Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Top 10 Paralegal Stories from 2008

Happy New Year! Here's a look back on the ten stories that generated the most traffic in 2008:

RP Salaries Surpass Averages

Florida Unveils Registered Paralegal Program

Legal Secretary Talent Becoming Scarce

Legal Assistant Today Announces 2007 Salary Survey Results

Paralegal Sued for UPL

Paralegal Outlook for 2008: We're Not Recession-Proof

Roundup: New PACE Exam, New PACE Study Manual, and New Paralegal Magazine Please note that since the publication of that entry, and Jeannie Johnston are no longer associated with KNOW.

Female Paralegals Paid Less Than Male Paralegals

Prominent Lawyer Accused by Former Paralegal of Being "Sexual Predator"

Guidance Software Outlines the Five Most Common Pitfalls of Outdated E-Discovery

Paralegal Honored by Utah Attorney General

Roberta Kaneko, a paralegal working in the Utah Attorney General's office, was recognized for her work at a luncheon for the department. Kaneko, a member of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, was honored for helping a crime victim through her testimony at trial.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Paralegals on the Move

Here is a quick roundup of paralegals "on the move":

In Wisconsin, paralegal Marc J. Adesso has moved to DeWitt Ross & Stevens' Brookfield office.

Dallas-based Interlegis, Inc. added Brian McHughs, a former paralegal, as the company's new director of client services and operations. McHughs spent six years with a Denver-based provider of litigation support services, as well as the past three years with a national service provider as the director of electronic discovery.

In Las Vegas, Laura Wilson joined ActionCOACH as a franchise paralegal. She has over nine years of franchise experience and a total of 23 years of experience. As a franchise paralegal, Wilson is responsible for assisting the General Counsel with all franchise and corporate matters including, compliance issues, researching, drafting, and reviewing documents, as well as maintaining corporate records.

Erin Doherty joined Michael A. DeMayo in Charlotte, North Carolina, as a paralegal in its litigation department. Also in Charlotte, Bonnie Guinn was named legal assistant and pre-closer at FrickTrent, while Dawn Ulery was named managing paralegal.

Paralegal Regulation Sorely Needed

Yesterday's news that a paralegal posed as a lawyer to represent a client in court illustrates the need to regulate paralegals. As it stands now, Larissa Sufaru, the paralegal in question, can resume her work as a paralegal without any fines or sanctions. She can be charged criminally, however. According to New Jersey law, Sufaru can be charged with a disorderly persons offense or with a fourth-degree crime (N.J.S. 2C:21-22.)

Sufaru faces no professional sanctions, nor are safeguards in place to screen paralegals and ensure that they are fully aware of the ethics involved in the unauthorized practice of law. With mandatory licensure, Sufaru would face sanctions, including suspension or revocation of her license. Licensure would require specific paralegal training, including ethics, and would require continuing education with a component in ethics.

By the way, this isn't the first time Sufaru has represented herself as a lawyer. As a board member of Women Helping Women, she is listed as Larissa Sufaru, Esq.

Atlanta Paralegal Specialist Wins Justice Award

A paralegal specialist from Atlanta received the Director's Award for Superior Performance in a Litigative Support Role.  Kimberly J. Casperson worked on the investigation and prosecution of complex cases, including the Eric Robert Rudolph serial bombing case and the prosecutions of former Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell and others for bribery, tax fraud, and related charges.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Paralegals Use Strength, Skills to Raise Autistic Children

After finally learning that it was autism that left her son speechless, Rose Morreale, a paralegal, turned her researching skills and "steely Sicilian determination" to creating a future for her boy. At first, she quit her job to immerse herself in caring for her son, but eight years later, she returned to work. (Source: Buffalo News.)

Morreale is not the only paralegal whose child struggles with autism. Suzann Deskin, a paralegal formerly with the Asset Forfeiture Division, U.S. Attorney's Office, Little Rock, Arkansas, has a 15-year-old son with Asperger's Syndrome, a mild form of autism. Deskin is a strong woman who has never given up on her son and has raised him into a young man that functions well in school and is a basketball fanatic. He also excels at CAD drawing, and Deskin hopes that he will attend college. Payton struggles with social skills, but Deskin's patience enables her to teach him the basics - like not announcing that the man in line in front of you is wearing an ugly hat.

