Paralegal to Attorney: Is It a Great Stepping Stone?

Paralegal to AttorneyWhenever there are cases, paralegals help attorneys prepare for them. Specifically, they interview witnesses, conduct research and arrange documents the attorneys need to present during the case. Attorneys supervise paralegals and provide them a unique preview of the legal system. In turn, this opportunity will help them get into paralegal certificate programs in law school and assist them for their future career as an attorney.

Becoming a Paralegal

To become a paralegal and get your associate degree in paralegal studies, you have to finish a two-year course study. Afterward, the majority of the states will allow you to execute most of the lawyer duties except to practice law. You can perform every legwork needed to get ready for a case, but lawyers are the only ones allowed to present it in court. When you work as a paralegal, you’ll get to understand the ins and outs of being a lawyer for you practically do the same tasks. You’ll develop a familiarity with all the legal jargons and the particulars of law in that certain state.

From Paralegal to Lawyer

To enter law school, you’ll have to get a bachelor’s degree. Do this by transferring some of your credits from your associate degree and taking extra courses to earn it. However, if you already have a bachelor’s degree, you only have to take the law school’s entrance exam, or widely known as Law School Admission Test (LSAT). You still need to prepare for the examination, but you will be familiar with most of the subjects from your work as a paralegal. After you pass the test, the law school will determine if they will accept you and allow you to enroll. You have plenty of alternatives for law school ranging from online, weekend and night classes, which will enable you to continue your paralegal duties. You’ve probably heard it many times before, but paralegal is indeed the perfect stepping stone to becoming a lawyer. Do it right, observe everything cautiously and remember what you learned to make it into law school.

The Silver Lining in a Woman’s Gray Divorce

Woman’s Gray Divorce in DenverDivorce doesn’t just happen to those who married young — it could also be the ending of what once was a marriage that seemed to go the distance, but didn’t.

Several women between the 45 to 55 age bracket has gone or is currently going through a separation. The Gray Population, as some call them, reflect the changing times — they reach a certain age where they realize the married life isn’t for them anymore.

Society (and some family members) might say moving forward after divorcing later in life is difficult, if not impossible. But that theory does not apply to all, especially you.

It’s Not a Mid-life Crisis

According to Divorce Matters, a local practice, most women think the divorce is a side-effect of their mid-life crisis. They ask their divorce attorneys in Denver if the marriage failed because of said crisis.

Here’s the problem: labeling the experience with mid-life crisis makes the whole situation look as if it’s beyond your control (e.g., menopause). It also minimizes the experience and compromises the importance of each journey.

The divorce is not a mid-life crisis — it is a mid-life awakening. It might feel like a crisis, but in the end, you’ll see it was worth it.

The Space You Deserve

Some women of gray divorce marry young and have children. The birth of their first child is the day they realize all of their wants and needs take a back seat. Lives and decisions now revolve around the kids and their needs.

Now that you are older, however, you gain independence in your life. The kids have their own lives and your spouse is out of the picture. You have the time, resources, and energy to pour your soul into things that make you feel alive again.

The time post-divorce will be most precious to you. Sure, the separation was painful, but it is another chapter of your life — a dramatically different half that paves the way for better things.

Aggravated Battery: What Makes a Simple Battery Become Aggravated?

Defense Lawyers from Jacksonville, ILAggravated battery is classified as a more severe type of battery according to the Illinois Complied Statutes, and is considered a felony. The statutes considers a crime to be aggravated battery if the following factors and scenarios are true:

