Resume of Diane Blackman

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Employment Background

Educational Background

Skills, Interests and Influential Experiences

Diane Blackman
P.O. Box 20519
Castro Valley, California
(510) 261-5504 (home)

Educational Background

Golden Gate University School of Law, San Francisco

Class Rank - Top 11%; Dean's List 1987, 1988
Member Law Review, 1987-1988; AmJur in Evidence 1988
Juris Doctor, May 1989

Merritt College, Oakland

Dean's List 3.88 G.P.A. , Winter 1978
Administration of Justice (16 units)

California State University, Hayward

Bachelor of Arts, Special Major, Nature Interpretation

Employment Background

PeopleSoft, Inc.

Senior Knowledge Management Engineer 1998-present
Research, test, verify and publish information to support employees and contractors in using company supplied computing resources. Created documents providing step by step diagnositcs and resolutions for errors and information on task performance. Created educational information to introduce new software (Windows 2000) and hardware (Palm Vx). Learned sufficient scripting to collect website statistics, and provide regular metrics on use and success of our implementation of Inference's Casepoint software. Assisted in diagnosing and repairing employee and contractor computer problems. Assisted in taking calls from users experiencing problems or having other technical support issues, and in diagnosing and resolving those problems or properly assigning them for expert follow-up.Build cases and documents on PS hardware, network, applications, OS, etc. that make up the CasePoint and Eureka! knowledge base applications Assist in new hire orientations. Test new PS hardware, network, applications, OS, etc. before they are released to the general PeopleSoft population

Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District

Research Attorney 1992-1998
Legal Assistant 1990-1992
Heavy emphasis on Real Property, primarily easement and boundary law. Responsible for researching rights and obligations relating to real property. Significant skills include the ability to read and understand maps of all kinds, to use computer programs to plot metes and bounds descriptions and to approximate distance and monument descriptions as well as relationships between adjoining lands. Extensive experience in determining legality of parcels, history of ownership and significance of documents appearing in the chain of title, developed complex spreadsheet analysis for real property transactions. Although I passed the bar the first try in 1990 I created this position before passing the bar, thus originally it was a originally non-attorney position. It took a mere two years for the Board of Directors to see that a second attorney was more useful than an attorney and legal assistant.

Additional experience in Public Agency Law. Responsible for processing claims against the District and negotiating conflicting claims related to District real property interests. Provided research and information necessary to understanding and complying with Brown Act requirements.

San Mateo County Superior Court

Legal Research Assistant 1989 (2 months)
Researched legal issues raised for law and motion hearings. Prepared legal analysis and memoranda for the judge hearing the motions. Assisted research attorneys with computer aided research via Westlaw.

California Supreme Court

Legal Extern to Justice Eagleson 1989 (3 months)
Responsible for researching and writing conference memos on petitions for review and writs of mandate. Analyzed the issues and relevant facts then recommended disposition of the case. Required ability to write clearly and concisely but accurately.

Legislative Counsel Bureau, Sacramento

Graduate Student Assistant 1988 (summer)
Drafted resolutions, amendments to bills, legislative digests and proposals for the Senior Legislature. Researched and wrote memoranda on effects of legislation. Required attention to detail, and ability to work under short deadlines.

EIP/Northern California, San Francisco

Legal Intern 1987-1988
Awarded Research Associate position on assignment to Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District. Assigned to property acquisition program. Required to work with minimal supervision. Researched and wrote detailed memoranda on legal issues related to real property. Special accomplishment: researching complex title problems in 49 yr old open probate case.

Youth Science Institute, Sanborn Discovery Center, Saratoga

Discovery Center Manager 1983-1986
Required ability to perform well without supervision. Responsible for managing environmental education center, supervising week-end prisoner program in public service work, writing grants, instructional guides and organizing fund-raising events. Special accomplishment: Instituted Insect Zoo and Invertebrate Education Program.

