<![CDATA[                                     AFFORDABLE TRIAL PARALEGAL - ATP Blog]]>Sat, 17 Feb 2018 15:09:19 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[January 26th, 2017]]>Fri, 27 Jan 2017 01:15:05 GMThttp://affordabletrialparalegal.com/1/post/2017/01/january-26th-2017.htmlThe BUFFETT Rule

Let's see if the people in charge can understand what people pressure is all about.

Salary of retired US Presidents .. . . . .. . . . . .. . $180,000 FOR LIFE.

Salary of House/Senate members .. . . . .. . . . $174,000 FOR LIFE.

Salary of Speaker of the House .. . . . .. . . . . $223,500 FOR LIFE.

Salary of Majority / Minority Leaders . . .. . . . . $193,400 FOR LIFE.

Average Salary of a teacher . . .. . . . .. . . . . .. .$40,065

Average Salary of a deployed Soldier . . .. . . .. $38,000

Here’s where the cuts should be made!

Warren Buffett, in a recent interview with CNBC, offers one of the best quotes about the debt ceiling:

"I could end the deficit in five minutes," he told CNBC. "You just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election".

The 26th Amendment ( granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds ) took only three months and eight days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people demanded it. That was in 1971 - before computers, e-mail, cell phones, etc.

Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took one (1) year or less to become the law of the land - all because of public pressure.

LET'S create awareness and allow it to build into public pressure by emailing this to like-minded individuals or people you think would enjoy being enlightened. Keep passing it along until most Americans have the idea.

Here is the idea:

Congressional Reform Act of 2017

1. No Tenure / No Pension. A Congressman / woman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they're out of office.

2. Congress (past, present, & future) participates in Social Security.

All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.

3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen/women are void effective 3/1/17. The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen/women.

Congress made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and go back to work.

If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people, then it will only take three days for most people in the U.S. to receive the message. It's time!


If you agree, pass it on.

<![CDATA[The 2014 Homeowners Flood Insurance Act - it continues to provide benefits]]>Sat, 10 Oct 2015 12:25:11 GMThttp://affordabletrialparalegal.com/1/post/2015/10/the-2014-homeowners-flood-insurance-act-it-continues-to-provide-benefits.html
RATE CHANGES WHEN PROPERTIES ARE SOLD The 2014 law protects policyholders from significant and unanticipated increases in flood insurance costs that could impact their property sales. Subsidized rates continue to apply, and as of May 1, 2014, both the policy and its subsidized rates can be transferred to the new owner. Grandfathered rates can also be transferred at the time of sale.

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is in the process of implementing Congressionally mandated reforms required by the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 that repeal and modify the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (BW-12). >>This fact sheet<< provides an overview of the changes to flood insurance rates under the NFIP. While the new law is implemented, policyholders are encouraged to maintain and keep their current flood insurance policies. Allowing policies to lapse will leave policyholders unprotected. Policyholders who have questions about their flood insurance policies should contact their insurance agent.
<![CDATA[TRIAL TECHNICIAN TIPS]]>Wed, 22 Jul 2015 20:16:46 GMThttp://affordabletrialparalegal.com/1/post/2015/07/trial-technician-tips.htmlPicture

1. Attorneys are notorious for failing to clue in the trial technician. After all, they are bred to be untrustworthy because source leaks of critical document information could ruin his case and an attorney is very protective of his interests by nature, especially before a trial. You have to establish a rapport This can not be done at trial – it has to be established weeks in advance.

2. You should have a cost schedule prior to trial. Do you have a sufficient budget for to present the “story”?

3. As is often said "you don't get a second chance to make a first impression." Make sure your keyboard shortcuts are memorized and that you have an uncluttered desk space at trial.

4. Make sure that your name was included on the Order from the Judge to allow you to bring in electronic equipment. Doubly ensure that all attorneys and necessary technicians are also on the order. This makes bringing in the equipment easier with multiple people allowed to enter carrying equipment and ensures there is no last minute delay.

5. Using PowerPoint: Almost anyone can prepare a slide in PowerPoint, but making the right choices to win over your jury is much more difficult. There is a difference between being only technically accurate and having the ability to layout a graphic that is persuasive, pleasant to view, and clearly presents the facts.

6. You should visit the courtroom before the trial begins. Often litigators learn too late that a courtroom is too small for a standard projector and they have no place to store boxes overnight. This will entail making frequent trips with all your equipment and material if you have not spoken to the court clerk about in-house storage. If you press hard enough, you will find a broom closet for that easel and projector. It may not be a locked room but if it is inside the court room the court may be locked over-night. If it does have a locked door, make sure you ask for those who have the key.

