Judy Kruger owns and manages Kruger Paralegal Services, which is based in Anchorage, AK. She is a certified paralegal who specializes in family law, including child support issues, visitation, dissolution, divorce, and general civil litigation. Judy also specializes in Alaska Supreme Court appeals and serves in administrative support as a child support expert. Prior to founding her company, Judy served as a legal secretary for several attorneys for many years. She has more than thirty-five years' experience as a legal staff member, and she has been devoted to successfully running her business in Alaska since 2004. She offers paralegal services to attorneys and laypersons alike.
Judy was born in Oregon, but has resided in Alaska since 1954. She has been married to her husband, Chris, for twenty-nine years. The couple has three children and five grandchildren. Judy graduated with her associate degree from the University of Alaska. She also earned her paralegal certificate from the University of Alaska.
When the paralegal isn't working, she enjoys sewing and scrapbooking. Judy is a frequent visitor of the Lone Star Steakhouse and the Olive Garden in Anchorage, AK.
Judy's Successful Business and Tips for Paralegals
Why did Judy decide to become a paralegal? "I worked as a legal secretary for many years. I didn't like one of the attorneys I worked for, so I decided to go back to college and I started my own business in January, 2004."
When asked if she transitioned into law, Judy said, "I fell into it in 1984. I worked for the state [Alaska] for seven years before they abolished the Alaska Transportation Commission and terminated its employees. I then found a temporary job as a legal secretary. I liked the position and I stayed for three years. I moved on to other legal secretary jobs for several years before I went back to school."
What is the best part about her job? "Winning. I love winning and helping my clients win." Judy explained that one of her cases involved a couple who were divorcing and the father had the five children for weeks and denied visitation to the mother. Judy helped the mother obtain custody of the children after she had the children for a weekend and had the five-year-old daughter drug-tested, which came back positive for methamphetamines (at a high level). Judy assisted the mother to obtain custody and the father only received limited visitation outside of his home. Without Judy's assistance, the indigent mother may not have been able to adequately address the court to obtain custody and bring the dangers to the children to the court's attention. Judy claimed, "Somebody has to help these children and families. I don't charge much. I charge $75.00 an hour with a retainer to individuals who can't afford an attorney. I haven't increased my rates and I do work with individuals who have financial troubles."
Why does Judy appreciate working for herself? She discussed the flexibility of her schedule. "I have the freedom to choose my cases and I can take time off when I want to. However, I hate administrative work."
What is the paralegal known for professionally? "I have a good reputation. Judges send my clients back to me and they say I did a good job on their paperwork for their divorces. I like to hear back from individuals."
Judy gave her opinion about the paralegal field in Alaska
. "It should be regulated. It's not that I like [political] regulations, but they should regulate being a paralegal. Otherwise, anybody can say they are a paralegal. They should be certified so they know what they are doing. The University of Alaska trains you through mock trials with an attorney present. All paralegals should be educated, certified, and should have experience."
Since Judy has been running her business since 2004, many readers may be wondering what advice she has for new and recent paralegals. She advised, "Work at a lower level, so you know the ins and outs of the court system before you move on in law. Start working as a legal secretary and learn from the seasoned attorneys. You can learn about the procedure of the law from attorneys by listening to their conversations with their clients."
What advice would the businesswoman give to students who want to become a paralegal? "If they are planning to become an attorney, they should first start out working as a legal secretary or paralegal. They are more inclined to remember what they are studying."
Where does Judy see herself in five years? "I will be retired. I don't think I will be one hundred percent retired. I will be semi-retired. I don't have to work 24/7 out of my office. I plan to work at my home office."
If Judy weren't a legal staff member, what would she be doing? "I would be a first grade school teacher."
What motivates her to be a paralegal everyday? Judy jokingly stated, "I have to take my vitamins. Seriously, I just had my sixtieth birthday. She added, "Sometimes I get caught in a case and I can't let it go."
Mentoring Others, Volunteer Activities, a Rewarding Position and Judy's Goals
Is Judy a mentor? "I am currently mentoring a paralegal who works with me. She is very good with research and she helps me with my cases."
Does Judy have any volunteer activities? "I donate my money to various charities."
Is there a downside to her position? "When a client doesn't like my work, I tell him/her to see an attorney. They usually don't because of the attorney's fees, but ninety-eight percent of my clients like my work."
Why does Judy find her position rewarding? "Because everybody likes to win. I like to win like everyone else. I like to see the children and families win and move on. That is what's rewarding. Children don't want to see a nasty courtroom divorce. They don't want to see their parents fight over them."
Does she have goals? "Professionally, I would like to win every case I can or come out with a positive result. Personally, I would like to mentor high school children who are interested in learning about the law. Some schools provide training programs on site, but I would like to train them at my office."
*** Judy Kruger is not an attorney and can't give legal advice. She does not attend hearings on behalf of clients, nor can she sign their documents.***
I loved using LawCrossing both for job search and hiring purposes. I congratulate the team on a job well-done!
LawCrossing Fact #235: You can network with peers across the state and the nation.