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Toya J. Walker serves as the compliance, labor and employment, and senior litigation paralegal at Sabre Corporation. She also serves as the senior litigation paralegal at Counsel On Call, where she was recently described as an ambassador for her exceptional work. Additionally, Ms. Walker serves as an adjunct paralegal instructor for Southern Methodist University. She is also a former adjunct paralegal instructor for Kaplan College and Everest College.
Prior to working at Sabre Corporation, Ms. Walker served as a litigation paralegal for White & Wiggins, LLP, and Chamblee, Ryan, Kershaw, and Anderson, P.C. She also served as a litigation paralegal for Allen Stewart, P.C. Ms. Walker served as a paralegal for the Law Offices of Dean Malone, P.C., Lee & Braziel, LLP, and was a legal assistant for Kaeske Law Firm. She also served as a paralegal intern for the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and had the opportunity to serve the Louisiana Governor's Office as a Law Clerk and Assistant to the Assistant Chief of Staff.
Ms. Walker volunteers at the African-American Museum of Dallas. She also volunteers at the legal clinics hosted by the J.L. Turner Legal Association, Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program, and Legal Aid of Northwest Texas. She is a member of the Dallas Chapter of the Southern University Alumni Federation, State Bar of Texas Paralegal Division, National Association of Legal Assistants and Paralegals (NALA), Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and is a member of the Paralegal Section of the J.L. Turner Legal Association. Ms. Walker also serves as an Advisory Board Member of Kaplan College and is a former advisory board member at Everest College.
Over the years, Ms. Walker has been awarded with several distinctions. She is the recipient of the 2010 JL Turner Legal Association Paralegal Section Outstanding Paralegal Award. Ms. Walker earned the 2011 Frederick Barrow Paralegal Award and was the 2012 Honoree of Who's Who in Black Dallas (Inaugural Edition). She was featured in NALA Facts and Findings and was recognized in the Texas Paralegal Journal for earning her PD Member Awards. She was also recognized for her year of service on the Board of Directors for the State Bar of Texas Paralegal Division. In addition, Ms. Walker was the 2013 J.L. Turner Legal Association Foundation's 61st Annual Scholarship and Awards Gala Co-Chair and is the recipient of the 2014 NALA Affiliates Award.
Ms. Walker was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In 2001, she relocated to Dallas, Texas to continue her legal education and pursue a career as a paralegal. Ms. Walker graduated cum laude from Southern University with a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science in 1998. She then completed one year of legal studies towards a Juris Doctorate at Southern University Law Center from 1999 to 2000. Ms. Walker also received her Paralegal Certificate (approved by the American Bar Association) from Southeastern Paralegal Institute (now known as Kaplan College) in 2002.
When she isn't working, Ms. Walker enjoys mentoring, volunteering, and raising her wonderful son, Korbin. Her favorite books include Darwin Payne's Quest for Justice and T.D. Jakes' Transformational Instinct.
Ms. Walker's Successful Career
Why did Ms. Walker decide to specialize in compliance, labor and employment, and litigation? She explained:
"I decided to specialize in the areas of compliance, labor and employment, and litigation because it comes natural and easy for me because I'm very passionate about laws and processes surrounding human rights. I believe my paralegal internship experience at the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission-Dallas Office had a lot of influence in the labor and employment specialty area as well. I had the opportunity to attend trial in Federal Court on the first day of my internship! I was truly amazed by the awesome trial performance that the EEOC legal team presented to the jury on behalf of the Plaintiffs in this particular suit. This phenomenal victory which resulted in favor of the Plaintiffs was led by Ronetta Francis (former Attorney at U.S. EEOC-Dallas Office and now Vice President, Employment and Compliance at Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.)."
Why did she decide to become a paralegal? "I decided to become a Paralegal because it was less expensive than law school, the salary for paralegals is great, and I love helping people. I figured I would be able to accomplish all three by becoming a paralegal."
What advice would Ms. Walker give to someone who's brand-new to her position? "I would advise them to look at every challenging situation as an opportunity to learn something new. You'll never stop learning when you start accepting challenges."
