Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Paralegal Profile: Misty Sheffield, CP

Thanks to Misty Sheffield, CP,  for taking the time to answer The Paralegal Mentor's Thirteen Questions! Misty is the Founder and Lead Paralegal at Legal Kick, LLC in Canton, Georgia where she specializes in civil litigation.

She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Georgia (majoring in Political Science) and graduated with honors from ABA-approved National Center for Paralegal Training in Atlanta, GA. She earned her Certified Paralegal credential from NALA in 2010.
1.    What prompted you to choose a paralegal career?  I had an interest in law and government from the time I was in high school.  A friend of the family who was a local judge took the time one day to explain to me the different career paths in law.  She allowed me to spend the day in her courtroom and in her chambers.  That day set me on the path to being a paralegal.

2.    What is your favorite part of your job?  I enjoy helping people solve their problems.  People don’t enter into civil litigation unless they have a problem that cannot be solved any other way. I enjoy walking them through the process and hopefully seeing a positive resolution.

3.    What professional associations do you belong to?  I belong to The National Association of Legal Assistants, The Organization for Legal Professionals, and the National Association of Freelance Legal Professionals.

4.    How has your membership benefited you?   My memberships have connected me with other paralegals. I work as a freelance paralegall, not in a firm or corporation with other paralegals so associations have allowed me to form relationships with paralegals who share my interests.

5.    What has been the highlight of your career?  Earning my Certified Paralegal credential is one of the brightest highlights of my career.  I prepared a detailed study schedule for myself and stuck to it.  I had to make sacrifices in my life to carve out time to study, but it was all worth it.  I am now looking forward to earning my Advance Paralegal Certification.

6.    What do you see as hot trends in the paralegal industry?  Of course I see virtual paralegals as becoming more widely used ~ or I would not be working as one.  I also believe more paralegals will become E-discovery specialists.

7.    Is there a quote that inspires you?  I love inspirational quotes so it is difficult to narrow it down.  Here are a few favorites
“I don’t need easy; I just need possible.” Bethany Hamilton, Soul Surfer
“The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.” Unknown
“It costs nothing to dream and everything not to.” Unknown
8.     You've enjoyed a successful paralegal career.  To what single event or person do you attribute that success?  My Dad always encouraged me to do everything to the best of my ability.  He also taught me to value people more than possessions, which has helped me in my life as well as my career.

9.    What is the most important step a paralegal can take to keep his or her career interesting?  I am glad you asked because I am passionate about this one:  DO PRO BONO WORK!  Helping those in need should be a given in the paralegal profession.

I do not do any paid work in criminal law, but I volunteer as a Victim and Witness Advocate.  It is a big change from my usual work in civil litigation and I can help those who are unfamiliar with, and intimidated by, the court system. You can broaden your career while helping someone else when you do pro bono work.  It is a win-win.

10.  What Web site do you visit daily? Twitter!  Vicki, you are the one who sparked my curiosity about Twitter, now I could not live without it.  I have made many valuable connections with attorneys, paralegals, bloggers, and just plain interesting people.

After only a few months on Twitter, I acquired a wonderful new client who found me Twitter.  I can keep up to date with legal technology, make connections, and get a dose of legal profession humor all in one place on Twitter.  I now consider Twitter one of my lifelines to the legal community.

11. The riskiest thing I ever did was...Start my own freelance paralegal business.  No salary, no benefits, just me and my computer.  I started my first paralegal business in 1995 with only three years of experience under my belt.  It was scary, but very exciting.  I took some time off when my children were young, and then started a new freelance paralegal business in 2006.  It was just as scary the second time around.

12. What is your favorite kind of music?  I am a big country music fan.  It goes well with my love of all things Southern such as sweet tea and pecan pie.

13. What electronic device can you not live without?  My laptop!  It allows me to work from anywhere, which I love.  My laptop recently had to undergo surgery (new hard drive)  I felt like I had lost a limb.

Bonus Question: If you could not be a paralegal, what would be your dream job? I would be a country music singer/songwriter.  I would also be married to a hunky male country music singer.

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