We had Legal Instructor Ana McNatt on our #MediTalksOnAir Podcast last week to give us the scoop on Court Observation Week and to let students across the country know how they can shadow an amazing legal professional! Listen to the podcast below or read the transcript below to find out how you can get involved
MJ: Why hello Meditecers! This is your very own Social Media Strategist Megan E Jackson bring you another episode of #Meditalksonair, where we discuss what’s going on over here at Meditec. Today we have a very special guest, Legal Instructor Ana McNatt, to discuss an amazing event that is coming up in October – Court Observation Week!
MJ: First off Ana, would you mind telling us a little bit about yourself?
AM: I am currently the instructor for all of Meditec/360’s Legal Programs. Currently, I support three programs are legal transcription, legal secretary, and paralegal. I have had over 20 years in the legal field. I’ve held positions such as legal secretary and paralegal. The last position I held was actually a judicial assistant with the San Diego Superior Court.
MJ: And you are here this week to talk to us about Court Observation Week! My I ask what exactly is Court Observance Week and how did it come about?
AM: Court Observance Week is a yearly event that occurs the second full week in October. This year is Court Observance Week’s 40th anniversary and will be celebrated during the week of October 13-17. The original proclamation for the National Legal Secretaries’ Court Observance Week was proclaimed in 1974 by President Gerald Ford. The actual proclamation number is 4327. “In part, the proclamation reads, “our vast and complex system of justice cannot function without the skill and dedication of our Nation’s legal secretaries. Without these unsung heroes of the legal process, the wheels of justice would grind to a permanent halt. They deserve the praise, gratitude and respect not only of their employers but of the system which they serve so well.” In conjunction with this proclamation, the Association of Legal Professionals, also known as NALS, recognizes the second full week of October as Court Observance Week. This year’s theme is “A Day in the Life of a Legal Professional: From Shadows to the Spotlight.” Note, they don’t limit this to legal secretaries, but to legal professionals which includes legal transcriptionists, legal secretaries, legal assistants, and paralegals. And, working in conjunction with NALS, Meditec (360/Training) will be observing Court Observance Week as well.
MJ: Before we dive into Court Observation Week, can you explain a little more about who NALS is for the listeners who don’t know?
AM: NALS is one of the leaders in the legal services industry. It offers professional development for legal professionals. They provide certifications, resources, continue education classes, and training that is specifically dedicated to legal professionals. I currently sit on the NALS Education Products Committee and on the NALS Online Study Committee. I help people who are going to be taking their certification exams get ready by doing courses with them. NALS was formed in 1929 and has been committed to its members since then. They are considered to be the association for legal professionals and are dedicated to providing services for legal professionals. Some of the services they offer will help legal professionals enhance their careers as well as advance within the legal profession.
MJ: What is the main activity planned for this year?
AM: This year’s initiative is an attempt to introduce the legal profession and the court system to students, or potential students. For students interested in participating in the program, we will be attempting to place them with a legal professional for a day; a ‘shadow’ if you will. This will allow the student to see if this if the legal profession is a good fit for their future career goals.
MJ: What is involved in being a ‘shadow?’
AM: Students will spend a half-day or full-day with lawyers, judges, court clerks, court reporters, and other professionals. This will give them a firsthand view of the day-to-day activities of these professionals, and an opportunity to view the ‘workings’ of a court or attorney. The majority of people learn about the legal profession and court system through a camera lens. And, while the creators and producers of legal dramas do try to portray this system in as ‘real’ a condition as possible, it’s still a drama and producers still take creative liberty when making these programs. This will give students the opportunity to see the real inner workings, which may not be as exciting as the drama packed programs they are used to watching. While we don’t want to discourage students from participating in this profession, we also do not want their exposure to come only from a dramaticized network program.
MJ: What do I do if I want to participate?
AM: The blog post on Meditec.com that you are likely listening to this podcast on will have a link to a sign up form for those who are interested and want to know more. This sign up form will also be all over social media! We will then contact you and discuss your interests, where you are located, and what specific job you would like to learn about. Keep in mind, if you have little ones, you will need to be sure you have reliable child care; you will also need to have reliable transportation. The important thing to realize is we want to be respectful of both your time and the legal professionals who have volunteered to take part in this event. While we do understand emergencies and illnesses occur, we want to make every effort to ensure you are able to fulfill your commitment for your day of shadowing. After getting to know you during this discussion, I will then send you an application form, and once completed, I will make an attempt to place you with a legal professional. Since I don’t have personal connections to all attorneys and courts throughout the country, I may not always be able to find a legal professional willing to be ‘shadowed.’ Therefore, on the app, you should choose your first preference and a back-up preference, and whether you would like to commit to a half day (4 hours) or a full day (8 hours). I will need to receive your completed application by September 20, 2014.