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Nycol Morrisey: Paralegal at Greenberg Traurig, LLP, in New York, NY

published May 14, 2007

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( 60 votes, average: 5 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.
<<These are the words of Nycol Morrisey, a seasoned paralegal at Greenberg Traurig, LLP's New York office. There, she has flourished in several areas of law.

"I don't understand why blacks/African-Americans are still a minority when the world has over 5,000 ethnic groups and 600 language groups," Morrisey continued. "I don't understand why we have 'minority rights' and 'human rights' instead of 'individual rights.'"

In 2000, Morrisey was hired as an experienced trial paralegal to assist two shareholders in the litigation department. Since then, she has acquired knowledge in various areas of law, such as litigation, corporate law, intellectual property (including patent and trademark law), and labor and employment. While at Greenberg Traurig, she has been entrusted with the supervision, training, and mentoring of junior paralegals.

"In the litigation department, I worked with teams in preparing cases for state and federal trials. During trial preparations, I prepared witness binders, subpoenas, trial exhibit binders of all parties, and deposition digests. I also arranged voluminous motions and briefs with over 100 exhibits."

Morrisey's successful review of 120 banker boxes of discovery material motivated attorneys at the firm to assign her to an international corporate and bankruptcy case.

"I trained and supervised a team of 10 junior paralegals while organizing and managing an electronic database that would eventually contain copies of all the materials from the 120 boxes," said Morrisey.

Because of her passion and extensive knowledge of trial work, Morrisey was awarded the opportunity to join the best intellectual property team at Greenberg Traurig. Her assignments ranged from tracing patent trademarks to conducting preliminary investigations at stores that sold their client's product. The team was ready for trial after her many long hours of work.

After acquiring extensive knowledge on the trademark side of intellectual property, Morrisey was asked to join the New Jersey team to handle a case involving patent infringement within multiple states.

"I compared and analyzed patents from several countries regarding the same product and specifications. I also updated and maintained an electronic database that hosted 20 state and federal cases involving one client and its patent disputes with other international and national matters," said Morrisey.

"My current energy and time is devoted to the labor and employment (L&E) department, where I work closely with 12 attorneys. I not only have a professional relationship with my attorneys but also a personal bond. The personal bond has made me willing and able to do almost anything to make the L&E team a success. I am a 'jack of all trades'; I multitask to get any and everything for this growing department. I have worn the hat of several professions in this department, including a paralegal, secretary, and marketer."

<<Morrisey said that while she enjoys the challenges of working in multiple departments, areas of law, and locations, one of her most difficult challenges is getting attorneys and clients to adjust to the use of electronic filing rather than paper filing.

"It would be great to have an entire case (paper files) placed in an electronic database, and when the client and/or attorney want/need a document, they would be a click away instead of getting a paper cut," said Morrisey.

Some of the emotional highlights of her career include winning employee of the month, being nominated for employee of the year, and changing job/position titles. She has been a source of advice for junior paralegals and attorneys in more than one way, and judges have told her attorneys that she is very valuable to the trial team.

According to Morrisey, her education gave her the fundamental tools she needed to do her job, but she had to learn how and when to use them.

"My work experience and personal life was and is the best education in facilitating my paralegal duties," said Morrisey. "I'm like a sponge...I learn every day from attorneys, secretaries, and even the maintenance staff. I often step back and present more general solutions to complete a task. Every day, I ask [about] and suggest new ideas and procedures. I'm often called the 'suggestion queen.'"

<<Two significant influences in her life are her father and her aunt, who have always allowed her to make her own educational decisions.

"They have supported me 100% and picked me up when I fell and didn't want to finish. The nucleolus and extended love and support gave me strength to believe that I was capable of doing and completing anything!" she said.

And what is her advice for students who are preparing to become paralegals?

"The laws change and affect everyone every day. Don't choose to become a paralegal for a's not just a job. A person interested in becoming a paralegal should be—or must be—willing to become very well organized, a multitasker, expedient yet thorough with assignments, a good communicator [and] writer, willing to learn every day from the old and young, and, most importantly, be a present/future mentor."

Q. What do you do for fun?
A. Weekend trips with the girls, distance running, indoor rock climbing, cooking for friends and family, shoe shopping, playing with my nieces and nephews, taking pictures, and working on home projects.
Q. What CD was most recently in your CD player?
A. John Legend, Once Again.
Q. What's the last magazine you read?
A. Kitchen and Bath Ideas (a Better Homes and Gardens special publication).
Q. What is your favorite TV show?
A. CSI Miami, 24, and Law & Order.
Q. Who is your role model?
A. Any woman pushing the envelope in the "man's world" but still doing what she loves to better humanity (including herself).

Morrisey is an alumna of Fairleigh Dickinson University, from which she graduated with a bachelor's degree in sociology with a minor in criminal law. She continued at Fairleigh Dickinson University, enrolling in a paralegal program and receiving an American Bar Association-approved Paralegal Certificate. She has been active with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Legal Assistants Association of New Jersey, USA Track & Field, and the Road Runners Club of America.

published May 14, 2007

( 60 votes, average: 5 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.