Todd Frankel: Paralegal, Reed Smith, LLP, Los Angeles, CA

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					PROFILE                                                                                               1. 800.973.1177

                            Todd Frankel: Paralegal, Reed Smith, LLP,
                            Los Angeles, CA
                            [By Charisse Dengler]
                            Todd Frankel, a paralegal at Reed Smith in downtown Los Angeles, CA, made the career change from photojournalist to
                            paralegal in January 2004, and he loves his new job. A litigation paralegal, Frankel deals with product liability with regard to
                            pharmaceutical and medical device technology.

“I really like looking at data and numbers          a legitimate professional activity—being a            Frankel, who first joined LAPA only because
and organizing things on a large scale,” he         paralegal—which I didn’t know until I started         Cal State L.A. gave student discounts for
said. “There’s still a lot I don’t know about       looking into it. I mean, you think about being        membership in the organization, had lunch
the law, and so every day is really a learning      a lawyer—that’s a white-collar profession—            with a member of the board in order to talk
experience for me. I enjoy that sense of            but as I researched more, I found out that            about getting more involved in the group.
discovery.”                                         paralegals are really integral to the way a
                                                    law office functions.”                                That discussion led to Frankel’s co-
Frankel, who has been with Reed Smith                                                                     chairing of LAPA’s October 2004 conference
since April 2004, completed the American            Frankel told himself he would enroll in the           committee, during which he claimed he
Bar Association (ABA)-approved paralegal            paralegal program and try it out for one              must have impressed someone with his
program at California State University, Los         semester, and if he didn’t like it, he’d quit.        organizational skills and responsible
Angeles. While enrolled in the program, he          However, he ended up loving it.                       personality. His co-chair later alerted him to
decided that he wanted to work at a large                                                                 an opening at Reed Smith, and he has been
firm upon graduation.                               “I like working with smart people,” he said.          there ever since.
                                                    “Attorneys here, I’ve found, are incredibly
“I knew I wanted to go into litigation, and I       intelligent and very creative problem solvers.        “I credit being in front of paralegals who
knew I wanted to be in a very large firm,”          I’m always challenged. There’s a lot I don’t          know what works in a big law office and kind
he said. “My history is all in boutique             know.”                                                of impressing them and creating a little bit
businesses. I decided part of my career                                                                   of buzz so that when something came open, I
change was going to embrace a much larger           Frankel, who worked as the Chief                      heard about it,” he said.
employer with more resources, and I was             Photographer at the Los Angeles Business
looking for a team environment.”                    Journal before becoming a paralegal, said             “Senior paralegals that work with these
                                                    his previous position taught him valuable             volunteer organizations have their eyes out
Frankel first started looking toward the law        skills that he has carried over into the legal        for good people they can recommend to their
as a second career after he was involved in         field.                                                law firms; and if you behave professionally,
a dispute over a proposed development in                                                                  do good work, and show that you can give
Mount Washington, where he lives. He said           “I became very good at managing my                    back to the community, chances are you’ll
the situation led him to view law as a very         time and knowing what I wanted out of an              hear about things,” he said.
civil process, and it was then that he started      assignment when I got there so I wouldn’t
thinking about law school. However, as a            have to dilly dally very long,” he said. “I was       Currently, Frankel is LAPA’s Executive Vice
husband and father, he felt overwhelmed at          able to think fast on my feet, and being able         President; but after the reigning president
the prospect. He later began considering the        to juggle a lot of things at the same time            unexpectedly resigned, he took over the
paralegal profession at a friend’s suggestion.      has helped me tremendously in a busy law              presidential responsibilities.
“I found out that I could go through a                                                                    He encourages paralegal students to get
paralegal program that was approved by              The way Frankel found his job at Reed Smith           involved in a professional association, for
the American Bar Association [and] that             is pretty interesting. After trying out legal         both the continued education benefits and
the paralegal world is an evolving, up-and-         recruiters and not getting any results, he            the networking opportunities.
coming profession. And it’s kind of coming          decided to try networking through the Los
into its own,” he said. “I discovered this was      Angeles Paralegal Association (LAPA).

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PROFILE                                                                                       1. 800.973.1177

“I think people who are of like mind and          “Student paralegals don’t really understand      ON THE NET
purpose need a place to congregate, and so        that. They’re not sure who makes hiring
LAPA tries to provide that,” he said. “I didn’t   decisions at a law firm. They just want to get   Reed Smith

seriously want to get involved until I was way    through their program, but as I’ve found,

out of school and thought of it as my last        senior paralegals have a lot of influence on
resort, but I would tell paralegal students to    who gets in,” he said. “I would also suggest     Los Angeles Paralegal Association

join as a first resort—to get the newsletters     that students keep and maintain a binder

and start reading about who the players are       about the area of law they think they want to
and how you can get on a committee and            go into and start collecting reading material    Cal State Los Angeles

get in front of the senior paralegals who         and review the reading material often.”

ultimately make hiring decisions.”


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Description: Todd Frankel, a paralegal at Reed Smith in downtown Los Angeles, CA and His new job. a litigation paralegal.
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