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2012 News

PACO's Annual Holiday Social... What an Adventure!

PACO celebrated the holiday season with an adventurous and fun holiday social at COSI on December 1st. PACO members, guests, and children were able to check out the amazing exhibits at COSI including the featured exhibits with Legos. "I believe this event was a huge success! So many children came up to me during the event and thanked me for the candy (because kids love candy!) that various sponsors passed out. Before the event was over, I had received tons of wonderful praise about the event. I cannot thank my PR Committee enough for their help with the event. They have been FANTASTIC!" stated Mindi Schaefer (Poling Law) (PACO Public Relations Representative).

The PACO Public Relations Committee wants to thank the following sponsors: GOLD -Columbus Bar Association, Baker Hostetler, and Anderson Reporting; SILVER - Poling Law; and BRONZE - Ricoh and Rimkus Consulting. A HUGE THANK YOU TO OUR AMAZING SPONSORS!

PACO's guests also donated multiple children's gifts for Toys for Tots. Mindi Schaefer (Poling Law) will be collecting these items until December 21, 2012. Please contact her at or 614.737.2914 to arrange drop off of your donations.

Pictured: Eddie Cafferkey with sister and PACO Public Relations Co-Chair Erin Cafferkey.

Click here to see all photos from the event.


Recent Articles of Interest

Trial Preparation for Paralegals
by Mindi L. Schaefer, A.A.S., B.A., M.S.

The Path to Success
by Mindi L. Schaefer, A.A.S., B.A., M.S.

Dos & Don'ts of Applying, Seeking, and Interviewing for Jobs
by Mindi L. Schaefer, A.A.S., B.A., M.S. and Rebecca M. Cain, M.B.A, M.P.A.

The Power of a Paralegal
by Stephanie R. Hanna


Announcing the 2013 OSBA Paralegal Certification Exam Study Group

PACO is pleased to announce that our organization will once again offer a study group to Ohio paralegals interested in applying for, studying for and sitting for the 2013 OSBA Paralegal Certification Examination. The examination itself will occur in May, 2013 and the application process will begin soon after January 1, 2013. In preparation for the application, studying and examination, all our welcome to attend an informational session. During the initial meeting, OSBA Certified Paralegal, Nadine Valco, will discuss the various criteria to be eligible to apply for and sit for the exam, an overview of the examination components and details regarding formal study sessions to commence in January, 2013.

The informational session will take place on Thursday, November 29, 2012 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Poling Law, 300 E. Broad Street, Suite 350, Columbus, OH 43215. Parking is available in the building parking garage which is accessible from Grant Avenue.

Please RSVP to Nadine Valco, Reminger Co., LPA at no later than Wednesday, November 28, 2012. Please also contact Nadine with any questions or concerns.


PCCE Study Manual Available for Purchase

The NFPA has announced that the Paralegal CORE Competency Exam (PCCE) study manual is now available for purchase. The manual is approximately 400 pages long and costs $75 (plus shipping and handling) through the NFPA's website. The purpose of the manual is to be a resource for those paralegals interested in taking the PCCE and earning the credential CRP (CORE Registered Paralegal). This exam is a great option for new paralegals who may not qualify for other credentialing exams. If you are interested in forming a study group for the PCCE, send an email to Erin Cafferkey at


PACO Fall Kick-Off

September 19th officially marked the fall kick-off for the PACO monthly General Membership Meetings. On behalf of PACO, we would like to extend a warm thank you to the CBA as our September meeting's Vendor of the Month and to our topic speaker, Derek A. DeBrosse, Esq., for the presentation he gave entitled "Ohio's Gun Laws and Recent Events in the News." Derek specializes in firearms law issues and operates a full-service law firm, Barney & DeBrosse, LLC, based out of Columbus, Ohio.

Please plan to join us for next month's meeting on October 17. We look forward to seeing you!


