Monday, September 13, 2010

Paralegal Profile: Cynthia A. Lowther, ACP

Cynthia Lowther, ACP, of Charleston, West Virginia answers my Thirteen Questions this week.

You'll enjoy reading the questions Cindy answered, particularly "what single event or person do you owe your success?" Thanks, Cindy!

1. Where do you work and what is your job title? I am a paralegal with the Environmental/Regulatory Group of Steptoe & Johnson PLLC in Charleston, WV.

2. What prompted you to choose a paralegal career? I knew from an early age that I wanted to be in the legal profession; however, I always thought I wanted to be an attorney.
My life took a left turn when I wasn't looking and I ended up as a legal assistant with the Office of Disciplinary Counsel for the West Virginia State Bar. From there, I knew I wanted to be a paralegal and sought to gain the education and hands-on experience to further my career in that field.

3. What is your favorite part of your job? The satisfaction of seeing my work ethic and work product recognized; and getting a good resolution for our clients.

4. What professional associations do you belong to? The list is long:
National Association of Legal Assistants, Inc. (2006 - present) - Professional Development Committee member 2007-2010

Legal Assistants/Paralegals of Southern West Virginia (2004-present) - NALA Liaison 2010-2011
- Past President 2008-2010

Defense Trial Counsel of West Virginia (2005-present) - Paralegal Representative - Board of Governors (2010-2013)

West Virginia State Bar Legal Assistants Committee (2005-present)

Kanawha County (WV) CASA - Volunteer (2008-present
5. How has your membership benefited you? Membership in the various professional associations has given me the opportunity to gain self confidence and to build my leadership skills. I have made valuable networking contacts, state and nationwide, and have built life-long friendships. Membership has also given me the opportunities and tools to give back to the legal profession and the local community.

6. Do you have any professional certifications? I received NALA's Advanced Certified Paralegal (ACP) certification in Discovery in 2007.

7. What has been the highlight of your career? Serving as President of LAPSWV for the last two years has been wonderful. It's a lot of hard work trying to stay on top of everything, but I have had a fabulous group of ladies to serve with on the executive committee, and it has been a great experience.

8. What do you see as hot trends in the paralegal industry? Coming from a smaller, more rural metropolitan area, Charleston, WV (the State Capitol is a small city that thinks it is big), doesn't always see or set the hot trends in the paralegal industry. In some areas, we are still trying to earn the respect of the attorneys or offering advice on how to utilize a paralegal.

9. Have you dipped your toes in the social media waters? Yes...I participate in Facebook and LinkedIn.

10. If someone contemplating a paralegal career asked you for career advice, what would your answer be? I would suggest they join a paralegal association and start networking. Find a mentor. Learn to be a team player. Get lots of hands-on experience. Do what it takes to get the job done -- if that means copying or filing -- do it ... don't think you are above doing clerical work. If you're not organized -- get organized.

11. Is there a quote that inspires you? Have faith in others, but more importantly, have faith in yourself. ? Unknown

12. You've enjoyed a successful paralegal career. To what single event or person do you attribute that success? I have to credit a piece of my success to each and every attorney I have ever worked with. The good ones made me a better paralegal and the 'not-so-good' ones opened my eyes to what shouldn't be done. Five years in the Office of Disciplinary Counsel gave me an ethical advantage and conscience, while working with a master litigator provided me with my discovery and trial skills.

13. What is the most important step a paralegal can take to keep his or her career interesting? Never stop learning and always be willing to take on new responsibilities.

Bonus...just for fun fact: After years of watching my son play soccer, I joined an adult amateur soccer league and played for a few years. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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