7. Failure to test graphics in advance: You don’t want to find out during the trial that your graphics or your equipment are incompatible with the courtroom setup or are ineffective. As any qualified jury expert will tell you juries rely on more on what they see than what they hear, roughly by a factor of 2:1.

8. Failure to understand your judge: There are many good ways to research a judge, some of which we have detailed in a popular article. You simply must understand how he or she decides things. In the court nearest me, there are judges who will not tolerate trial technology of any sort, and there are judges who get annoyed when you don't use it. In either case, showing the same graphic too many times diminishes its effectiveness. The Judge will want to know why, if the Jury saw the graphic previously, we are reviewing it again.

9. Going nuts during trial preparation: The single worst thing that can go wrong is when the leader loses his or her cool close to trial when anxiety is at its highest. Not getting enough sleep, high anxiety, millions of dollars at stake, and a bad temper do not make a good combination.

10. Failing to brainstorm what could go wrong: Plan for the worst and expect the best. Are there hand held exhibits? Make sure they are all in numerical order by Exhibit Number. The moment they are called you want to be able to grab the right exhibit without having to cross-reference a Bates Number to an Exhibit Number to locate the correct document.

<![CDATA[PARALEGAL POSITION NEEDED]]>Sat, 28 Feb 2015 13:56:06 GMThttp://affordabletrialparalegal.com/1/post/2015/02/paralegal-position-needed.htmlIf there are any law firms in need of a litigation paralegal in Philadelphia, Cherry Hill, Trenton, Princeton or NYC, feel free to check out my profile on LinkedIN ]]><![CDATA[PIPELINE ACCIDENT INSTRUCTIONS]]>Sat, 10 Aug 2013 15:24:37 GMThttp://affordabletrialparalegal.com/1/post/2013/08/pipeline-accident-instructions.htmlPicture
The Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration ("PHMSA") has revised its reporting criteria effective June 22, 2013 to include what I reported it would include in the previous post.  The General Instructions to Pipeline Operators is posted HERE..

Of interest, is that the failure to report an incident is punishable by a fine of $25,000 per day, not to exceed $500,000.  The link for the form is HERE

According to the Federal Register:

The volume spilled is critical data used to assess the impact of an individual spill and the long-term performance of the hazardous liquid pipeline industry. Prior to 2010, the instructions provided no guidance for either the volume spilled or the volume recovered. In 2010, PHMSA added instructions for the volume spilled explaining that the reported volume should include all product exiting the pipeline system. The volume recovered should include all product collected during spill response. In 2012, PHMSA modified the instructions by ending the volume spilled at the point where the operator gained control of the release and began immediately collecting the product as it exited the system. Instructions for the volume recovered were modified to also exclude volume collected immediately as it exited the pipeline system. Since this change was implemented, several PHMSA staff members have expressed concerns about long term trending. Although specific guidance was not provided prior to 2010, operators generally included all product exiting the system as volume spilled, regardless of whether the operator immediately collected the product. Since the change implemented in 2012 appears to have resulted in a significant departure from past practice, PHMSA is proposing to revise the current instructions for reporting volume to stipulate that the reported volume spilled should include all product exiting the pipeline system. Likewise, the volume recovered should include all product collected during spill response, as was the general practice prior to the revision made in 2012.

This new form is then no more than a return to what was before with volumes reported. This should increase the reliability of incident reported data. Jeffrey D. Weise is serving as the associate administrator for pipeline safety.

<![CDATA[FREEWARE]]>Sat, 10 Aug 2013 13:46:04 GMThttp://affordabletrialparalegal.com/1/post/2013/08/freeware.htmlPicture
Freeware software is a part time hobby of mine and although much of the "freeware" is now coming with a "Catch-22" it is still worth the investment.  POS PRO, an image editor is one of those applications I have enjoyed using.  The Catch-22 is when you download portions of it there are "options" that often add unwanted and annoying little "extras" that no one wants on their machine so you have to be careful in what you add when making the decision to download the application.

