in both of these opportunities.

5. ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION ON PARALEGAL INTERNSHIPS: Helen stated that Mavis Pattee, director of Alexandria Technical College's new paralegal program, is interested in this possible event. Cathy said that Martha Sartoris, director of the paralegal program at North Hennepin Community College, is also interested. Helen suggested taking our presentation to outstate paralegal schools and corresponding county bar associations as a way of educating attorneys on paralegal internships and creating links between paralegal students and perspective employers.

6. NEW BUSINESS - ASSIST HURRICANE VICTIMS: Cathy asked the committee if we could help a former paralegal who has opened her home to a large family who was victimized by one of the recent hurricanes. They could use plenty of volunteer support, so we will have Michelle follow up with Janet Coleman, who informed Cathy of this situation, on the family's needs at this point. Perhaps she can let the MPA membership know of this volunteer opportunity.

POTENTIAL NETWORKING OPPORTUNITY: Sally mentioned that she is planning on attending a national college student government convention in Washington D.C. with some Inver Hills Community College students. She thinks that this might be a good opportunity to speak with some Supreme Court justices on various paralegal issues.

WEBSITE LINK: The idea of getting a link from the very popular LawMoose website to our MSBA paralegal webpage was brought up.

STATE-BY-STATE PARALEGAL REGULATION CHART: Helen will distribute an updated chart of each state's current status on establishing paralegal regulation, along with a chart indicating which states allow disbarred/suspended attorneys to work as paralegals.

PARALEGAL MEMBERSHIP IN STATE BAR ASSOCIATIONS: Helen noted that 20 of the 56 state bar associations require licensed attorneys to belong to the associations; six of these states with required bar associations allow paralegals to join the bar. Thirteen of the states with "voluntary bar associations" (i.e., licensed attorneys not required to have bar membership) allow paralegal membership.

NEXT MEETING: Thursday, November 4, 2004 at 12:00 p.m.

Minutes by Jean Diekmann, Chair

April 1, 2004 Meeting Minutes

PRESENT: Sally Dahlquist and Jean Diekmann

1. MARCH 5th MEETING MINUTES: These are being drafted by Michelle McCullough and will be distributed to the committee as soon as they are available.

2. UPDATE ON COMMITTEE WEBPAGE ENHANCEMENTS: Sally Dahlquist will work on adding links to our webpage, but will not change the look of our committee homepage, per Mary Grau's advice.

3. PARALEGAL SURVEY RELEASE: The survey will be e-mailed to all MSBA paralegal members when the MSBA convention webpage is launched in mid-April.

4. CONVENTION BUSINESS MEETING PLANNING: Sally noted that there is going to be a pro bono seminar held at her school (Inver Hills Community College) on April 23, 2004. The guest speakers will include LaVern Pritchard (he created the LawMoose website); Michelle McCullough (Minnesota Paralegal Association {"MPA"}'s pro bono coordinator); Joan Biebelhausen (a legal career management counselor who encourages her clients to use pro bono experiences to open up job/career opportunities for those who are new to the field); and Brad Thorsen (director of Volunteer Lawyer Network).

At next month's meeting, we will discuss more specific pro bono opportunities to present at the convention business meeting, as Michelle will share her pro bono connections she has obtained through her experience as MPA's pro bono coordinator.

5. WE THE PEOPLE IN NEW YORK AND TENNESSEE NEWS: Jean reviewed recent legal suits against this organization in New York and Tennessee. These suits may be more effective than those previously filed by various state bar associations because the former are based on divorce and bankruptcy cases where clients have actually been harmed by bad guidance given by We the People staff.

6. NATIONAL AMERICAN UNIVERSITY'S PARALEGAL PROGRAM: Sally and Jean discussed this new paralegal studies program that's being offered at a few local NAU campuses. Jean spoke with an admissions counselor at the school and discovered that the program just started in January 2004 with an Introduction to Paralegal Studies course offered during the Winter 2004 quarter. Sally has seen television commercials for the program, but doesn't know anything about it beyond what was advertised.

