2017 Annual Convention: Education Sessions

Program At-A-Glance Education Sessions
& Keynote
Friday Night Social Convention Charity


Education Sessions & Keynote

Keynote Speaker: Gov. John Bel Edwards
Friday, October 13 | 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm

The Governor grew up in Amite, Louisiana as one of eight children.With four Tangipahoa Parish Sheriffs in his lineage, he learned the importance of public service at an early age.

Governor Edwards graduated in 1988 from the United States Military Academy at West Point. The Governor served eight years as an Airborne Ranger on active duty with the United States Army and commanded a rifle company in the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He went on to graduate Order of the Coif from Louisiana State University Law Center and set up a civil law practice in his home town of Amite.

In 2008, he was elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives from District 72, where he served for eight years until the voters of Louisiana elected him Governor in November 2015. Governor Edwards and his wife, First Lady Donna Edwards, have three children: Samantha Bel, Sarah Ellen, and John Miller.

Continuing Legal Education Sessions


Session 1A
Digital Due Diligence: How to Protect Yourself and Prosper in the Digital Age 

Daryl Pfeif, Digital Forensics
Dr. Gavin Manes, Avansic: E-Discovery & Digital Forensics

8:30 – 9:45 a.m.

Technology pervades every aspect of our lives both in the workplace and at home. In 2017, an average of 1 in 4 people will fall victim to cybercrime. Not only can digital carelessness seriously harm you and your devices - it can expose sensitive data or damage your employer, your coworkers, your friends and your family.

This presentation will offer insight into the need for legal professionals to champion personal security and digital due diligence and provide information about real security risks and how these can be turned into opportunities for professional development. Daryl Pfeif, Founder of Digital Forensics Solutions and Digital Security Associates, and Dr. Gavin Manes, Founder and CEO of Avansic: E-Discovery & Digital Forensics, will provide useful tips, tools and techniques that attendees can utilize to transform themselves from technophobes into techno-champions.

Daryl Pfeif has been actively engaged in the field of digital forensics and cyber security since 2004. She has extensive experience in eDiscovery, digital investigation, incident response, social engineering, penetration testing and application vulnerability assessment. She has served as a security and forensics consultant with an emphasis in the legal, financial, healthcare and technology industries. Daryl is a member of the International Association of Computer Investigation Specialists and the High Technology Crime Investigation Association. She Is founding member of the Digital Forensics Solutions, Digital Security Associates and DFRWS the first International Conference in Digital Forensics Research. Digital Forensics Solutions is based in New Orleans and provides Early Case Assessment, Evidence Preservation, Data Recovery, Digital Investigation and Expert Witness Testimony.

Dr. Gavin Manes is a nationally recognized expert in e-discovery and digital forensics. He is currently the CEO of Avansic, a firm that provides the legal, business, and government sectors with e-discovery, digital forensics, managed services, hosted online review, and expert services. Dr. Manes founded this Tulsa-based company in 2004 after receiving his PhD in Computer Science and serving as a professor at the University of Tulsa. Avansic’s scientific approach to e-discovery and digital forensics stems from Manes’ academic experience; this brings a logical and defensible approach to discovery. Avansic creates custom solutions in the laboratory to make processing more efficient and works with clients to create custom solutions and specialized workflows for any size e-discovery project; for example, Dr. Manes and Avansic have assisted in many aspects of e-discovery for one of the country’s largest MDL litigations.

This session is approved for 1.25 hours of general CLE.

Session 1B
Effective Business Plans for Companies in the 21st Century

Will Rachal, Dream Builders Network, LLC
8:30 – 9:45 a.m.

Business plans are not just for start-up companies or initial investments; they are useful for anyone considering the future and overall management strategy of an enterprise, including a law practice. A business plan is frequently called “a road map” as it provides much-needed focus and direction for business owners.  Having a business plan will help you view yourself as an entrepreneur, attract more clients, and achieve business goals. 

Paralegals can assist attorneys in understanding their goals and be able to effectively discuss their services, operations, target market, and marketing strategies. You can assist attorneys to identify their outstanding needs in order to determine what future plans will be needed. Business plans differ for each type of industry and even the individual business, but all plans answer the same key questions. This course will help identify the unique goals and audience your business plan will accomplish.