But if one autistic child is challenging, imagine having three! Janet Powell, a senior paralegal and project manager in the Miami, Florida office of a national labor and employment law firm, is raising four children, three of whom are autistic. Logan, 18, is a high-functioning autistic who is being trained to work in a marine environment through the Miami-Dade County Public School System's partnership with Miami's Shake a Leg Program. As part of the program, Logan pressure-cleans docks and helps clean the boats docked at the marina, and he assists in the marine trade school run by the program. He goes boating often and is learning marine navigation and understanding environmental issues, according to Powell. Katy, 7, is a very high-functioning autistic, and Powell describes her as "a come from behind break-out sort of kid." Dallas, 5, has a profound language delay and was very recently diagnosed as autistic.

"The good project management skills I use as a paralegal have really helped me in personal life to pace myself out so that I can establish priorities and accomplish at least some of the things I would like to do on the short term, and work toward other things in time," said Powell in an email interview. "This helps me avoid feeling victimized."

The amazing strength of these mothers is a true inspiration, and it is heartening to see such strong women working in the profession.

Censure Urged for Attorney Whose Paralegal Acted as Lawyer in Court

A lawyer who sent his paralegal to court to represent a client is now facing possible censure from the Disciplinary Review Board. Neal Pomper of Highland Park, New Jersey, breached Rules of Professional Conduct 5.5(a)(2), assisting the unauthorized practice of law, and 8.4(a), violating ethics rules, inducing someone else to do so or violating them through someone else's actions.

But the paralegal, Larissa Sufaru, is not without blame. She identified herself as a lawyer, entered an appearance on record, allowed herself to be addressed as "counsel" (that's probably a good time to say, "Excuse me, I'm actually not a lawyer"), and advocated for the client. The hearing officer reported Sufaru to the Supreme Court Committee on the Unauthorized Practice of Law, and she entered into an agreement with the Committee acknowledging that she did not correct the hearing officer or ask for an adjournment when it became clear that the hearing was not simply about receiving the results of a paternity test, as Pomper had originally thought.

The notice for a "hearing after blood test" stated, "You may bring an attorney with you, although an attorney is not required."

Even if there was confusion, nonlawyers are also not allowed to represent clients at paternity hearings and Pomper admitted he did not handle paternity matters, the DRB pointed out.

Pomper testified he had "severely admonished" Sufaru for going ahead with the support hearing and had "taken steps" to prevent a recurrence.

The client's retainer was also refunded.


Paralegal Raises the Bar in Fairbanks DA’s Office

In high school, Marja Hallsten dreamed of being an entertainment director on a cruise ship. She even went to travel school in 1984, but the 1980s intervened.

Instead, she worked as an apartment manager, a legal secretary and later as a paralegal for the District Attorney’s Office, where she works today. In October, Attorney General Talis Colberg named Hallsten the Department of Law’s Paralegal of the Year.

Hallsten, a trim, leggy blonde with the energy of an aerobics instructor, has a blunt manner, a bawdy sense of humor and a truck driver’s colorful use of language. But mostly she is unflappable, which is why she is good at her job.

She began working in the District Attorney's office in 2000 after attending night courses to be a paralegal.

Teresa Foster was the District Attorney at the time. She nominated Hallsten for the Paralegal of the Year award. She was impressed by Hallsten’s work on a tough rape case involving a mentally disabled victim.

Hallsten somehow managed to get her 4-pound, mixed-breed dog, Indy, into the courthouse, and the victim was comforted by the animal, Foster said.

Jay Hodges, a retired prosecutor and judge, said Hallsten was the best paralegal in the District Attorney’s Office during his final stint there.


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Chief Paralegal Promoted to Master Sergeant

Dawn M. Byrnes recently was promoted to master sergeant in the U.S. Army. Byrnes is serving as chief paralegal at Panzer Kaserne in Kaiserslautern, Germany, with the 21st Theater Sustainment Command.

She has attended advanced and basic noncommissioned officer course, primary leadership development course, air assault school, naval justice court reporting school, staff and faculty instructor developer course, small group instructor course and two senior paralegal conferences. Byrnes has a bachelor's degree in paralegal studies from Kaplan University and a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from University of Maryland.

