Chere Estrin has been promoting informative and educational opportunities for attorneys, paralegals and litigation support staffers for many years. Those who have followed her have witnessed a great deal of effort and success in developing and presenting a wide variety of materials, programs, and certifications. She has a unique talent of engaging many of the top names in our professions to help with all of this. Now, we have a unique opportunity to see what makes her tick:
1. Where do you currently work, and what is your primary role? I am the President and Co-Founding member of the Organization of Legal Professionals, OLP, (www.theolp.org), a non-profit organization providing online legal technology training and ediscovery certification exams for attorneys, litigation support professionals and paralegals.
2. Share a little about your background, education and work experience prior to your current position. What a great experience this career has been! I'm an author of 10 books on legal careers, a former exec in legal staffing for a $5 billion Fortune 2000 corporation; national seminar speaker; president of a staffing division of a national litigation support company; legal/paralegal supervisor and administrator for two major law firms; CEO of a national legal staffing company I founded and sold to a major corporation; recipient of the Los Angeles Women of Achievement Award; CEO of the Paralegal Knowledge Institute; Co-Founding member of the International Practice Management Association; and have had the honor of being interviewed by the Los Angeles Times; Chicago Trib; ABA Journal; Daily Journal; Newsweek; Above the Law; and other publications. I have a blog as well. I have some free time on Sundays from 3:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m.
3. Share a little about what you do when not working. This is a good one. We just moved from a desert area to a more rural area. I'm now learning how to stoke fireplaces, carry a wheel barrel, check the pump for the well, and yep, hide from what I hear may be mice.
4. Tell us about one or two significant cases or experiences in your career. An amazing experience was putting together the eDiscovery certification exam with OLP members and Pearson VUE, a division of Pearson Publications, a $7 billion corporation that specializes in education. Twenty-seven team members worked over 18 months to put together this certification exam which uses the science of psychometrics. You have to be an expert in eDiscovery just to sit for the exam.
Another ongoing experience is the incredible training OLP provides from top experts in the field on legal technology. The instructors bring the latest in technology for online courses via live and recorded sessions. We've had the top names in the industry. I am honored by the continuing support we get from litigation support, eDiscovery, trial techs, HR professionals, eDiscovery attorneys, judges, who contribute their time and efforts. Our mission is to provide continuing legal education to as many people as we can at affordable pricing. OLP is managing to do that and our Board of Governors and Advisory Council is extremely supportive.
5. Share about one or two disasters during your career, and how you managed to recover. I think the Great Recession hit everyone including myself. Literally, I had to start all over in a late period in my life, along with millions of other baby boomers. I hated to see firms, legal service providers, individuals go under. It was an attribute to the strength of this country's determination along with the wise heads of those in the legal field that we have managed to get back on track.
6. What is the best piece of advice you could offer to someone considering stepping into your shoes? People approach me with career problems on a regular basis. The most common problems I see, even with those who are successful, are these:
• Your achievements are underplayed.
• Your skills are outdated. You absolutely must have recent CLE whether or not your practice specialty calls for it. Employers will only pay for updated skills. Saying that your employer does not pay for continuing education is not an excuse for not staying updated. Think you can't afford it? Give up your Starbucks. Yes, give up the Starbucks. $5 bucks a day is $25 a week, $100 month, $1200 a year. You can afford to take a few courses. It will lead to greater success in the long run.
• Never give up. Stay positive. And finally,
• Always ride the horse in the direction it is going.
7. If you had to do it all over, what would you do differently? Who me? No question. I'd be producing shows on Broadway. I thought you knew that.......
8. Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years? I'm always going to have my hand in the legal field. Writing, speaking, teaching. However, I do plan on sailing off to the Greek Isles. Hopefully, they will have their financial situation together by then.
9. What would you consider the biggest change that has transpired during your career? This is now a visual society. Yes, I can talk about technology, social media at the risk of sounding ho hum. However, do not overlook how visual we have become. Also, do not overlook the massive age discrimination that we are facing. Baby boomers are now the second largest generation group. I give a free webinar on 5 Steps to Beat Age Discrimination. While some would not consider this the biggest change, I want to bring this out in the open. It's inhibiting people. However, you may not even be aware that you are encouraging people around you to think about it. Think visual society. Think about the phrases that you are using. We've changed. You have to stay current. You can no longer be behind, even half a step.
As for pinpointing the biggest change in the entire legal field? Legalzoom. It changed the entire legal field.
10. What do you predict for the future for those in your profession? The virtual attorney, legal professional and paralegal is the wave of the future. eLawyering is where we are going. It is a cottage industry now. However, the client has changed the way it does business. You have to get on the band wagon and be prepared. It's not only the future. It's here now.
Contact Chere Estrin: