Today is National Paralegal Day
According to nationaltoday.com, National Paralegal Day is an annual event that celebrates those who do the legal research (and mountains of paperwork) that enables law firms to function. So, today we shine the spotlight on Lynette McPherson. She is one of the first paralegals to work at Loebsack & Brownlee. This is her “Day in the Life.”
How long have you worked at Loebsack & Brownlee?
I am one of the “originals.” I have worked for Chris for ten years and helped start the firm eight years ago with Erin Noe and Stephanie Richmond. It has been a wild ride, and I’m so glad that I have been a part of this incredible journey Chris has “captained.”
What time do you get up in the morning?
I’m usually awake and going by 6:30 am or so—sleeping in late is a one day a week thing for me if you consider 8 am on Sundays late?
What do you do before you come to work?
Thank the Lord above that I am vertical one more day, and then get ready for work with a good cup of hot decaf tea. I have enough energy that I do not need caffeine. LOL, and then I spend a few minutes with my three precious doggos… Dog-lovin’ in the morning is the best way to start the day, you know!
What does a typical day look like for you?
As a paralegal, there is no typical day. I make lists, check them twice, and then change them as the day progresses. Respond to email, voicemail, regular snail mail (all the ‘mails’), perform research, draft documents, prepare case files, help clients with questions, work with the courts, put out fires, and anything the attorneys may need or want. I like the variety; it keeps things interesting.
What inspired you to become a paralegal?
After almost 25 years in Property Management, I decided it was time for a change. I had reached burn-out. I took a year off and thought about what I wanted to be when I grew up and realized we don’t have to be just one thing…OR even grow up! The other road I considered taking after college in my younger years would have led to law school but decided I didn’t want that kind of stress in my life (lawyers have a lot on their shoulders), so I went back to school for a degree in Paralegal Studies (sort of less stress LOL). Being a student again in my late 40’s was different. My son and I were in college at the same time. It was pretty cool.
If you had advice for someone looking to become a paralegal, what advice would you give them?
Do your research on this career field. Think about why YOU want to take this road. Get your degree through an ABA Approved program to get the most out of the education offered and follow through by getting state-certified. Learn all you can. And remember, there is always something to learn.
You’re known as the “Queen of Puns.” What is your all-time favorite pun?
A Queen loves all her puns! I put them out there with hopes someone will get a good giggle. It feels great to see a smile or hear a laugh.
What is the hardest thing about being a paralegal?
The hardest thing is deadlines. Not everyone manages time effectively and gives deadlines the attention they require. There are consequences for not meeting deadlines that are not pleasant.
How has the industry changed?
Continuing Legal Education becomes more important each passing year-that is a great positive change.
Work/life balance; how do you maintain it?
It’s easier now that my son is grown and on his own, and he and my hubby have been my biggest cheerleaders and supporters. Trying to eat right (except for my M&M addiction-yep-I admit it), practicing yoga, and walking helps with mind-body balance. You must take the time to care for yourself. Your mind and body will let you know when you don’t.
We want to thank all of the paralegals at Loebsack & Brownlee for all of the hard work and dedication they give to the firm to help ensure our clients have a quality experience. Learn more about the team at L&B here.
2020 has been nothing less than a year – a very challenging year. Despite the challenges we’ve witnessed so far, leaders have emerged, tough issues discussed, and we have watched people unite despite it all.
Brittany Yedlosky has moved with this same spirit, facing adversity and emerging with a renewed sense of self and purpose. This is a Day in the Life of Brittany, and this is her story.
A Day in the Life of Brittany Yedlosky
How did you come into this role?
I started on-site roughly ten years ago, but I always wanted to be on the supplier side. I moved up and down the “on-site ladder,” doing almost everything from leasing, marketing, managing a major renovation while dabbling in maintenance, managing multiple communities, then took a little break from the industry. It didn’t take long before I was sucked back in (lol). I’d worked with Rachel on a couple of freelance projects when she was with PTAA, and one day, out of the blue, she called me and told me about a position with L&B that was available that she thought I’d be a perfect fit for. My first thought was, “I am TOTALLY not qualified to work for this amazing company!” I talked about it with my manager at the time, and my mom (of course) and I called her back and said something along the lines of “Tell me what I need to do next.” I started out working part-time-ish, working on various projects as we, as a Marketing Team, learned my strengths. As time went on, my role within the team changed and advanced to full time.
