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Allen F. Mihecoby: Paralegal, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Company, Fort Worth, TX

published October 23, 2006

( 51 votes, average: 4.9 out of 5)

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Mihecoby lives in Dallas, TX, and makes a daily commute to Fort Worth. "I am employed as the Manager, Corporate Secretary, and Compliance Support by Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway Company—one of the largest publicly traded railroads in the United States. In this role, I am primarily responsible for supporting the corporate secretary function for the company," said Mihecoby.

Typical duties for Mihecoby include drafting and preparing SEC and corporate filings, coordinating board and committee logistics, and meeting preparation. Additionally, he assists with a variety of transactions, corporate acquisitions, and debt offerings. "Lately, I am performing more duties in the compliance arena, ensuring that my employer is meeting the obligations it set for itself and those obligations set by the government," said Mihecoby.


A paralegal since 1994, most of Mihecoby's career has been spent in corporate/securities and transactional work, with the last half of his tenure being in-house. He found his current position by networking with a local association and its members.

According to Mihecoby, there isn't much about his job that he doesn't like. "As with most legal positions, I am on a path of continual learning. With the rapid changes in the law, I learn something new or different everyday. I enjoy the many challenges that rise during the day and finding solutions to them. I am a member of a really great legal support team to a group of fantastic attorneys," said Mihecoby.

Mihecoby says the biggest challenge for him is that he's the type of person who likes to do it all. "In the legal field, one could work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. I often find it difficult to decide which tasks I wish to do myself and which I should relinquish to outside counsel. There are so many fun and exciting opportunities," said Mihecoby.

Some of the high points of Mihecoby's career include being elected to office for several paralegal associations and being named Legal Assistant Today's Runner Up in 2004. "I am very excited when one of the paralegal students who interned with my company or whom I have mentored lands his or her first job," said Mihecoby. He also enjoys hearing feedback from participants of CLE events he has spoken at or organized. It's great to hear that "they found the information very useful or that a shortcut we discussed helped them in their job," he said.

When asked what he considers to be some of the most important issues facing the law community today, Mihecoby said that he is concerned that the legal field's ability to act like a check to the other two branches of government is being eroded. "Our founding fathers saw the importance of having an impartial judicial system to prevent abuses by the other branches. In recent years, we've see partisan politics injected into the judicial system—from both sides of the aisle."

"There's a reason that justice is supposed to be blind—including a judicial system that has no regard for democrat, republican, independent, or what have you. Both of the major parties have picked up the misnomer of 'activist judges' for any judge who does not rule in its favor. The role of judges is to interpret the law, the same law that the legislature drafted and approved."

Mihecoby said the greatest challenge facing the paralegal profession is apathy by its members. "In discussions with paralegal associations across the nation it seems that there is a big problem in recruiting and retaining board members. I am very concerned about this trend to apathy," said Mihecoby. "We see a handful of leaders consistently rising to the challenge—I am hoping to see a surge of new blood into the leadership ranks. Now is the perfect time for it, before the more experienced leaders fulfill their commitments and move on."

"This is one of the greatest professions that one could ever choose," said Mihecoby. His advice to paralegal students is to find a mentor in the area of law that they wish to work in. "Your mentor should be someone with some substantial level of experience and who can assist you with tricks of the trade. A solid educational background and a love of learning are requisites to be a successful paralegal. If you want to be one of the paralegals pushing a $100,000 annual salary; be ready to make the necessary sacrifices to get to that level. And once you become a paralegal, don't forget to give back to the profession."

In his free time, Mihecoby says he does just that by doing pro bono work. He also enjoys public speaking on continuing legal education topics, writing articles, and playing volleyball.
( 51 votes, average: 4.9 out of 5)
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