Andrea has an A.A.S. in Paralegal Studies from Southwest Tennessee Community College in Memphis and earned her Certified Paralegal credential from NALA in 2010. She has been selected to be a member of NALA's 2011-12 LEAP Class.
1. What prompted you to choose a paralegal career? I found myself job-hopping to increase my salary as an administrative assistant. I realized that my salary would top-out soon unless I went back to school and earned a degree or certification.
Once I started researching degrees, I found myself coming back to the paralegal studies program over and over again. I finally took the plunge and went back to school to earn my A.A.S in Paralegal Studies.
2. What is your favorite part of your job? Opposing Counsel’s discovery responses! To me, it is similar to a logic puzzle. I love finding inconsistencies in their discovery responses.
3. What professional associations do you belong to? NALA, Greater Memphis Paralegal Alliance, Tennessee Paralegal Association, Memphis Bar Association, and American Bar Association.
4. How has your membership benefited you? My NALA membership has provided me with the opportunity to meet paralegals from across the country who have similar career goals as me and these contacts have encouraged me to grow in my career.
5. What has been the highlight of your career? Earning my Certified Paralegal certification.
6. What do you see as hot trends in the paralegal industry? Virtual paralegal services and, of course, anything that touches on technology.
7. If someone contemplating a paralegal career asked you for career advice, what would your answer be? Do it! While there may be many paralegal openings available, in order to land a “sweet deal” you must be willing to stand out among your peers.
Put your whole heart into your career choice. Excel in your classes. Find a niche that you enjoy and be the “expert” paralegal on this topic. Make sure you connect with your local paralegal association. It will be an invaluable resource for networking and job advancement.
8. Is there a quote that inspires you? “What you do speaks so loud I cannot hear what you say.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
9. You've enjoyed a successful paralegal career. To what single event or person do you attribute that success? I cannot point to a single event or person. All success I have achieved is due to the encouragement of other professionals in this field, the tenacity instilled in me from my parents, and the support of my attorney, Nick Rice. Oh, and the forgiving nature of my husband and children over the years when I chose work over family!
10. What is the most important step a paralegal can take to keep his or her career interesting? Never stop learning!
11. What's the worst gift you ever received? One Christmas when I was about 11 or 12, I kept telling my parents different things I wanted for Christmas. Eventually, my mother told me to stop telling her about gifts I wanted; they had already purchased my gift and it was a “big” one. You cannot imagine how many things I thought of that may be waiting for me under the tree! On Christmas morning, my parents made me close my eyes as they brought in my most amazing gift: an accordion. I wanted to cry.
12. What was your first job? I worked at Showbiz Pizza (Chuck E. Cheese) in Kansas City, Missouri. One of my job duties was to dress up as Billy Bob for the children’s birthday parties!
13. What’s your favorite food? Risotto! I had the opportunity to travel to Rome, Italy this past year. After I returned home, I realized that four of the five lunches I ordered while I was there were risotto - cheese risotto, herb risotto, and mushroom risotto. Yum.
Bonus Question: What website do you visit daily? The Pioneer Woman...her blog posts are very chatty and laid-back – it makes me wish we were friends in real life. I check out her other blog tabs occasionally, but I religiously follow her cooking blog. She has recently been signed with Food Network so I am eager to see what life is really like on her farm in Oklahoma.