Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Paralegal Profile: Pamel J. Starr

Thanks to Pamela J. Starr for taking the time to answer The Paralegal Mentor's Thirteen Questions!

Pamela is a paralegal entrepreneur with her own business, Starr Paralegals, LLC. She is a Certified Bankruptcy Assistant (CBA) and specializes in Bankruptcy & Creditors’ Rights, Restructuring, UCC, CM/ECF Filing. 
  • What prompted her to choose a paralegal career?
  • What quotes inspire her?
  • What professional association does she belong to? There are 14!
  • What does she see as trends in the paralegal profession?
Find out below...and be sure to follow Pamela's blog: Session's with a Starr. Thanks, again, Pamela!
1. You're a true paralegal entrepreneur. Tell us about your work. I am the CEO/Paralegal Extraordinaire (Really...it's printed on my business cards!) at  Starr Paralegals, LLC.

2. Do you specialize in any one area? I am a Certified Bankruptcy Assistant (CBA). I specialize in Bankruptcy & Creditors’ Rights, Restructuring, UCC, CM/ECF Filing.

3. Tell us about your education. I have a BA from the University of Texas at Austin, a Paralegal Certificate from Southwestern Paralegal Institute, Houston, have done Post-Baccalaureate work at the University of Houston and Kennesaw State University, and have a Master of Science of Law from Thomas Jefferson School of Law (2012).

4.    What prompted you to choose a paralegal career?  In all honesty, I had never even heard of paralegals until I graduated from college. The plan was to go to medical school. Like most college students, I changed my major a few times (and ended up with two minors - Psychology and Classical Civilization). I finally settled on Political Science and pre-law.

Life got in the way and I decided to put law school on hold while I got my bearings. I did some research and discovered this ‘new’ program - paralegal training. I signed up; figured I’d work as a paralegal for a few years and then go to law school … the rest, as they say, is history.

5.    What is your favorite part of your job? Now that I am on my own - everything!! Seriously, it is hard to define my favorite part. Being a paralegal is almost like being a professional student; I am always learning something new.

6.    What professional associations do you belong to? Georgia Association of Paralegals (“GAP”) and also:

  • National Federation of Paralegals Association (“NFPA”)
  • Commercial Law League of America (“CLLA”)
  • American Bankruptcy Institute (“ABI”)
  • American Bar Association (“ABA”)
  • Association of Bankruptcy Judicial Assistants (“ABJA”)
  • Atlanta Bar Association (“ABA”)
  • LegalVA.com
  • National Association of Freelance Legal Professionals (“NAFLP”)
  • International Women's Insolvency and Restructuring Confederation (“IWIRC”)
  • American Association of Notaries (“AAN”)
  • Ladies Who Launch
  • Delta Phi Epsilon Alumna (Chi Chapter – University of Texas at Austin)
  • Atlanta Scholar Kollel (“ASK”)
7.    How has your membership benefited you?   In so many ways - networking, CLE, meeting my peers, sharing war stories, speaking engagements

8.    What has been the highlight of your career?
  There have been several - all relatively recent. I was named as a 2011 Paralegal Superstar  by ParalegalGateway; nominated as a 2011 Georgia Paralegal Superstar by the Georgia Association of Paralegals; and was the Spotlight featured professional in the December 2010 edition of Bankruptcy Professional (BankruptcyData.com)

9.    What do you see as hot trends in the paralegal industry? Working virtually - we are definitely seeing a shift away from brick and mortar law practices and a growing list of paralegals who are ready to move out of ‘biglaw’ and into the cloud.

10.    What advice would you give yourself if you met you as a first-year paralegal?  Don’t be afraid to ask questions or make mistakes.

11.    Is there a quote that inspires you? I have three - two are inspirational, the other just makes me smile”
"A Legal Goddess is a high achiever who does not feel like a fraud - she is smart & successful - not just lucky!" ~ Dorothy Pritchett
“I could have been a Doctor, a Reporter or a Scientist. Instead, I am gifted with crisis management skills. I am a problem-solver, an innovator, a sympathetic ear, the reassuring presence, and a professional. I am a PARALEGAL!” ~ Allen Mihecoby
"...books are where you can experience the law, not in a synthesized computer." Samuel T. Cogley, Attorney at Law (Star Trek, The Original Series: "Court Martial")

12.     You've enjoyed a successful paralegal career.  To what single event or person do you attribute that success?  It’s hard to limit it to one event or influential person. I’d have to say that losing my job is the event that kick-started my real paralegal career and gave me the courage really grow and succeed.

13. Is there a philosophy you live by? "If I am not for myself, who will be for me? And if I only care for myself, what am I?" (Hillel, Babylonian Talmud, Avot 1:14)

Bonus Question: How do you deal with work-related stress? There are two ways I deal with stress: (1) simply walk away and/or (2) call a friend.

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