While rare, adverse reactions to vaccines can happen. When they do, the injuries can be severe. Guest Drew Downing explains how paralegals play a critical role in marshaling the vast amount of medical evidence in any given vaccine injury case.
He and host Carl Morrison discuss the enormity of the information that needs to be gathered and sorted into a timeline before filing a claim.
They also discuss the history of vaccine litigation in the United States and the creation of the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. Downing distinguishes between the federal vaccine injury program and the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program, where individuals must take any claims related to the Covid-19 vaccine.
Drew Downing is a senior attorney with Van Cott & Talamante in Phoenix, Arizona.
Special thanks to our sponsors, NALA, ServeNow, CourtFiling.net and Legalinc.
The Paralegal Voice
When Vaccines Cause Injury
Intro: Welcome to The Paralegal Voice here on the LegalTalk Network. I’m Carl Morrison advanced certified paralegal and your host of The Paralegal Voice.
And boy we have a show for you guys today. A hot topic that is very relevant right now and of course, we have been living in the past nine months now of a pandemic. I don’t need to tell you guys that. If you’ve been a listener at least for the last year, you’ve heard several of the episodes have been kind of slanted towards pandemic related stuff, you know, we’ve covered things from working from home and employment law and the impact, you know, COVID-19 has on employment law matters and social media law, things of that nature.
What’s really amazing when you stop and look at it in those short, you know, nine months it seems like it’s forever ago. Right? But if you look at it, scientists have been able to create a vaccine which is just, you know monumental and, in my eyes, nothing less than a miracle. But of course, with any vaccine that we have comes the potential for potential adverse reactions and I got to thinking recently. I was like, you know, what a great topic and quite relevant of course to talk about, you know, from the legal standpoint what does it mean to suffer an adverse reaction to a vaccine and to any vaccine not just specifically the COVID-19 vaccine but any vaccine? And what are an individual’s rights under the law as it relates to, you know, pursuing a claim against the manufacturer so on and so forth?
So I thought, you know, there’s really no better person to discuss this particular topic of vaccine litigation then my guest today, Drew Downing. Thank you Drew for joining me today on the show. I’m so thrilled to have you on here and talk about this hot topic.
Drew Downing: Yeah. Hi, Carl. Thanks for having me. I’m happy to be here.
Carl Morrison: I know the listeners will enjoy what we’re going to talk about and I’ve known Drew for many, many years and worked for Drew eons– it seems like eons ago drew but it also seems like it was just the other day. But I can tell you without hesitation, Drew is really the preeminent lawyer when it comes to vaccine litigation. And with that, I’m just gonna jump right off into it Drew.
So if you could, for the listeners if you could explain sort of — at the 30,000 foot level, when we talk about vaccine litigation, what are we talking about in general?
Drew Downing: Yeah. Well, so it is a timely topic given the fact that we’re in the middle or hopefully coming to the end of a pandemic from last march until today. There’s been a couple of other pandemics and that’s a good place to start.
In the late 70s, we experienced one due to swine flu. It was the variation of influenza virus and we went through a world pandemic similar to what we’re experiencing now. A vaccine was created, multiple vaccines were created at that point in time to try and combat the swine flu. Unfortunately, as will happen with any vaccine or any medical product for that matter, there were some side effects and that particular vaccine caused a particular type of peripheral neuropathy that was pretty severe. There was a lot of litigation that ensued between victims and the drug manufacturers so much so and they begin to be getting hit with product liability verdicts but it was so pronounced that all four drug manufacturers in the United States decided to pull out. Meaning, there was instantly a price gouge of vaccines. They went up as much as 300 percent in price and a shortage of, you know, very important childhood vaccinations, measles, diphtheria, tetanus and so forth. So congress stepped in in the mid-80s and in 1986, they passed what is called — what is called the Vaccine Act which created a mechanism for not only protecting the drug manufacturers from liability but creating a compensation system designed to compensate victims.
So basically since 1988 when the program came online, if you’re injured by a covered vaccine in the United States, your exclusive remedy is to file a case in the Court of Federal Claims in Washington DC against the United States Government for compensation. And they, you know, they turn into typical product liability lawsuits where you’re litigating whether vaccination caused the harm, experts testify and if you’re successful, there are three categories of damages that the program will pay. They’ll pay pain and suffering. They’ll compensate the victim for out-of-pocket medical expenses and if you’re forced to miss time from work, you get reimbursed for loss of earnings. And they also pay for attorneys to be involved, so there’s no contingency fee awards out of these recoveries. It’s a separate payment from the vaccine program to the lawyer for representing the victim in the program.
