Kimberly Grabbe, ACP, FRP, is a Senior Paralegal (Vaccine Injury Litigation) with Maglio, Christopher & Toale, PA. She is a 2008 Honors graduate of Hodges University with an Associate in Science degree in Paralegal Studies. She is a NALA Advanced Certified Paralegal (ACP) Product Liability and a Florida Registered Paralegal. She is also a graduate of NALA’s LEAP (Leadership Enhancement and Preparation) Program.
Since 2009, Kim has worked exclusively on vaccine injury cases within the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, filed within the US Court of Federal Claims. In this role she assists the injured who have suffered an adverse reaction to certain vaccines.
Why did you choose a paralegal career? I have always been interested in law. I worked for a local Sheriff’s Office for ten years, primarily in the 9-1-1 dispatcher center. I wanted to see justice through, most of all I wanted closure.
What is your favorite part of your job? I must say, my favorite part of my job is the final conversation I have with my client when I call to let them know their entitlement check has arrived. So very many have lost their jobs, their healthcare, possibly even a loved one. Money certainly doesn’t fix everything, but when a client breaks to tell you, the check came just in time to save a home that has been in the family for over four generations, you know you’ve done well for your client.
What professional associations do you belong to? Paralegal Association of Florida, PAF Suncoast Chapter, State College of Florida Paralegal Legal Assisting Advisory Board, NALA’s Professional Development Committee
How has your membership benefited you? The quality CLE courses and opportunity to network through conferences offered has been a huge benefit.
What has been the highlight of your career? So far, it has to be participating in NALA’s LEAP program and presenting at conference in Las Vegas. The doors that have opened and opportunities offered are far beyond what I ever expected.
What do you see as hot trends in the paralegal industry? Office/court technology and soft skills. It is imperative the paralegal remain on top of the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology and security measures, engage in CLE study and comply with all continuing legal education requirements.
As for soft skills, as a paralegal, he or she needs to be aware of how they present themselves before a client as well as their staff and superiors. Customer service when dealing with clients is key. Managing partners prefer a team player over drama queens. Most importantly, if you are applying for a job in a law office, the candidate for employment needs to be fully aware of how they speak during the interview. i.e. ax vs. ask; expecially vs. especially will more than likely disqualify them immediately.
If someone contemplating a paralegal career asked you for career advice, what would your answer be? Go for it because there are many opportunities that branch off the profession.
You’ve enjoyed a successful paralegal career. To what single event or person do you attribute that success? First attribute is my daughter. I want to be the role model who helps motivate her to never give up and to be the very best she can be. My parents for instilling a strong work ethic and independence. Naming every single person who has touched me along the way would take up another whole page. I am beyond grateful for the connections I have made and how each person has helped contribute to my success and future.
What is the most important step a paralegal can take to keep his or her career interesting? In order to keep things interesting, one needs to venture out beyond their desk at work. Network, network, network! Join an association, volunteer or mentor. The paralegal career is still evolving. Everyone has something to bring to the table to make the profession better.
What advice would you give yourself if you met you as a first-year paralegal? Create a solid foundation of paralegal 101 fundamentals and become a certified paralegal.
If you could not be a paralegal, what would be your dream job? I would probably still be working in the field of law enforcement, possibly forensics.
What electronic device can you not live without? My hair dryer – Florida humidity has no sympathy
What is the best live concert you’ve ever attended? I love concerts, but enjoy Broadway shows more. Hands down tie between Jersey Boys & Stomp.
What’s your favorite food? Sushi!!
What’s your favorite vacation getaway? Never the same place. Someplace new each time – there’s an entire world to explore out there.
What is the one thing you wish you were better at? PUBLIC SPEAKING
What TV channel do you most often have on? My daughter and I binge watch Law & Order, so whichever channel has it on, we are probably watching it.
What scares you the most? Not having a plan
Is there one thing in the world you wish you had the answer to? How much wood does a wood chuck chick, if a wood chuck could chuck wood? (kidding)
What word do you always have a problem spelling? sequella
What college classes did you love? Constitutional law and Psychology
What’s your favorite thing to cook? Anything that won’t catch fire. I’m a horrible cook.
You’ve been given the chance to have dinner with anyone living or dead. Who is it? My mom who passed in 2009. I know she knows all that’s happened. But to be able to discuss it all over a greasy cheeseburger and Pepsi would be amazing.
What is your guilty pleasure food? Pizza and Beer
If you could go back in time to one point in your life, where would you go? There’s no looking back. I am where I am today, happy and content, because of the past.