From scheduling to organizing to interacting with clients, there’s no end to the ways paralegals contribute to every law firm.
In celebration of National Paralegal Day (Oct. 23), and as part of our annual Season of Giving, Smokeball asked our legal community to nominate their favorite paralegal.
And boy, did they deliver. We received more than 300 nominations from legal professionals around the country, sharing the awesome ways their colleagues go above and beyond every day. From among those 326 people, we selected 10 winners to be honored as Smokeball’s Best Paralegals of 2022. Here they are:
Smokeball Paralegal Day Winners
Law Offices of David L. Moffitt & Associates, PLLC, Bingham Farms, Mich.
“His exemplary brief writing, his impeccable knowledge of the law, and his overall confident demeanor caused our lead attorney to immediately promote [Patrick] as his firm’s chief of legal staff and chief paralegal of the firm,” says nominating attorney David Moffitt. “Patrick Kinney still holds that position to this day.” Patrick’s top-tier brief writing has gained some major victories for the firm, including the winning Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in the case of Upshaw v Stephenson, E.D. Mich. No. 20-12560. David deeply respects Patrick and the legal brilliance he brings to the table, and the entire firm is incredibly proud of his work.
Law Offices of Andrew J. Goldberg PC, Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
Mindy Liebman draws on her skills as a former practicing attorney in Canada to create strategy and advise clients, says nominating attorney Andrew Goldberg. Her client service skills create trust and underscore the firm’s professionalism. And “if it is a slow day (though unusual) she will just find ways to add value to our practice by working on Smokeball form automations, our marketing, etc.,” Andrew says.
Pillsbury Law Firm, Greenville, S.C.
Tiffany Davenport has been the right hand of nominating attorney Rodney Pillsbury for nearly 20 years. As former president and board member of the South Carolina Upstate Paralegal Association, Tiffany developing the organization into a thriving local resource. She was responsible for bringing Smokeball to her firm, streamlining billing processes and handling an impressive workload. Tiffany also continued her workload even after her husband was severely wounded while serving as a Green Beret in Afghanistan . “I would not be remotely as successful as I am now without Tiffany’s dedication and perseverance,” Rodney says.
The Wiegand Law Firm, San Antonio, Texas
Amy Lopez is a remarkable asset to The Wiegand Law Firm as both a solo law practice and a business, says attorney Mark Wiegand, who submitted her nomination. “She manages multiple roles with intelligence, deep legal skills and knowledge of civil procedure in multiple disciplines,” he says. Amy serves as The Wiegand Law Firm’s primary business manager and “is a wonderful person — cheerful, competent and an astute problem-solver.”
The Prinz Law Firm PC, Chicago
Christina Martinez’s dedication and desire for growth earned her a promotion to paralegal supervisor after just one year with the Prinz Law Firm, says nominator and outgoing paralegal supervisor Matthew Tedeschi. Chris has built on her years of traditional paralegal experience by learning to draft demand letters, complaints, and motions, as well as the ins and outs of a new practice area, employment law. “Chris is a one-of-a-kind paralegal,” Matthew says. “Any firm would be lucky to have her! But we’re not letting her go anytime soon…”
Kevin Hickey Law Partners, Fort Smith, Ark.
When Michell Mizell began working with nominating attorney Brad Hall, she had worked in the legal field nearly as long as he had been alive. That depth of experience makes Michell an invaluable asset to the firm, especially during a period of turnover. “The office literally would not have been able to continue to operate without her,” Hall says. Additionally, Michell helps her daughter raise three children. “Just as she does in her profession, it is clear she goes above and beyond for her family,” Hall says.
Bassett Murray Law, Ann Arbor, Mich.
Kim possesses an unmatched wealth of knowledge of Medicaid and VA benefits, says nominator and fellow paralegal Rosanna Nappi, “but it is her care and kindness that truly sets her apart.” Kim builds personal connections with clients who are often vulnerable, frustrated, and afraid for their futures. “She helps them to retain their dignity and autonomy in challenging situations — a rare quality in a person, and an unparalleled ability for a paralegal,” Rosanna says.
Huegli Fraser PC, Portland, Ore.
Attorney James Huegli hired Lisa Ross right out of high school, and in the 47 years since, she’s blazed a trail in the Oregon legal community. Lisa was Oregon’s first certified paralegal and has worked with James for more than 200 jury trials. “I will be forever indebted to Lisa Ross for my success as a trial lawyer,” James says. “Without her skill, kindness, love for the law, judgment and exceptional work ethic, I would have been lost as a young lawyer and even more so in the twilight of my career.”
Jason M. Varsch
Law Offices of Tracy N. Firicano, Boston
“Jason runs the office like a silent but well-oiled machine,” says nominating attorney Tracy Firicano. “To say it would not be the same without him would be a vast understatement.” Jason introduced the firm to Smokeball, organizing their files and streamlining client communications so he can work on substantive legal research projects. “We now save space, paper and time, and I can easily access file materials while in court for more effective presentation,” Tracy says.
James J Gay Law, LLC, Chicago
When nominating attorney James Gay’s wife was diagnosed with cancer, Liz Villagran kept the firm moving. “She supported our staff and my associate attorney and went above and beyond her job duties to make sure our office ran smoothly while I was away,” James says. “My firm likely would have closed if it were not for the efforts of Liz.” Clients remained happy, and opposing attorneys were well-informed.