Carl Morrison: Because I worked with Drew many years ago when Drew sort of — and I I’ll let Drew talk more about it too, but branching into this niche area of law learning about the Vaccine Act of 86 and learning about the vaccine court program, you realize that this is an opportunity to assist individuals, you know, be able to receive, you know, compensation for those that did suffer, you know, severe adverse reactions. Am I right Drew?
Drew Downing: Well, you’re right 100%. Carl, you experienced it with me. You know many times we are the first people who have actually listened to them about their injuries being potentially vaccine related, you know, counseling them at the outset is very important about the process but it’s a — you’re right. I mean, these are victims that are faced with unfortunately right now there’s the physician world is somewhat hesitant to attribute causation of an injury to a vaccination. And so, you really do have to step into that role as advocate perhaps more so in these cases even than some of the other ones that that you and I have litigated before.
Carl Morrison: And so, let’s step into that a little more and kind of break it down a bit, you know, as a practicing lawyer focusing in on assisting individuals, you know, proceeding with vaccine litigation in the vaccine court program, you know, what are some of those first steps you take to help the client?
Drew Downing: Well, I think that what you find is, this type of litigation as I said I mean these are personal injury complex product liability type of cases, but in these cases the medical records are so important. They’re important in every product liability case but, you know, a lot of these injuries are severe, the medical files are — as you recall, tens of thousands of pages long and they’re hard to wrestle with. The first steps really are marshaling a complete medical file breaking it down, building medical chronologies just to identify the type and nature of the injury and what the potential causes for that type of injury might be even before you get to the step of linking vaccination to the injury. And in this regard and with the relevance to our talk today, I mean that’s the legal assistant’s role and a lot of these cases up in doing all of that heavy lifting up front just so that i get to the point where i can figure out what we’re dealing with.
Carl Morrison: You’re exactly right. As a paralegal and any paralegal that’s listening to and have listened to podcasts and been practicing for a while, we are the backbone when it comes to you know marshaling the evidence in this case, the medical records and you know you touched on something that it hit me just now. It’s like you really — when you get those medical records and you’re analyzing and looking at them, you’re filtering out the what i call the noise. It’s the stuff that’s really not related to the adverse reactions. You’re looking at this within the timeframe once the vaccine’s been administered to seeing how certain health conditions were deteriorating over time so on and so forth. So, yeah. We paralegals that’s our — our big thing is to help you guys, you know and be able to marshal and understand what is the medical record story being told.
Drew Downing: Well, and if you, you know I always say if I had a dollar for every medical chart that was 100% and there weren’t mistakes and things that were confusing all the issues, I’d have about a dollar.
Right? So it’s equally important that when that preliminary review takes place and like I said the medical chronologies are really valuable because once you break that down, and for everyone listening, Carl Morrison makes the most gorgeous medical chronology spreadsheets you’ve ever seen. But you know that that allows me to then you know be able to see where we’re headed, does the timing fit, what are we dealing with, what are the red flags or alternative explanations and so forth. So you’re right it really is probably one of the most pivotal pieces.
Carl Morrison: So once you get in and have met with the client and you’ve garnered you know the medical record and done a chronology and kind of figured out, “Okay, yeah. We’re going to be able to proceed to the vaccine court.” You talked about, you know, from a product’s liability and, you know, working outside of the vaccine program, court program, you have rules and procedures and things of that nature. So does the vaccine court have its own set of special rules, guidelines you know. Do they follow the typical rules of civil procedure? How does the procedural aspect of going through the court program work?
Drew Downing: It’s a little bit of both. The vaccine program does have its own rules, you know, guidelines for practice in the court. What’s not covered in those is governed by the federal rules of civil procedure. But the rules are relaxed, you know, evidentiary rules, things of that nature. They’re followed but they’re not strictly enforced and part of that is, you know, the government in these cases really serves as the role of gatekeeper rather than adversary. They’re trying to make sure that only true vaccine injuries get compensated so –well, that doesn’t mean that these cases don’t get adversarial which rest assured they do. But the end goal of all involved is basically to try and establish what happened if it is reasonable to think that it’s connected to vaccination and you know, does this person deserve compensation and if so, how much. So I think the answer to your question is really it’s a bit of a hybrid that you sort of learn as you practice in the program. You know I’m not standing up every time objecting to my opposing counsel’s questions based on hearsay and things of that nature because most the time, we’re all trying to get to the same point.
