Well-known Tennessee Paralegal Andrea Schultz Reflects on a Long and Rewarding Career

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Well-known Tennessee Paralegal Andrea Schultz
Professional Overview

Andrea Schultz, CP, serves as a paralegal at Rice, Amundsen, & Caperton, PLLC, in Tennessee. She joined RAC in 2006 as a paralegal intern and she currently specializes in family law.

From 2006 to 2007, Ms. Schultz served as a board member of the Memphis Paralegal Association (MPA) and as a member of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA). Since 2006, she has been a Memphis Bar Association (MBA) member of the Family Law Section. In 2007, Ms. Schultz served as a committee member of the Access to Justice Committee of the MBA. In 2008, she served as a Greater Memphis Paralegal Alliance (GMPA) Chairman of Community Involvement. Ms. Schultz has served as a member of the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) since 2009. In 2011, she served as a Chairman of CLA/CP Study Group and has since been a member of the Southwest Tennessee Community College Advisory Board; TN Paralegal Association Member; and a member of the American Bar Association. In 2012, Ms. Schultz served as First Vice President of Education of GMPA and has since been a member of the TN Association for Justice. In 2013, she served as President of GMPA. Ms. Schultz is currently a member of GMPA and serves as President-Elect/NALA Liaison.

She has presented the following CLEs: Utilizing Paralegals - February 2009; How Paralegals Really Make the System Work - March 2010; The Empowered Paralegal. Saving Lawyers From Themselves on a Daily Basis - June 2010 and March 2012; Checklist Therapy Webinar - October 5, 2011; and Save a Lawyer Today - The Role of the Paralegal in 2013 - March 18, 2013. Ms. Schultz has also been profiled in NFPA's semi-monthly periodical National Paralegal Reporter and in "The Professional Paralegal" textbook written by Charlsye Diaz Smith and Vicki Voisin.

She was born and raised in Peculiar, Missouri. In 2008, Ms. Schultz earned her Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies from Southwest Tennessee Community College (STCC), where she received the Outstanding Student-Paralegal Studies award for graduating first in her class. Additionally, she was recommended for the academic distinction of induction into the Lex Honor Society. In September 2010, Ms. Schultz earned the distinction of Certified Paralegal. She was also accepted to NALA's Class of 2011-2012 LEAP Program.

Ms. Schultz has been married to her husband, Ken, for seven years. She has two grown children. When Ms. Schultz isn't working, she enjoys reading and relaxing at home. Does she have a favorite restaurant? "I enjoy ethnic restaurants (Italian, Chinese, Mexican, Thai); however, with my recently diagnosed Celiac's disease, I have difficulty finding tasty options that can fit into my diet." Ms. Schultz is currently reading Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch along with her WKNO Book Club. She recently participated in "Ethics by the Book" CLE with Vicki Voisin which included reading Adam Mitzner's A Case of Redemption.

Ms. Schultz's Successful Career

How long has Ms. Schultz been a paralegal at RAC? "I have been working as a paralegal for eight years. I began with RAC in 2006 as a paralegal intern - I never left! Prior to working as a paralegal, I was a stay-at-home mom for several years and then I worked in Children's Ministry with a large church in Memphis."

Why did she decide to become a paralegal? Ms. Schultz replied:
"After 18 years of marriage, I found myself divorced and in need of a 'real' job. As I investigated several options, I found that I continued to come back to the Paralegal Studies program. I believed it would be a perfect fit, and I believe I was correct! As a teen I was asked what I wanted to do with my life; after a moment I responded that I wanted to read and think. Be careful what you wish for, it just may come true!"
What advice would Ms. Schultz give to someone who's brand-new to her position? "Don't be afraid to ask questions! Also - Network! Network! Network! The legal community is a small community. Get involved with a local paralegal association as well as the bar association."

What information does she wish she had when starting out? "Don't be afraid to ask questions! Each office is different. Each attorney is different. You have to learn what works in each unique environment."

What does Ms. Schultz think are the keys to becoming a successful paralegal? "Immerse yourself in the profession; get connected with your local paralegal association, participate in paralegal blogs, and attend a national convention."

What does she think makes the difference between a good paralegal and a great paralegal? Ms. Schultz stated:
"The desire to be a great paralegal. Always strive to be the best darn paralegal you can be - that includes attending CLEs, reading professional magazines and articles. Also, carve out a niche for yourself. Be the 'go-to' person in your office about one topic. If you work in Family Law, as I do, be the 'go-to' person about parental relocation. If you work in litigation, know the rules of civil procedure like the back of your hand. Stay current on any changes in statutes or case law that could affect your attorneys."
What would Ms. Schultz say is the most important thing she learned as a paralegal? "I have learned to ask questions until I completely understand the task."

What is the difference between her and other paralegals doing the same thing that she does? "Taking advantage of opportunities available and making the most of those opportunities. There are several paralegal blogs that ask for paralegal profile submissions; fill those out! Another paralegal blog regularly asks for article submissions; submit an article! Ask to serve on the board of your local paralegal association. It is your career, no one else will grow it for you."

What is the best part of Ms. Schultz's job? "One of my favorite parts of my job is discovery. As a family law paralegal, I get to be a snoop! I get to analyze checkbooks and phone records. It's a blast!"

What's the favorite part of her day as a paralegal? "Starbucks run!"

What is Ms. Schultz known for professionally? "Civil Procedure! I love rules and I am a rule follower, so the Rules of Civil Procedure make me happy! I look forward to getting the proposed changes each year and I like to be the one who advises my attorney of any changes. I believe this strengthens my worth within the firm."

What would she change about her field? "I would like to see state-wide certification in Tennessee that's similar to Texas or North Carolina."

If Ms. Schultz were not in this profession, what would she most probably be doing? "Watching for hummingbirds and reading a book!"

Where does she see herself in five year's time? "I was interested in paralegal blogging and writing as well as becoming involved with the board of National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA); however, I find work really gets in the way of these activities."

Mentoring Paralegals, Volunteer Activities, Accomplishing Tasks and People Who Inspire Ms. Schultz

Does Ms. Schultz consider herself a mentor? "No, I do not; however, when I am approached by a fellow paralegal requesting help or advice, I realize that we ALL have the opportunity to mentor others."

Is she involved in any volunteer activities? "I am involved with my church and participate in Memphis Bar Association volunteer activities."

Ms. Schultz wears many hats. How does she accomplish all of her tasks while working as a paralegal? "My attorneys understand, respect, and encourage my desire to excel in the paralegal field. This support includes allowing time off to speak, prepare articles, and serve within the legal community."

Who inspires her? "Vicki Voisin has inspired, encouraged, and supported me in my short journey. Vicki enjoyed a career as a paralegal and she has turned her love for the profession into an avenue for encouraging and coming alongside other paralegals. Her tagline speaks volumes: "Dedicated to Your Success."

Being Featured in Vicki Voisin's the Paralegal Mentor Blog and Practical Paralegalism and Ms. Schultz's Goals

Ms. Schultz was featured on Vicki Voisin's The Paralegal Mentor blog and Practical Paralegalism. She was also profiled in National Paralegal Reporter as well as in "The Professional Paralegal." How does Ms. Schultz feel to be recognized for her work? "I am grateful for the connections, both personally and professionally, that have allowed me to excel and to be recognized. Additionally, I have co-authored (with Larry Rice) the article, 'Discovery - Knowledge is Power' for the Sept/Oct 2012 NALA magazine 'Facts & Findings' and written the article 'Creating the Perfect Paralegal' for the Memphis Bar Association monthly magazine 'Memphis Lawyer.'"

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