Strong leaders makes strong organizations. The Chicago Paralegal Association takes pride in its mission, but it would not be able to do this without a strong volunteer team on the ground dedicated to enhancing the success of paralegals. Let's meet those involved.
What is something you want to contribute to the paralegal profession? I want to help elevate professional standards, educate paralegals on the litigation workflow, court rules and procedures, e-discovery, and technology.
As Dolly Parton once said, what do you do 9-to-5? I have over 20 years of experience as a paralegal and have extensive knowledge in e-discovery, the federal and state court systems, as well as the policies and procedures of the EEOC and the Illinois Department of Human Rights. I also advise legal professionals on e-filing rules and procedures, and how to create successful workflows to accommodate an evolving e-filing system in the Illinois state courts.
What are the values that drive you? I have a few phrases that sum up the fundamental beliefs that motivate my attitudes and actions: "Lead change or change will lead you", "Help me, help you", and if I ever hear the most toxic phrase in a professional workplace, "That's how it's always been done here," I know its time to change!
What do you enjoy doing when you are not working? I read, set up and challenge friends to weekly Fitbit walking competitions, volunteer with Wills for Heroes, post on social media platforms for CPA and the national paralegal association, set up networking events, mentor, speak at local paralegal schools, create webinars and blog on local rules, e-filing procedures, and specific procedures citations to discover assets and how to issue an out-of-state subpoena in Illinois.
Who was the very first person to e-file in the Northern District of Illinois? Me! I just wish I had a certificate or something!
What is something you want to contribute to the paralegal profession? To help paralegals get their due recognition in the legal field. To help them grow and learn through education, mentorship and be contributing members in the legal field.
As Dolly Parton once said, what do you do 9-to-5? Kristie is a paralegal in the property tax appeal department at Stella Black Real Property.
What are the values that drive you? Integrity, honesty and respect.
What do you enjoy doing when you are not working? I enjoy reading, outdoor concerts, festivals, traveling, and the beach.
What is your movie theatre snack habits? Diet Coke, Popcorn (with light butter/light salt), and Milk Duds!
What is something you want to contribute to the paralegal profession? Education, mentorship, opportunities for pro bono, and increasing access to justice.
As Dolly Parton once said, what do you do 9-to-5? Kristina is a paralegal at Stamos & Trucco LLP where she manages the asbestos team and related litigation.
What are the values that drive you? Commitment, passion, truth.
What do you enjoy doing when you are not working? Reading, watching TV (especially documentaries), fitness.
If you could go back in time, when/where would you go? 1893 Columbian Exposition.
What is something you want to contribute to the paralegal profession? I believe that future paralegals need the skill set and mentorship from those in the paralegal profession to keep this profession thriving for future students in this field. I would like to help with the outreach of pro bono opportunities that can help students and future paralegals develop a good skill set for their career and to provide networking benefits that can help widen the overall network of paralegals in the city, so that we can support each other in our career development. I think that is what is nice about being a member here. We all can support and uplift each other to be successful and contribute positively to the paralegal profession overall.
As Dolly Parton once said, what do you do 9-to-5? From 9 to 5, I work as a Legal Assistant at Husch Blackwell LLP. After 5PM, I am a student at Roosevelt University majoring in Paralegal Studies and minoring in Criminal Justice. I am currently expecting to graduate in May 2021 and I am looking forward to a bright future.
What are the values that drive you? Some values that drive me are work efficiency, a commitment to my job, dependability and reliability, loyalty, and honesty.
What do you enjoy doing when you are not working? These days I am pretty booked with schoolwork, but when I am free, I do enjoy working out and will usually go to the gym. I also like to spend time with my parents when I get the opportunity to and I have a great interest in cosmetics and make-up tutorials as well. I enjoy learning new tips and tricks and to share what I know with others. Otherwise, most days you will find me at home with my cat, Hazel, lounging about because it is quite rare when I have the opportunity to do so.
Why did you choose to become a paralegal? I have always had a great interest in the legal field. I believe this stems from my days growing up as a kid watching Law & Order episodes and becoming so engrossed in the process of investigation after a crime and the evidence and prosecution side as well. I actually wanted to become a police detective for a really long time and planned on pursuing a Criminal Justice degree coming out of high school. My interests changed a bit and I decided that I wanted to pursue a career in law by becoming a paralegal. I really enjoy helping my attorneys and making sure if they need anything, I’m the first person they can turn to for help. It’s nice to be able to support and contribute to something larger than yourself and I feel like that’s the benefit of our job.
What is something you want to contribute to the paralegal profession? I'd like to help the paralegal profession become more lauded by both the legal community and the general public. I also imagine that paralegals can help make access to justice much more affordable to many more individuals if we're allowed to utilize all of our knowledge and skills in a more direct capacity.
As Dolly Parton once said, what do you do 9-to-5? From 9-to-5, I'm a Project Assistant in Commercial Finance at Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP. From 6-12, I'm building up my budding social media presence: "Umami Memories: Savoring, Story, Song, & Soul".
What are the values that drive you? I have four core values that comprise my quintessence: Intelligence, Integrity, Individuality, and Empathy. When united together, a supernova can't illuminate the universe as brightly as an individual who possesses these values.
What do you enjoy doing when you are not working? I love music, both live in concert and by writing songs myself. I'm enamored with words and vocabulary in all forms and languages, as well as theatre, yoga, martial arts, and exploring communities. Last but definitely not least, I love spending time with God, friends, and my Panameño family (I love you, Mom!).
Why did you choose to become a paralegal? After being privy to a legal incident in which I witnessed others feel disempowered from navigating the Cook County legal system, I discovered that the paralegal profession existed. I switched from a career in pharmacy to a career in law as of January 2018, and I've been intoxicated with the profession ever since.