PACO Summer Picnic

What a terrific day! PACO's First Summer Family Picnic was filled with smiles, sunshine, and great friends! Check out the photos from the picnic on PACO's Facebook page. Thank you for everyone who attended this event and a special thank you to Gina Shultz and National Corporate Research who provided a great gift to drawing winner - Stephanie Foster. Also, a special thank you to the Public Relations Committee who pulled off another terrific PACO event. If you have any suggestions for more fun PACO events, contact Public Relations Representative Mindi Schaefer (Poling | Petrello) at or 614/737.2914.


2012 Oscars Party

Click here to view all photos of the event

The Paralegal Association of Central Ohio recently celebrated its Annual Oscars Party for 2011-12 at the Columbus Bar Association. The Oscars Party is an event to honor and recognize the accomplishments of its association and members. The foundation of PACO's success and accomplishments are deeply rooted in the leadership of its members. The work of PACO members make PACO what it is today.

PACO announced the awards for the 2011-12 year to the following individuals:

  • Outstanding Member - Teresa Scharf
  • Outstanding Committee Member - Lucinda Miller (Freund Freeze & Arnold)
  • Outstanding Board Member - Becky Cain (Nationwide Insurance)
  • Outstanding New Member - Erin Cafferkey (Poling | Petrello)
  • Outstanding Committee Chair - Nicki Willis (Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP)
  • Paralegal of the Year - Mindi Schaefer (Poling | Petrello)
At the Oscars Party, PACO announced this year's scholarship winner - Nicki Willis of Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP. Nicki's dedication to PACO and work on behalf of PACO is remarkable and very much appreciated by everyone. Congratulations Nicki!

PACO also recognized the many sustaining members and event sponsors of its various events from the Holiday Social to Paralegal Day. The support of these companies is important to the success of PACO. Thank you to following sustaining members and event sponsors of PACO:

  • Poling | Petrello
  • 2REVEAL 3D Computer Renderings & Animation
  • accuSERVE, LLC
  • Anderson Reporting Services, Inc.
  • Bank of America
  • Capital University Law School
  • Clicks
  • Columbus Bar Association
  • Columbus Bar Services
  • Encore Process Service
  • Key Evidence
  • Legal Aid Society of Columbus
  • Miami-Jacobs Career College
  • NALS of Central Ohio
  • National Corporate Research (NCR)
  • Robert Half Legal
  • Robson Forensic
  • RVM, Inc.
  • Spectrum Reporting
  • Subpoena Service Plus, LLC
  • The Gnoesis Group
  • Baker & Hostetler LLP
  • Professional Reporters, Inc.
  • Experis Manpower Group
  • EDiscover-E
  • IKON Document Services
  • Rennillo Deposition & Discovery
  • InfoVision21, Inc.
  • Lumen Legal


New Coordinator Named for Pro Bono Wills Clinics

With the exponential growth in demand for wills clinics in the Central Ohio area, PACO Pro Bono Chairperson Teresa Scharf (Bricker & Eckler) has appointed Lucinda Miller (Freund, Freeze & Arnold) as the PACO/LASC Pro Bono Wills Clinics Coordinator.

For the first half of 2012, PACO and the Legal Aid Society of Columbus have conducted 11 clinics and served over 100 clients in providing Simple Wills, Financial Powers of Attorney, and Health Care Directives. The success of the program is driven in large part by the dedication of clinic volunteers, especially Teresa Scharf, her husband Fred Scharf, and Marcia Palof of LASC. The demand has increased significantly since the program's inception in 2010, creating a need for an additional executive volunteer. In order to offer more clinics, Ms. Miller volunteered to assume the role of Coordinator, in which she facilitates scheduling and assists with site visits and the initial document construction.

Ms. Miller is an active member of the PACO Pro Bono and Public Relations committees, in addition to her new position of PACO/LASC Pro Bono Wills Clinic Coordinator. Congratulations Lucinda, and THANK YOU for all you do!


PACO Member Spotlight

As a way to showcase the wonderful members of PACO, the Public Relations Committee has created a new feature to be utilized on PACO's website and social media accounts - "PACO Member Spotlight." The Spotlight will allow members to share information about them and to get to know other members. Please download the PACO Member Spotlight form and return your responses (in Word format) to PACO Public Relations Representative, Mindi Schaefer, at Please also include a photo in .jpg format.


