Congratulations To Alicia Lewis, 2017 Distinguished Paralegal Award Recipient!

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.

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Congratulations To Kayla Cobler, 2017 Paralegal Student Member Scholarship Winner

The Paralegal Student Scholarship Essay topic this year was “Why Being a Paralegal Is Important To Me.”  The winning submission is courtesy of Kayla Cobler, a student in the paralegal program at Davidson County Community College. The student scholarship provides an award of $500 for tuition to a North Carolina resident enrolled in a North Carolina Qualified Paralegal Studies Program.

Why Being a Paralegal Is Important To Me

When deciding what my future might hold, I went back and forth between a teacher and a banker. I started my journey to becoming a banker at UNCG at the ripe age of 17. After a few business classes, I decided that banking wasn’t how I wanted to spend the rest of my life. I enjoyed the interaction with different people on a day to day basis, but I felt like something was missing. After spending a few days upset and down with myself, confused as to what my future was really going to hold, I started digging deep and thinking about what I could see myself doing every day for the rest of my life. I wanted to do something that impacted not only my personal goals, but also impacted society. It was important to me that I chose something that did not feel like a job, but something that felt more like a hobby. No one wants to go to work every day and dread the job they have. I have watched so many of my peers go to college and earn degrees for something they have no interest in or passion for. I don’t want to go through life everyday just living the motion. I want to feel that I am impacting society and bettering myself and everyone around me on a daily basis.

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Congratulations To Phebe Kirby, 2017 Paralegal Division Member Scholarship Winner


The Paralegal Member Scholarship Essay topic this year was “What are the benefits of being involved in paralegal associations?” The winning submission is courtesy of Paralegal Division Member Phebe Kirby. The Paralegal Division Member Scholarship provides an award of a Paralegal Division membership, a section membership, registration for the 2018 Paralegal Division Annual Meeting and Seminar, a CLE/CPE Passport to attend eligible programs tuition free, and up to $100 travel expense reimbursement (total value of approximately $800).

What are the benefits of being involved in paralegal associations?

I have been a paralegal for over five years now and I must say that I do love my job. However, a few months ago, I was struggling with two estate files, and it was beginning to cause me a lot of undue stress. Normally, I am able to leave at five and I don’t have an issue with working overtime or bringing my work home with me. But with these two estates files, I was pondering my dilemma at home, thinking about the issues constantly and talking about it to my husband until he frankly was bored. I am not sure why I struggled so much. We don’t do estates in my office, and I let the whole situation become overwhelming to the point that I was not sure what to do.

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Technology Tips To Help You Organize Discovery and Exhibits Efficiently

By Alicia Mitchell-Mercer

It came to my attention recently that some of my fellow paralegals are still using the original Bates stamper.

I was told that some firms do not want to invest in the software which makes this whole Bates thing easier. If you have Adobe Professional at work, there’s already a built-in solution. If you are new to Adobe, click on “tools” on the right side of the screen and select “Bates Numbering” under “Edit Page Design.”

But, if your firm has limited means to purchase new software, here is a great option:

If you need to Bates number/stamp documents but do not have the software like Adobe Professional, you can download it from

It is free to download and it lets you put in prefixes and suffixes for your bates numbers, as well as offsetting numbers making it easy to start at page 1,532 or whatever when more discovery documents are added. There is no malware or ads or anything like that. It’s a safe program.

Also, a little-known fact is if you have a Brother printer at work, you can download a free driver and software from Nuance PDF Reader (albeit from the Brother website). It allows you to drag multiple documents into that platform and stack them in whatever order you like. There are many other great features. It’s awesome for discovery and organizing exhibits.

Oh, my! Why?

Managing Time: Don’t Let Life Get In the Way

By Kimberly M. Johnson

Last Saturday afternoon, my friend from college called me. Well into our gabfest, she mentioned that she was apprehensive about starting graduate school.

Let me pause for a moment. The last time we were in school, Bon Jovi was the coolest band around and “LA Law” was the No. 1 TV show. My response was positive. Her reaction was still lackluster. I asked her what was wrong. She lamented, “I have too much on my plate; you know, Andre (her husband), the kids, work, stuff like that. What time and space do I have for studying? Maybe I should put this on hold for semester or two.”