What does she think are the keys to becoming a successful paralegal? "I believe that one must maintain a positive and professional work ethic during stressful moments in a legal environment. This requires patience, a winning attitude, and total concentration on the end result."
What's one of the things that Ms. Walker finds most challenging about her job? She noted:
"I find it a challenge to delegate tasks and assignments. I generally accept every task presented to me instead of delegating or re-assigning it to the proper person and/or group. I feel that because I know how to perform the task that is asked of me then I should do it; however, I need to guide the person asking me to perform the task to their right point of contact. By doing so, I won't have to take on so many additional unnecessary tasks because they weren't my tasks to begin with. I also believe one other thing that challenges me is the desire to complete everything in one day. I want to do everything at once in one day because I'm capable of doing every task presented to me. I realize and constantly remind myself that God took 7 days to create the earth so I have 6 other days in the week to accomplish the tasks that are presented to me."
What would she say is the most important thing she learned as a paralegal? "The most important thing I've learned as a Paralegal is patience and how to maintain a positive, winning attitude during stressful moments in a legal environment. Again, this requires patience, a winning attitude, and total concentration on the end result."
What is the best part of Ms. Walker's job? "I love the autonomy that's given to me. My managing attorney believes in me and helps contribute to my success at the company."
What is she known for professionally? What does Ms. Walker have a knack for? She asserted:
In addition, I served as the 2011-2012 District 2 Director, State Bar of Texas Paralegal Division, 2012-2013 President and 2014 NALA Liaison, J.L. Turner Legal Association-Paralegal Section, and 2014 NALA Affiliates Award Recipient. I also have a knack for maintaining a positive can-do spirit and getting a dull, dry audience to laugh (or at least smile)."
What does Ms. Walker think about the paralegal field in Texas today? "I believe that the paralegal field today is very progressive. With the advancements in technology and the transformation of existing laws in the legal profession, I believe this is definitely a growing profession and the need for paralegals will only rise in years to come. Our jobs aren't easily outsourced. I would embrace more innovative thinkers and eliminate slackers."
If she were not in this profession, what would she most probably be doing?
"I would probably be a District Manager at Claire's Boutique/The Icing. I worked as a sales associate and was promoted as 3rd key manager during college and loved it!"
Where does Ms. Walker see herself in five years' time? "Mentoring, volunteering, and participating on more Committees and Boards in an effort to promote and advance the legal profession in a positive way."
What motivates her to be a paralegal every day? "I was fortunate to choose a career path that I love. When you love what you do, that motivates you."
Being a Mentor, People Who Inspire Ms. Walker and Her Goals
Does Ms. Walker consider herself a mentor? "Absolutely. I recently received a bouquet of flowers from my mentee/protégé through the State Bar of Texas Paralegal Division that states: 'I appreciate and thank you for volunteering your time to mentor me. Your passion for the paralegal field is infectious. I am inspired every time we speak. Congratulations on all your achievements!'"
Who inspires her? Ms. Walker stated:
"My teachers in life (i.e., my mother, my godfather, my grandfather, Ronetta Francis, and my son). My mother inspired me to work hard and embrace challenges. My late godfather, James 'Jim' C. Ferguson, Esquire, inspired me because he had a huge heart and was a dedicated Plaintiff's lawyer in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He gave me the best advice in this field which is to 'be like a duck and let the water roll of your back.' He was basically telling me to have thick skin and not let people or challenging situations discourage me. My late grandfather, Charles Williams, believed in me and he always reminded me that I possess a special gift of motivating, inspiring, and encouraging people. I discovered those gifts and decided to be a paralegal. The best wisdom he ever shared with me was that if you have a solution then you don't have a problem. Ronetta Francis, Esq. inspired me because she showed me that preparation, hard work, confidence, and dedication to what you believe in will always yield a positive end result. My son inspires me to be the best paralegal in my profession because I'm setting an example that being the best in your field is attainable."
Ms. Walker has accomplished a lot in her career. What's next for her? "Mentoring and inspiring future paralegals through teaching and volunteering. I need more clones!"
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