Theresa has an Associate’s Degree in Nursing from Tennessee State University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science with a Legal Studies Concentration from Austin Peay State University. She is a NALA Advanced Certified Paralegal in Automobile Accidents and she also teaches paralegal courses at Kaplan’s ABA approved Nashville Campus.
1. Why did you choose a paralegal career? I have always been drawn to the law. I wanted a new career (out of the medical profession completely!) but I also wanted to utilize my past educational experiences.
I considered Legal Nurse Consultant, but after I started studying for my certification, I realized that what I really wanted to BE was a paralegal. (I have to admit; I was a little influenced by Ally McBeal!)
2. What is your favorite part of your job? I work at a firm where paralegals are truly made to feel a part of the team. I really enjoy doing the nitty-gritty investigative work, whether it be medical record analysis, researching plaintiffs’ criminal backgrounds, or Facebook research. My supervising attorney is easy to work with and respects and appreciates my work.
3. What professional associations do you belong to? I am a member of the National Association of Legal Assistants, a member (and former Director) of the Healthcare Paralegals Federation, and I recently ended a two-year term as the Central Chapter Chairperson of the Tennessee Paralegal Association (a NALA affiliate organization). I also just joined the American Association for Paralegal Education as an individual member.
4. How has your membership benefited you? I believe that I have benefitted greatly from memberships in these associations. The educational and network opportunities afforded by these groups are priceless! As a result of my TPA membership, I have contacts across my state who can help me find resources such as court reporters and experts as well as provide information about out-of-county judges/courts that has proved valuable when preparing for a case in an unfamiliar county.
5. What has been the highlight of your career? I think the highlight of my career is just realizing that I am exactly where I have wanted to be in my career. I have my “dream job” a great firm doing exactly the type of work I love for a great group of attorneys. I am also a part-time faculty member and get to teach new paralegal students, which is very rewarding.
6. What do you see as hot trends in the paralegal industry? I believe the paralegal job market will become more & more competitive. Education and voluntary certification will be much more important, and more states will begin adopting regulations defining paralegal education and certification requirements.
7. What is the most important step a paralegal can take to keep his or her career interesting? Remember that this is an ever-changing field and stay educated! Continue seeking out educational opportunities. It is so easy today to take a course; many are online “webinars” or self-study courses.
8. What electronic device can you not live without? My iPhone of course.
9. What was your first car? A canary yellow Ford Escort
10. What was your first job? My first job was working in a pharmacy, where I got to deliver medications to the assisted living facility next door. I used to love sitting down and visiting with our customers.
11. What time in the morning do you first check your email? I am already checking my email on my iPhone as I am putting on my make-up in the morning.
12. What sports team are you passionate about? Tampa Bay Buccaneers (GO BUCCS!)
13. What’s your favorite vacation getaway? Anywhere on the Gulf Coast! I love those white sandy beaches.
Bonus Question: If you could not be a paralegal, what would be your dream job? Being a paralegal IS my dream job! I spent fourteen years as a registered nurse, so this is a second career for me. I was lucky enough to get to choose this career when I was a little older (and maybe wiser?).