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Kristy Crocker Turner serves as a legal assistant in the law office of Tekell & Atkins, LLP. She also serves as an instructor at McLennan Community College. Turner also works as an adjunct and she shares her knowledge of legal research and litigation with students in the paralegal program. Over the years, she has achieved several professional certifications. She is Texas Specialty Certified in both Civil Litigation and Real Estate from the Texas Institute for Specialty Certification. She is also a certified Professional Paralegal from the National Association of Legal Secretaries. The Texas Association of Legal Professionals (ALP) named Ms. Turner the Legal Professional of the Year (2009-2010).
She was born and raised in Waco, TX. While working as a receptionist and legal secretary at the law firm of Sleeper Johnston, Helm & Quebe, P.C., Turner pursued her Associate's Degree in Applied Science at McLennan Community College and graduated from the paralegal program. She went on to earn her B.A. in criminology and criminal justice from the University of Texas at Arlington.
Ms. Turner resides with her husband, Mark, in Robinson, TX. She has three daughters, Kirsten, 20; Karoline, 12; and Kori, 5. Ms. Turner is a frequent visitor of Waco's Chuy's Mexican Restaurant. When asked about her hobbies and interests outside of work, she replied, "My daughters show goats through FFA, so much of my free time is spent helping care for the animals. When not helping animals, I find ways to volunteer my time for our local FFA Alumni Association. I believe in giving back to the association that gave me so many opportunities."
Turner's Successful Career
Why did Ms.Turner decide to become a paralegal? "I found myself recently divorced and had a young child to support. I had to find a way to support us without having to struggle so much and the legal field was the only field that paid enough to accomplish that goal."
What does she specialize in? "I am specialty certified in Real Estate and Texas Civil Litigation. I worked for a real estate attorney for 15 years so it was natural that I seek a specialty certification in that area. The Texas Civil Litigation specialty was just a way for me to be more marketable and further my education."
What advice does she give to someone who's brand-new to her position? "Do not be intimidated. Jump in with both feet and learn at every opportunity."
What information does Ms.Turner wish she had when she was starting out? "To not take things personally."
What does Ms.Turner think makes the difference between a good paralegal and a great paralegal? "A good paralegal makes a mistake and corrects the problem. A great paralegal makes a mistake and learns from it and never makes that mistake again."
What's one of the things that she finds most challenging about her job? "Procrastination! Procrastinators frustrate me."
What would Ms.Turner say is the most important thing she has learned as a paralegal? "To not judge too quickly."
What is the difference between her and other paralegals doing the same thing that she does? "Being a paralegal is a profession, not just a job!"
What is the best part of Ms.Turner's job? "The satisfaction of knowing I am helping others and truly making a difference in someone's life."
What is her favorite part of her day as a paralegal? Ms.Turner jokingly said, "I am human, so going home at 5:00."
What is she known for professionally? "I always speak my mind which is not always a good thing. If you want an honest opinion on something, I'm your go-to person."
What does Ms. Turner think about the paralegal field in Texas today? What would she change about her field? "There is less of a demand for paralegals today than there was 20 years ago. Attorneys are learning how to operate office machines during law school and see less of a need for paralegal services. I would definitely like to see paralegals being treated more as professionals as opposed to just mediocre office staff."
If Turner was not in this profession, what would she most probably be doing? "I'd most definitely be involved in agriculture - probably a goat farmer."
Where does she see herself in five years time? "I like stability, so probably right where I am today. Working for my attorneys and still teaching adjunct at MCC."
Does Ms.Turner consider herself a mentor? "Not really. Some of my students say I am, but I just see myself as someone trying to pass along what I learned (the hard way) to prevent future paralegals from having to learn the hard lesson too."
What motivates her to be a paralegal everyday? "Knowing I'm making a difference in our clients' lives."
Teaching at McLennan Community College, Volunteer Activities and People Who Inspire Ms. Turner
Ms. Turneris an instructor at McLennan Community College. What motivates her to teach? "Teaching provides me an opportunity to give back and ensure the future of paralegals is well educated and perform any task presented to him/her."
Is she involved in any volunteer activities? "Yes, FFA Alumni Association, 4-H, Waco Legal Professionals Association and many other school related volunteer opportunities."
Who inspires Ms. Turner? "Mary Teague, Mary Bullard, Olivia Johnson and Donna Dendy. Each of these ladies are dedicated to the profession and were not afraid to teach me how to follow their lead. In addition, they are great friends to have in your corner!"
Being Praised by Linda Gassaway, Winning the Legal Professional of the Year and Ms. Turner's Goals
Linda Gassaway, MCC's paralegal program director said, "Whenever Kristy Turner's name is mentioned, the word 'excellence' immediately comes to mind. Whether as a student or instructor in our paralegal program, Kristy has consistently pursued and achieved excellence. As a graduate now teaching in our program, she is an automatic testimonial to our students of achievable goals."
How does it feel to be praised by Ms. Gassaway? "Linda Gassaway was my teacher while I was obtaining my associates degree and then she became my supervisor when I began teaching at McLennan Community College. It meant the world to me to hear her praises."
Ms. Turner was named the Legal Professional of the Year by the Texas Association of Legal Professionals (2009-2010). How does she feel about winning this award? "This award is very special to me and the one that I hold close to my heart."
Ms. Turner has accomplished a lot in her career. What's next for her? "I'm going back to obtain an additional bachelor's degree in accounting. As I've said before, you can never learn too much and you should never quit learning."
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