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Kristine Farmer: Immediate Past President and Board Advisor for the National Federation of Paralegal Associations and Trial Paralegal for Godwin Pappas Langley Ronquillo, LLP, Dallas, TX by LawCrossing


Article On Kristine Farmer The Trial Paralegal At Godwin Pappas Langley Ronquillo A National Construction Companies And Information About Design Defect Claims, Default Terminations, Affirmative Construction, Contract Bond Defaults And More

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									PROFILE                                                                                         1. 800.973.1177

                           Kristine Farmer: Trial Paralegal, Godwin Pappas Langley
                           Ronquillo, LLP, Dallas, TX
                           [By Charisse Dengler]
                           Kristine Farmer is a trial paralegal for Keith A. Langley at Godwin Pappas Langley Ronquillo, LLP, in Dallas, TX, and
                           works in the area of construction and surety. For the most part, she deals with “complex disputes for national construction
                           companies involving construction and design defect claims, default terminations, affirmative construction claims, and all
                           kinds of contract bond defaults.”

Farmer, who has been a paralegal for 6            not have the Internet. We did not even have       times, especially when documents have to
years, first became interested in the field        Windows,” she said. “All of our programs          be added to or changed at the last minute.
after working in law while attending college.      were DOS-based, and you could only launch         How does she deal with this?
                                                   one program at a time. We had a dedicated
“The summer before I transferred to the                                                              “Generally speaking, people in the world
                                                   computer that had a modem, which we used
University of North Texas [UNT], initially                                                           of litigation do not work ahead of schedule,
                                                   for online legal research through Westlaw’s
as an accounting major, I began working                                                              but, rather, they work towards deadlines,”
                                                   software. Of course, we used this only
for one of the best labor attorneys in the                                                           she said. “My group does a very good job of
                                                   sporadically because we were charged by the
state of Texas, if not the nation,” she said.                                                        establishing target dates for completion of
                                                   minute of connection time. During the times
“He had previously represented the labor                                                             drafts so that we have ample time to review,
                                                   when one of our legal secretaries would
union for which my father worked, and I                                                              rework, or conduct additional legal research
                                                   take vacation, my boss’s retired secretary
had met him on several occasions prior to                                                            before the deadline to file or serve whatever
                                                   would fill in. She used a Xerox Memorywriter
learning about the position as his part-time                                                         is due. This aids in keeping the frustration
                                                   typewriter-not a computer-to do Marvin’s
bookkeeper. During my tenure with this                                                               of procrastination to a minimum.”
                                                   pleadings and correspondence!”
attorney, I learned so much about labor law
and labor unions, which served to expand                                                             In addition to her work as a trial paralegal,
                                                   Farmer also thoroughly enjoys being
upon all that I had learned from my dad,                                                             Farmer is also Immediate Past President
                                                   able to assist the attorneys at her firm
and I was eager to learn more about the                                                              and Board Advisor for the National
                                                   in the courtroom by utilizing her strong
litigation process and the handling of cases.                                                        Federation of Paralegal Associations
                                                   organizational skills.
Within a very short time, this attorney                                                              (NFPA), Inc. In this position, she assists
began giving me legal assistant work to                                                              the current president in any way that
                                                   “Being organized is one of the most
do, and I knew I had found my true love-                                                             she can and, to some extent, provides a
                                                   important qualities a trial paralegal can
labor law. Within a semester, I changed                                                              historical viewpoint for the association by
                                                   have,” she said. “Moreover, being very
my major at UNT to labor and industrial                                                              putting together a report of her presidency.
                                                   attentive and cognizant, not only of the jury
relations management (human resources),                                                              She also serves as a timekeeper for the
                                                   as they react to witnesses’ testimony but
graduated 8 months later, and have worked         also of the perceived credibility of witnesses,   association’s annual meeting and a reporter
in the area of labor/employment law for the        is key for a paralegal. In trial, my attorneys    for Inside NFPA.
majority of my time as a paralegal.”               are focused on their examination and
                                                   cross-examination of witnesses. Once I am         “NFPA is a nonprofit professional
It was Farmer’s current firm’s appreciation
                                                   assured that they have all of the documents       organization headquartered in Edmonds,
for and use of technology that ultimately
                                                   and facts they need to be as prepared             WA, comprising state and local paralegal
sold her on the position. She said she loves
                                                   as possible, I then focus on reading the          associations throughout the United States,”
all things technology-related, including
                                                   body language and juror reactions to that         she said. “Founded in 974, NFPA is a
paperless trials and evidentiary hearings.
                                                   testimony, which aids our trial team in           federation of 50 member associations
Looking back on how the legal field has
                                                   their overall trial presentation-especially in    representing more than ,000 members
evolved since she first became a paralegal,
                                                   closing arguments.”                               who reflect a broad diversity of experience,
it is the evolution of technology that stands
                                                                                                     education, and job responsibilities. NFPA
out the most to her.
                                                   However, with so much to keep organized           has been the national voice for the paralegal
“When I began as a paralegal, we had a fax         and so many people to manage, Farmer              profession for over 30 years.”
machine that used thermal paper. We did            admits that her job can be overwhelming at

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PROFILE                                                                                    1. 800.973.1177

Farmer added, “As the board advisor, I also      association can send two delegates to the       “Paralegals are an integral part of the
serve as the supervisory board member            NFPA conventions, where each association        legal system, and we should celebrate
to the nominations coordinator, special          has one vote. The member associations           the profound impact the legal system and
projects coordinator, and the strategic          of NFPA make the policy decisions for the       democracy have had on American society,”
planning coordinator. I also serve as the        federation. The board of directors is charged   she said. “I consider it an honor and a
chair of the marketing committee and am          with implementing the policy initiatives the    privilege to work in the legal profession. I
the co-chair of the Tech Institute planning      delegates put into place with their votes.      enjoy doing more than what is expected, and
committee. I am very excited to be working       This process makes NFPA very unique. The        I always strive to learn more, do more, and
with our planning committee to plan our          federation is driven by its members.”           help more.”
first annual NFPA Tech Institute, “Learn,
Leverage, Lead,” which will be held at the       Farmer encourages paralegal students to         A native Texan, Farmer loves to read and
Omni William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh,           get involved in paralegal associations, not     travel, and she is also currently pursuing
Pennsylvania, on July 9th and 0th, 007.”      only to network with other paralegals but       an education degree at UNT in the hopes of
                                                 also to help them see that they are part        teaching paralegal studies or business law
Farmer became a member of the                    of something bigger than themselves-a           and business education in the future.
association in 995 after joining the Dallas     profession that matters within the legal
Area Paralegal Association, which is a part      field and the world.                            ON THE NET
of NFPA. A year after joining NFPA, she
began serving as the chair of the litigation     “The delegates and members of NFPA              National Federation of Paralegal
section. In 998, she went to her first          are the best paralegals in the country,”        Associations
NFPA convention in Anchorage, AK, as the         she said. “I have learned so much about
association’s primary representative, and        the profession by simply attending NFPA
she said she has been hooked ever since.         meetings, conventions, conferences, and         University of North Texas
                                                 workshops. I developed leadership abilities
“I like to use the analogy that NFPA is          through my involvement and also believe
structured very similarly to the United States   that my membership and active involvement       Godwin Pappas Langley Ronquillo, LLP
Senate,” she said. “No matter how large          gives me the opportunity to give back to the
or small the member association, each            community that has given me so much.”


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