  • The alleged offender’s actions caused great bodily injuries or permanent disfigurement or disability.
  • The alleged offender strangles or blocks the breathing pathways of the victim.
  • The crime was committed against a specific type of individual such as government or state officials, specific public employees, school employees, medical or healthcare professionals, seniors aged 60 and up or pregnant women among others.
  • The victim was performing his or her job or was pinpointed by the alleged suspect to prevent the victim from doing his or her job or to retaliate.
  • The victim was a minor below 13 years old or a mentally retarded individual who suffered severe bodily injuries.
  • The crime took place in a public location such as a school, highway, road, amusement park or sports stadium.
  • The alleged offender donned a robe, hood or mask for concealing his or her identity.
  • The crime involved the use of a firearm or a firearm with an attached laser device, with the laser beam “touching” the victim.
  • The crime was committed using a lethal weapon.
  • The defendant discharged a weapon, causing injuries to another individual.
  • The victim consumed an intoxicating or harmful controlled substance such as a poison or narcotic given by the defendant, which resulted in great bodily harm or not.
  • The alleged offender is an inmate locked up in a custodial or correctional facility and committed the criminal offense against an employee in the facility using blood, urine, fecal matter or other bodily substances or fluids.
  • The defendant intentionally recorded an audio or video of the victim, intending to distribute the audio or video recording.

It’s crucial to note that the criminal offense of aggravated battery is considered a Class 3 Felony, as opposed to a Class A Misdemeanor of a simple battery. Additionally, it could be a Class X Felony, based on the particular circumstances surrounding the case. Due to the severe punishments, an alleged offender could get convicted for aggravated battery. Criminal defense attorneys in Jacksonville, IL recommend getting legal representation.

 

Accused: 4 Rules to Know to Prove Your Shoplifting Charge

Spotting a Shoplifter in JacksonvilleRetail theft is common in Illinois because it’s relatively easy to pull off. Considering a shoplifter abides by no rules except for doing anything to get away, it’s the store’s job to spot thieves disguised as shoppers.

However, the loss prevention personnel can’t just stop you without following a procedure. According to criminal defense attorneys in Jacksonville, IL, many accused shoplifters win an acquittal because store employees fail to comply with the rules of apprehension. To give you an idea how it should be done, here's some advice:

Employees Must See You Take the Item from the Store

No loss prevention personnel should assume that any merchandise you carry comes from the store. It’s highly likely for someone to buy clothes from a different boutique, take them out of the shopping bag, and bring them to another store with their price tags still on.

Unless the employee sees you personally select the item from that store’s rack, loss prevention should never stop you from leaving whatsoever.

Employees Must See You Hide the Item

Store employees must visibly witness you conceal the merchandise. This act is a shoplifting trigger. To prove this, however, loss prevention should be able to describe specifically how you hid the item. Did you put it in your bag or pockets, or take its price tag and wear it? 

They should not charge you of shoplifting out of a guess or gut feeling. If the store employee can’t detail how you did the act of shoplifting, then there’s no reason to believe you did it.

Employees Must Observe You Continuously

Once loss prevention personnel found a reason to consider you a shoplifter, they must continue to observe your actions discreetly. Acting immediately would be premature, and may even be taken against them.

Employees Must Watch You Leave without Paying

The only moment they could act is when you pass the point of sale (cashiers) without paying for the merchandise. Concealed or not, they must wait for you to leave the store before they question you about the unpaid item.

Despite these rules, many loss prevention personnel choose to make judgment calls to stop alleged shoplifters. While you can’t prevent them from assuming you’re a thief, you could use their hasty decision-making against them to prove your innocence.

Do You Have What It Takes to Become a Paralegal?

How to Become a ParalegalOne of the most in-demand professionals in the legal industry is a paralegal. This is especially true after the Great Recession, wherein law firms had to hire them as a replacement for lawyers and attorneys. Not only because of the kind of money they make, but also because of the slightly faster than average job growth rate.

When you want to become a part of a team of legal professionals, you may want to consider completing a course through one of the accredited paralegal schools online, for your own convenience. However, before you do that, it is important you know that you have what it takes to become a successful paralegal, including the following:

Exceptional Communication Skills

Because one of the jobs of a paralegal is to conduct research and investigate, it is a must that you have exceptional communication skills. Also, since you would have to create reports and draft legal documents among many others, you should also have impressive reading comprehension and detail-relaying skills.

Ethics

All professionals should perform their responsibilities ethically, and ethics is a must-have for all paralegals. Cases always involve confidential information that you absolutely cannot share with anyone else aside from the legal team. You must meet many other ethical legal requirements in order to become a paralegal, and you most likely would have to undergo training for such laws.