Will Rachal has always be a person that has chased information and after serving as a Military Trainer in the United States Navy, embarked on a journey of personal growth that took him through the halls of the University of Maryland and Serving as Director of the Juvenile Court. Will came to live in Slidell, Louisiana in 1994 while serving in the United States Navy. Originally a native of Alexandria, Louisiana. Will served as a Civil Judge and currently operates in private Business as Owner of “Dream Builders Network” Professional Office Suites. 

This session is approved for 1.25 hours of general CLE.

Session 1C
Ethics in Evolving Compliance Requirements

Garth Jacobson, Senior Government Relations Attorney, CT Corporation.
8:30 – 9:45 a.m.

Recent international and national developments of laws related to anti-terrorism, anti money laundering and efforts to stop abusive tax shelters have created traps for the unwary attorney. 

This seminar will:

  • Provide an overview of the laws that impose penalties for conducting business with office of Foreign asset Control (OFAC) specifically designated nationals (SDN) and persons from blocked nations.  
  • Survey recent developments that would impose new requirements for business entities and the attorneys acting as business formations agents.   
  • Review the Financial action Task Force FATF and ABA gatekeeper recommendations for client due diligence best practices and the ethical implications associated with client due diligence and business formation.
  • Discuss the ethics rules that related to these matters. 
  • Help attorneys avoid potential federal fines while meeting state bar ethics rules.

Garth B. Jacobson serves as a Senior Government Relations Attorney for CT Corporation. Prior to this position, he worked at Preston Gates and Ellis LLP. Previously, he held the position of Chief Legal Counsel to the Montana Secretary of State where he successfully litigated election law cases before the state trial and appellant courts and federal courts. During that tenure, he served on the state bar committees that drafted business entity legislation including profit and nonprofit corporate acts, revisions to the partnership laws and the limited liability company act. Additionally, he developed and administered alternative dispute resolution of business name infringements. He served on the Montana Ethics Advisory Commission.

This session is approved for 1.25 hours of ethics CLE.

Session 2A
Road to a Green Card through an Employer

Sabrina D. Henry, Senior Immigration Specialist/Paralegal, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, LLP.
10:15 – 11:30 a.m.

We will discuss the immigration journey for foreign nationals to a green card through employment sponsorship. What are the steps? What does the employer and employee need to do? How long is this process? What benefits are available while going through the process? Why are there such long back logs, more than 10 years, for some foreign nationals? What’s next?

Sabrina D. Henry is a Senior Immigration Specialist/Paralegal at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, LLP. She has over 15 years of progressively responsible experience as an immigration paralegal. She was awarded a Bachelor’s degree in Business Education from Bernard M. Baruch College, City University of New York. In addition, she participated in a student-exchange program at the University of Ghana at Legon, where she studied Women’s Involvement in Economic Development. She is also pursuing a Master’s degree in Instructional Technology.  

This session is approved for 1.25 hours of general CLE.

Session 2B
Avoiding Unauthorized Practice of Law

Ebony Morris, Esq, litigation defense attorney
10:15 – 11:30 a.m.

This presentation will provide an overview of the legal and ethical use of non-attorneys in the legal profession. The presentation will also cover the current American Bar Association and jurisdiction specific guidelines regarding the unauthorized practice of law and recent cases interpreting and applying those guidelines. This presentation will also provide useful tips and suggestions for attorneys and non-attorneys on how to avoid the unauthorized practice of law.

Ebony S. Morris is a practicing litigation defense attorney in the Greater New Orleans area. She practices in the areas of mass tort litigation and insurance defense litigation. She has experience in defending premises owners in a variety of chemical exposure cases, asbestos-related cases, and other types of personal injury claims. Prior to becoming an attorney, Ebony worked as a judicial clerk for The Honorable Laura Prosser at Baton Rouge City Court, and she interned with Chief Judge Brian A. Jackson of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana. 

This session is approved for 1.25 hours of ethics CLE.

Session 2C
International Relations: Understanding Apostilles & Legalizations

Brian Johnson, Senior Account Executive, Registered Agent Solutions, Inc. 
10:15 – 11:30 a.m.

The Hague Apostille Convention (1961) changed the way in which public documents are legalized or authenticated for use in other countries. This presentation details the distinctions between Apostille Certificates and the Legalization process by outlining key differences such as when each is required and the steps to obtain the proper authentication.

