Ally Harrell, many have seen her name or spoken to her on the phone, but what is her role at Smolen Law? Besides being one of the hardest working individuals I have ever been around- Ally ensures deadlines are met, e-mails are answered (she gets a lot of e-mails), our lawyers are assisted, and client questions are answered. She’s intelligent, dedicated, and determined.
Here’s my interview with our Litigation Paralegal…
How did you come to work for Smolen Law?
I have been a Legal Assistant/Paralegal for 10 years now. I worked in family law before starting my position here at Smolen Law. I needed a change of pace and applied through the paralegal program at TTC when I was enrolled. Next thing I knew, I was called for an interview and then was hired!
What kind of paralegal are you and what does your job entail?
I am a Litigation Paralegal for the firm. I handle and oversee all cases that are in litigation (medical malpractice, motor vehicle accidents, insurance bad faith, to name a few). Without going into too much detail, my job entails scheduling appointments and depositions, keeping track of all upcoming deadlines, drafting of simple pleadings, discovery, and communicating with clients that are in litigation. Also, I prepare all cases for settlement and help with drafting settlement paperwork.
Do you find different aspects of your job more challenging than others?
Working in the legal field in general is very challenging. In civil litigation, everything runs on deadlines. Keeping up with the upcoming deadlines and making sure everything gets complete by then can be challenging. It is very rewarding when you can mark a deadline off your list!
What is a typical day like for you?
It is hard to say what a typical day is like for me, just because it is always so different. Usually it involves LOTS and LOTS of e-mails, communicating with the attorneys and clients, and preparing pleadings (including discovery) for filing and/or mailing. I also keep a lengthy list of “to-dos” and go through them once a day. It’s a good day when I can check off at least five tasks.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I love how busy our firm is. I thrive off of it! I also love the fact that I can use my organizational skills and put them to use here. A very important part of being a Paralegal is having exceptional organizational skills. That is definitely one of my strong suits.
I also love helping clients with their cases and being able to tell them what legal terms mean. I came from a spa/beauty background (I am a licensed Esthetician. Weird, right?) and I didn’t know anything about the legal system or the vocabulary it uses. So, I think I can relate to clients that don’t understand legal jargon by helping put those hard legal terms into layman’s terms. It makes them feel at ease when someone can tell them in a simple way what is happening in their case, and what will happen next. Communication is key at a law firm and I hope I help with that!
I can confirm, organization and communication are two of Ally’s strong suits, and her attention to detail is impressive. Now, come the more personal questions (I love this part)!
How do you spend your weekends?
Our weekends are usually pretty busy. I have a husband (of 7 years) and an almost 4-year-old son. It’s constant movement in our house. When we aren’t home, we are usually hanging out with friends and family. Of course, like any typical woman, I love to shop on the weekends as well.
Do you have any hobbies?
I think of a hobby as something that is satisfying to yourself. I love doing make-up for weddings! And this might seem odd, but I also consider keeping things organized, a hobby I enjoy. At home and at work. Organization keeps me sane, which in turn, is satisfying!
What kind of music do you listen to? Any favorite bands?
I really like to listen to a lot of different music. I mostly love 90’s alternative, classic rock, and classic country. My all-time favorite band is the Eagles.
You have two options: bungee jumping or parasailing, which would you choose and why?
I am deathly afraid of heights but probably more scared of the open ocean/sea. I would have to pick bungee jumping for this reason, although I wouldn’t be happy about it.
Who has influenced you the most? Explain.
Not to get too personal, but a lot of my family members in my life have influenced me in some way or another. I have learned how not to be as well as the person I want to be, and strive to become. I think having negative influences in your life can really help you determine how you handle situations, and obstacles in your life. Because of those influences, I have become a better person mentally and physically.
Another Q&A complete! Thank you Ally for your time and patience. I know I speak for the entire Smolen Law team when I say, your hard work is valued and appreciated; thank you for all you do!