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I broke this into a new topic.


This was previously posted by Dana Fortier, Managing Director - Exec-U-Ease Virtual Assisting

Contact me at dlf41103@hotmail.com or by telephone (248) 974-2124


Here's my story: I am a 15+ year experienced executive/partner-level legal secretary, legal assistant and litigation manager (i.e., docket control, attorney assignment & trial prep). I was laid off from a small law firm in February because they lost a major (A MAJOR) client that supplied approximatley 60% of its business. Therefore, they had no need for 2 "secretaries", so they opted to keep my counter-part, even though I had ALL the experience. The reason they did that was because she was the main breadwinner of the family and I wasn't. I can understand that - I don't have to like it.


So, after dealing with the depression for a few weeks, I kicked myself in the butt, contacted past employers, let them know what I was going to be doing and asked for word-of-mouth referrals. That netted me 4 clients in about a 2 week time frame. I also got a retainer client (not an attorney) and have been working on getting my "reputation" out there.


Now, 5 months into this, I'm starting to think about a website, business cards, brochures, incorporating myself, etc., etc., etc., I also started back to school to get my paralegal certificate. I needed to find a program that was independent study, on-line, and would allow me to test out of topics that I knew. Oh, they also needed to be recognized by NALA so that I could sit for the CLA exam upon completion. Yes, I found such a program. I have tested out of 8 "classes" so far with scores ranging from 83% to 100%, and I have 4 left that I indicated I wanted to attempt to test out of. Yes, I still have to pay for them, but to me, that's a small price to pay (ha ha) to get my CLA quicker.


Until then, my day consists of marketing myself, reading the forum posts, doing the work that I've been assigned to do from sub work and from my one remaining retainer client (who is really busy right now), studying, and taking care of kiddos. Within a year, I will have completed my certificate studies and will sit for the CLA exam.


I met with a printer yesterday and gave him some draft versions of a brochure and business card. I have pulled the forms off the internet to incorporate myself (luckily I know how to do this from YEARS of doing it for others and watching the attorney charge $250 for his time to do this, when he was paying me $22.00 an hour to actually do it. Where's the justice?)


I am on "website rehab" right now. I've looked at so many in the past few weeks, looking for inspiration, I got scared when I saw the posts about plagerism. I don't want anyone to think I've copied their website, so I've put myself into website rehab for 2 weeks. I'm not looking at any VA website and then I will start writing my own copy for it. Hopefully, it will be my "voice" that comes through at that time.


I will niche myself to attorneys to do discovery and trial prep. Yes, I would even consider accompanying attorneys to trial to assist with witnesses and exhibits and note-taking so that they could concentrate on the litigation portion. However, to do that, I might need to travel out of state, and with small critters (kids) at home, that might not be feasible for a few years.


I love doing discovery and I have the ability to take "stream of consciousness" writing and refine it so that its cohesive. I've thought about offering digital transcription, and I probably will invest in some type of system soon, because that's a need that seems to be out there right now.


Thanks for reading my lengthy post and have a great day!



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