Brian Johnson is currently a Senior Account Executive for Registered Agent Solutions, Inc. He graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Management from the University of Texas at Austin. Brian has spent the last 20 years working in the legal and corporate services industry. His expertise includes registered agent services, corporate filings, business compliance, and UCC filings.

This session is approved for 1.25 hours of general CLE.

Session 3A
Trial Preparation from Start to Finish

Regina Valenti, senior trial paralegal, Herman, Herman & Katz, LLC
1:15 – 2:15 p.m.

You’ve worked your case for months, maybe even years, and now it is time to go to trial.  Are you ready? Are you really ready? 

This seminar will teach how to start from Day 1 to be on top of your trial game. You will learn what steps are crucial to take at the very start of your case. You will learn the important questions to ask every step along the way. And you will learn what answers are key to a paralegal’s survival and success at trial. This seminar emphasizes the skills necessary to learning your case, organizing your materials, and being an invaluable part of a your trial team. 

For those of you who have never been to trial before, this seminar is an absolute MUST.  For those of you who have, you will learn some new shortcuts and tricks that will make your next trial much less stressful.

Regina L. Valenti is a senior trial paralegal with the law firm of Herman, Herman & Katz, LLC, in New Orleans, LA. Ms. Valenti handles all aspects of file management, client contact and trials in multi-district litigation, mass torts, personal injury cases and products liability cases. She conducts medical research, legal and factual research, fact investigations, and client interviews. She also supervises all the paralegals in the firm, and is responsible for training staff and associates on various topics.

This session is approved for 1.25 hours of general CLE.

Session 3B
Personal Branding

Lisa Lynch, CRP™, NFPA Vice President and Director of Marketing
1:15 – 2:15 p.m.

Branding is not just for big companies or stars! How do you set yourself apart from other candidates or coworkers? How do you make sure you’re always putting the best foot forward? Take a page from famous brands and create your own professional brand! Let’s talk about social media and what you should say when you are asked, “What do you do?” Let’s spend time working on an elevator speech which will keep others remembering you long after they exit on their floor! Pour into yourself and your career. You are worth it!

Lisa Lynch, CRP™ is currently the NFPA Vice President and Director of Marketing. She has over 20 years’ experience in litigation. She is currently the Litigation Support Manager at Trinity Industries, Inc. in Dallas Texas.

Lisa has been involved with the Dallas Area Paralegal Association (DAPA) since 2004. Lisa Lynch was the 2014 President of DAPA.

Lisa is the recipient of the 2014 DAPA Paralegal of the Year award.  During her Presidency, DAPA received the NFPA 2014 Pro Bono Association Award at the National Convention which was hosted by DAPA in Dallas, Texas.

She obtained her Paralegal Certificate from the Professional Development Institute at the University of North Texas in 1993. Lisa was certified by NFPA as a Core Registered Paralegal in 2011, becoming one of the first 16 CRPs in the State of Texas and initial 148 paralegals in the nation who passed the pilot exam administered at 12 test sites across the country.

Session 3C
Delaware Updates

Alan Stachura, Senior Manager of Government Relations, CT Corporation
1:15 – 2:15 p.m.

Delaware is the most important entity Formation State in the country. Just over 1,000,000 entities call Delaware home. It is also the “corporate capital of the world,” with more than 270,000 domestic corporations. Among those are the most important companies in the nation, including over 65% of the Fortune 500 and more than half of the corporations listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The session will discuss trends in Delaware before touching on both legislative and administrative updates. 

Alan Stachura is with CT Corporation as Senior Manager of Government Relations. He is a key liaison for CT vis-à-vis the State governments of Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Indiana. Among his many projects at CT, Mr. Stachura has developed a new training curriculum to help educate customers on the process of incorporating in Delaware.  

This session is approved for 1.25 hours of general CLE.

Session 4A
The Catch-22 of Cannabis Legalization

Maren Joyce Schroeder, Paralegal and Qualified Rule 114 Neutral, Borgos Law, PLLC
2:45 – 4 p.m.

Maren will discuss the status of cannabis law throughout the country, including industrial, medical, and adult uses permitted throughout the fifty states. Her presentation will cover the various layers of laws and regulations related to cannabis law, including the federal Controlled Substances Act, and how the different laws, rules, and regulations interprlay with one another for those cultivating, distributing, and possessing cannabis.

