Ronell Badua is a paralegal employed by the Department of the Corporation Counsel, City and County of Honolulu where he specializes in Civil Litigation – Environmental, Transportation. He is active in the Hawaii Paralegal Association and recently received the HPA’s 2015 Career Achievement Award
Ron has an Associates Degree – Paralegal Studies from Kapi`olani Community College, an ABA Approved Program. He is currently preparing for the NFPA CORE Exam.
1. What prompted you to choose a paralegal career? My legal career started as a mail clerk at Carlsmith Ball, LLP. I became interested in the law while dropping off mail to each secretary and being a firm messenger. When there was an opening for a clerk position at the firm, I applied and got the position.
Having worked closely with paralegals at the firm, my interest expanded on the roles of a paralegal. It wasn’t until I heard about a scholarship opportunity from the Hawaii Paralegal Association (HPA) that I got serious. My winning essay was the entry to my legal studies. I was afforded the opportunity to offset the cost of my first semester in paralegal school. Since then, I have been fortunate with my paralegal career and studies. The guidance and support from teachers, counselors, attorneys and colleagues have been tremendous.
2. What is your favorite part of your job? My favorite part of the job is the intellectual challenge. To be a successful paralegal, one needs to be an innovative thinker, be a good problem-solver and deal well with stress.
3. What professional associations do you belong to? Hawaii Paralegal Association,
National Federation of Paralegal Associations and American Alliance of Paralegals
4. How has your membership benefited you? The benefits of being part of a professional association are endless. The ability to meet new people and re-kindle relationships with people in the community, colleagues and vendors are priceless. Professional, career and leadership opportunities have also been rewarding. Continuing legal education seminars is a great way to keep up with current legal trends.
5. What has been the highlight of your career? The highlight of my career has been working as the transit paralegal in the state’s largest multi-billion dollar public works project. As a member of the city’s legal department, I find that working on such a big project challenges in a positive way.
6. What do you see as hot trends in the paralegal industry? More males are becoming paralegals.
7. If someone contemplating a paralegal career asked you for career advice, what would your answer be? It’s a rewarding career and you learn a lot. Establish yourself by graduating from a paralegal education program, network as much as you can in the legal community by joining a paralegal association and volunteering. Work like every day is your first day on the job. Don’t be shy and never give up.
8. You’ve enjoyed a successful paralegal career. To what single event or person do you attribute that success? Lessons from the Top Paralegal Experts is a great book that shares the wisdom from successful paralegals from various types of specialties. I use this book for inspiration, tips and to expand my knowledge.
10. What is the most important step a paralegal can take to keep his or her career interesting? Take risks. Often times we get too comfortable in what we do. By taking initiative and asking attorneys for work, you gain challenging assignments and new experiences. Learn something new outside of your specialty area. Can’t get any more interesting than that.
11. What unusual item do you own? I’m a sucker for those Press-A-Penny (souvenir penny) machines. Whenever I’m travelling, I’ll be sure to have two quarters and a penny, just in case I run into a machine. The newest penny to my collection is from the Hoover Dam.
12. What was your first job? I have been employed with Godiva Chocolatier for 13 years. I was employed full time with the company, until I landed a job in the legal field. Since then, I have been a part time keyholder.
13. What time in the morning do you first check your email? Most paralegals will agree that, if they have email connected on their phone, time doesn’t matter. We’re always checking email.
Bonus Question No. 1: If you could not be a paralegal, what would be your dream job? A pilot. I am considering flying lessons. Often times, I will go to Keehi Lagoon and watch airplanes take off from the Honolulu International Airport reef runway.
Bonus Question No. 2: Work and life essentials aside, what is the activity you spend the most time doing? Working on HPA stuff. I am a dedicated board member.