Linda Carrette, CP, is a Litigation Paralegal with Strasburger & Price in Houston, Texas,
Linda has a BBA-Business from Ole Miss, a MBA from Our Lady of the Lake, San Antonio; and a Paralegal Certificate from Southwestern Paralegal Institute. She is also Board Certified-Civil Trial Law (Texas Board of Legal Specialization) and has earned her CP from NALA. She is currently pursuing the ACP in Electronic Discovery and Trial Practice.
1. What prompted you to choose a paralegal career? When I worked as a Division Order Analyst for an oil and gas company in 1983, I spent a lot of time in and out of the GC’s office, and became good friends with his paralegal who had just graduated from Southwestern Paralegal Institute (SPI). She suggested I’d be terrific as a paralegal. I checked out SPI, enrolled the following month, and as they say, the rest is history!
2. What is your favorite part of your job? I love plowing through an inordinate amount of documents, and creating organization and order out of chaos! I also enjoy playing “sleuth”. There is NOTHING more gratifying than having an attorney or client not be able to locate someone, until I put on my sleuth cap and use my resources to not only locate someone, but tell you as much about the person as his or her mother could!
3. What professional associations do you belong to? NALA, Paralegal Division of the State Bar of Texas (Director for District 1 from 1990-1993, and currently serving a two-year director term from 2015-2017), and Houston Paralegal Association (HPA) (VP-Membership, VP-CLE, NALA Liaison, and currently, a second term as Treasurer).
4. How has your membership benefited you? The networking. Paralegals help each other; it’s a fact. We see it in our jobs every day. We share war stories, divulge who is hiring, discuss the latest trends in the profession, and generally support one another. I can’t imagine what this career would be like without the paralegal associations in which we network.
5. What do you see as hot trends in the paralegal industry? Anything to do with technology. I know, we’re all about “e-discovery’d” to death. But, technology is not going away, in fact, it is only going to become more prevalent and challenging. Think back, say 1990 … if someone described the world wide web or email to any of us at the time, we’d have thought they were CRAZY! I’m that person that struggles when I have to get a new phone, but I remind myself
that learning new technology is critical. Another trend is project management. Firms are looking for paralegals adept at project management, and not just managing documents and data, but managing teams, costs and budgets, project cycle and workflow. I am a big fan of Legal Project Management by Steven Levy. It’s an easy read, and will help anyone get a leg up on this new trend.
6. If someone contemplating a paralegal career asked you for career advice, what would your answer be? Buckle your seatbelt, it’s going to be a bumpy ride (exhilarating, but bumpy)!
7. What advice would you give yourself if you met you as a first-year paralegal? Chill out, and BREATHE!!!
8. You’ve enjoyed a successful paralegal career. To what single event or person do you attribute that success? The first attorney I ever worked for, Roy Hailey. He was very young, but entirely missing that whole, “I’m a lawyer, you’re not” attitude that was somewhat prevalent among the newly minted attorneys back in the day. Roy taught me everything he knew at the time. He was incredibly smart, more than patient, off-the-chart gracious, and so hysterically funny he’d have me laughing tears! I couldn’t wait to get to my job every day, and loved every second of it. I seriously couldn’t believe I got paid to be there !!! I’d have done anything for him, and I suppose I did, when we “jumped ship” in the middle of the night, and joined a new firm the following day. Sadly, Roy passed away unexpectedly earlier this year, and I’m regretful he may not have known the impact he made on my career.
9. What is the most important step a paralegal can take to keep his or her career interesting? Never stop learning. You can never assume you are “done”. Learning always keeps things interesting. This career, like many others, is changing daily, and if you lose ground, particularly in the form of knowledge, you’ll be trampled by your peers. It’s a tough economy; if your firm doesn’t pay for CLE, find a way to educate yourself on your own.
10. Who would play you in a movie of your life? Sandra Bullock
11. What electronic device can you not live without? I’m an Apple geek: iphone, ipad, macbook
12. If you could not be a paralegal, what would be your dream job? A professional organizer
13. What is the one thing you wish you were better at? Singing
What is your favorite hobby? Reading
What makes you lose your patience? Traffic !!!!!
14. What’s your most treasured possession or keepsake? My boys’ baby items, handmade objects and artwork they drew; family photos.