Carl admits to being an “adrenaline junkie” who loves the fast pace of trial. You’ll enjoy reading his career tips, his favorite quotes, what he sees as hot trends in the industry, as well as what sports team he is passionate about. Thanks, Carl!
1. Where do you work and what is your job title? I am employed by Rhodes, Hieronymus, Jones, Tucker & Gable in Tulsa, Oklahoma as a senior certified paralegal and have been with this firm for over 15 years.
2. What prompted you to choose a paralegal career? My legal career began over 18 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 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.
3. 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.
4. What professional associations do you belong to? I am an active member of NALS…the association of legal professionals where I serve as a board member for our state chapter, NALS of OK, and currently serve as co-chairman for the Future Leaders Development Committee at the national level. I was recently elected to serve as secretary for the Tulsa County Bar Association Paralegal Section. I am also a member of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) and Tulsa Areas Paralegal Association (TAPA).
5. 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 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.
6. Do you have any professional certifications? I am certified through the American Alliance of Paralegals, Inc.
7. 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.
8. What do you see as hot trends in the paralegal industry? I have seen many different articles and profiles on “virtual paralegals” within the past year. However, I am not sure that this will be the hottest trend in the industry. Only time will tell if this becomes a new facet of our industry or whether it becomes a passing fad.
9. Have you dipped your toes in the social media waters? If not, do you see that in your future? 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.
10. 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 utilize 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.
11. Is there a quote that inspires you? I just returned from the NALS National Education Conference where our 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.
12. 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.
13. What is the most important step a paralegal can take to keep his or her career interesting? Learn something new! I am big on 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.
Bonus…just for question: What sports team are you passionate about? I love college football and am a huge University of Florida Gators fan! Go Gators!