The Blog Formerly Known As Practical Paralegalism
Employer: Paralegal Assistance, Inc., Mebane, NC
Years of Paralegal Experience: 30+
Specialty Areas: Real Estate; Corporate and Business Law
Career Highlight: I am proud of creating a form document, “Memorandum of Separation Agreement,” which is often filed with the Register of Deeds in this state to document marital separations and releases of interest in marital property. When I started my legal career, I worked principally in the areas of residential real estate and family law. One of the problems we frequently encountered was filing in the public record the release of marital interest in real property by parties who were separated but not yet divorced. Although this could be accomplished by recording the parties’ separation agreement in its entirety, this made sensitive personal information not related to the real estate transaction a matter of public record. Additionally, many separation agreements expressly prohibit such recording.
Although there is no statutory provision for it, I decided that the problem could be addressed by filing a document called “Memorandum of Separation Agreement,” which would be similar in style to a Memorandum of Lease, including similar recitals of the parties and, for its text, containing only those non-personalized paragraphs in which the parties released their marital interests affecting real property. I proposed to idea directly to Carl Wallace, who was then title counsel at Investors Title Insurance Company. Carl reviewed and approved my proposal as being acceptable to the title company for the intended purpose. (I belatedly remembered to advise my supervising attorney of the solution.)
The “Memorandum of Separation Agreement” quickly became a standard document in my home county. A few years later, when a title searcher found one several counties over, I knew I had made a contribution to the practice of real estate and family law.
At present, I have the pleasure of doing some informal, online mentoring of new and upcoming paralegals. I find that these interactions are helping me keep my skills sharp, often in areas outside those of my usual practice.
Paralegal Practice Tip: Listen not only to the words but also to the tone. Pay attention to body language. Often the most significant help the paralegal provides is not in giving the answer but in framing the question.
Favorite Internet Resource: I admit it—I love Google and Wikipedia. While “the Wiki” is not a reliable source, it can lead to reliable sources. I certainly like having the statutes online (North Carolina General Statutes) but do not have any “secret” magic links.
Fun Fact: According to NALA’s list, I have held the Real Estate Specialist designation longer than any other paralegal currently holding it in North Carolina, since December 1988. (I do not know if I was the first one to get it, but if others had it before me, they have moved on, retired or otherwise given up the designation.)
Professional Bio Link: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/4/b0/535