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Jamie Collins

By: Jamie Collins

Welcome back, TPSers! We’re thrilled to see you on this lovely, crisis-free Wednesday. Let’s at least pretend it will be, anyway! One can only hope, dare to dream…and beg ever so silently via an internal plea offered straight from the depths of one’s partially-sane, paralegal soul. And if that doesn’t work, just bob, duck, dodge, and weave, my friends! You always do.

Let me ask you one simple question: If I told you where to go to obtain some really good, darn-near-free, paralegal education, would you go? I guess we’ll find out! Keep reading… 

I had the pleasure of attending a webinar on public speaking a few weeks ago, which was offered by the Organization of Legal Professionals (“OLP”): www.theolp.org. I went into this thing cold turkey. I had never attended a webinar before, had no idea what to expect, how it would work or if it would be worth the asking price of…free, and hopefully, more. I received an extensive, online education on public speaking, and took six-and-a-half pages of typed notes to refer to later offering up a wealth of tips for slaying the ole’ speaking dragon.

How does it work? It turns out you just enter “go to meeting” and find yourself staring at a PowerPoint screen and waiting for the presentation to begin. Then the speaker joins and you find yourself smack dab in the middle of a seminar…only you’re at your office, with your rectangular, wooden gate closed, sipping an iced tea, and hoping you aren’t stalked by the law firm’s receptionist with an incoming call, as you type away intently at the keyboard, in an effort to soak up every last tidbit of knowledge that’s coming your way. (Well, at least that’s how it was for me…anyway!) If you have a question, there is a “chat” screen next to the actual PowerPoint slide, where you can type a question or comment, which will be read in to the speaker/group by the OLP’s moderator. Pretty cool? Oh yeah. Highly educational? You betcha. Worth the asking price of “complimentary?” I’m taking this one all the way to the imaginary, paralegal bank!

I sat through 1.5 hours of speaking brilliance.

When it was all said and done, I had received so much free education that my paralegal brain actually started to hurt, perhaps from storing an abundance of useful information, all the while typing, listening, sipping my iced tea, and diligently avoiding attempted stalking, during an uber productive lunch break.

I find myself wondering if every paralegal reading this post right now on The Paralegal Society was on that webinar?

And if you weren’t – why not??? After all, it was free. Absolutely free to all OLP members. And it was awesome!

Paralegals are constantly trying to seek out additional education, job skills, and opportunities as they wade through the trenches of their careers. They wonder where they can go to refresh their skills, learn new ones or how to go about entering a new area of law.  They have a strong desire to do what they can to set themselves apart. Well, I have the answer! Webinars offered through the OLP, and other reputable vendors.

The OLP routinely offers complimentary webinars, typically a few each month, to its members. The cost of becoming a member is extremely reasonable (students are $25, and an individual membership is $95). When comparing the cost against all of the free educational offerings you can access throughout the year, it’s a great deal! You pay the membership fee one time annually, then immediately go sign yourself up for all of those complimentary webinars! Two of the most recent offerings were on public speaking and leadership. Both great topics that are helpful to nearly every person on the planet.

While I had received the OLP’s monthly flyers for many months, I never took any action until the other day. I find myself asking, “Why?” followed by, “Why is every paralegal on the planet not taking full advantage of this free education?” I’m guessing for the same reason I hadn’t. You either didn’t know about it, didn’t understand how it works or were waiting for someone like me to tell you to take your future career by the horns, and force that bull into the education coral because your one way ticket to the success rodeo has arrived.

The next time you find yourself feeling a bit complacent, contemplating your future or attempting to determine where that $25-$95 can best be spent, do yourself a favor – join the OLP’s mailing list. Check out the next monthly flyer listing all of the upcoming webinars, and take the educational plunge. Sneak a peek, then pay the small membership fee to give yourself access to an array of complimentary webinars throughout the next year (or better yet, see if your firm will foot the bill for all that free CLE)! What you’ll walk away with is solid, educational value, career tips, and advice from professionals who have been there, done that, and information it would have taken years of trial by fire to learn on your own, if ever. You’ll walk away with far more than the asking price of…free. I sure did.

I’d love to stay and chat, but I’m off in search of a bottle of Aleve. Any more educational content today and my head might just explode! If you read a news story about a successful, paralegal blogger whose head actually exploded, it was me, on the job, at my desk, drinking iced tea, with six and a half pages of speaking notes in hand, thoughts of my future speaking brilliance swirling in my head…fresh off of a webinar.

Do yourself a favor.

Click here: www.theolp.org


Hey, it’s your choice, but if you can possibly think of a better way to invest $25-$95 in yourself this year, do tell! One can never have too much knowledge, education, training or career skills! 

We’ll see you on Friday, when we’ll be sharing a really fun piece written by a new guest contributor. We bet you can relate to it. And if you can’t, you may not be a paralegal, or a legal secretary, or a receptionist…or anyone who has ever graced the presence of a law firm a single day of their working life. Just sayin.’ Check back to see if I’m right!

Disclaimer: As a Columnist for “KNOW: The Paralegal Magazine,” I have a complimentary membership to the OLP, but this is my unbiased opinion. I wrote this article because I felt compelled to share this information with our readers.