Each year the Paralegal Division seeks nominations for its annual Distinguished Paralegal Award. This award recognizes outstanding achievements, professionalism and contributions by a North Carolina paralegal both professionally and personally within  the recipient’s community. The award includes a membership to the NCBA Paralegal Division, including one section membership, for the following year. The recipient is presented with a plaque commemorating their receipt of the award at the Annual Meeting.

This year’s recipient is Alicia Lewis, a paralegal with Anderson Jones, PLLC in Raleigh. She was presented the award by her attorney and nominator, Todd Jones, during the 2017 Paralegal Division Annual Meeting at the Pinehurst Resort in Pinehurst, North Carolina on May 5, 2017.

Below is Mr. Jones’ nomination for Alicia.

It is with great pleasure that I nominate Alicia W. Lewis for the North Carolina Bar Association’s Paralegal Division 2017 Distinguished Paralegal Award.

I have known Alicia for almost 15 years and have seen her successfully evolve from a young professional eager to make a mark on the practice of law as well as her community, into exactly what she set out to be, a reckoning force in her business and the community she serves.

Alicia has been practicing as a paralegal for over 14 years at two different law firms in Raleigh and is an N.C. Certified Paralegal. She has been directly employed at our firm since 2003.

Alicia started working for Anderson Jones in 2003 when the firm was founded and was the sole paralegal for all three attorneys, as well as managing the office daily.  She took a leap of faith and jumped into the fire with us to start a new office and practice.  Over time, as the office grew and the firm hired more staff, Alicia continued to practice as a paralegal but also took on the role of supervising the other paralegals, office staff, and to a certain extent young newly licensed attorneys in the firm.  Alicia manages our office.  Alicia encourages everyone in the office to stay on top of current trends and changes to the laws as well as pushes everyone to maintaining their learned skills whether through formal paralegal training or on the job training by attending CLE courses throughout the year (not just the amount required to maintain their N.C. State Bar certification).  She has been the huge impetus in our office behind technological advancement and staying on top of future developments.

She pushes everyone in the office to get involved in outside organizations: North Carolina Bar Association, trade associations, non-profit community organizations and other paralegal associations.  Alicia designs processes to make the office run smoother, as well as suggesting ways for the attorneys and paralegals to work more closely as a team. She consistently encourages all staff members to make the most of every opportunity, client interaction, and to make their professions more than just a job.  This kind of thing speaks volumes.

Alicia is very involved in the community. She has served as the North Carolina Bar Association Paralegal Division Construction Law liaison for over 9 years. She makes them aware of the many activities of the Paralegal Division and reports back to the Paralegal Division. She actively looks for ways that paralegals can work alongside their attorneys to advance the Bar Association and Section’s goals. She has traveled to meetings all over the state, participated in the Section’s service projects, promoted Wills for Heroes, participated in 4ALL and asked other paralegals to do the same. She is speaking to local colleges with paralegal programs to bring on paralegal interns in our office to assist with their education goals. She is also a member of the Law Practice Management section.

Alicia is the secretary for the Triangle Chapter of the American Subcontractors’ Association.  She has held this position for almost 10 years. ASAC meets every month and Alicia is an integral part of this organization. She prepares meeting notices, schedules the caterer for every meeting, coordinates with the monthly speakers, communicates with members and guests regularly, takes registrations, and is the face of the organization on the day of the event. As a board member she helps direct the goals of the chapter and executes the same. Alicia promotes the legal profession every opportunity she gets within this organization, and encourages the paralegals she knows within the construction law section to get involved with this group.

Alicia is a member of the Junior League of Raleigh where she has been involved with several different volunteer activities over the years.  She has been a team leader for new members, on a team that provides training for all League members, on a team that cared for members who were either celebrating positive events in life as well as supporting members during the very difficult times.  Alicia has worked closely with several local attorneys and paralegals on the Backpack Buddies program. They collect and pack food for underprivileged children at a local elementary school to have during the weekend when they would otherwise not have anything to eat.

Recently, Alicia was asked to join the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce Professional Women’s Task Force Committee.

Alicia is involved with her neighborhood activities, church community and generally volunteers to help others wherever needed.

After reading the qualifications for this award, Alicia was the first person that came to mind. She is always looking to better herself, this firm, and the practice of law as a whole.  She leads by example in every area of her life.  Sometimes, Alicia has a soft touch in dealing with customers and clients and sometimes she has to be iron-fisted as any legal professional does when dealing with a demanding managing partner.  Alicia is young and certainly not in the twilight of her career, however, she deserves recognition for the last 15 years of service and this award is perfect for her.

She understands the importance of the paralegal in the legal community from education, to the activities in the daily office, to the community and also family commitments. She cares about the practice, the legal profession, her coworkers, and clients.  She is a definite asset, and deserves to be recognized.