Byte of Prevention Blog

by Jay Reeves |

Be Like Paralegal Kaye Summers – And Watch Your Firm Soar

 Distinguished Paralegal NCBA AwardCongratulations to Kaye Summers!

She won the 2013 Distinguished Paralegal Award from the North Carolina Bar Association.

Kaye has worked at the Durham law firm of Pulley Watson for more than 16 years. She holds an Advanced Paralegal Certification and is a member of the NCBA Paralegal Division and the NC Paralegal Association, where she served two consecutive terms as president. She also belongs to the National Association of Legal Assistants, receiving the 2011 NALA Affiliates Award.

Kaye is passionate about what she does.

She served for more than a decade as paralegal liaison with the NCBA Solo Small Firm and General Practice Section. She helped create the Habitat for Humanity Forms Manual and the Turning Out The Lights publication.

Kaye was also instrumental in making the Certified Legal Assistant licensing program a reality.

Even when she leaves work, she doesn’t stop paying it forward. Somehow she finds time to volunteer at night with Duke Home Care and Hospice, which singled her out for appreciation in 2012.

Kaye is an inspiration. Her good deeds benefit her law firm, its clients, other paralegals and the community at large.

4 Ways Paralegals Can Make Your Firm Soar

Paralegals and legal assistants can do far more than just prepare documents, compile discovery and help out on cases. Here are some other roles:

    1. Paralegals as rainmakers. Rainmaking should not be confined to the lucky few in the corner offices. It is a firm-wide concern – involving everyone from the top partner to the parking lot attendant. Paralegals are perfectly positioned as rainmakers, writes Lakisha Bealer in Agility Law Blog. They are in the trenches and in direct touch with clients. They know what clients want and what makes them come back for more
    2. Paralegals as trainers. Staff training should go beyond the how-tos of calendaring, file documentation, mail handling and conflicts checks. It should also cover the reasons behind these procedures. Paralegals are natural trainers because they use these systems and understand why they are important.
    3. Paralegals as technology consultants. An up-front investment in training will reduce errors and boost profits. Create a team of in-house experts on topics like social media, backing up data and trouble-shooting. Spread the knowledge around.
    4. Paralegals as important team members. Including paralegals and legal assistants in some firm meetings provides an opportunity for meaningful input. It also gives them a personal investment in their careers. “You might review the firm’s central calendar, determine how upcoming absences will be covered, review the distribution of work assignments, or discuss the impact of upcoming significant tasks like a trial, preparation of a major brief or a network upgrade,” writes ALPS risk manager Mark Bassingthwaighte in Attorney at Work. “These meetings can give a big boost to staff satisfaction, too. Satisfied employees are going to be more productive, stay longer and have fewer sick days—all of which will directly affect the bottom line.”

Jay Reeves a/k/a The Risk Man is an attorney licensed in North Carolina and South Carolina. Formerly he was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. He likes baseball, the Beatles and the beach. Contact jay.reeves@ymail.com, phone 919-619-2441.

Sources:

  • Attorney at Work http://www.attorneyatwork.com/

About the Author

Jay Reeves

jay.reeves@ymail.com | 919-619-2441

Jay Reeves practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. Over the course of his 35-year career he was a solo practitioner, corporate lawyer, legal editor, Legal Aid staff attorney and insurance risk manager. Today he helps lawyers and firms put more mojo in their practice through marketing, work-life balance and reclaiming passion for what they do. He is available for consultations, retreats and presentations.

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