Fairfax Family Law Paralegal
Suellen Honeychuck is a PACE Registered Paralegal and Vice President of Certification for the National Federation of Paralegal Associations. She has been a paralegal in Fairfax County for more than a decade, working primarily in family law and contested divorce. In my view, she is one of the most talented paralegals in the Commonwealth; she is a fantastic Fairfax Family Law Paralegal. We were very lucky to have her as part of our firm. Recently, I asked her to put together a short article about how clients might best utilize paralegals during the divorce process. Below are her thoughts.
At Curran Moher Weis the paralegals are an integral member of your legal team. Your attorney’s paralegal will be involved in practically every aspect of your case as it progresses. The following are some tips to keep in mind that will help you work with your legal team most efficiently:
- Please copy the paralegal on all emails you send to your attorney. This helps ensure that everyone on your legal team is on the same page. It will also save you from having to repeat information you’ve emailed to the attorney that the paralegal may need as well.
- Remember that the paralegal may not give you legal advice. Many questions from clients are legal in nature and the paralegal will gladly relay your question to the attorney and get back to you with his or her answer. Paralegals may, however, help you understand the “process” of your case, e.g., understanding various pre-trial deadlines, how subpoenas for documents and witnesses work, and why we may need to use them, etc.
- If you receive an email or a voicemail from the paralegal asking for information, please respond to the paralegal (you may certainly copy your attorney on an email; the paralegal will have copied the attorney on the email to you) in a reasonable amount of time as it may involve something that is time sensitive.
- You will be working closely with the paralegal during the discovery process. Please follow the paralegal’s directions when preparing your Answers to Interrogatories and Responses to Requests for Production of Documents. It will save time in organizing and finalizing your responses. If you have questions, please ask them no matter if you think it’s a silly question. The only “dumb” question is the one you didn’t ask. The paralegals have significant experience in preparing discovery responses and have developed time saving and efficient methods to accomplish the task.
- When preparing your Answers to Interrogatories, please keep in mind that while the paralegal will certainly assist with putting things in the proper format, do some minor editing, etc., the “details” must come from you. You are the one most familiar with your case. If you are not sure what the interrogatory or document request is asking (yes, some of them can be confusing), don’t be afraid to ask for clarification. The paralegal can explain what information or sort of documentation is being sought. In many cases, the paralegal has seen 100’s of responses to similar questions.
- When you have scheduled an appointment with the paralegal, please be sure to let the paralegal know if you are going to be late or unable to make it. Paralegals meet with many clients; if you arrive 3 hours after your scheduled appointment, the paralegal may not be able to see you because they are in a meeting with another client, in trial prep or working on a deadline and your meeting will need to be rescheduled.
If you’ve got questions about this issue, feel free to drop me a line. Jason A. Weis, Esquire – Curran Moher Weis P.C. – firstname.lastname@example.org – 10300 Eaton Place, Suite 520 Fairfax, VA 22030 – 571-328-5020.