7. INCREASING PARALEGAL COMMITTEE VISIBILITY TO MSBA: Sally and Jean discussed the fact that our committee was not noted in the article, "MSBA Committees Seek Volunteers," in the March issue of Bench & Bar. Bev Carpenter also mentioned this to Jean prior to the meeting. We need to increase the visibility of paralegals to the MSBA and others in the legal field, perhaps by writing an article for Bench & Bar and/or Law & Politics magazine.

NEXT MEETING: Friday, May 7, 2004 at 12:00 p.m. at the MSBA office

Minutes by Jean Diekmann, Chair

March 5, 2004 Meeting Minutes

PRESENT: Jean Diekmann, Michelle McCullough and Beverly Carpenter

1.February 5, 2004 Meeting Minutes were distributed and approved.

A. Jean has offered to be the chair of the committee for next year unless others are interested.

A. The suggestion was made to include pro bono information
B. Two questions were suggested to add to the survey: What are the obstacles to doing pro bono? and What areas are you interested in?
C. Will send survey out when the annual convention web page is up.

A. Not sure of date yet- either Thursday (June 10th) or Friday (June 11th).
B. Michelle will work on pro bono volunteer opportunities list.

A. 29 lawsuits have been filed against We the People; 26 of them have been won by the defendant or were dismissed.

A. New exception for registered document preparers from UPL.
B. Must register with the Department of Commerce.
C. Must be physically present with whom the person is working.
D. 5 years experience under an attorney preparing the same documents; attorney must be a member of the Bar.
E. Requirement can be waived for someone with 10+ years of experience.

A. Proposed Department of Labor Change: paralegals may no longer be afforded protection and may not be entitled to overtime. Could be an opportunity to gain professionalism and help negotiate salary.

Minutes prepared by Michelle McCullough

MSBA Paralegal Committee
February 5, 2004

PRESENT: Sally Dahlquist, Helen Federline, Mary Grau, Jodi Standke, and Jean Diekmann

1. JANUARY 16th MEETING MINUTES: These were distributed to the committee prior to the February meeting and have been approved.

2. COMMITTEE WEBPAGE ENHANCEMENT IDEAS: Sally reported on several ideas she has for improving our committee's webpage, including the following:
A. Use an index format with committee introduction at the top of the page, followed by goals, meeting minutes, and annual report archives;
B. Present goals and meeting minutes as bulleted lists so they are visually pleasing and quickly understandable by the reader;
C. Links to additional web pages to cover topics such as continuing education, paralegal regulation, pro bono and employment opportunities, paralegal events, etc.;
D. Photos of committee events and committee members;
E. Artwork and graphics, (but content is more important than visuals).
Mary noted that, for marketing purposes, the MSBA's policy is to not alter the (standardized) look of committee/section webpages. She advised us to begin with simple webpage changes and work up from there. Sally will begin the enhancement process by "fleshing out' the above ideas.

3. MSBA CONVENTION EVENT: Jean noted that currently there are only two MSBA paralegal members in the Duluth area.

Mary stated that the MSBA's convention committee policy regarding those attending only a section's/committee's business meeting is that they must pay the convention fee.

The committee drafted six survey questions concerning paralegals' pro bono activities and intentions to attend this year's MSBA Convention. Jean offered to put these questions in final form and will get the committee's final review before the survey is distributed to MSBA paralegal members. To avoid the cost of mailing the surveys, the committee decided to e-mail the pro bono/convention invitation survey to all Paralegal MSBA members.

4. ILLLINOIS LEGAL DOCUMENT PREPARER ACT: Helen said she learned from a paralegal in Illinois that Illinois State Senator James DeLeo introduced this bill even though his staff advised him that it was not a good idea to do so. There was no paralegal involvement in the drafting of this bill. The NFPA is monitoring this bill, so the committee doesn't need to act on it at this time.

5. "WE THE PEOPLE" ARTICLE: The committee discussed this article that appeared recently in "Minnesota Lawyer" concerning a new legal document preparation business in Minneapolis. Helen will research the resolved litigation in other states against this organization and will decide if it would be appropriate for us to respond to the article via a letter to the magazine editor.

