At Commonwealth Law Group, our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys and personal injury attorneys offer personalized, client-focused services. Our staff works closely together to monitor each case personally and provide our clients with this type of service. Because our staff is so crucial to our clients, we want to introduce them to you on our blog.
Holly Murray is one of six paralegals at CLG and our first blog participant. We asked her a few questions:
How long have you been with CLG? I’m a paralegal celebrating two years with CLG in March. I got my Bachelor’s degree in social work, and then I went to University of Richmond for an additional year to get my paralegal certificate, which I got in 2015.
What inspired you to go into the legal profession? My Bachelor’s degree is in clinical social work. I interned in case management with the District of Columbia public school system and also worked in a free clinic. From there, it was an easy transition to legal work.
Why is that? In a way, being a paralegal at CLG is similar to what I was doing with my social work degree. I see my role here as an opportunity to come into someone’s life when they need help the most – which is very similar to what I did in social work. Now, I help organize and manage the steps that will get our clients back to where they were, or as close as they can get to that, before they had their accident.
So, you have a lot of empathy for CLG’s clients? Yes! Nobody ever calls a personal injury law firm because they’re having a good day. Sometimes they’re going through a divorce, custody battle or have questions about estate law and we refer them to another firm. Or, they’ve been in a car accident, been injured at work, or suffered a slip and fall accident. I know before I pick up the phone that they’re calling because something bad has happened. I try not to make their day any worse. In other words, I can’t necessarily make it better right at the moment they call, but I can make sure I don’t make their day any worse.
Describe what happens when a new client calls. Usually, one of our six paralegals talks with them to understand the circumstances of their accident. Sometimes it’s a person who just got hit by a car that day. Other times it’s a week after a work injury, and they realize they need legal assistance. As a paralegal, my job is to glean the information. This is the part of my job I relate to what nurses do. We triage the information, try to gauge how urgent their need is, and take the blood pressure of their situation, so to speak. We collect all of the information necessary so that a CLG workers’ compensation lawyer or personal injury attorney can recommend what the next steps are for each individual case.
What’s a typical workday like? As a paralegal, I help with day-to-day case management and make sure everything is in order so that clients’ cases move along smoothly. I draft legal documents, request medical records, and coordinate depositions. Sometimes I talk with clients who are upset or crying – because their lives have been turned upside down by an injury that wasn’t their fault – and try to make them feel better. In between all that, other clients text or email pictures pertaining to their cases, people drop documents off at the front desk, or sometimes we get a fax that’s upside down. We’re dealing with real people here – they get their documentation to us however they can, and we take it from there. We get the information to their attorney so they can analyze and make the next recommendations.
What’s satisfying about working here? We work for the plaintiff – the person who got injured or the employee hurt on the job. Before working here, I worked for a defense firm that denied workers’ compensation cases. I’ve seen both sides of the situation. Helping people like we do at CLG is completely in tune with my moral compass. Here, we put our clients first. We’re all about the people we represent. That’s also very apparent in the way we treat each other around the office.
What’s your proudest moment at CLG? Each December, we adopt two of our clients’ families and give their kids a great Christmas. Last year, I got to go shopping and buy lots of presents for the kids, then some of us from the office got together and wrapped all of them. When the parents saw all the presents for their kids, it was a truly touching moment. It really made an impact on me. It underscores the reason we’re here: to help people.
What else? I’m an active member of the Richmond Paralegal Association. I’m serving on the Board this year as Secretary and head of the Pro Bono Committee.
How about after work? I absolutely love to cook – I might be a chef in my “second act” one day. I also enjoy spending time on the river.