Thursday, May 24, 2012

Paralegal Profile: Carl H. Morrison, PP, AACP

Carl H. Morrison, II, PP, AACP  is a Senior Certified Paralegal with Rhodes, Hieronymus, Jones, Tucker  Gable, PLLC, in Tulsa, Oklahoma where he specializes in insurance defense, medical products, medical malpractice, vaccine litigation, asbestos litigation, products liability and dram shop liability.

Carl has a degree in Biological Sciences (Pre-Med) and is a NALS Certified Professional Paralegal (PP), as well as an American Alliance Certified Paralegal (AACP).
1. What prompted you to choose a paralegal career?  My legal career started over 19 years ago when I started back to school to become a court reporter.  I was going to school part time and working full time as a runner at another law firm in Tulsa. 
When I realized just how much I enjoyed working in a law firm, I started making bold changes to get to where I am today.  With education, hard work and dedication I went from runner, to legal assistant to ultimately paralegal.

2. What is your favorite part of your job?  My favorite part of the job is when a case goes to trial, whether it is a mock trial or the “real” deal.  I guess you could say that I am an “adrenaline junkie” and love the fast pace of trial! 

I am truly blessed to work with such fine attorneys that respect my input that goes into every aspect of trial, from preparing witnesses and selecting jurors, to assisting with the development of a trial “game plan”, to ultimately observing and reporting jurors’ reactions during the course of trial.

3. What professional associations do you belong to?  I am active with NALS…the association of legal professionals, serving in leadership roles in both the national and state level.  I also belong to the Tulsa County Bar Association Paralegal Section and currently serve as Vice-Chair of the section.  I am also active in Tulsa Area Paralegal Association.

4. How has your membership benefited you?   NALS is an exceptional organization and has benefited me tremendously.  From education to leadership to networking, belonging to a great organization such as NALS has given me the tools and resources to take my career to the next level. 

I would highly recommend to anyone that does not belong to a legal professional organization to consider joining and getting involved in one. The opportunities that a great organization can provide are almost limitless.

5. What has been the highlight of your career?  That is kind of a hard question, as I have many different highlights of my career.  One highlight that comes to mind was the first time I was asked to present a seminar to a group of my peers.  From that moment on I was hooked.  Since 2005, I have presented numerous seminars and webinars at the local and national level and love getting up to speak before an audience. 

I guess my biggest highlight was when I published my first article in a national paralegal magazine.  It was concerning the little known area of vaccine litigation and the paralegal’s role.  Since that time I have gone on to have additional articles published concerning various topics of the paralegal industry.

6. What electronic device can you not live without?  My smartphone!  I just recently switched from an Android based device to an iPhone and absolutely love it.  I own an iPad and iPod as well, as it is great being able to sync all my devices at the same time from one device.  It is especially helpful when making appointments and having my Outlook work calendar, iPad and iPhone calendars all be linked together. 

7. Speaking of your iPod, anything on it that has you hitting the repeat button?  I love the song “Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson.  My favorite lyric is, “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger, stand a little taller…”  It’s a great song about surviving the trials and tribulations of life and standing strong and weathering those storms.

8. If someone contemplating a paralegal career asked you for career advice, what would your answer be?  Like the old Nike commercial, Just do it!  With the current state of the economy, I believe that we will see the legal industry become more and more cost conscious. I believe firms and corporations will continue and expand the utilization of paralegals for tasks that once were completed by an attorney in order to cut costs to their clients, thereby creating a demand for qualified paralegals.

9.  You've enjoyed a successful paralegal career.  To what single event or person do you attribute that success?  There are so many events and people in my life that have shaped and influenced me that I cannot list one single event or person.  I truly owe all my success to my family and friends that have supported me over the years and have encouraged me to take my career to the next level and continue to do so.

10. What is the most important step a paralegal can take to keep his or her career interesting?  Learn something new!  I am big fan of education.  I recommend that if there is an area of law or subject matter that you don’t work in on a daily basis, take a course at your local community college or attend seminars and webinars on that subject.  Learning is a forever thing and you are never too old to learn something new.

11. What sports team are you passionate about?  I love college football and am a huge University of Florida Gators fan!  Go Gators! 

12.  Have you dipped your toes in the social media waters? It's more like I dove head first into the social media waters! I use Facebook on a professional versus personal basis and am active on LinkedIn and Twitter. I believe that Twitter is a great branding tool to market yourself to other professionals across the world. It is also a great way to network with other like-minded individuals.

13. Is there a quote that inspires you? Some time ago I attended a NALS National Education Conference where the keynote speaker, Erick Burton, said "There is no word 'try'; commit to it or don't."

It reminded me of a quote from the movie 'The Empire Strikes Back". The character, Luke, did not believe that the Force could lift a massive object. He told his instructor, Yoda, that he'd try. Yoda replied "Do...or do not. There is no try." This has become my mantra when approaching any obstacle in life.

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