6. PRO BONO AND SOCIAL CAPITAL ARTICLE: Jean reviewed an article entitled "Pro Bono and Social Capital in the Profession" which also appeared in "Minnesota Lawyer." This article discussed how social networks can be used to encourage attorneys to participate in pro bono programs to help alleviate the current shortage of legal services for the disadvantaged.

7. NWA PARALEGAL KIMBERLY NEALE: Sally reported that she is still trying to set up a meeting with Ms. Neale and the committee to discuss her wide range of job responsibilities; she may meet with just Sally if she can't find a time to meet with the whole committee.

NEXT MEETING: Friday, March 5, 2004 at 12:00 p.m. at the MSBA office

Minutes by Jean Diekmann, Chair

January 16, 2004 Meeting Minutes

PRESENT: Bev Moe Carpenter, Sally Dahlquist, Mary Grau, Michelle McCullough, and Jean Diekmann

1. DECEMBER 4th MEETING MINUTES: These were distributed to the committee prior to the January meeting. Everyone present at the December meeting approved those minutes, except Sally, who said she would review them in the coming week and will give her approval/recommended changes to Jean.

A. ABA Standing Committee - Jean contacted Jeffrey Campbell of the ABA Standing Committee on Paralegals regarding any recent state-by-state research results his committee might have. She is awaiting his response.
B. NFPA articles - Jean reviewed with the committee a few state-specific articles which were recently posted on NFPA's website. Bev asked about the text of North Carolina's Paralegal Profession Act. Since Jean hasn't read it yet, Bev will research it further on the Web.
C. Wisconsin paralegal regulation status - Per John Goudie, the petition requesting paralegal regulation was sent to the Wisconsin State Bar Association for signature, and then will be submitted to their Supreme Court later this month. An oral hearing will probably occur this fall, unless the petition is "fast tracked." John will notify Jean when the hearing date is set.

3. COMMITTEE WEBPAGE ENHANCEMENTS: Sally will e-mail her ideas to Jean in a few weeks.

4. NORTHWEST AIRLINES PARALEGAL: Sally reported that this woman wants to meet with us to discuss her multi-state paralegal duties, so Sally will see which future committee meeting date works for this Inver Hills Paralegal Program graduate.

5. MSBA CONVENTION EVENT: Mary noted that this year's convention theme is "Lighting the way to the Future." She suggested that we ask Nancy Wallrich, the MSBA Pro Bono Coordinator, what event she is planning for the convention, and see if we could "piggyback" on her event. Mary also suggested asking Kammi Stout, the MSBA Convention Coordinator, if any other committees or sections are planning on doing a pro bono program at this convention. Michelle feels that it's time for the committee to become active in a pro bono program by recruiting paralegals for pro bono work and/or by putting in pro bono time ourselves. All those present agreed, and we ultimately decided to hold a committee business meeting at the annual convention, where we will discuss pro bono opportunities for paralegals and attorneys and how to get involved in pro bono work. We will send special invitations to all MSBA paralegal members for this meeting. Tram Thai will give Jean a current MSBA paralegal member roster, and Michelle will gather information on various pro bono programs, including those in the Duluth area.

On a similar note, we should survey the MSBA paralegal members to see if they are currently doing pro bono work, whether they are planning on attending this year's MSBA convention, and if they would like to be on the paralegal committee next year.

Lastly, Barb wondered if one must pay the convention fee if she/he attends only the business meeting. She thought that that was the case last year, but Mary will verify this with Kammi Stout, and Jean will check with Helen Federline, last year's paralegal committee chair.

i. Illinois Legal Document Preparer Act - Helen distributed information about this Illinois bill to the committee prior to our meeting. We should check that state's paralegal association's website to see if they (paralegals) were involved with the creation of this bill.

ii. Fair Labor Standards Act - Bev asked if anyone is aware of any upcoming changes to this federal law that could affect paralegals professional (exempt/nonexempt) status. She heard something at her office about this, and will get more information from those folks and will also ask Helen, who may have current information on this topic.

iii. Sally will look into something she recently heard about pending changes to ethics rules for attorneys that may affect pro bono work and paralegals.

