Quantcast
Don't miss
Home / Supplements and Special Sections / 2020 Unsung Legal Heroes: Paralegal

2020 Unsung Legal Heroes: Paralegal

Ashley Martin Milam

Litigation Paralegal

Goldblatt + Singer

Ashley Martin MilamA high school co-op placement hooked Ashley Milam on the law. From the outset, her instincts kicked in.

“From day one, I was interested in the legal field and wanted to learn more,’ she said.

Her nominator calls her “relentless” in her review of medical records, police reports and other evidence that “can be overwhelming to some but which is a treasure hunt to her. She recognizes that clients trust their law firm staff and attorneys to leave no stone unturned in their representation, and she takes that goal seriously.”

Tell us about your day-to-day duties in this role.

I assist with both claims and litigation files; speak with clients and witnesses; investigate cases; draft lawsuits, discovery, public records requests and more; schedule depositions and assist attorneys with deposition and trial preparation.                                                  

Tell us about your key accomplishment(s) in this role.

We were recently able to assist a client who suffered a severe traumatic brain injury win a $15 million settlement after the insurance company waived its $100,000 policy limit.

What led you to choose a career in the legal field?

In high school, I worked as a co-op at a small law firm, helping with filing and answering phones. I was lucky enough to work with an associate attorney who took me under his wing. I became passionate about plaintiffs’ personal injury work. By the time I graduated college, my job with the firm had expanded to a paralegal position.

What is the best part of your job?

By far the best part of my job is being able to help clients through a difficult time in their lives. I am also grateful to work for attorneys who are dedicated to helping their clients obtain the best recovery possible and genuinely care about their staff. I’m surrounded by a team of co-workers who are always willing to help each other and do whatever it takes.  Many of us have become close friends.

What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?

Always take ownership of your mistakes, and never try to cover them up. Most mistakes are fixable if you catch them early enough and don’t let them turn into bigger issues. Just use them as a learning experience to make you a better paralegal and move on.

What is something that would surprise people about you?

Most people would be surprised to know that I was raised by my father, a hard-working single parent. Raising a stubborn teenager daughter on his own couldn’t have been easy, but from a young age, I was taught the importance of hard work and never relying on anyone else for my happiness.

Jessica Nelson

Senior Paralegal   

Service Law Offices of Kansas City

Jessica NelsonAfter growing up with one parent behind bars and the other in the throes of addiction, Jessica Nelson credits her grandmother for rescuing her from her turbulent childhood.

Those life experiences also make the senior paralegal an unwavering ally and advocate for clients often facing significant hurdles of their own.

“I wanted to share my story,” she said, “and show people that . . . there is hope for them.”

Tell us about your day-to-day duties in this role.

I type pleadings, answer the phones, file new cases, work with clients from start to finish, calendar court cases, work with attorneys to settle cases, request/send discovery, prep for trial, attend family support team meetings, pay the bills, order supplies, manage the building we own and its tenants, and more.

Tell us about your key accomplishment(s) in this role.

I was promoted from paralegal to senior paralegal months after starting at this firm due to my success at settling cases and working to help my clients.

What led you to choose a career in the legal field?

I was inspired in several ways by my absent father, who has been incarcerated most of my life. First, I believed if that I could get into criminal defense, I could help someone get into treatment, rather than be sent straight to jail. Second, I was raised by my Grandma due to my Mom having an addiction and my father being in and out of prison. I was a child who should have been taken into the system — but thankfully my Grandma saved me. Third, by not having a father in my life, I wanted to help parents who really want to be there have a voice and someone in their corner.

What is the best part of your job?

My clients and my boss. I work with the best people you will meet. Some may have a past, but they are determined to change, and I am able to help them and cheer them on through the process. My boss . . . is family to me and my entire family, for that matter. He is a mentor, and my own personal cheerleader.

What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?

The best career advice I ever received was to never have a job you don’t have your heart in, even if the money is right.

What is something that would surprise people about you?

I have guardianship and conservatorship of my uncle, who has special needs. He is a blessing to my life and inspires me greatly.

Carrie Roseman

Paralegal

The Simon Law Firm

Carrie RosemanTake it from Carrie Roseman. It’s not just attorneys who get the first day-of-trial jitters.

And if you happen to wander into a 24-hour FedEx after midnight and find her at the copier, don’t worry: It’s all in a day’s — or night’s — work.

Tell us about your day-to-day duties in this role.

I assist the intellectual property, business and commercial litigation team in almost every aspect of the litigation process. My duties range from scheduling phone calls and drafting simple motions to providing paralegal support at trials across the country and handling filings in various jurisdictions, including the U.S. Supreme Court.

What led you to choose a career in the legal field?

In my ninth-grade civics class, I spent a lot of time in the hallway. The only assignment I recall was having to write summaries of three careers from description cards kept inside an old, rusty filing cabinet. In the five seconds I was allowed back in the classroom to pull cards, I blindly drew one that described the paralegal profession.

What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?

If you wait around for someone to invite you, you’re going to miss out. Go to that hearing.  Participate in that call. Provide your input on the jury panel during voir dire. Make yourself be an asset because no one else is going to help you prove your worth.

What is something that would surprise people about you?

I don’t sleep the night before the first day of trial. For out-of-town trials I’m usually in an Uber around 2 a.m., headed to the closest 24-hour FedEx. By the time I’m finished finalizing last-minute changes to exhibits and anything else that needs to be ready, a couple hours of sleep isn’t going to benefit me.

Eve Williams

Legal Assistant

Allen H. Surinsky, Attorney at Law

Eve WilliamsWhen your daily commute takes more than four hours and tops 250 miles, you better enjoy coming into the office.

That’s never been a problem for Eve Williams. In a 40-year career working for a succession of prominent local lawyers, she’s become a trusted adviser to many. That includes her current boss, Allen Surinsky.

Tell us about your day-to-day duties in this role.

Prepare pleadings and correspondence, answer phones and emails, account management, meet with clients and vendors, conduct legal research, etc.

Tell us about your key accomplishment(s) in this role.

In a one-attorney office, you literally do whatever needs to be done.

What led you to choose a career in the legal field?

I started out as a typist for court reporters. By the time the court reporters went to computer transcription, it never occurred to me to try another field.

What is the best part of your job?

The variety of the work and the people I meet.

Linda Williams

Paralegal

Dowd Bennett

Linda WilliamsDon’t take our word for it that Linda Williams is a worthy Unsung Hero. Here’s what the lawyers she works with had to say:

“She is the ultimate team player,” one nominator said. “She consistently produces outstanding work with excellence and a can-do spirit.”

“Linda is a ‘do anything for anybody, just let me know what you need’ superstar,’” another nominator added. “She is as skilled as any paralegal I have ever worked with, and she volunteers for every community service project we get involved in — and that’s a lot.”

Tell us about your day-to-day duties in this role.

I assist with various litigation matters, from the start of a case through trial and appellate proceedings. Daily duties include conducting research, reviewing, organizing and preparing documents for production, preparing exhibits and other trial document and filing of appellate briefs.

What led you to choose a career in the legal field?

I just can’t imagine doing anything else or working anywhere else.

What is the best part of your job?
Dowd Bennett fosters a team mentality. No matter what the task, how big or small the project or challenge, we all pitch in. We are encouraged to share our ideas and our knowledge.

What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?

Don’t be afraid to speak up; your contribution is important.

What is something that would surprise people about you?

I’m an avid road cyclist. Nearly every weekend, weather permitting, I can be found riding around the St. Louis area.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*