Attention to Detail and Organizational Skills

Note that paralegals work with a lot of data, information gathering, documents, and paperwork. When you lack the ability to focus on details and you have problems with your organization skills, you need to master them first when you really want to become a paralegal. These two are some of the most critical skills that make a successful paralegal.

Since you want to have a successful career in the paralegal industry, you should have these personal characteristics and master them before proceeding to enroll in a program or course.

Drunk Driving and License Suspension

Suspension of License in Springfield for DUI CasesIn most cases, DUI/DWI conviction results in temporary license suspension. This can happen if the court or if the state motor vehicles department orders suspension or revocation. There will also be an automatic suspension if a DUI arrest involved a refusal to the take the blood test or breathalyzer. This is regardless of the outcome of the case.

Administrative Penalty

DUI and traffic attorneys in Springfield, IL note that automatic suspension or Administrative License Revocation or Suspension (ALR/ALS) allows an officer to seize the license of the drivers who insist that they are not drunk and express strong refusal to participate in any alcohol test. The administrative penalty is different from any other criminal penalties the offender may face.

Suspension/Revocation

First-time offenders can get their driving privileges back after 90 days. This, of course, will still depend on the circumstances of the case, including restrictions, local practices, and state laws. In California, the suspension will take 6 months for the first offense and two years for the second one. In Illinois, however, first offense involves one year of revocation and a minimum of three years for the second offense. Third and fourth offenses may involve several years or even permanent revocation.

Other Consequences

Apart from license suspension, those convicted of DUI may also face other consequences such as large fines, jail time, and community services, among others. The state may also require an installation of an Ignition Interlock Device, which will require a driver to take a breath test before starting the engine. If the device detects alcohol, the vehicle will lock and prevent the driver from driving.

Additional penalties from state to state, but may include some of the following:

  • Enrollment at DUI/DWI education course
  • Impounding of the vehicle
  • Increased insurance rates
  • Unemployment-related to driving a vehicle

A DUI or a traffic attorney can help those who are facing DUI/DWI charges. The right lawyer can inform them about the state laws, the likelihood of losing the licenses, as well as the options to keep this from happening.

How is Divorce Different from Decree of Legal Separation?

Divorce Attorney in Denver, ColoradoSome people confuse legal separation with divorce and throw these words around without quite understanding the gravity of each term. The differences between a decree of legal separation and divorce will allow you to understand the benefits and limitations that come with them.

What are the differences between the decree of legal separation and divorce?

A divorce determines the obligations of the divorcing spouses and is the legal end of their relationship for any purpose. On the other hand, a decree of legal separation indicates that separating couples are not responsible for the other’s support, any taxes or debts, except those established in the decree. Parties go through the same filing and service procedures and requirements and complete similar paperwork; however, there are distinct differences you must know, these include:

  1. When a separating couple gets a decree of legal separation in Colorado, they cannot remarry. They can do so when they convert their decree into the dissolution of marriage.
  2.  Parties who get a decree of legal separation do not lose their inheritance rights unless they terminate their property rights or sign a written agreement.
  3. Some divorcing couples have moral or religious objections to divorce. A decree of legal separation determines their parenting responsibilities and relationship and financial independence in accordance with their beliefs or faiths.
  4. Although a rarity, separating couples who have a decree of legal separation maintain their retirement-related or insurance benefits, which they will lose completely once they divorce.

These differences enable you to discuss the possible courses of action with your divorce attorney in Denver, Colorado.

Ending Your Marriage

A divorce is a painful experience for both parties and children if they have any. There are long-term emotional and financial effects that couples must think about before finalizing the end of their marriage. A decree of legal separation provides divorcing parties time as their transition to divorce begins.

Child Custody: Some Key Points Your Attorney Must Help You Understand

Child Custody in AlbuquerqueChild custody is one of the biggest issues you and your future ex-spouse would be facing if you have a child or children younger than 18 and you plan to get a divorce. Things could be a lot more difficult if both parties demand to be the custodial parent.

Unfortunately, the technicalities surrounding this area of family law could be quite complex for an average person without a legal background. This is why you need an experienced legal adviser. In this case, you need a child custody lawyer.

Here are some of the key points a competent child custody attorney should help you understand.