NEXT MEETING: Thursday, February 5, 2004 at 12:00 p.m. at the MSBA office

Minutes by Jean Diekmann, Chair

December 4, 2003 Meeting Minutes

PRESENT: Bev Moe Carpenter, Sally Dahlquist, Helen Federline, Jean Diekmann

1. NEWS & MISC. COMMENTS: Helen said that she recently read a good article on paralegal utilization,"The Power of the Paralegal" by Tony Wright, in the November 24th issue of Lawyer's Weekly. She will e-mail it to the committee.

2. NOVEMBER 7th MEETING MINUTES: These were distributed to the committee and revised prior to the December meeting. The committee approved the revised version to be placed on our MSBA committee webpage.

A. ABA Standing Committee - Jean hasn't had any response from this committee, so Helen suggested contacting a specific member directly for an update on any state-by-state research results.
B. NFPA articles - Jean couldn't access the most recent articles on NFPA's website, so Helen told Jean an alternate way of accessing them, since NFPA is currently upgrading its website.

4. PACE EXAM INFORMATIONAL MEETING: Jean reported that about a dozen people attended this meeting, and that she was discouraged by the declining numbers of people taking the exam these last few years, the low percentage of testtakers who pass the test, and that the test is geared toward litigation paralegal practice. The committee thinks that the latter point probably discourages transactional law paralegals from taking the test, but also wondered if there presently exists more transactional or litigation paralegals. The committee compared the format and content of the PACE and CLA exams.

In a more positive light, Sally believes that the PACE exam can be a good guideline for potential future paralegal regulation, as it helps distinguish a paralegal from someone that poses to the public to be a paralegal, but really isn't one. Helen noted that some states that currently regulate their paralegals do use the CLA or PACE test as a requirement for meeting that state's paralegal certification requirements. She also mentioned that NALA has trademarked the term "certified paralegal."

5. WEBPAGE ENHANCEMENTS: Sally reported that she is still working on this project, and plans to present some ideas at next month's meeting.

i. Regarding Helen's comment last month about the insurance industry's certification requirement for paying for paralegal work appearing on client bills, Bev wondered what the industry thinks a "certified/certificated (?) paralegal" is. Helen offered to ask attorney Russ Melton for more details on the insurance industry's notion of a "certified paralegal."

ii. Pro bono project: Jean told Nancy Wallrich that we will complete this project and get the final agency contact results list to her by December 12th.

iii. Sally is still working with the Northwest Airlines paralegal to set something up with her, perhaps an appearance at our next committee meeting.

iv. Helen will request a seminar for attorneys to attend at next year's Midwest Solo/Small Firm Success Conference, the topic being paralegal's role in "unbundling legal services."

v. Helen asked the committee if we want to do something at next year's MSBA and/or MPA annual conventions. MSBA's convention will be held on June 9th - 11th. The committee agreed that something along the lines of the value of paralegals in fulfilling the critical need for pro bono legal services might be in order, as a similar discussion at last year's MSBA panel was very beneficial. We will discuss this possibility at next month's meeting.

vi. Sally noted that we should encourage law schools to include a discussion of paralegal utilization in the delivery of legal services to the disadvantaged. In their CLE courses for their alumni.

NEXT MEETING: Friday, January 16, 2004 at 12:00 p.m. at the MSBA office

Minutes by Jean Diekmann, Chair

November 7, 2003 Meeting Minutes

PRESENT: Bev Carpenter, Sally Dahlquist, Helen Federline, Mary Grau, Michelle McCullough, Jodi Standke, Jean Diekmann

1. NEWS & MISC. COMMENTS: Helen noted that the MSBA application now has a new checkbox for paralegals to check to request that they be waived into membership as a paralegal, providing an option to the requirement of membership in a "recognized paralegal organization." The Membership Committee declined to recommend changing the actual membership requirements; however, adding the waiver checkbox to the application is an acceptable solution, as it shows that a prospective paralegal member is not required to be a member of a paralegal organization in order to join the MSBA.