She has deployed twice with the 101st Airborne in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Her military awards include the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal with One Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Commendation Medal with Six Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Achievement Medal with Three Oak Leaf Clusters, Meritorious Unit Citation, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Air Assault Badge, Gold Schutzenschnire and two National Defense Service Ribbons.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to all my readers. Thank you for visiting!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Faltering Economy Attracts More to Paralegal Careers

As if the news of law firm layoffs isn't enough, the paralegal job market is going to be even tighter as more adults look into paralegal careers.

In Norcross, Georgia, Avaya is closing their plant and call center (and moving the jobs to India and Canada), leaving 120 people unemployed. Serita Tinsley saw the layoffs coming and became certified as a paralegal (did she take the NALA exam? or did she just get a paralegal certificate?).

Flora Schmidt of Mineola, New York, spent 30 years as a registered nurse. After taking computer courses, she hopes to land a nursing paralegal job with her new computer skills. After putting two sons through college, the 73-year-old needs a part time job to make ends meet.

These are just two of many adults beginning second careers or searching for work in an already faltering economy. The market will only get tighter before it gets better.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

LSUC Budget Introduces Fee Increases for 2009

Last month, the governing body of the Law Society of Upper Canada approved its 2009 budget, complete with fee increases of 3% for lawyers and 6.5% for paralegals. The fee for a practicing lawyer will increase $50 from $1,653 to $1,703, and the fee for a licensed paralegal will increase $55 from $845 to $900.

Licensing Process candidates will see a $540 reduction in their tuition fees from $2,940 in 2008 to $2,400 in 2009. 

This is the result of changes to the lawyer licensing process which replaced the four-week Skills & Professional Responsibility Program with a five-day pre-call professional responsibility and practice requirement, along with a post-call professional development requirement of 24 hours within the first 24 months of practice. The licensing process fee for paralegals will remain the same at $1,075.

A major component of the 2009 paralegal budget - $1,057,900 - is dedicated to professional regulation. These costs are mainly associated with good character investigations and hearings for grandparent paralegal applicants, as well as other paralegal regulatory expenses.

It is interesting to note that paralegal fees are being increased by a higher percentage than the attorneys fees, or in the case of the licensing process, remaining the same. Perhaps LSUC needs more money to run the regulation program?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Public Defense Costs Increased to Hire Paralegal

While the increase in court cases in Lincoln County, South Dakota will mean higher public defender fees, it will also mean that Peterson and Stuart Attorneys at Law will see an increase in their public defender contract from $3,000 per month to $8,000 per month.  The increase will allow those firms to hire a part-time paralegal.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Indiana Paralegals Receive Registered Paralegal Designation

Connie Cassady of The Koch Law Firm, P.C. in Bloomington, Indiana and Lori M. Craig of Barrett & Associates in Bloomington have both passed the Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam given by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations.

Cassady was the 2008 recipient of the Indiana Paralegal Association/IKON PACE scholarship. Her legal experience is primarily plaintiff-based in personal injury, medical malpractice, and nursing home negligence.

Craig's legal experience has been mostly in litigation. In 2000, she completed an internship while working on an extensive products liability case.

Since then, she has worked on personal injury, medical malpractice, and nursing home negligence cases for both plaintiffs and defendants.

When asked what being a Registered Paralegal means to her, Craig said, “I have accomplished a professional and personal goal to improve myself, to add value to my employment, and to reestablish my commitment to my profession.”

(Source: Reporter-Times/MD Times)

Associates Vie for Paralegal Tasks

Associates are feeling the economic crunch in the form of their billable hours, and without enough work to do, more associates are vying for tasks traditionally done by paralegals. Not only are they volunteering for document reviews and deposition digests, but in some cases, these associates are forced to do paralegal work as their firms lay off staff.

That's right, the paralegals who can keep costs down (a sound move in a shaky economy) are finding themselves out of work, and their jobs are being done by associates. In a situation like this, the best thing a paralegal can do is to take on those tasks him/herself. Most career books advise readers to find something that makes them indispensable, and being able to perform a document review or digest depositions in less time and for less money than an association is an indispensable value to the firm.

