With such busy lives it can be hard to imagine taking on any more responsibilities. However, there are paralegals/legal assistants out there that, in addition to all the pressures of life, go above and beyond what is expected of them. Shining Stars are Michigan paralegal/legal assistants that have been nominated and selected to be featured on our website, in the Michigan Paralegal, and on our Section's Facebook page for their outstanding charitable and/or community service works. Nominees will be randomly selected each month and their story published on our website. During the next newsletter all winners' stories will be re-published. Shining Stars is a way to honor those you know that deserve to be recognized for all the good things they do!
Lynda B. Falotico (awarded posthumously)
Lynda was a devoted long time paralegal at Lipson, Neilson, Cole, Seltzer & Garin P.C. Law and a charter member of the State Bar's paralegal section since 1999. She passed away on September 14, 2013. Her skills in handling litigation matters, in various fields, were stellar. Her ability to relate to clients helped create outstanding relationships with them. Her willingness to take on new types of work was much appreciated. Her family, colleagues and the clients she served miss her very much.
She was nominated by her employer Mr. Steven Malach. By honoring her family’s wishes, the Paralegal Section of the State Bar of Michigan is making a donation to the American Cancer Society in lieu of a gift card. Lynda set the bar high for what a paralegal can accomplish if they have the heart and desire. The December, 2013 Shining Star Award will be presented to Lynda’s family in her honor.
Nicole M. Cook
Ms. Nicole M. Cook is a phenomenal paralegal "in progress" whose dedication to the profession has made her an excellent candidate and winner of the State Bar of Michigan’s Paralegal/Legal Assistant Section’s Shining Star Award. As a former officer in the Paralegal/Legal Assistant Section of the State Bar and Legal Assistant Association of Michigan, Ms. Cook has contributed to the advancement of our field through her dedication to these organizations.
Throughout her career, beginning with her service in the United States Army Reserves JAG Corp., Ms. Cook held subsequent legal employment with private firms and public entities within the Lansing area. Her commitment to education is ongoing as she is enrolled in a Master of Public Administration (MPA), Public Administration program with expected completion in 2014. She does all of this while parenting her three fantastic children.
Ms. Cook’s work-life balance is awe inspiring and worthy of recognition through the Section’s Shining Star Award. Congratulations Nicole!
Beth Kinnaird (awarded posthumously)
Beth died suddenly on April 5, 2013, at age 43. Beth was a hardworking and driven paralegal who devoted her time to the profession and to her family. She was a trademark paralegal at Butzel Long for more than 15 years before moving to Honigman Miller Schwartz & Cohn LLP in 2010. With Beth's passing we lose a good friend, co-worker and fellow Section member. The May 2013 Shining Star Award will be presented to Beth's family in her honor.
||Jaxine Wintjen, CLA (awarded posthumously)
Former SBM Paralegal/Legal Assistant Section officer and council member Jaxine Wintjen, CLA, of Williamston, has been awarded the Shining Star Award for April 2013 for her continuous dedication to the paralegal profession. Jaxine died on May 1, 2013, at age 53, at Hospice House of Mid-Michigan. She was an active participant in the Section from its inception in 1989/1990 and served the Section in a variety of capacities—as chair, secretary, treasurer, council member, and committee chair. She was a member of NALA and LAAM. She worked in the legal profession for more than 30 years and for Foster, Swift, Collins & Smith, in Lansing, as an employee benefits paralegal for 37 years. The April 2013 Shining Star Award will be presented to Jaxine's family in her honor.
Kelly A. LaGrave, ACP
Kelly is a corporate paralegal with Foster Swift Collins& Smith, P.C., in Lansing. She was elected First Vice President of the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) in July 2012. She is an Advisory Committee Member for the Lansing Community
College Paralegal Program, a frequent speaker and columnist, and a member of numerous legal and community organizations. Kelly has always understood that education doesn’t stop upon earning a degree. The hallmark of her success is her integrity. Kelly has earned the title Shining Star for her dedication to the profession, to education and to her community! Congratulations, Kelly. Please keep up the good work!
Vicki Voisin has worked as a paralegal for over 20 years and has become a nationally recognized author and speaker, widely known for her paralegal seminars, her work mentoring other paralegals, and her unique approach to ethics training for legal staff. She writes comprehensively about how paralegals can enhance and advance their careers in The Paralegal Mentor: Strategies for Paralegals Seeking Excellence. She is co-host of "The Paralegal Voice" on Legal Talk Network. And she authors a weekly online magazine called Paralegal Strategies. She has served as president of the National Association of Legal Assistants and president of the SBM Paralegal/Legal Assistant Section.
Charlie Campbell received the award for his work helping low-income people in Kent County. He is the program coordinator at Legal Assistance Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation in Grand Rapids. He began working at the Center as a student intern and continued to volunteer there even after he graduated from Davenport University and was hired by an attorney in private practice. The dedication with which Campbell produced his work as a volunteer was of such a high quality that the Center offered him a position as an employee. He is a valuable asset to the Center, and very enthusiastic about his job and his profession.