2. OCTOBER 3RD MEETING MINUTES: Jean distributed hard copies of the meeting minutes; besides a few typos, no changes were suggested. She noted that she would distribute future meeting minutes to that meeting's attendees prior to the next meeting. Once approved, they will be posted on the committee's website.

3. PRO BONO DIRECTORY PROJECT: Everyone involved with this project completed their contacts with the majority of organizations on their calling lists, with a few having two or three more contacts to finish up. Jean compiled the results she received thus far from all the volunteers and forwarded it to Nancy Wallrich at the MSBA office, along with a commitment to complete the contacts within the next few weeks. Mary requested from Jean a list of those volunteering on this project, so that they will all be recognized by the MSBA for their efforts.

A. Wisconsin paralegal regulation: Jean said that John Goudie (who is spearheading this effort in that state) reported that his committee's meeting with the Office of Lawyer Regulations Board was delayed until December. This meeting is a necessary step before going to the Wisconsin Supreme Court for their approval.
B. ABA Standing Committee: Jean is waiting for a response to her e-mail request for information on any recent state-by-state status of paralegal regulation.
C. Reports produced in the '90's: Jean summarized the 1992 MSBA Paralegal Task Force Report, the 1993 Minnesota Association of Legal Assistants Report, and the 1994 Specialized Legal Assistants Study Committee.
D. Additional comments:
i. Helen recently learned from an attorney at Foley Mansfield that insurance companies in general are beginning to want paralegals to be certified before those insurers will pay for paralegals' work that appears on outside counsel's bills to the insurance company. We discussed this development and agreed that a good way to effect paralegal regulation might be to encourage everyone who pays for paralegal work to require those paralegals to be certified.
ii. Helen reminded the committee that there are already plenty of nonattorneys serving the public directly without attorney supervision. "Unbundling of legal services" (determining which steps of providing legal services can be efficiently done by paralegals and which of those need an attorney's expertise) and paralegal utilization should be the focus in managing the need for more pro bono legal services.
iii. Bev expressed her concern that "We the People"- types of legal service providers are not properly trained to complete forms and don't have the experience to know when attorney advice is needed.
iv. Sally spoke with a Northwest Airlines ("NWA") paralegal recently. She is willing to meet with our committee to tell us about her wide range of job responsibilities and knowledge of the law in several different states in which she represents NWA on various cases.

5. MSBA PARALEGAL COMMITTEE WEBSITE: Sally is working with a legal librarian to get ideas for additions to our website. She will report more on this at next month's committee meeting.

6. OTHER BUSINESS: Helen mentioned that organizers of the Midwest Solo/Small Firm Success Conference plan to invite paralegals to next year's conference. Helen has been asked to be involved in the planning, as a paralegal track is being added. She also noted that she will be writing some "Tips & Traps" comments regarding paralegal utilization for Bench & Bar magazine.

NEXT MEETING: Thursday, December 4, 2003 at 12:00 p.m. at the MSBA office

Minutes by Jean Diekmann, Chair

October 3, 2003 Meeting Minutes

PRESENT: Sally Dahlquist, Helen Federline, Mary Grau, Jodi Standke, Jean Diekmann

1. WELCOME: Jean thanked everyone for continuing their service on the committee.

2. NEWS: Jean attended legislative committee meeting to learn procedure for submitting proposals to the MN Legislature via the MSBA review process; Jean met MSBA Lobbyist, Lloyd Grooms. Jean attended the MSBA leadership conference – the lunch presentation focused on the critical need for more pro bono services. Jean handed out memos received at the luncheon, “10 Pro Bono Initiatives” and “Crisis in Access to Justice” to the committee members.

3. PARALEGAL REGULATION PANEL REVIEW: The low attendance was disappointing, but the productive discussion made up for it. We learned that we need to educate attorneys on what paralegals can do for them in pro bono environments. There are lots of minor offenses cases currently handled in court in which paralegals can help out, but we have to educate those in the legal system of the opportunities to use paralegals. “Unbundling of legal services” is necessary to determine which tasks paralegals can do. We The People offers legal-related services to those who need low-cost legal service; however, they’ve been sued in TX, FL and CA, which shows the need for paralegal regulation. Concerning UPL (unauthorized practice of law), we agreed that there is a fine line between relaying legal advice and giving legal advice to clients.