Nevertheless, for FREE Digital imaging photo editing software, it provides a robust number of features that are useful for creating works of art, Facebook posts, or your own icons and images for your web site.  See http://www.photopos.com  for 

<![CDATA[Trial Presentation and the iPad (a small case study) By dtruax|May 13th, 2013]]>Sun, 16 Jun 2013 01:28:49 GMThttp://affordabletrialparalegal.com/1/post/2013/06/trial-presentation-and-the-ipad-a-small-case-studybydtruaxmay-13th-2013.htmlPicture
This is a great little lesson in what  happens with new technology and attorney's who think they know how to use their iPad. They may know their iPad but what happens when it is hooked up to dozens of monitors? Read this little article to get the real life testimony of someone who went through the experience.  http://visual-advantage.com/trial-presentation-and-the-ipad/

<![CDATA[OIL PIPELINE SAFETY]]>Sun, 09 Jun 2013 19:41:59 GMThttp://affordabletrialparalegal.com/1/post/2013/06/oil-pipeline-safety.htmlPicture
·         The Government’s US Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials has a web page portal HERE. The current administrator is Cynthia L. Quarterman, followed by other key personnel such as:

·        PHSMA ORG CHART·          http://www.phmsa.dot.gov/staticfiles/PHMSA/MainContentSets/Images/Org Chart_060608.gif· --   (SEE IMAGE BELOW) --   the Safety Officer has direct oversight of the Administrator of Pipeline Safety and Administrator for Hazardous Materials.

April 22, 2013 - PHMSA Requests Comments on Revised Reporting Forms for Hazardous Liquid Pipelines.  
The PHMSA wants to revise the Hazardous Liquid Accident reporting form so that even small spills are documented as well as larger spills - it is important to note that this proposed regulation is open for public comment through June 22, 2013. Click HERE for a copy of the Federal Notice, 

"Currently, if a release is at least 5 gallons but is less than 5 barrels with no 
additional consequences such as, a release in the water, or a fire or explosion, and 
property damage is less than or equal to $50,000, and no death or injury is involved, 
operators submit a report with less information than for releases that do not meet this 
   New reporting rules are supposed to change this requirement.

<![CDATA[Add One-Click Protection to Excel Sheets]]>Mon, 13 May 2013 01:04:10 GMThttp://affordabletrialparalegal.com/1/post/2013/05/add-one-click-protection-to-excel-sheets.htmlPicture
Need to add protection to your excel sheets? Here is a nice VBA program that I tested and used.

Private Sub cbProtectSheet_Click()
'   Toggles sheet protection
    If Sheets("NameSheet").cbProtectSheet.Value = True Then
        ActiveSheet.Protect DrawingObjects:=True, Contents:=True
    End If
                                                     End Sub

Name the cell where you add a checkbox. I used the ActiveX checkbox, not the form checkbox.

I named the cell cbProtectSheet and selected Add Macro. Name your worksheet and substitute it for :NameSheet" in the code.

Any questions?  Send an email to paquette@affordabletrialparalegal.com  

<![CDATA[Managing Exhibits in Trial]]>Wed, 10 Apr 2013 15:54:02 GMThttp://affordabletrialparalegal.com/1/post/2013/04/managing-exhibits-in-trial.htmlPicture
Managing Trial Exhibits
This Title is linked linked to Court Technology's Blog written by Ted Brooks. He basically says it all in his blog. Following the rule of Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS) is often the best advice. The problem Trial Tech's may arrive at is that after the first day of trial you have a half dozen exhibits that have been entered and hopefully you have kept a running tab on those by marking them as admitted exhibits. Maybe a couple exhibits were marked up during trial. The witness  wrote something on the hand held hard version and the following day you may want to show the marked copy. Hopefully you have arranged somewhere near the war room a scanner so that you can convert the hard copy and hopefully you are in possession of all marked exhibits. Sometimes you may find that the marked copy was the adversaries copy and they have the only marked up copy and now you have to wait on their good graces to get you a copy. Sometimes that may not happen until you arrive at court the following day. I am just saying, that although Ted's advise is dead-on correct, you may have to deal with contingencies before you arrive at that point where you have an exhibit that you can mark as Exhibit 031213b.

The other point I'd like to touch on and is lightly touched on in Ted's article is the backup process. Trial Director has a backup feature called 'Pack n'Go' but during training at inData we were advised to make a complete copy of all the case files for that case and paste it to your backup location as an alternative. 

Today, the web storage in the Cloud is often an alternative to carrying around a portable hard drive or a pocket flash drive. With DropBox, Google Drive or Sky Drive you can select a folder on your PC that is set to be synched with your case file. This might be the perfect solution for many of you although if absolute security is required the only solution is to have a backup that is never connected to the internet. 

It was interesting to read that one of the paralegals involved with the offshore BP litigation found that using this Cloud storage method was the perfect solution because not only did it provide backup, it allowed a folder to be shared by key personnel so that everyone could share notes and add exhibits that pertained to a certain issue. You can have the same type of service if you hire an expensive consultant and use Relativity or inControl from a Cloud based location but that expense can be completely eliminated, depending, of course, on the comfort level your attorney(s) have with computers and secure Cloud storage methods.