Office of Parks and Recreation, Oakland CA

Park Ranger 1977-1983
Responsible for self-initiated activity to prevent and deter crimes and other activity affecting the park user. Required thorough knowledge of State and Local laws and regulations, and ability to write detailed reports, make arrests and write citations. Special accomplishments: Graduated Oakland Police Academy, 92.04% overall rating. Wrote and presented legal update material to my own department and the Park Rangers Association of California (PRAC). President of PRAC one year, Vice President three years.

Skills, Interests and Influential Experiences

Legal Research

I really enjoy legal research. I like the treasure hunt feeling of trying to track down some obscure point of law. Even more I like taking a situation, examining it then determining the most productive legal analysis. I also like teaching and explaining. This is critical for a good research attorney. It won't matter how good my legal theories are unless I can explain them well enough that the litigation attorney can understand and use them. Also as a research attorney I often write opinions intended for nonlawyers with varying educational backgrounds. I like trying to take complex material and making it usable and understandable to anyone.

One approach that has been invaluable is to avoid putting a label on the problem too early. If I label something an "adverse possession" problem I may miss that it is really an easement problem. Instead I look at it the way I hope a jury would look at it. Why is it a problem? Why should society care? Is this something the law should provide a remedy for? What kind of remedy and why? Once I've answered these questions from a practical perspective I find it much easier to determine what principles of law to apply.

Real Property Law

I like real property law. I understand real property law. Don't ask why. Something just clicked. Real property law is an odd mix of tradition and practicality. It is a difficult area for many attorneys, and many judges. Misuse of terminology is not unusual in reported cases. That means that it is important to look at what was actually achieved instead of relying too heavily on the supporting language. I think another reason I like it, and other attorney dislike it, is that it uses more technical skills than it appears. When working on a boundary line problem I picked up a surveying book and learned some of the basic principles of boundary line surveying. That made communication with our surveyor much easier and helped us become a more productive team. Similarly I found many attorneys have trouble reading and understanding maps. I know how to use and describe the use of a great variety of maps.

Nature Interpretation

Nature Interpretation is introducing people to nature and the natural sciences. I spent most of my childhood learning how to handle snakes, lizards, a variety of mammals, and more importantly how to present them to the general public to improve understanding and appreciation. When I entered college I was committed to trying to reach the public living in the core city. I designed my college major to enhance the skills and knowledge I already possessed. Although the title of my major does not make it obvious the major focused on the natural sciences including much laboratory course work in biology, chemistry and geology. I added to that program courses that would enhance my abilities to teach the natural sciences, classes in recreation planning, photography, biological illustration, and teacher's education.

Natural Sciences Education

I love to teach about natural science. I bring natural sciences education into every environment I inhabit. For example, when I was externing with the California Supreme Court one case a co-worker was handling involved Mono Lake. The briefs discussed brine shrimp. So I brought a jar, some salt, and a little packet of what looked like bronze colored dust. I added water and introduced the office to brine shrimp. I love to help people think about how their decisions affect the environment we live in.

Dog Training

Dog training is becoming a bigger part of my life because I have found new activities that make it fun as well as an achievement. When I first started writing resumes that included dog training in the "personal interests" section I was amazed to discover that every interviewer brought up the topic. Several interviews started with dog questions. I have spent the better part of the last couple years providing advice to people who were having dog problems. It isn't that I'm the most fantastic or experienced dog trainer around. I am, however, very skilled at explaining. Very often, especially early in my posting career, I simply restated or re-explained something someone else had written. It's nice to be a good dog trainer, it's even more useful to be able to teach others how to teach their own dogs.

Web Site Design

I designed and maintain the Dog-Play web site. The site is designed for rapid loading targeted primarily for an audience interested in information on activities to do with the pet dog. It does not, at present, include cgi scripts, java scripts, animations, frames or audio clips although I am generally familiar with the principles involved for including them. Because the structure and formatting is simple I do most of my editing on line on a UNIX platform using PICO. The initial design for each page has been accomplished primarily off line either using a standard word processor or html editor and a variety of graphics programs.