Trial Preparation for Paralegals

by Mindi L. Schaefer, A.A.S., B.A., M.S.

A paralegal's involvement in trial preparation is crucial to the overall success of a case. The characteristics of exceptional paralegals include strong organizational skills and clear, concise communication abilities. These key characteristics are important to trial preparation. While every attorney has a different approach to trial preparation and a paralegal's involvement in the same, there are a few important items that every paralegal should know.

Implement a Master Plan for Success
The master plan should include a clear and concise list of job duties for each player as related to the trial. Every player on the team plays a crucial role when trial preparation is in full swing. It is important that each player knows their respective roles and that every other player knows each other's roles. This will reduce tension and stress for the team. Continue reading...


PACO Celebrates Paralegal Day: May 21, 2012

The annual celebration of the profession for PACO members was held this week at The Bluestone with awards and accolades.

Karen Bressman and Renee Tomko received scholarships from PACO for the OSBA Paralegal Certification program. Stephanie Foster and Debbie Sekerak were presented their Five Year Service Awards.

The guest speaker was Toni Marsh, Associate Dean for New Initiatives, and Associate Professor and Director of Paralegal Studies at George Washington University. She is a graduate of Cleveland State and Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.

The event sponsors for the Paralegal Day luncheon were: GOLD: Baker & Hostetler, Columbus Bar Association, Anderson Reporting, and Poling | Petrello; SILVER: Capital University Law School; BRONZE: PRI, Encore, Clicks, and Key Evidence; and GENERAL: The Bluestone, T. Bear’s Florist, and Slowik & Robinson.

Click here to see all photos from Paralegal Day 2012


OSBA Paralegal Certification Exam Scholarship

The Paralegal Association of Central Ohio is pleased to announce the awarding of two $250.00 scholarships to paralegals actively participating in the Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA) paralegal certification credentialing program. The deadline to apply is April 27, 2012. Please download the application for further details. Contact Mindi Schaefer at with questions.


The Who, What, Why and How of Paralegal Utilization

Lawyers know that properly leveraged, paralegals can make any law firm, law department, or government agency more effective. Lawyers also know that when they utilize paralegals to the fullest, everyone benefits. But many lawyers don’t know the full extent of their paralegals’ abilities or how to implement a good paralegal plan.

Paralegals know that properly utilized, they can make any law firm, law department, or government agency more effective. And when they have substantive work and contribute to their fullest potential, their professional lives are more fulfilling.

Plan to attend the Brown Bag Lunch Meeting, March 12 from 12:00-1:00pm at the Columbus Bar offices. The presentation will teach lawyers who their paralegals really are, what they know and what they can do, and it shows paralegals how to make this case to their lawyers.

The program presenter, Professor Toni Marsh, is the founding director of the George Washington University paralegal studies programs and an Associate Professor of Paralegal Studies and was the founding director of the paralegal studies program at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She presents regularly on the topics of paralegal utilization and using paralegals to increase access to justice. Professor Marsh is currently working with the University of Bagamoyo in Tanzania to design and launch a paralegal studies program there.

Download meeting materials:


PACO Members Donate to The Salvation Army

Over 50 pairs of gloves and hats were recently donated to The Salvation Army following PACO's Holiday Social at The Chiller in December. The annual Holiday Social is an opportunity for PACO members, their families and guests of the legal community to have a fun, exciting networking event. PACO strongly supports networking type events for its members as a way to get to know fellow paralegals as well as other legal professionals. Additionally, PACO utilized this event to also gather donations for The Salvation Army. In the cold months of Ohio, donations such as gloves and hats are greatly appreciated.

The PACO Public Relations Committee wants to again thank the following Holiday Social sponsors: GOLD - Poling | Petrello, Columbus Bar Association, Baker Hostetler, Anderson Reporting, Capital University Law School, and National Corporate Research; SILVER - Rennillo Deposition & Discovery, Key Evidence, EDiscover-E, and Experis; BRONZE - IKON; GENERAL AND DRAWING DONORS - Jackie Grime, Jamie Imes, Lori Slaughter, Charity Crouse, Simone Carpino, Clicks, National Corporate Research, and Don Slowik (partner of Slowik & Robinson).