Carl Morrison: Right. The court program is not there to be a stop where you’re you’re trying not to help the client. It’s actually there to help actually what you just said for them to be able to get and receive compensation for those that are truly injured as a result of an adverse event to a vaccine. And speaking of the vaccines themselves, is it important for you and the paralegals that work for you, I know it was for me, to know and understand the different types of vaccines you know how they work, how they’re administered, the different types of reported reactions to certain vaccines and it if you think it is, why is it important to know the ins and outs of the vaccines?
Drew Downing: Well, I think it’s incredibly important and you know, as you’ll recall I mean that’s just something you learn it’s trial by fire. You learn that from experience but a lot of vaccines will leave a footprint, meaning if the injury is actually due to vaccination there are things we can look for in blood work. There are things we can look for in spinal fluid and diagnostic testing and you know, that is invaluable not only to figure out the case up front but you can you can figure out what you’re missing. Meaning, if you’ve got a flu shot case where it resulted in Guillain-Barre syndrome which is a peripheral neuropathy. You know your diagnostic testing is going to involve nerve conduction studies. There was probably a spinal tap and if there was a spinal tap, if there’s elevated protein in the spinal fluid, you’ve got to lay down winner of a hand from the vaccine’s perspective. None of us are born with that knowledge on how those cases work but understanding that and learning it and having that level of expertise is really invaluable. You know I’ve had the same two legal assistants for 10 years now and they know as much about how vaccines work as I do and anyone else. So it is a luxury that I have that that makes my job a whole lot easier.
Carl Morrison: I wish I had a dollar for every time I reviewed, you know, peer-reviewed journal articles on vaccine reactions when I was working for you Drew because I would probably not be quite rich but I’d have a nice little nest –. So, let’s take a short commercial break. So listeners don’t turn that dial. We’ll be right back.
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Carl Morrison: Welcome back to The Paralegal Voice. So Drew and I have known each other for what nearly 15 to 18 — 20 years? I mean it’s been forever so Drew knows I’m a big science nerd. And those that don’t know me, I worked with Drew it’s — god, that’s probably been 10 years, 10 plus years ago that i worked with Drew assisting clients proceed through the quarter federal claims and I thoroughly enjoyed that line of work. It was phenomenal. So I know Drew and I, you and I — we could talk about vaccine litigation for hours but unfortunately I only have a short amount of time to cover this with you. So let me ask you this Drew. If a paralegal was to start working for a lawyer that decided to branch into vaccine litigation in this very niche area of law, what would you say or some good words of advice that you would recommend to that person to helping them succeed in supporting their lawyer? What do you look for in your paralegals? (00:17:36), what were you looking for in your paralegals to help with the vaccine litigation?
Drew Downing: Yeah. Well, and I think this is staying on topic of what we’ve been talking about so far with regards to the nature of these files. At the end of the day, I’m looking for a paralegal that has a good work ethic and is extremely conscientious about their practice. Because you can learn the science, you can learn the nature of these types of injuries, but again the complexity of these files is such that they have to be managed. All of my files have to be managed, you know, before we even can file a case, we have to have three years back prior to the vaccine of historical medical records. We have to get all of the medical records associated with the injury and then we have to continually update the medical file. Most of these cases when you’re looking at you know this severe type of injuries, like I said it’s tens of thousands of pages long and without some serious level of organization and vigilance in this practice, you could lose the case before you ever got to the merits. And the government, you know, they have the division of vaccine compensation who is staffed with doctors and they’re sort of reviewing these files at the same time looking through all that historical medical, looking at everything and, you know, they’ll find what I miss for sur so I don’t like to miss things. But you know I found — like I said, you can learn the medicine but having the drive to keep these files together and moving is a rare gift and it really is a legal assistant skill set that you know, is really necessary if you’re going to be successful in this type of practice.