(Source: ABA Journal - Law News Now)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

NC Paralegal Certified by State Bar

Sheri Elizabeth Varner, a legal assistant with the law firm of Brinkley Walser PLLC in Lexington has attained paralegal certification from the N.C. State Bar. She joined Brinkley Walser in April 2008.

(Source: Winston-Salem Journal)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Paralegal Enjoying Fourth Military Deployment

As a military paralegal, Staff Sgt. Chad Darby, military justice non-commissioned officer in charge at the 16th Sustainment Brigade Judge Advocate's Legal Services Center, is experiencing a more peaceful kind of employment.

"I'm not being shot at," said the 34-year-old former infantryman from Zanesville. "I was always out on patrols. As a paralegal I don't have to worry about someone coming up on me with a satchel charge."

Instead, Darby prepares non-judicial punishment paperwork known as Article 15 under the Uniform Code of Military Justice and court-martial paperwork.

In addition to the typical duties, Darby and his fellow soldiers have found themselves performing unofficial legal assistance duties at Q-West in Iraq. They help soldiers and contractors with proxy marriages, divorces, powers of attorney, wills, notarized documents, citizenship packets, and even legal advice. The office has seen over 600 people since August 2008.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Women in eDiscovery Exceeds Fundraising Goal for Susan G. Komen for the Cure

Women in eDiscovery, a non-profit organization committed to providing information and education as a public service to the legal community, has exceeded its fundraising goal for Susan G. Komen for the Cure. The organization raised more than $52,000 across six chapters. Some chapters participated in the Race for the Cure, and others participated in the Breast Cancer 3-Day, 60-mile walk. All proceeds benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure and National Philanthropic Trust, which funds important breast cancer research, education, screening and treatment.
Women in eDiscovery co-founders established a goal of raising $30,000 collectively and walking in at least five of the cities. The organization surpassed this goal by raising $52,000 across several chapters, including New York, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Boston, San Francisco, Dallas, and Minneapolis.
Women in eDiscovery was formed to bring together businesswomen interested in technology in the legal industry and has grown to more than 3,000 women with 22 local chapters throughout the United States and more chapters forming overseas. Among the women who have joined the organization are attorneys from law firms and corporations, litigation support professionals, paralegals, legal IT staff, consultants, and vendors.
For more information on Women in eDiscovery, visit

Monday, December 8, 2008

Adopt a Lawyer? Sure!

Billable Hours Unlimited, Ltd. has released "My Pet Lawyer," a remote-controlled programmable toy that they promise will be hours of fun.  Described as "your very own remote-controlled personal pit bull on an electronic leash," the toy features nine pre-recorded messages ranging from "You talkin' to me, sharkbait?!" to "Pro Bono? Never heard of him!"  The toy can also be personalized with messages recorded by the user.

Find one at Five percent of the net profit goes to Voice for the Animals and will be used for the rescue and adoption of homeless pets.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Paralegal Specialist Travels Long, Hard Road to Iraq

by Army Staff Sgt. Jim Greenhill
National Guard Bureau

Bombs, violence and death were part of Titus Abure’s boyhood. He fled the Republic of the Sudan as a 16-year-old refugee. His father died in Sudan’s civil war.

So this Army National Guard specialist says an Iraq deployment isn’t much of a hardship.

“I love it,” he said here in October. “I contributed to the success of the mission.”

Abure has fulfilled Freedom of Information Act requests for the XVIII Airborne Division, worked with the Iraqi Security Forces on legal issues surrounding detainees and interpreted and coached Arabic as needed. He is a paralegal specialist with the Nebraska National Guard’s 110th Multifunctional Medical Battalion here.

It’s all a long way from Torit, in the Eastern Equatoria province of southern Sudan in Northern Africa, where Abure was born.

“The majority of our Soldiers – probably 95 percent – come from rural Nebraska,” said the 110th MMB’s Command Sgt. Maj. Donald Davids. “Spc. Abure has been a benefit by being able to understand how things happen in other places around the world – his background of multiple languages, of coming from the Sudan and moving around Africa and coming to the United States. He’s very humble about it.”

Ever since Basic Combat Training, Abure has encouraged other Soldiers to keep hardship in perspective. “When people sometimes complain of little things, I ask, ‘How many times have you taken a shower? How many times have you eaten MREs? Have you ever thought there are guys here who in a week don’t take a shower?’ It’s good to be able to bring the other side of the story to people, so they are able to look within themselves,” he said.

