Thursday, March 3, 2011

Paralegal Profile: Daphne Drescher

Daphne Drescher lives in Sonoma, California where she is the owner and sole proprietor of Drescher ProParalegal where she is a freelance/virtual paralegal.

Through ProParalegal, Daphne works remotely from her own office to provide administrative and paralegal services to solo practitioners and law firms of all sizes. Her Drescher ProParalegal Newsletter provides useful litigation practice tips for legal support staff, with links to resources and articles to educate, inspire and amuse.

What does Daphne suggest you do to keep your career interesting? What is her favorite hobby? What does she wish she had the answer to? You'll find out when you read her professional profile.

Daphne Drescher
Drescher ProParalegal
1. What prompted you to choose a paralegal career? I entered the legal profession somewhat by accident, when I got a job as a receptionist at a law firm as a very young woman. However, I enjoyed the fast pace, and the interaction with both lawyers and their clients. So I went on to pursue a career in it, and I have found it to be quite satisfying.

In particular, I love the spirit of professionalism I've encountered at all the law firms I've worked in, and the intellectual stimulation of the variety of legal issues involved. And I've been privileged to work with a very high caliber of legal professionals over the course of my career.

2. What is your favorite part of your job? My favorite parts of being a freelance/virtual paralegal are the variety of people and variety of cases I encounter, as well as the greater flexibility in my work life. And I enjoy having to flex new muscles -- having to network, market and sell my business.

3. What professional associations do you belong to? I belong to the San Francisco Paralegal Association (SFPA), and am active in the Litigation practice section. I also belong to the Sonoma County Bar Association as a non-admitted legal support member. I belong to Sonoma County Women in Law. Finally, I participate in both the Silicon Valley and San Francisco chapters of Women in eDiscovery.

4. How has your membership benefited you? Participation in associations is extremely beneficial! Associations provide numerous learning and growth opportunities -- from formal training and MCLE sessions, to interactions with colleagues who have different work backgrounds and areas of expertise.

Getting involved in associations provides an arena for sharing our knowledge with others. It is also a great way to network, and to keep abreast of local opportunities for career advancement. I also think it demonstrates a commitment to the profession. Plus it's a lot of fun!

5. What has been the highlight of your career? I would have to say that starting my own freelance and virtual paralegal business has been the highlight of my paralegal career. And perhaps the culmination of my career! I have an opportunity to put my years of litigation experience to use for my attorney clients. But equally exciting for me is that becoming a business owner has opened up a whole new set of learning experiences for me -- it is terrifying and exhilarating at the same time!

6. What do you see as hot trends in the paralegal industry? Understanding eDiscovery. There was a time when it was only the larger law firms representing the larger corporate clients that had to get their hands around eDiscovery, but that time is past. Increasingly, the requirements of gathering, processing and producing electronically stored information (ESI) are impacting the smallest law firms. I see this as a great challenge and opportunity for paralegals.

7. Is there a quote that inspires you? I have cited this before, but it still means a great deal to me. Rather than a quote, it's a Seth Godin blog post called You Matter. It hangs on my office wall, and I read it almost every day.

8. You've enjoyed a successful paralegal career. To what single event or person do you attribute that success? I have been very fortunate throughout my career, and particularly as a young paralegal, to work with people -- attorneys, fellow paralegals and experienced legal secretaries '' who were willing to teach me the ropes and answer my questions. I was fortunate to work with people who took the time to teach me not just how to do something, but why it was best done that way.

9. What is the most important step a paralegal can take to keep his or her career interesting? Learn all you can! One excellent way to do this is to volunteer to work on cases and projects that take you out of your comfort zone a bit -- perhaps a different area of law, or a larger case. Another excellent way to learn is to take every opportunity you can find to learn a new technology, a new software program, or a new skill.

10. What advice would you give yourself if you met you as a first-year paralegal? Relax! You are smart enough to learn this! Pay attention, ask questions, and remember you probably can't make a mistake so big that it can't be fixed!

11. What's your favorite vacation getaway? I have a passionate affinity for the Southwest region of the country. I have made numerous camping and hiking trips there, beginning with a month-long solo camping trip through the Four Corners area in 1995 in which I visited most of the region's National and State parks. The beauty of the area draws me, so I keep returning!
12. What is your favorite hobby? Wine tasting! Wine has been a little hobby of mine for quite a while now, and it is part of the reason I moved to Wine Country!

13. Is there one thing in the world you wish you had the answer to? Intolerance.

Bonus Question: What college classes did you love? Almost all of 'em! (Geeze what a nerd, eh??) I studied literature and philosophy, had good professors with small class sizes, and thought I was in heaven. [Wistful sigh.]

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