Carl Morrison: And you hit the nail on the head and it’s something that i have taught paralegal students and I talk about on the show is that paralegals — legal assistance we are project managers. If you really want to get down to it while we are helping you know the our supervising attorney proceed through the whatever court we’re in, project management is a huge part of it and is a vital skill in order to be a successful paralegal and you’re exactly right.
Having worked for you doing vaccine litigation, you have to be a plus on managing this because you don’t follow up on an outstanding record, a medical provider. You don’t chase down that extra you know peer review journal article. You’re going to miss out and potentially cause your client not to be able to proceed through the court. I like to tell the story Drew and you probably remember this. You presented at a conference. It’s been several years ago and you called me out as I was in the session with you and you used to call me your bloodhound because you could set me off, give me a particular thing to chase down and I’m gonna root it out. And if I can’t find it, it doesn’t exist. And so I wear that to this day as a badge of honor being called your bloodhound.
Drew Downing: Well, it was aptly named but as you said Carl, I mean it’s something that is required in this type of practice. I love the denomination as project manager because that’s exactly what a legal assistant is particularly on these types of cases.
Carl Morrison: So there’s been a lot of debates and discussions of course in social media and on the news, you know, about the pros and cons of vaccines. You have those that are the anti-vaxxers and why someone shouldn’t get a vaccine. And we’re not going to get into the political aspect of that on the show but you know with the most recent lightning speed creation of this COVID-19 vaccine that we have going on now, you know, that debate rages on and I don’t know if that debate’s ever going to go away and we could probably have a show just on that the debating of the pros and cons. But like I said I want to get into the political aspect of it but with any new vaccine that’s created. Say someone is administered that particular new vaccine and has an adverse reaction to it, does an individual proceed through the vaccine court in a normal process like a normal established vaccine or are brand new vaccines barred from proceeding to the court? How does that work? You know are there avenues for claimant to seek resolution from a new vaccine that they suffer an adverse reaction from?
Drew Downing: Yeah. That’s a great question. So, with the vaccine injury program, the program that i practice in, there is a statutory vaccine injury table that lists every covered vaccine that is a compensable vaccine in the vaccine injury program. Those include all the childhood mandatory vaccines influenza is on there, human papillomavirus vaccine is on there, but it literally takes an act of congress to get a vaccine covered in my program and the reason for that is the funding for the vaccine program is a 75 excise tax is levied on every vaccine given in the United States. The manufacturers pay that tax into the vaccine injury trust fund and the fund pays claims out of that fund. So without the act of congress in instituting the excise tax, a vaccine is not covered in my program. COVID-19 is a perfect example.
When they brought it to market, they could have done the excise tax but they didn’t. What they did instead was they added it to a secondary program which is called the counter measures injury compensation program and that program covers vaccinations for smallpox anthrax, other sort of countermeasure type of remedies and for right now, congress has put the COVID-19 vaccine in as a counter measure rather than adding it to my program. In the counter measures program, you can get your medical covered, but there’s no pain and suffering you can’t have an attorney represent you and you basically don’t even get your day in court. You simply submit your medical records and documentation and then this mystery panel decides whether you get some compensation or not. But if it’s not added to the counter measures program or the vaccine program, my program, then there really is a lack of a remedy for a vaccine injury and a perfect example of that is the shingles vaccine.
The shingles vaccine is not covered in the vaccine injury program and it’s not covered in the countermeasures program so if you’re injured by the shingles vaccine, you’re left with trying to sue the drug manufacturer which is a tough one to get to them. So it’ll be interesting to see how this all plays out with COVID-19. you know and it’ll be interesting to see what the long-term play is as far as what we see in the way of adverse events.
Carl Morrison: So we hope and pray that this particular vaccine has limited amount of adverse reactions and that are detrimental to an individual and that we have a healthy community and country to move forward of course. So, Drew, oh my gosh. We are running out of time and I really want to talk more about this. We shouldn’t do a multi-part you know thing on this guy. You and I could truly — there’s so many different avenues to vaccine litigation that we could really deep dive in and so not enough time to cover it all.
So I’ve got one more final question I would like to ask you. What do you see in the future of vaccine litigation? I know this is kind of a big broad pull out your crystal ball type of question you know, what do you think the future holds for claimants and the particular vaccine court system.