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Attention Paralegal Division Members: Scholarship Time Is Here!

The NCBA Paralegal Division provides scholarship awards to two members each year. One is a membership scholarship, and one is a student scholarship.

The Paralegal Division Membership Scholarship package is valued at approximately $800 and provides an award of the following:

  • Paralegal Division membership (2017-2018);
  • Section membership (2017-2018);
  • Registration for the 2018 Paralegal Division Annual Meeting and Seminar;
  • A CLE/CPE passport to attend eligible programs tuition free; and
  • Up to $100 travel expense reimbursement.

The Paralegal Division Student Scholarship provides an award of $500 in tuition paid directly to your educational institution.


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Getting Out Of My Comfort Zone


By Kimberly M. Johnson

My first attempt at leaping into the unknown was when I switched careers from meeting deadlines for one editor to meeting deadlines for an attorney, a clerk and a client. My organizational and writing skills were the pillars that held me steady during my time at the public defender’s office. I learned about criminal law and the inner workings of the courthouse, and the unknown became familiar.

A couple of leaps forward landed me in Raleigh. And soon, the unknown became familiar. That’s why I am planning to attend the Paralegal Division Family Law CPE on March 23 at the Bar Center. I will admit it. The closest I have been to family court is a courtroom observation during my paralegal days. So, this seminar is pretty exciting for me.

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Make a Lasting Impression

By Kimberly M. Johnson

The flashing blue light. That’s what I remember about Mrs. Lake’s third grade class. Show-and-tell was the best part of my week; especially when that sheriff’s deputy gave a bunch of us a sightseeing tour of his patrol car. It made a lasting impression.

Conducting a job shadowing event at your office will provide a lasting impression of our chosen profession in the minds of the millennials and the Justin Bieber crowd.

We have plenty to share with them:

  • Think about it. We create an indelible footprint everyday: handling administrative tasks, sifting through personnel matters, building and maintaining relationships, plus mining through the cloud.
  • Think about it. We acquire blocks of knowledge on a consistent basis: CLEs from the North Carolina Bar Association, specialized certifications, certificates and on-the-job training.
  • Think about it. We are adept at adapting: collaborating with courthouse personnel, figuring it out with the IT support service guy, discussing the next action with a partner and smoothing out the rough spots with a client.
  • Think about it. We use our skills in “pressure cooker” situations: When a paralegal abruptly quits and leaves no instructions or when a computer glitch wipes out a document that you did not save on the F drive and did not have a back-up copy located on a portable thumb drive.

Job shadowing is a picture-perfect way to explain your routine and how it relates to other positions within your firm or company. Consider these tips when you start planning: get buy-in from department leaders, encourage your co-workers to participate and provide a take-home packet or business cards.

We can be the flashing blue light for the next generation.




A Fond Farewell To Allan Head

By Annette Phelps

As 2016 came to a close, there were many things and people for which we could be thankful. Our former Executive Director Allan B. Head is one of those people.

One thing that was probably on most of the NCBA members’ minds as the year ended was the retirement of Mr. Head. He has been one of the Paralegal Division’s biggest supporters.  With all of his many duties over the years he somehow found time to check in on our meetings and engage with the paralegals at various events. Mr. Head always wanted us to know that our division was important to the NCBA and he made sure he let each of us know that any chance he got. When interacting with Mr. Head, he had a way of making you feel like you were the most important person at that moment in time; that is a rare quality and a sign of a true gentleman.

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Give Back Because It Is the Right Thing To Do

By Kimberly M. Johnson

It’s hard, sometimes, to give back to the community. Doubts creep into your mind (and your wallet). “Did he really get those items?” “Is she appreciative?”  “Where is the money going?”  I walked that tightrope a time or two when I donated clothes, penned a check or provided in-kind support. Yet, I continue to walk that tightrope because giving back is the right thing to do.

The right thing to do can be demonstrated in a legal setting. When I worked as a paralegal in a public defender’s office, I designed an internship for undergrads (Social work majors, English majors, math majors) not on the pre-law track, but interested in criminal law. The senior administration, attorneys and professors at the local colleges viewed the concept as a win-win.  It helped that one of the professors was a former Family Court judge.  Paralegals and admin staff pitched in to train the interns to succeed in and out of the courtrooms.

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