Why Mentor?

This article was featured in the June/July 2012 edition of National Paralegal Reporter! Click here to download.

by Mindi Schaefer, Poling | Petrello

Mentoring involves helping, guiding, and leading others to their desired goals. Whether a new job or a decision to pursue further education, mentors provide a sounding board to mentees. Mentors give mentees their thoughts, ideas, and opinions to assist in big or small decisions. Mentoring is a self-less act to help others. It is rewarding and personally satisfying to provide valuable experience and insight to others.

Mentees are able to obtain valuable advice and coaching while mentors are able to gain personal satisfaction. Both mentors and mentees can learn from one another's experiences and stories and utilize that information to grow into flourishing paralegals. Mentoring provides an opportunity for everyone to learn and grow personally and professionally.

The foundation of my creation - PACO's Mentoring Program - lies in my desire "to pay it forward" to other paralegals. I wanted to help fellow paralegals succeed just as paralegals before guided me to my success. Paying it forward through mentoring was the best way to achieve this.

It began with a vision of senior paralegals guiding and leading student and junior paralegals down a path to success within the field. The program flourished into a networking collaboration among paralegals of all experience levels and specialties. In the age of a shaky economy, networking in any profession has become a must for all. PACO's program provides an avenue for networking.

Whether junior paralegals, student paralegals, or paralegals in job field transitions, I wanted the Mentoring Program to provide mentees with an avenue for help, guidance, networking, and leadership from senior paralegals mentors. The Mentoring Program gives mentors and mentees an opportunity to share experiences and skills.

The Mentoring Program has had over thirty mentor/mentee pairings since the program began. It continues to accept applications from senior paralegals, junior paralegals, student paralegals, and paralegals in job field transitions. If you or someone you know is interested in this program, contact PACO Mentoring Program Committee Chair, Mindi Schaefer, at or (614) 737-2914.


Q&A with an OSBA Certified Paralegal

by Mindi Schaefer, Poling | Petrello

When I sat for the OSBA Paralegal Certification exam in 2010, I was lucky to have the best source of information possible … an already OSBA certified paralegal. I knew once I passed the exam that I wanted to “pay it forward” by helping future OSBA Certified Paralegals. To do so, I created a study group for paralegals through the Paralegal Association of Central Ohio (“PACO”). I have also answered countless questions about certification. To follow are several of those questions and answers.

Q. Why did you decide to become an OSBA Certified Paralegal?
A. I decided to become certified because I wanted to solidify my paralegal experience and education with certification. I felt the certification offered by the Ohio State Bar Association provided me with the best avenue to do so.

Q. What are the benefits of becoming an OSBA Certified Paralegal?
A. I believe paralegal certification provides a potential edge for one paralegal over another in the case of a potential job. Paralegal certification illustrates the paralegal has a greater degree of knowledge of the legal field. Pursuing certification shows I am dedicated to furthering my education and experience and that I take pride in my profession.

Q. Do you believe one day the State of Ohio or any state will require certification for paralegals?
A. I believe certification of paralegals provides further validity to my profession and the important role that paralegals play in the legal field. I do, in fact, believe there is a potential one day for states to require certification of paralegals.

Q. How has OSBA paralegal certification impacted or influenced your current job at Poling | Petrello?
A. I believe when our clients recognize that I am certified that they are even more confident in the job that our firm can and will do for them. I believe it shows our clients that the firm staffs high quality and educated paralegals.

Q. Is Poling | Petrello supportive of new paralegals in your office pursuing the same certification?
A. Absolutely. My firm is very supportive of its staff and even more supportive of their pursuits to better themselves. In fact, once our current and newest paralegals are eligible, they have expressed interest in sitting for the exam.

Deciding whether to pursue certification has many factors to consider and these are only a small portion of the questions one could have. With any decision in life, one must balance the pros, cons, good, and bad and decide what is best for them personally.

Read PACO news from 2011...

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