They don’t know the half of Abure’s story.


Much of Sudan remains an agricultural economy, accounting for a third of its gross domestic product and 80 percent of jobs. “Everybody still depends on agriculture,” Abure said. “So my parents were farmers.”

They raised cows and grew vegetables.

As an agrarian society, Abure recalled, “They still have the family cohesion – that extended family outlook. You still look at things in terms of, ‘What’s my relations to my family?’ as opposed to, ‘What’s good for me?’ ”

The 41-year-old still misses Sudan. “A whole lot. The weather. The kind of activities we used to do back home: running, hunting, swimming in the river.”

But violence was a daily routine; civil war racked Sudan since its 1956 independence from Britain. “I saw people die,” Abure said. “I had friends who were killed.”

Education was a way out

“I warn you …”

“The commander of the rebels came to my family and asked my father, ‘Is Titus still going to school?’ Abure recalled.

“Please talk to him,” his father said.

Abure remembers the rebel commander’s advice: “I warn you to leave if you still want to go to school, because in a month or two, if you are still here, I will tell your father you are not going, because the roads are going to be bad. We will mine the roads. The probability of survival is going to be really reduced. If you want to go, this is the time.’”

He left the next day. Only the commander and his parents knew; he did not say goodbye to his extended family. He still didn’t know if the school was even open.

He left at 5 a.m. on a 200-truck rebel convoy that was ambushed twice – resulting in deaths and destroyed vehicles – during a three-day, 84-mile, trek to safety.
He made his way to Kenya, on Sudan’s southern border, where he found the Catholic missionary school open. He studied there four years.

At one point, Abure’s family links to the Sudan People’s Liberation Army were a lifesaver. The young man dissuaded rebels from attacking his school, arguing that the missionary institution was not associated with the government.

He later worked in a refugee camp in Kenya as a community leader and high school teacher. He helped distribute United Nations food aid, and he helped refugees apply for asylum in the United States – knowledge that would eventually take him down the same path.

He made it to the United States at 25.

Late-in-life enlistee

In California, Abure assembled electronics. In Tennessee, he worked for a publisher of inspirational books and for a tool manufacturer who, finding him a quick study, asked him to teach coworkers about wiring and reconditioning tools.

Now, education was a way up: Abure went back to school, teaching to earn extra money and earning a criminal justice and psychology degree.

He worked in the corrections system as a corrections officer – a civilian-acquired skill that would later enhance his paralegal specialty in the National Guard.

He lived in Connecticut and Georgia. He married, and the couple has one five-year-old son. Omaha, Neb., is now home.

“I’ve benefited” from immigrating to the United States, Abure said. “If I had remained in Sudan, I might not have gone to college, because of being a Southerner – even if you pass [an entrance exam], you rarely find yourself going to college. That’s why we had the war.”

Abure is one of a group of late-in-life enlistees who have joined the National Guard since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Attracted by the notion of serving his adopted country and by the training, educational benefits and paralegal military occupational specialty, he signed up at 38.

Abure’s recruiter told him he might deploy. “Yes, I’ll be ready to do that,” Abure remembered telling him. “You are there to serve the country should anything happen, and at the same time you still keep your civilian life,” he said of why he picked the Guard.

Abure’s story is unusual, but Davids, the 110th MMB command sergeant major, said his Soldier is by no means unique in the National Guard.

Deployment diversity

“Across the board, the National Guard is such a well-rounded organization,” Davids said

“We as leaders of the National Guard have learned over time to use those assets to our advantage. We learn who’s in the unit that can do what, whether they’re a carpenter or
whether they can build things or fix things, program, teach, talk – it’s phenomenal.

“In our task force alone, we have everything from lawyers to construction workers to computer programmers, to Web developers. We have enlisted Soldiers that are nurses. We have pilots. I’m an electrician back home. One of the first things I did here in theater was to help our brigade wire in new uninterruptible power supplies to keep the phones up and running in the event of power failure.”

It’s not a one-way street: Abure said he has gained as much as he has given during his first deployment.

