Trial Paralegal Shares Advice About 30+ Years in the Legal Industry

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Rose Walker LLP, a trial law firm based in Dallas, has consistently been ranked among top the trial firms in Texas. With over 30 years of experience handling large complex cases, I had the pleasure of interviewing Trial Paralegal at Rose Walker LLP, Joni Rose, about her background and advice for young professionals getting into the legal industry.

Alicia: Tell us briefly about your background. How did you get into the legal industry?

Joni:  I’ve worked in the legal field since graduating from college in 1985. My first job was as a bailiff for an associate district judge in my hometown of Ardmore, Oklahoma.  Since then, I’ve been with a few firms – all litigation-based.

Alicia: As a Trial Paralegal for Rose Walker LLP, what are your key job responsibilities?

Joni: I’m involved shortly before the case goes to trial – especially with the pre-trial hearing.  So, my focus is typically on handling large complex cases and their exhibit organization, witness logistics, document organization and review, as well as any additional preparations for trial.  At Rose Walker LLP, we handle large complex cases. They all have different facts, situations and issues - there’s never a dull moment. The cases touch on numerous professions, as well as all aspects of life.  I meet interesting people from all types of backgrounds, too.

Alicia: What are the primary challenges you face?

Joni:  These can be numerous, depending on the circumstances.  Venue, complexity of the facts, locations of witnesses, determining responsiveness of documents and evidence, keeping people informed, etc.  There are so many moving parts to a lawsuit; having adequate help/assistance can make a huge difference.  

Alicia:  What technologies are you using to streamline or solve these challenges? What prompted you to select DISCO?  

Joni:  As I've worked with many different databases over the years, there are several factors in selecting a new technology.  I think the primary factor is intuitiveness – is the technology intuitive?  Is it easy to use?  Can it handle all types of digital information? DISCO is intuitive, easy to follow, and your staff is very helpful and responsive. DISCO has given us the ability to be better organized and better prepared.

Alicia: What do you see as future challenges for paralegal professionals?

Joni:  I think the challenges in the future are the same as we’ve had in the past. Will technology progress with us? Will legal education progress as well?

Alicia: For someone interested in being a trial paralegal, what advice would you give them?

Joni: My advice would be to be sure you can handle stress and be sure you’re not looking for a 9-5 job. As a trial paralegal, you’ll never stop learning and you’ll never be bored. And, you’ll get the satisfaction of knowing that you’re assisting someone in their time of need - most folks are petrified of being in trial - whether as a party or an advocate and they’ll need a calm hand to lead them.

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Alicia Brewer