Maren Schroeder, MBA, RP®, MnCP, is a paralegal and Qualified Rule 114 Neutral for Borgos Law, PLLC, a virtual firm in Minneapolis, Minnesota that focuses on providing affordable legal services in the areas of family law and criminal defense. She also has extensive experience in bankruptcy, working on complex filings and litigation for panel trustees, debtors, and creditors.

This session is approved for 1.25 hours of general CLE.

Session 4B
Effective Handling of Conflict in the Workplace
Keys are: Leadership, Communication and Control of Emotions

Charles G. Blaize Jr., Mayhall Fondren Blaize
2:45 – 4 p.m.



  • Define Acceptable Behavior
  • Hit Conflict Head-on (have a management strategy)
  • Understand the WIIFM (What’s in it for me factor)
  • Importance of roles of parties to conflict to the core business
  • Always view conflict as an opportunity to grow
  • Be cognizant of workplace retaliation tactics
  • Understanding if reconciliation is an option

Charles G. Blaize, Jr. was born in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. He grew up in Houma, Louisiana and settled in Baton Rouge, Louisiana after becoming an attorney. Mr. Blaize is a founding and the managing partner of the firm of Mayhall Fondren Blaize in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Mr. Blaize primarily practices in oil and gas title examination. Mr. Blaize also practices complex property ownership and right-of-way litigation, royalty/leasehold and working interest disputes. Throughout his career, Mr. Blaize has also assisted clients in the negotiation of Oil, Gas and Mineral Leases, Joint Operating Agreements, Seismic Options, as well as other oilfield agreements and negotiations.

Session 4C
Legal Holds

Allyson K. Howie
2:45 – 4 p.m.

Ms. Howie will be discussing best practices for a legal holds process in a corporate in-house environment.  Included in this presentations will be recognizing the triggering event; determining the scope of preservation; implementation and managing the legal hold. The presentation will discuss legal holds and related data preservation activities.  

Allyson K. Howie is a graduate of Louisiana State University and received a Juris Doctor degree in 1990 from the Louisiana State University, Paul M. Hebert Law Center. She is admitted to practice law in the State of Louisiana. She has worked for Entergy Corporation and its former non-regulated affiliate, Entergy Integrated Solutions, Inc., since 1997. She joined the Legal Department’s Commercial and General Litigation Section in 1998. Since that time she has worked in Retail Operations and on the Entergy/FPL Merger Team. Until 2014 she was part of the Litigation Section and supported the Company in the areas of records management, litigation management, right of way, commercial and casualty litigation, eDiscovery, and was responsible for the corporate data rooms and the Legal Department website. Today she is Managing Counsel over Information Governance and continues to be responsible for records management and eDiscovery, as well as coordinates preservation, collection, processing and production protocols with the in-house IT Department and external service providers.

This session is approved for 1.25 hours of general CLE.

NFPA Workshops


Student Workshop
 2:30 – 4 p.m. 

NOPA has created the student event with HR professionals and professors from the New Orleans’ Central Business District (CBD). The event will focus on resume writing – how to land your dream job; interview techniques – what not to share; use of social media by employers; and accessing public records through free and lost-cost databases.

NFPA Workshop A
The Modern Practice: Challenges and Strategies for a Successful Small Law Firm

Sara Sawyer, Manager in Small Law Firm Customer Marketing,Thomson Reuters
4:15 – 5:30 pm

Sara Sawyer is a Manager in Small Law Firm Customer Marketing at Thomson Reuters. She has over 10 years of experience in technology marketing with extensive focus on learning how technology can meet the needs of attorneys.  Sara has been involved in numerous product launches throughout her tenure,  public relations efforts, interviewing customers and telling their stories.

NFPA Workshop B
Developing a Strong Mentoring Program

Yvonne DeAntoneo, NFPA Vice President and Director of Membership
4:15 – 5:30 pm

A Mentoring Program can be a strong marketing tool and member benefit to your paralegal association. Join Yvonne DeAntoneo, Vice President & Director of Membership to discuss developing your Mentor Program and tips for developing a solid Mentoring Program Toolkit. This workshop will include developing the mentoring program for both paralegal students and junior paralegals; identifying mentors; appropriately matching mentors and mentees; implementing your program; and scheduling guidelines to support a successful mentoring relationship.

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