Drew Downing: You know that there will continue to be vaccine litigation. You know no vaccine is 100% safe. You know these adverse events that we’re talking about here, these are rare and i don’t want any listener to think that you or I or anti-vaccination at all. I always you know when i when i lecture on the vaccine program i always say you know, look my son is 22 years old. He’s a senior at the University of Arizona and he has gotten every one of his mandatory childhood vaccines even with everything that I have seen over the past 25 years. But when they when they do occur, I think the vaccine program will continue to be around to take care of them. You know the drug manufacturers cannot absorb the potential liability of opening you know this type of litigation back up to the district courts. You know, I’m hoping that there’ll be some changes made to the program because it’s gotten very litigious over the last 10 years and it’s a lot harder for victims to get compensation and the process takes, you know, years to see it to fruition. But i don’t see it going away any time soon. Unfortunately, I think that I’ve got some job security for a little while longer well.
Carl Morrison: You know, the best program that we have in our court system because you know, different countries don’t even have a very similar type of thing and you know happens they get suffer adverse reaction and they have no recourse.
Drew Downing: That’s right.
Carl Morrison: It’s the best that we have and it you know vaccines are here to help the community not hurt the community. And so I truly appreciate all the hard work that you do. I’ve seen it firsthand listeners what Drew has done families, children that have suffered and Drew is a great lawyer above and beyond vaccine litigation but he’s great with the clients as well. So Drew thank you for all that you do and thank you for being a guest on my show. If anyone wanted to reach out to you, how would they contact you?
Drew Downing: Yeah, and Carl let me say thanks. It was a pleasure to be with you today. I’ve enjoyed catching up with you. It’s been too long since you and I were able to chat.
Carl Morrison: Exactly.
Drew Downing: You know, the easiest way would probably be to go to my website. It’s www.nationalvaccineinjurylawyer.com. All of my contact info is there but more importantly there’s a lot of useful information about the program, the types of injuries and the process itself. It’s a good tool if people want to check it out.
Carl Morrison: Well drew thank you so much and of course before i let you go, I don’t ever let my guests go without me asking a fun question. So I’m gonna ask you a tough fun question and if you could have — if you could have dinner with anyone famous, person in history, live or dead, who would it be and why?
Drew Downing: You know, for me I think it would be Ronald Reagan.
Carl Morrison: Interesting.
Drew Downing: It doesn’t have anything to do with political affiliation. I read his memoir years ago and there was a whole chapter in his memoir devoted to secret meetings that he would have in the early 80s with Gorbachev, you know, with the Soviet Union at the time.
And you know we were in the cold war on the brink of blowing each other up on a daily basis and he told stories of the two most powerful men in the world would meet secretly by themselves without secret service without, you know, translators and without you know, anyone else in the room over a scotch and find common ground between the two of them you know to keep the world from destroying itself and I would love to have more details about those conversations and how that — how that evolved. Because you know I mean you know me, I always think that sitting down across from your opposition and finding what you have in common is the way deals get done and the way problems get solved and you know, I would have loved to be able to get information on first of all how he did that without everyone, you know, finding out and keeping it from do it but just what did they talk about. I just would have loved to have been a fly on the wall for that.
Carl Morrison: I love that. I absolutely love that. Yeah, I would have never — Drew, I would have never thought that would be the person that you would say so that’s great. I thank you so much. Thank you again Drew really for being a guest on today’s show and I have thoroughly enjoyed chatting with you about this. Again, we may have to do another episode. What do you think?
Drew Downing: Anytime. You just let me know.
Carl Morrison: Perfect. Well Drew, thank you so much. Hang tight everyone. We’ll be right back after this break.
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Carl Morrison: Before we end today’s show, we would like to thank our sponsor NALA. NALA is a professional association for paralegals providing continuing education, voluntary certification and professional development programs. NALA has been a sponsor of the paralegal voice since our very first show and courtfiling.net. E-file court documents with ease in California, Illinois, Indiana and Texas. To learn more, visit courtfiling.net to take advantage of a free 30-day trial and ServNow a nationwide network of trusted pre-screen process servers. Work with the most professional process servers who have experience with high volume serves who embrace technology and understand the litigation process. Visit servenow.com to learn more and finally, Legal Inc. Legallink makes it easy for paralegals to digitally automate tasks like business formations, corporate filings and registered agent services nationwide. Visit legallink.com/podcast today to create your free account.