An important element in the web site design was to maintain accessibility to the widest variety of browsers with a uniform and attractive appearance in each. The service that I offer is one that is of value to a great variety of ages and income groups and thus there was much to be lost and little to be gained in creating a design that might exclude a portion of the web community. Dog-Play has been a very educational and successful endeavor. It gets about 2000 individual visitors a day, or about 7000 "hits".

I have assisted several other web masters in adjusting their web sites to improve accessability and presentation to a wider variety of browsers and users. I have also contributed significantly to the structure and design of the site of my former employer MROSD


My computer training and experience has the natural variability of the interested self taught individual. I have had a basic introduction to computer programming through college level courses taken as an undergraduate. The basic skills acquired have served me well in dealing with a wide variety of situations with both hardware and software.

I became an expert with WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS. I made extensive use of macros on a daily basis, and used a wide variety of advanced features. To assist secretarial support staff in efficient naming and filing of documents I created a complex interactive menuing system using the macro and keyboard remapping features. I used these skills and the general understanding of how such scripting works in subsquent classes and applications such as Crystal Reports 6, Excel, javascript, perl and CGI.

I am frequently called upon by co-workers to assist them in accomplishing various word processing and spreadsheet tasks for DOS and for Windows in WordPerfect, Microsoft Word, Quattro Pro and Excel. I also frequently respond to calls for assistance involving lost or damaged files, corrupted systems and similar disasters.

American Red Cross, Oakland, CA

My experience with the American Red Cross has come, primarily, during times of crisis. In particular I acted as Office Manager for Disaster Health Services for the East Bay Chapter during the Loma Prieta Earthquake Disaster (1989), and the Oakland Hills Fire (1991). This position involved coordinating health care services staffing and supplies for the shelters. It was an unpaid, train-as-you-go, position. The position made good use of my ability to respond in a crisis, to be organized and skilled in the use of computers. I recruited, trained and supervised other volunteers necessary for the smooth operation of Disaster Health Services during the crisis period.

Kingsley Meadows, Quincy, CA

Kingsley Meadows was a summer camp for children under 15. I managed the equestrian program with twelve horses and ponies. I supervised a Junior Counselor, was responsible for five campers, and taught the horsemanship programs. It was an experience that remains influential in my life because I developed a variety of teaching and interaction techniques I still use. For example. To teach the children skills without embarrassing them by direct correction my assistant or I took the role of student. The person playing student exaggerated doing things wrong and got gentle but direct correction. The children would often immediately adjust their own hand or body positions. They also became less afraid of correction themselves.

Rotary Natural Science Center, Oakland, CA

My work at the Rotary Natural Science Center was volunteer. It involved a great deal of variety with increasing responsibilities developed over many years. I trained and supervised other volunteers, made public presentations, designed and maintained natural history exhibits. This experience was the source of most of my most important skills. I learned to make presentations in front of large groups, to tailor the presentation to the audience, to remain tactful even when someone else was angry, to be firm without being rude or confrontational. Perhaps the most important thing I learned was to appreciate a wide variety of cultures and to expect and account for differences in interpersonal communication. I especially liked devising creative methods of introducing people to nature. For example, people frequently believe that snakes are cold and slimy. They often did not want to touch the snake. Dispelling the misconception was important to opening their mind that snakes might be worth protecting. So we would persuade a person to stroke an orange, assure them that the snake felt very much like that orange and encourage them to try. Most did try and most agreed.

Peralta Hall, Oakland, CA

Peralta Hall was a half way house for drug addicts and alcoholics. My work there was varied. It was a family operated program and I filled in whatever situation was required. I frequently cooked meals for approximately 48 residents, managed the office, and prepared apartments for occupancy. My experience was very important to developing my ability to dealing with tension filled situations and to handle not entirely rational people in an effective manner.

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