There are some very dry and boring definitions of what a paralegal is. Let’s skip right over that. Do you want to know what I think being a paralegal means? It means being a Holden Caulfield. The protagonist in J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye has a great line that has always resonated with me: “And I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff – I mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I do all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all.” Paralegals are your catchers. Our eyes are on every detail, so you can focus on the big picture.
My experience has convinced me that the more time your paralegal spends on organizational (and studying type tasks for lack of a better term) projects such as reading case records and organizing them, creating chronologies, making discovery response spreadsheets for dispute letters, reading and analyzing documents produced and moving things to Hot Docs folders as they come in, organizing exhibit and witness lists from the beginning of the case, and reviewing and summarizing deposition transcripts, the better chance we have of independently and intuitively knowing what we need to do to help you and your clients.
From 2009 to 2013, I was a litigation trial paralegal in the Atlanta office of Harris Penn Lowry, LLP. I was lead paralegal on the following trials:
- Desmond v. Narconon, In the State Court of DeKalb County, Georgia, Civil Action File No. 10A28641-2 (confidential settlement just prior to trial)
- Young v. Ford Motor Company, In the State Court of Cobb County, Georgia, Civil Action File No. 2010A4415-4
- Corey Airport v. Clear Channel, et al., In the Northern District of Georgia, Civil Action File No. 1:04-CV-03243-CAP
- William Saye, M.D. v. UnumProvident, et al., In the Superior Court of Fulton County, Georgia, Civil Action File No. 2006CV126657
- Mesicek v. Lowery, et al., In the Superior Court of Fulton County, Georgia, Civil Action File No. 2004CV86598
- Banks v. Pittman, In the Superior Court of Jackson County, Georgia.
Trial responsibilities included: analyzed entire case files to prepare exhibit lists and create exhibits, worked with team on supplementing discovery responses, prepared witness subpoenas, organized exhibits per witness and created expert boxes, coordinated with vendors and court personnel regarding logistics of trial, background demographic research on potential jurors, attended trials and participated in Voir Dire and tracked admitted exhibits per witness, organized motions in limine notebooks, prepared drafts of pretrial orders, coordinated travel for experts and witnesses, participated in focus groups, and prepared motions and proposed orders for electronic equipment and trial materials in the courtroom.
Additional paralegal duties included: handled new case inquiries from potential clients, gathered fact investigation documents and medical records, created summaries of medical bills, client contact to prepare discovery responses and documents to be produced, created and maintained witness lists and exhibit lists, kept pending motions chart updated with rulings, kept non-party RPD tracking spreadsheet updated and generated no object letters, and managed organization of documents sent to and from experts.
From 2006 to 2009 I was employed with Hobgood & Rutherford LLC as a litigation paralegal. I drafted civil actions (including garnishments) and arranged for service, assisted attorneys with post-judgment discovery plans and prepared motions to compel, requests for production of documents to non-parties, and notices to take asset depositions. Additionally, I assembled documents for production and created privilege logs.
I graduated cum laude from Georgia State University in 2003 with a B.S. degree in Criminal Justice. In 2006, I obtained a paralegal certificate from Kennesaw State University. My first book was published in September 2013 (http://jamiedaviswrites.com/) and was a top-seller in its category with the publisher for 2014. I was awarded an additional book contract in 2015, and my second book will hit the market in October 2016. In 2017, I designed the Personal Injury Journal (PI Journal) and launched a journal company (Stealth Journals).
When you think back on your best hires, what springs to mind? Probably that the person cared a lot about their job and it was evident in everything they touched. Maybe they had a track record of independently choosing the right course of action, and you trusted them a lot after a few short weeks or months. That is who I am.