Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Paralegal Profile: Cindy Smiens Schmit, ACP

Cindy Smiens Schmit, ACP of Sioux Falls, South Dakota has graciously answered The Paralegal Mentor's Thirteen Questions. Thanks, Cindy!

1. Where do you work and what is your job title? I have worked for John P. Peterson in Sioux Falls, South Dakota for 11 years. My job title is paralegal/office manager/bookkeeper.
2. What prompted you to choose a paralegal career? I started my career working as a legal secretary and desired more responsibility.
3. What is your favorite part of your job? The diversity and my boss.
4. What professional associations do you belong to? I am a member of the National Association of Legal Assistants; South Dakota Paralegal Association; and support staff member of the South Dakota Trial Lawyers Association.
5. How has your membership benefited you? One of my SDPA colleagues asked me if I was interested in taking the CLA exam and starting a study group. Six of us studied and sat for the exam together. After passing the exam I became a member of NALA and an executive committee member of SDPA. My memberships have helped me network, reach my goals and continue my education.
6. Do you have any professional certifications? Yes. I received my CLA in 2003 and my ACP in Trial Practice in 2009.
7. What has been the highlight of your career? The highlights of my career include receiving my CLA certification, being named SDPA's Member of the Year in 2007/2008, and being selected as a 2009/2010 member of NALA's LEAP Class.
8. What do you see as hot trends in the paralegal industry? I believe the hot trends in the paralegal industry are using the internet for networking and continuing education.
9. Have you dipped your toes in the social media waters? Yes. I have a Facebook account, SDPA has a Fan Page and I recently joined LinkedIn.
10. If someone contemplating a paralegal career asked you for career advice, what would your answer be? I would offer to mentor them and tell them to network and always continue learning.
11. Is there a quote that inspires you? 'You will never find time for anything. If you want time, you must make it.' ~Charles Buxton
12. You've enjoyed a successful paralegal career. To what single event or person do you attribute that success?My former employer, mentor and friend, Attorney Harvey Oliver from Aberdeen, South Dakota. When Harvey left the firm where I was working to start his solo practice, I saw an opportunity and asked him if I could go with him. Harvey entrusted me to manage his law practice and sent me to continuing education seminars.
13. What is the most important step a paralegal can take to keep his or her career interesting?Continue learning and accepting new challenges.
Bonus...Just for Fun Fact: I like to bake and decorate cakes.

1 comment:

Tara said...

This is a great profile - I am now looking into a CLA certification to enhance the legal aspect of my VA business; thanks for the inspiration. On a side note, I have MANY relatives in Sioux Falls, SD!