Lori Stewart, PP, PLS, is a U.S. Patent Paralegal at Fish Richardson, PC in Washington, DC, where she specializes in patent prosecution. She has a B.A. in Fine Arts from CSU Bakersfield. She has also earned her NALS PLS and Certified PP.
1. What prompted you to choose a paralegal career? It kind of chose me. I was looking for a job back in 1990 and found one as a patent legal secretary at a law firm.
2. What is your favorite part of your job? I like all the different things I do – document preparation, electronic filing, research, contacting the patent office, creating a relationship with our clients
3. What professional associations do you belong to? NALS
4. How has your membership benefited you? It has opened my eyes to the enormousness of the legal field; given me a passion to continue learning every year; and gotten me involved on all three levels: national, state and local. I have wonderful, lifelong friends I met through NALS that I would never have known otherwise.
5. What do you see as hot trends in the paralegal industry? I see lots of articles about paralegals working under their own “shingle” these days – opening their own shops without benefit of an attorney. This intrigues me and scares me at the same time – the unauthorized practice of law comes to mind as something that scares me!
6. If someone contemplating a paralegal career asked you for career advice, what would your answer be? Being a paralegal is a very rewarding career, but it is very demanding. You need to be able to think and react quickly, multi-task, and deal with all types of people. You need to devote yourself to it – it is a career, not just a job. Once you find the right firm, it will be a great career.
7. You’ve enjoyed a successful paralegal career. To what single event or person do you attribute that success? Becoming certified kickstarted me into this career – before that, it was just a job.
8. What is the most important step a paralegal can take to keep his or her career interesting? Keep learning. Go to the seminars that NALS or other associations offer to find out what is happening in the legal world.
9. What’s your favorite vacation getaway? The Beach
10. If you could not be a paralegal, what would be your dream job? Something in the arts
11. What college classes did you love? Orchestra, Wind Ensemble and Choir
12. You’ve been given the chance to have dinner with anyone living or dead. Who is it? Mandy Patinkin – I have a HUGE crush on him!
13. What fad do you regret being a part of? Disco!
Bonus Question: Is there a philosophy you live by? The Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you