4. PARALEGAL UTILIZATION PANEL REVIEW: The attendance was great and most completed evaluation forms had positive feedback on them. However, Jodi and Sally noted that they received some negative feedback verbally right after the panel event. Some attendees wanted to hear how to establish good, effective working relationships with their attorneys, but instead they heard what work paralegals are already doing. It was also noted that many people in the back of the room couldn’t see nor hear the panelists. We learned that we need to educate attorneys on paralegal utilization (which was the main purpose of creating this panel, which will eventually be presented to the bar association).

5. COMMMITTEE GOALS – PARALEGAL REGULATION: Regulation is still a threat to many paralegals, so we need to educate them on benefits of regulation. Paralegals working in law offices don’t need regulation—it’s the ones out in the public, serving those that need legal assistance, who could benefit from regulation. Legal aid departments/agencies and freelance paralegals would also benefit from regulation. We must assure law office paralegals that they won’t lose their jobs due to regulation. We agreed that the bar association won’t spend any time on this issue until paralegals as a group are unified in wanting regulation; thus, we need to determine regulation options (certification – licensure – regulation). At this point, we need to look at what other states have done in terms of paralegal regulation in their jurisdiction, and see what works and what doesn’t. Jean will research studies done by the ABA’s Standing Committee of Paralegals regarding paralegal regulation in various states. The MSBA also did a similar study in 1992.

6. COMMITTEE PROJECT – PRO BONO OPPORTUNITIES: Jean handed out copies of Jim Baillie’s memo regarding 10 pro bono initiatives for the MSBA this year. We noted that paralegal participation was not included, although Bev Carpenter did send an e-mail to Jim to let him know of our interest in being involved in these pro bono initiatives. Jean reviewed a project for the committee to do, which involves following up with current and prospective organizations that offer pro bono legal services to the public, and therefore want to be listed in the MSBA Pro Bono Opportunities Directory. The project needs to be done by October 31st. She will divide up all the organizations to be contacted among the attendees of this meeting, along with Michelle McCullough, and will send the assignments and copies of the current pro bono directory to the committee members next week.

7. MSBA Paralegal Committee website: Jean noted that a paralegal in Duluth inquired to her about the committee—who was on it, and what does the committee do. Jean said that she recently visited our webpage and discovered that there wasn’t much on it. She suggested that we beef up our webpage so it’s more informative to paralegal website visitors. Mary reminded the committee that committee agendas/meeting notices for the current bar year do appear on each committee’s webpage. Helen mentioned that Dick Erickson of the MSBA office is the website manager—he could help us with any webpage enhancements we decide to add. Sally thought it would be helpful to have links to other sites that paralegals use frequently, so she will make a list of suggested links to put on our webpage.

8. INDIANA BAR INQUIRY: Jean told the committee about a letter she received from Spencer Walton, Jr., the chair of the new paralegal committee of the Indiana State Bar Association. In the letter, he requested us to send him information regarding MN Bar’s requirements for paralegal membership, how we promote paralegal utilization to our attorneys, and how we promote bar membership to paralegals. Helen said she would direct him to Leslie Cox and Anita Hayward, two paralegals in Indiana who helped get paralegals on the Indiana Bar.

9. MINNESOTA SCHOOL OF BUSINESS: Jean mentioned that she recently received a solicitation from this school that has a paralegal program. She wanted to know if this program was “legit.” Helen assured Jean that it was, as she and Jodi Standke are on this paralegal program’s advisory board. They have an 18-month certificate program, bur are not ABA-approved yet. They intend to seek ABA approval in the near future via an associate degree program for paralegals.

NEXT MEETING: Friday, November 7, 2003 at 12:00 p.m. at the MSBA office

Minutes by Jean Diekmann, Chair

- Last Updated 05/23/2013 -