“I have gained a wealth of knowledge,” he said. “A whole lot of experience.” His knowledge of administrative, fiscal and criminal law has grown. “I could not have done that without this deployment.”

He did not find the Iraq he expected before he came.

Different perspective

Abure’s idea of what Iraq would be like came from what he had seen and read in the media. “Listening to the news, you see bombs every day,” he said. “It’s selective. If there’s no violence, [there’s] no news. You look at it and you think things are really bad, because you are not there. The concept [of deploying] was horrible.”

But the Iraq Abure experienced defied his expectations. Violence was declining; reconstruction was increasing; and the Iraqi government, military and police were improving.

“When I came here, I was like, ‘What’s going on?’,” Abure said. “Very different from what I expected. No big deal.”

From his perspective as a childhood refugee, Iraq didn’t seem like a country at war. “For me, having been in a country with a war, where I’ve seen all kinds of bombs, it’s no surprise,” he said. Since he enlisted, Abure said he’s been struck by how Soldiers pull together. “It is family-oriented,” he said of the Guard. Fellow Soldiers have reached out to him, inviting him to share their civilian lives.

That “taking care of Soldiers” has continued with Abure’s deployment. His mother still lives in Torit, and Abure was delighted when he discovered he could make morale calls from here to talk with her. “They gave me a lot of phone cards,” he said. “ ‘Please, you need to talk to your family. You need to talk to your mom.’ The service I received was extraordinary.” Abure exudes gratitude. “It’s a beauty,” he said of his life. “It’s a beauty. At times, the life you receive is hard. But that hardship trains you to become a better person. You tend to appreciate certain things.”

Sometimes, though, Abure wonders if his fellow Americans appreciate what we have. “Just the other day we were talking about some states paying students to go to school,” he said. “Where do you find in the world where a state or a government pays students so they can go to school, so they can go to learn? When I look at it, it seems people don’t even understand the importance of education in the first place.”

And why would this not seem strange to a man whose escape from violence hinged on the answer to a rebel commander’s question, “Is Titus still going to school?” For this Citizen-Soldier, education was no luxury: It was the difference between life and death.

Technorati Tags: paralegal, paralegals, military, military paralegal, paralegal specialist, national guard

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Paralegal Alleges Discrimination Based on Pregnancy

Jeanne Marshall, a paralegal formerly with Siegfried & Jensen in Salt Lake City, Utah, filed suit in the U.S. District Court claiming pregnancy discrimination. She alleges that, when she returned from a month-long medical leave to deal with complications in her pregnancy, she was subjected to foul language, encouraged by a supervisor to terminate her pregnancy and divorce her husband, given no substantive work, and ultimately, had to leave the position. The firm adamantly denies the allegations.

Marshall was awarded unemployment benefits by the state Department of Workforce Services, and Siegfried & Jensen unsuccessfully appealed that decision -- twice.
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Monday, December 1, 2008

Paralegals: Take a Survey, Win a Calendar!

To kick off 2009, I'm offering nifty magnetic calendars - perfect for the fridge or to stick on your filing cabinet - to ten respondents who leave their addresses! Winners will be chosen randomly. All you have to do is take the survey! Click here to go to the survey, and don't forget to leave your name and address if you want to enter to win. Your information will only be used to send you the magnet, and all responses will be held in confidence.

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Paralegal Appointed to Recreational Trails Committee

Catherine Haagen-Smit, 52, of Newcastle, has been appointed to the Recreational Trails Committee. Prior to retiring in 2007, she served as a paralegal for the Placer County District Attorney's Office from 1991 to 2007 and previously held the same position for the Placer County Public Defender's Office from 1989 to 1990. From 1988 to 1989, Haagen-Smit served as a legal analyst for the California Department of Justice. Prior to that, she worked as a paralegal for Diepenbrock, Wulff, Plant & Hannigan from 1985 to 1988 and as a legal analyst for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation from 1984 to 1985. Haagen-Smit is co-founder and secretary of the Folsom Auburn Trail Riders Action Coalition, a member and state representative of the International Mountain Bicycling Association and a member of the California Trails & Greenways Foundation. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no salary. Haagen-Smit is registered decline-to-state.

(Source: Imperial Valley News - Governor Schwarzenegger Announces Appointments)