Washington State Paralegal Association 2010 Awards

The Washington State Paralegal Association (WSPA), an affiliate of the National Federation of Paralegal Affiliates (NFPA)recognized several members at the 210 Members Meeting and Annual Paralegal Awards program held May 7th in Seattle, Washington.

Darlene Klister, RP®, was presented with the WSPA Lifetime Achievement Award. at Ms. Klister received the award in recognition for her many contributions to both the association and the profession.The Lifetime Achievement Award is designed to recognize true paralegal leaders and role models. Candidates for the award must have a minimum of 20 years demonstrated experience in the legal field, at least 10 of which have been performing paralegal duties, along with 10 or more years served as a WSPA member. The Washington State Paralegal Association, one of the country’s oldest paralegal associations,is celebrating its 35th anniversary in 2010. This is the highest award the association bestows, and only the third time in its history that the WSPA Lifetime Achievement Award has been awarded.

Ms. Klister served five years as a Member of the Skagit Valley Community College Paralegal Program Advisory Board, as well as Board President for two terms. She was a three year member of the Washington State Access to Justice State Conference Committee, and has been a member of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations, and the Washington State Paralegal Association from 1990 to the present. Additionally, she was the WSPA Spokane Chapter Director and later served as WSPA President from 1997 – 1998. Through the Spokane County Bar Association, she was registered to present agreed ex-parte orders to the Court through 2002. She became a PACE Registered Paralegal (“RP”) in 2000, and has been a frequent presenter at CLE programs. She has also been featured twice in Legal Assistant Today magazine.

Darlene possesses extensive experience in a wide variety of legal disciplines, including plaintiff and defense practice; patent, trademark and copyright work; complex litigation; class action lawsuits; employment; environmental; utility; product liability; and personal injury. She has also represented abused and neglected children in the foster care system. She received a BA in Art History and Philosophy from San Francisco State University, and also attended the SFSU Paralegal Program. She worked for many years in two Spokane, Washington law firms, becoming Paralegal Manager for Paine, Hamblen, Coffin, Brooke & Miller LLP, and later relocated to the northwest corner of Washington state where she is now employed as Intellectual Property & Contracts Manager for Shainin LLC, a consulting and problem solving company based in Anacortes, WA, that helps companies improve their product performance and reliability. She also feeds her passion to create art by producing beautiful water color paintings and one of a kind jewelry through her FireLight DesignsTM business.

The Lifetime Achievement award was presented to Ms. Klister by Theda Yandell, RP®, NFPA Director, Region I, and a past WSPA President. Ms. Klister received a special award, a certificate commemorating the award, a gift, and a free lifetime membership in the Washington State Paralegal Association (www.wspaonline.org).

Anna Webb, a Family Law paralegal from Bellingham, Washington, was named 2010 Paralegal of the Year by Sue Beichley, WSPA Vice President of Membership. Anna is a graduate of the Skagit Valley College paralegal program and began her paralegal career working for the Abelite Law Offices in Arlington, WA. She later worked for the firm of Powers and Costeck in Mount Vernon, and presently is employed with the firm of Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, supporting attorney Christina King.

Anna volunteers countless hours to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault through her work as a Volunteer Advocate with Skagit Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services (“SDV & SAS”) (http://www.skagitdvsas.org/). As a volunteer, she helps clients develop plans to move forward with their lives and she also organizes and leads group activities for the children of the affected victims.

She has been a tireless advocate in recruiting volunteer attorneys to help SDV & SAS clients with their legal issues. She performs document drafting and related paralegal tasks at the directions of the volunteer attorneys to help vulnerable women at a time they most need help. Anna juggles her volunteer work around the demands of her full time position and being a wonderful mother to her 7-year old son. She has demonstrated a great commitment to serve members of her community and has provided a great example for other paralegals to aspire to.

Misty Carman, a paralegal student attending Tacoma Community College (TCC), was awarded the 2010 Paralegal Student Scholarship Misty volunteers her time to the Crystal Judson Family Justice Center in Tacoma In this capacity, she helps clients with certain court support matters, and she has been training to answer the clinic’s 24 hour domestic violence helpline. She has also been an advocate for social justice and has researched community resources to help clients of the Family Justice Center.

Janet Olejar, one of her paralegal instructors at TCC, saluted the quality of her legal writing, her preparedness for class, and the leadership and skills she freely shares with her fellow students, both in class as well as via a study group outside the classroom. Ms. Olejar noted that Ms. Carman’s prior work history working in the fields of preschool education, accounting and collections, and health care, have given her a wide range of skills and knowledge that will be of immediate benefit to a potential legal employer when she completes her paralegal studies.

Misty is an active member of the TCC Lambda Juris Law Club and participates in fundraising activities. She is a mother of three, maintains a 3.82 GPA, and still volunteers an average of 8-10 hours a week with non-profit organizations in her community. As winner of the 2010 WSPA Student Scholarship, Misty received a certificate and a $500 check for tuition and books.

The Kern County Paralegal Association (KCPA), located in Bakersfield, California, has named Alberta “Lou” Stoker, CLA as its 2009-2010 Paralegal of the Year. Stoker is employed as a legal assistant by Chain/Cohn/Stiles in Bakersfield. She works primarily in the personal injury department.

Hana Tarin, CLA, who also works for Chain/Cohn/Stiles as a medical legal assistant, was named the Outstanding Member of the Year.

According to its June 2010 newsletter, The Paralegal Post, KCPA just celebrated its 20th anniversary. The organization also has an impressive schedule of different outreach programs each month, including collecting blankets for the homeless, a clothing drive for a local elementary school, and sponsoring a Thanksgiving meal for a local family in need.

Check out the group’s terrific newsletter, which includes a funny article, “You Know You Work In a Law Office When…” – “[t]he fire alarm goes off in the building, and no one in your office moves.”

Good one. Or, when the alarm goes off, you sit there and argue with your co-workers (while still furiously working on whatever has to be filed with the court by the close of business) about whether it’s real or a test for so long that if the building really had been on fire, you, your co-workers – and whatever you were still working on – would have gone down in flames.