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Anita G. Haworth: President of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations and Senior Litigation Paralegal with Campbell Kyle Proffitt, LLP, Carmel, IN

published November 20, 2006

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( 35 votes, average: 4.9 out of 5)
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<<"I started working there as a part-time file clerk, became the full-time receptionist, then clerk typist, then legal secretary," she said. "When the paralegal position came open, I talked them into giving me the job. It was just the natural progression. That's when everybody did it that way."

Haworth officially became a paralegal in April of 1989 and continued to work at Bayliff Harrigan until 1995, when she joined Campbell Kyle Proffitt in its Carmel office. She said she found the job at Campbell Kyle through the Indiana Paralegal Association's job bank. She is now a senior litigation paralegal at the firm.

Haworth discussed the areas of law in which she works:

"I do some asbestos and some family law," she said. "We do some civil law as far as contracts or contract litigation; it's all litigation, some criminal work, and some personal injury."

Haworth works for two attorneys at the firm: Senior Partner John D. Profitt and William E. Wendling, Jr., also Senior Partner.

"John is semi-retired and does mainly family law," she said. "Bill keeps me busy full-time with the other types of cases and some family law [...]. I do quite a bit of document management for Bill's cases and assist with the technology issues in the firm."

Haworth said she performs a variety of tasks at her job and that each day is different.

"On a day-to-day basis, I could be doing anything," she explained. "I could be interviewing a witness, I could be drafting discovery or responding to a complaint—really just about anything," she explained. "I have drafted a few [discoveries], mainly in asbestos cases, motions for summary judgment, and, occasionally, I get to do a little bit of legal research. But mostly the attorneys do that or the law clerk [does]. I do a lot of information gathering or investigative types of things, too."

Haworth said that she also works with litigation support vendors, drafts complaints, and prepares for mediations, among other sundry duties.

"I am also a member of the disaster recovery committee," she added. "And we are considering case management and document management software."

She said what she enjoys most about her job is the "variety and challenge of the work," as well as the "great attorneys and paralegals that [she works] with." Haworth added that her colleagues are "highly respected in the community and just really have a lot of integrity."

Haworth said that some of the most difficult challenges of her job are "managing the workload, stress, and dealing with emotional clients."

In addition to her heavy workload at Campbell Kyle, Haworth spends a lot of time involved in paralegal association work. She's the current President of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), a member of the Indiana Paralegal Association, and an advisory board member for Ivy Tech State College. Furthermore, she was just appointed to the Thomas Edison Paralegal Program Advisory Board and is a paralegal member of the Indiana State Bar Association.

Haworth said one of her duties as President of NFPA is overseeing its national magazine, the National Paralegal Reporter, which is published bimonthly.

"I work with the editor and the publisher, and I have a committee," she said. "We call it an editorial committee, so they help me come up with ideas for articles and things like that."

Haworth discussed some of her other duties as President:

"I'm responsible for all NFPA contracts, oversee all aspects of NFPA, and liaison with other legal entities," she said. "I am co-chair of NFPA's upcoming Technology Institute, July 19th through 20th, 2007, in Pittsburgh, PA (at the Omni William Penn). We are very excited about this event—it will be great! I am also responsible for the agenda for and presiding over the NFPA Annual Meeting. Our next Annual Meeting is scheduled for October 18th through 22nd, 2007, in Tampa, FL (at the Hyatt Regency)."

She added that she's also responsible for NFPA's newsletter, which comes out each month that its national magazine does not.

"So one month I'm writing for the Reporter, and the next month, I'm writing for the [newsletter]," she said.

When asked how she manages to work full-time as a paralegal and also tend to all her responsibilities as President of NFPA, Haworth laughed as she gave the following answer:

"It's pretty tricky. Both are full-time jobs, that's for sure."

Haworth attended the University of Evansville in Evansville, IN, right after high school. At the university, she studied criminal justice and was also in the Air Force ROTC. However, her father got sick, and she had to leave school. She later attended Indiana University, Kokomo, taking engineering and computer classes, but got married and left college again.

Haworth obtained her paralegal certificate in 1991. And in 1997, she took the Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam and became a registered paralegal. She returned to Indiana University, Kokomo, in 1999 to complete her bachelor's degree. She graduated with honors in 2004 with a B.S. in Criminal Justice with a minor in Psychology.

Haworth had the following advice for paralegal students:

"Get a good paralegal education—four years is better—or a bachelor's in a related area with a paralegal certificate," she said. "Good grammar, spelling, and the ability to write are essential. Get involved in a paralegal association. Do an internship. Becoming a paralegal is not the path to becoming an attorney. Going in with that opinion is the wrong idea, and it's offensive to the dedicated paralegal. Although I've known paralegals that went to law school, that is pretty much a rarity. Most paralegals are professionals, and this is not just a job."

Haworth has worked on two murder trials, which she said were highlights of her career.

"The second one taught me how vulnerable and damaged defendants can be," she said. "And you can then understand—not agree with—how the individual came to do what they did."

Haworth added that some other memorable moments of her career involved "two very large cases that were document-heavy."

"I learned how very valuable the new technology can be," she said.

Haworth said the biggest highlight of her career was working with legal aid and helping a couple who couldn't read.

"I will never forget going to a legal aid interview to find out that the husband had a third-grade education and the wife had a seventh-grade education," she said. "Neither of them could read, and they had received an eviction notice and did not know what to do. It was so wonderful to be able to help them."

Haworth said she believes that one of the most important issues facing the legal community today is providing quality legal services to the poor and middle classes.

"Many people simply cannot afford to hire attorneys," she commented. "Paralegals can make the difference in helping people get representation because of the work that paralegals can do."

She added that she believes "paralegals need to be regulated, and there should be minimum standards for entry into the profession."

Haworth said her life and work experiences were beneficial in helping her prepare to become a paralegal.

"In high school, I wanted to be a police officer and have always wanted to work with and help people," she said. "I think my experiences taught me how to work with people and recognize problems. I was divorced many years ago, so I have that in common with our family law clients. My parents gave me a good, solid, Midwestern upbringing. They taught me respect for the law, were loving and supportive, and instilled in me a strong love for God."

Haworth has been married to her husband for the past 21 years and has two stepsons and six grandchildren. She said she really enjoys archery and target shooting, as well as crocheting, sewing, gardening, and spending time with her family. In addition, she and her husband enjoy reenacting the French and Indian War, traveling, and going camping together.

Haworth said her goal for the future is to one day get her master's degree and teach a paralegal course.

published November 20, 2006

( 35 votes, average: 4.9 out of 5)
What do you think about this article? Rate it using the stars above and let us know what you think in the comments below.