What do you do exactly, and what does your role entail?
My title is Events & Brand Manager, but my role within the team and the firm varies. I work both behind the scenes and with the public. I help plan our events with Apartment Associations and clients as well as help with the firm’s branding (as we call it, swag).
What does a typical day look like for you?
What is a typical day, is that a thing? This is actually what I love most about my role at L&B, I do not have a typical day. I may spend my day planning events, ordering swag, researching new swag, organizing our plethora of swag, communicating with clients, communicating with apartment associations, working on projects with the attorneys or processors, attending events, traveling, you never really know where you’ll find me or who I’ll be bothering for the day.
You recently had a major health scare, tell us about that.
Late last year and earlier this year, I was very sick and was misdiagnosed multiple times. I continued to work and travel, being a single mom, I’ve somewhat conditioned myself to work through illness and keep on keeping on… As long as I’m not contagious, I’m good to go. I took a couple of days off work, and the day before I planned to come back into the office (Sunday, February 2nd), I suffered a grand mal seizure in the middle of the night and was rushed to the ER.
While in the hospital, I was diagnosed with Viral Meningitis, which, since misdiagnosed for so long, actually turned into sepsis in the lining of my brain. I was put into a medical coma and intubated for a few days. My brain function was almost nonexistent while I was intubated because of the seizure and severity of the infection, so when I came out of the coma, I was told that I would have to learn how to do pretty much everything again, from eating, walking, writing, driving. I was also told that it would be a minimum of 6 months before I could come back to work. If you know me at all, you know that I was not going to take that as an answer. I love my job, I was not going to wait that long to come back.
While in the hospital, I participated in as much rehabilitation as possible. I was convinced I was going to walk MYSELF out of there. Two days after waking up from being intubated, I’d progressed (and impressed my neurologist) enough to be able to do the rest of my rehabilitation from home. Honestly, I just wanted to go home and take a shower. Once I was home, my family stayed by my side and guided me through my rehabilitation. I did relearn everything… eating was easy because I love that, but learning to write again was the hardest. My brain just could not understand that I didn’t need to write two of every other letter.
My first day back in the office was Monday, February 24th, 18 days after I was told that I would have to do rehabilitation for six months before I’d be ready to go back to work… told you I love my job. Though I wouldn’t be able to drive for a couple more months, I still came into the office as much as a could with my parents bringing me in. A week after I was back in the office full time, COVID-19 happened. Since then, I’ve been working full time at home, getting used to our new normal.
How has this affected you personally and professionally?
My illness has affected my life personally and professionally in more ways than I can explain. I live my life completely differently now. I pay attention to my body, and I don’t take a single day for granted. I spend so much less time worrying about the little things. Before my illness, I planned every day down to the minute, and if it didn’t go exactly how I planned, I was a wreck. I always had a schedule; I couldn’t even go on vacation without having each day planned out. Now, I just go with the flow.
Professionally I have grown exponentially. I am more organized in the sense that if something doesn’t go the way it’s supposed to, I am calmer and able to work through it. I don’t get stressed out, I just smile and move on. I know that even though something isn’t perfect, it could be so much worse. I put a lot of faith in our team. When I was sick, the entire team at L&B rallied around me and helped me pull through. Knowing I had my team behind me, cheering me on made it that much easier to pull through and get back into the swing of L&B life.
What helped you overcome your struggles?
This is a tough one. I can say that my family and our team helped me overcome my struggles. Knowing that I HAD to get better, so my son still had his mom, knowing that my family took time off to be there for me, and knowing that my team had my back and took over my responsibilities made me want to overcome every obstacle that came my way. I can honestly say that if I didn’t work with such amazing people, I probably wouldn’t have pushed as hard to get better and get back into the swing of things. I still struggle daily with my memory. I don’t have any memory from around December 2019 – February 2020. I am so grateful for the patience everyone has had with me. No one has given me a hard time about it, not once, or even brought up the fact that I had memory loss. Everyone was so understanding and helpful from day one and even still now. This team has truly become family to me.