Well, we’re at my favorite part of the show listeners, the listeners voice and this is your opportunity to send me your questions, your comments, your career celebrations or anything paralegal, legal related and I’m gonna share it with everyone here on the show and so feel free email me at [email protected] and share with me your paralegal joys. And today i got an email about right around the time of the holidays and it comes from a newly minted paralegal someone that had only been practicing for about five or six years and this individual sent me this email. And they said, “Hello, I’m a new listener and have been catching up on your recordings. They’re awesome. If you haven’t covered it already would you please discuss freelance paralegals someday. I’ve been a paralegal for six years and it seems like a job well suited to contract work but don’t know anything about it and I’m curious what you think. Thanks and have a nice holiday. Sincerely, potentially aspiring freelance paralegal.”
Well, thank you aspiring freelance paralegal. I will tell you that’s actually a really great idea. And I went back because I was thinking, have I done a show on freelance paralegals before and I thought I had and like I went back and checked the archives and I don’t see that I’ve done any shows about this topic.
And i was like well shoot. We’re missing something here, aren’t we? So I will tell you a little bit from my knowledge and experiences while I’ve never been a freelance paralegal I have known and continue to know paralegals that work in a freelance capacity. I was thinking about it and I was like well there’s some things really right off the bat that you really need to think about if you’re going to consider transitioning into being a freelance paralegal. And i’ve had paralegal students ask me this, you know, well i want to be a freelance right when I get you know graduate from a program. Well, I would say years and tears that’s what it takes. You can’t really just necessarily jump right off from a program and start doing freelance. I think you need a little bit of experience under your belt before you transition into that type of role but you know you need to think about certain things when you do want to make that transition. So think about what’s the motivating factor. Are you just tired of the people that you work with, you just want to work by yourself or do you have children at home or elderly parents or whatever the situation may be that time you need a more flexible schedule, eight to five doesn’t cut it.
You need to have where you could work at till midnight or work on the weekend so on and so forth so. Think about what’s the motivating factor in wanting to transition and being a freelance paralegal. Think about your workspace. Are you a single individual living in a one-bedroom apartment? Do you have you know adequate office space? What’s my workspace like? Do i need to have filing cabinets so on and so forth which by the way you shouldn’t have a bunch of paper because everything should be technology driven but how am i going to get clients? Think about how do you plan on identifying the lawyers and law firms that you want to work for that’s why another reason of having years’ experience. You’ve actually started building up working for certain attorneys and knowing that other lawyers in town so on and so forth. Think about the ethical ramifications. I couldn’t go a show without talking about ethics so what are those ethical ramifications of you working from home? Are you set up in a way? Think about all those other little things that you don’t normally think about on a day-to-day basis, tax ramifications, health care issues. Who’s going to pay my insurance you know, health insurance. Is my spouse going to now have to cover both of our health insurance, wages? How am i you know going to survive based on the contract work that I do as a freelance? How do i even set up a business? Do I set up an LLC? How do I set up a business in order to run a freelance?
There’s a lot of different things to think about even right off the bat. And so well, I’m not an expert in it. These are some things to think about if you’re thinking about transitioning into it but you know what how about i get an expert on the show and let me talk to them about it and interview them on the ins and outs of being a freelance. So thank you aspiring freelance paralegal for addressing that with me. So what do you guys think? Send me an email let me know what you think about having a freelance paralegal on the show.
And with that, that’s all the time we have for today on the paralegal voice. If you have questions about today’s show about Drew Downing and his practice and vaccine litigation or any other questions of course, you know, email me at [email protected] That’s D-E-V-O-T-E-D, the number two, law at gmail.com. And stay tuned for more information and upcoming podcasts for exciting paralegal trends news and engaging and fun interviews from leading paralegals and other leading legal professionals. Thank you for listening to the paralegal voice produced by the broadcast professionals at LegalTalk Network. If you’d like more information about today’s show, please visit legaltalknetwork.com. Find LegalTalk Network on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin or download of course LegalTalk Network’s free app, in Google Play and iTunes. I’m reminding you that I’m here to enhance your passion and dedication to the paralegal profession and make your paralegal voice heard.
Outro: The views expressed by the participants of this program are their own and do not represent the views of nor are they endorsed by LegalTalk Network its officers, directors, employees, agents, representatives, shareholders or subsidiaries. None of the content should be considered legal advice. As always, consult a lawyer.
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