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Outstanding Paralegal of the Year

Each year the Richmond Paralegal Association recognizes an outstanding paralegal who has made significant contributions to the development of the paralegal profession in the Richmond metro area within the last 12 months.

Nominee Criteria: Outstanding Paralegal of the Year

    A member of RPA from July 1 to June 30
    Performed six (6) hours of service on behalf of the paralegal profession (for example: work with CASA, Pro Bono work, RPA Executive Board or Committee work, Legal Aide work) and/or attended six (6) RPA events per year
    Possesses high ethical standards

To nominate a paralegal, submit a letter to the Membership Committee by September 1 with the following information:

    nominee name
    nominee address
    nominee telephone number
    your name
    your address
    your telephone number
    a short paragraph stating why the nominee should be RPA’s Outstanding Paralegal of the Year

After accepting a nomination:

    Nominees are invited to submit a resume describing his or her background, education, public service, and other relevant activities.
    Employers of each nominee have an opportunity to provide letters of support, articles, or other documentation for consideration by the Membership Committee.

The Outstanding Paralegal of the Year award is presented in November at the Annual Meeting.
2015 Outstanding Paralegal of the Year – Darlene Yeary, ACP

OPY Yeary

I am so pleased to announce that the 2015 Outstanding Paralegal of the Year award went to our friend and colleague, Darlene Yeary, ACP.  As the Board’s First Vice President and Education Committee Chair, Darlene was largely responsible for planning and organizing our Brown Bag lunches throughout the year and our Fall Seminar last month.  She was also instrumental in the upkeep and development of our current website.  Her devotion to the profession shows through the many hours of service she has given not only as a Board member, but also as an instructor and mentor to other paralegals studying for the CP exam.  Her dedication, professionalism, and ethical standards in all settings, legal or otherwise, are a great example for the Association and its members.  Darlene constantly strives to make herself better and in the process she makes us all better.

Way to go Darlene!
2014 Outstanding Paralegal of the Year – Carla Winters-Nagel, CP

Carla OPY

Carla Winters was named RPA’s Outstanding Paralegal of the year for 2014 in recognition of her significant contributions to the Richmond paralegal community, and consistently supporting RPA and the paralegal profession with her volunteer time, including spending several hours tutoring a paralegal student who was in danger of not passing one of her classes required for graduation.

Congratulations to Carla and thanks for representing RPA and the paralegal profession so well!
2013 Outstanding Paralegal of the Year – Jillian Sherman, ACP
Jillian Sherman, ACP 2013 Outstanding Paralegal of the Year
Jillian Sherman, ACP 2013 Outstanding Paralegal of the Year

Jillian has been a member of RPA since 2011 and has served as 1st Vice President/Education Committee Chair from 2012 through the present and will continue in that capacity in 2014.

This year Jillian’s committee has added a Fall Educational Seminar to the regular schedule of Brown Bag Seminars and Dinner Meetings.  This seminar has proved to be very popular and well received both by RPA members as well as non-members with an expected attendance of over 50 participants from all over the state.

In 2013, Jillian also served as the CP Exam Study Group coordinator and instructor.

Jillian is also a member of NALA, where she currently serves on the Professional Development Committee and will serve next year as an instructor in the NALA Campus Live program.

Jillian works at the Virginia 529 College Savings Plan and has worked there since October 2005.  Her boss, Christopher T. McGee, General Counsel for the Plan, wrote a wonderful letter in support of Jillian’s nomination citing her professional qualities and personal integrity as credits to our profession and the RPA organization.  He also cited to Jillian’s work ethic and initiative as well as her ability to express her viewpoint in a professional and informed manner.

In addition to her duties at work and for RPA, Jillian is a wife and mother and is active is several other area organizations.

The committee would also like to congratulate the three other RPA members who were nominated as 2013 Outstanding Paralegal of the Year – Kitty Bice, CP, Donna Strauss, ACP and Sheila Kennedy.  Each of these nominees received a glowing recommendation from her employer and has shown tremendous commitment to both RPA and the paralegal community.  Kitty, Donna and Sheila are each richly deserving of the nomination and we thank them for their hard work and commitment to both RPA and the legal community.
2012 Outstanding Paralegal of the Year – Teresa A. Clark, ACP

Teresa has been an RPA board member for over ten years.  Over the last twelve months serving as president of RPA, Teresa unselfishly and earnestly spent her free time mentoring other paralegals in their careers, teaching classes in RPA’s CP Study Group, and taking time out of her workday to speak with businesses and schools to encourage membership in RPA.  Her passion for the paralegal field and community is evident and her volunteerism promoting the paralegal field is commendable.

Teresa humbly and tearfully accepted this award.

We thank you, Teresa, for your loyalty and dedication to our association and to the paralegal community.

Prior Recipients:

2011 – None

David B. Richardson, 2010 Outstanding Paralegal of the Year Recipient

2010 Outstanding Paralegal of the Year – David B. Richardson

Pictured from the left: Amy C. Vaughan, Teresa A. Clark, ACP & David Richardson

Excerpt from letter in support of David:  I have found David to be a pleasant, generous person who is never afraid to take on a challenging task.  He has dedicated a tremendous amount of time developing RPA’s and VAPA’s websites, served RPA at the NALA Convention, and continuously donates time, talent and energy to those in need through the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society. David’s career as a paralegal has been brief considering this is his second career; however in a short time David has demonstrated himself time and time again to RPA with numerous good deeds which should not go unnoticed.  David is an independent, self directed person who is able to communicate effectively and meet the most demanding challenges. Recently, David’s firm found themselves without the necessary IT support it needed.  David opened his toolbox of knowledge and guided his firm through a tough time.  David is full of surprises and takes the initiative to be prepared.  He completed the Lexis-Nexis Paralegal Mastery program after attending an RPA event.  Why is this important?  Because David works in the corporate field and does not perform legal research regularly in his position.  However, David wants to be prepared to perform any duties that his office may request.

Amy C. Vaughan, 2009 Outstanding Paralegal of the Year Recipient
Amy C. Vaughan, 2009 Outstanding Paralegal of the Year Recipient

2009 Outstanding Paralegal of the Year – Amy C. Vaughan

Pictured from the left: 2009 Outstanding Paralegal of the Year Amy C. Vaughan & Marcia Meekins

Excerpt from William F. Etherington, Esquire’s letter in support of Amy’s nomination: “Amy has been with our firm for fifteen months and took over from a long standing paralegal in commercial real estate area of the firm.  With great distinction, Amy coordinates commercial real estate settlements; coordinates all foreclosures; counter-coordinates and reconciles trust accounts, payments and receipts; handles all day-to-day correspondence for settlements and foreclosures as well as assists with the formation by virtue of drafting corporate documents of various business entities; and does all preliminary drafts of contracts for purchase and sale of assets.  As you can see, these are very much the things we would expect lawyers to be able to do and Amy is able to do all of these with minimal oversight and great attention to detail.  Amy is a significant asset to this firm.”