Where do you see yourself going next?
Taking over the world! No, just kidding, kind of. I see myself continuously growing in my role with L&B. I am still getting into the swing of things before my illness. Every day is a little easier than the day before. I know that there is always room for improvement, and I know that within the team here, I have the support to grow and reach my highest potential.
Learn more about the team at L&B.
Here is a behind the scenes look with recently promoted Partner Shanae Auguste.
What time do you get up in the morning?
It varies depending on where (or whether) I have court that morning. However, on the mornings I don’t have court, I typically get up around 7:00 a.m.
What do you do before you come into work?
My mornings are pretty low-key. I have a cat, so I make sure he’s taken care of for the day (food, water, toys, etc.). Sometimes I hit the gym, sometimes I wait until after work. I also try to check my work emails before getting in.
What does a typical day look like for you?
No day is really a typical day as a member of the Eviction Team! One day, I may have court in Wilmington, the next day I might be teaching a legal seminar in Greensboro, and the day after that, I might be working from the Charlotte office. You just never know! When it’s a little slow in the office, I’m usually reviewing eviction cases, doing legal research, or negotiating cases with tenants’ attorneys. Even with my busy workdays, I always try to make sure I’m taking time to respond to client emails and phone calls.
What is your advice on taking risks?
I love taking risks. Sometimes, very little good comes from playing it safe. I think as long as you’ve weighed the pros and cons and have at least one solid backup plan, go for it!
What is your leadership style?
I’d say I’m a direct, participative type of leader. I tend not to beat around the bush regarding work-related items, as I believe clear communication is key to building a solid team. I’m participative in that I actively solicit (and encourage!) input from my colleagues before taking action.
What is the best advice anyone has ever given to you?
I have three that I can’t choose between. 1st: Work smarter, not harder. I probably say this aloud at least twice a week. I only have a finite amount of time in a day to get things done and I’m already super busy, so I have to be smart about how I navigate my day. 2nd: To be early is to be on time; to be time is to be late; to be late is unacceptable. I learned this when I was in JROTC back in high school, and it’s still something I live by today. I think showing up on time is an ultimate sign of respect, and I always build time into my travel to arrive EVERYWHERE early. 3rd: You can’t expect yourself out of others. My mom actually told me this a few months ago. I was upset at a friend for flaking on me, and this was Mom’s response. I sat with that message all day because it couldn’t have been more true.
What is the hardest thing about being a woman of color in an executive position?
The hardest thing about being a woman of color in an executive position is beating the odds. I’m black and a woman, so there were already those two hurdles at play. Being in this position, I’ve had to work twice as hard just for a seat at the table. However, let the record reflect that I’ve more than earned my spot! There’s also a degree of situational hyperfocus that comes with being a black woman in a position of power. Having to worry about your grammar/speech, and your hair, and your mannerisms, etc. Fortunately, working for Loebsack & Brownlee has absolutely allowed me to be myself.
You’re a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc, who has recently celebrated 100 years. What has being a member of this organization meant to you?
I became a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. back in November 2007 during my junior year of college. Over the past 12 years, being a Zeta has been such a blessing. I’ve met so many strong, passionate, and confident women who I’m proud to call my sisters. This illustrious organization has instilled in me amazing values that I will hold dear forever. Here’s to 100 more years of “scholarship, service, sisterly love, and Finer Womanhood!”
I try to maintain a pretty strict work/life balance, especially with being a Partner. I have a cutoff time for email responses and returning phone calls (unless you’re my boss lol). If I get a work email at 7 pm, it’s getting answered the next day! Having a good work/life balance is paramount to my mental health, and it allows me to recharge for the next day. Of course, I inevitably wind up doing work at home sometimes. When I’m not working though, I enjoy woodworking (a lot), gardening, traveling, reading, and hanging out with my cat.