Legal and Physical Custody

Custody is defined legally as a person’s right to make decisions regarding their child’s care and upbringing. This is known as legal custody. Physical custody, on the other hand, refers to where the child will reside after divorce.

Base on statutory provisions, divorcing parties have equal rights to claim their child/children’s physical custody. The family court could order either a joint or sole physical custody arrangement, depending on the family’s relevant circumstances.

Visitation Rights

Visitation, also known as parental time or access, is another key point you need to know regarding custody issues. In Albuquerque, for instance, the Law Office of Doreene A. Kuffer explains that it refers to a child’s opportunity to spend time with their non-custodial parent. 

Legal courts look into a number of factors to determine the best visitation arrangements for the child and both parents. “The best interests of the child” is the standard used by the courts to make such decisions.

Parenting Schedule

Many states now use the term “parenting schedule” in place of the terms custody and visitation. This way, there wouldn’t be any negative connotation on the court’s decision on who should be the custodial and non-custodial parent of the child.

These are only some of the key points your child custody lawyer would help you learn as you go along the process. Look for an experienced attorney so you can ensure not only quality legal service but also greater chance of winning your child’s custody.

3 Ways to Help Your Kids Deal with Your Divorce

Divorce Cases in Los AngelesDivorce Cases in Los AngelesDealing with a divorce is never easy, but it can get even harder if you have kids who will be affected by it. If this is your case, then you should always put your children’s needs first. They don’t even have any say about it but they have no choice but to deal with it. As parents, here are some things you can do to help your kids understand what’s going on and cope with the painful fact of your separation.

Talk to Your Spouse

No matter how chaotic the divorce may be, you should try to sit down with your spouse to talk about your kids in a respectful manner. Stop all arguments and just focus on how you can do your best to keep your kids’ interest in mind. Before doing this, make sure to disclose your plan to your Los Angeles divorce lawyer. Your emotions may get the best of you, so ask your lawyer how to handle the talk and what you shouldn’t say to your spouse.

Come Clean

You should be the one to tell your kids about the divorce. Don’t let them hear it first from any other person. Sit down with them, come clean about why you decided to get a divorce, but don’t give all the details because it can only hurt them more. You and your spouse should do this together. Assure them that even if you’re divorcing, your love for them remains the same. If they have questions, be careful about how you answer. Don’t say anything bad about each other.

Always be Available

If your kids are already older, they may hide their pain and disappointment. That’s why you need to always ask them how they’re doing. If you can, have a one-on-one time with them to simply talk. Encourage them to voice out their emotions and listen to them.

Protect your kids so they could deal with the divorce of their parents. Always be there for them throughout this tough time no matter how hard it is also for you.

3 Good Things About Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer

Personal Injury LawyerIt is not required that you have a lawyer to represent you when filing a personal injury claim. You can do things on your own provided you know the ins and outs of the process. 

However, Bern Ripka LLP explains that there are reasons why getting a personal injury attorney in NYC remains the best approach when filing a claim. And these reasons definitely pay off big time at the end of the day.

Avoid Mistakes With Correct Advice

No one can give the best advice on this matter but a personal injury lawyer. He can explain your rights and the different requirements you need to get just compensation. With an attorney, you are less likely to make mistakes as every bit of the process has been thoroughly explained right from the start.

Just Compensation Is Within Reach

Most victims of minor injuries do not get a lawyer because they think that slight wounds are not worth the expense. However, this is wrong from the start. You can get the maximum range of damages you are entitled to if you have an attorney to represent you in court. For example, in most cases, victims with no attorney only file a claim for the hospital bills, medications, and lost wages, but fail to include emotional distress damages or pain and suffering damages. This results to lower compensation.

There are also times when a minor injury gets worse. If you have no attorney, it can be difficult to proceed from there since you are not aware of your next steps.

Get Full Attention from the Defendant

Defendants and insurance companies would try to escape from obligations by making excuses. But with an attorney, you can expect them to cooperate and give your case full attention which translates to a faster proceeding.

There are many other reasons why hiring a personal injury lawyer when filing a claim is important. However, to sum it all up, attorneys can make the proceedings faster and easier with a promising result.