Diana McGrath, a paralegal in the County Attorney’s Office, has just been notified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization (TBLS) that she passed the rigorous Paralegal Certification examination. Her boss, County Attorney J D Lambright said that “I can say without question that Diana is one of the finest employees anyone could ever hope to have. Many people work hard, but Diana also works very, very smart. She always has a bright, cheerful attitude no matter how much work comes her way, and believe me an awful lot of work comes her way. Diana is one of those people that makes the entire team better. Out of several thousand paralegals in Montgomery County, Diana is one of only three who have been Board Certified.” Ms. McGrath was also recently named Montgomery County Employee of the Year for 2014.
Sarah Stallberg, an Assistant County Attorney, commented that “Diana has impressive skills regarding research and the ability to put together trial notebooks and boxes full of information that enables attorneys to present cases in court. Our section handles CPS cases, and Diana never has a problem dealing with the difficult subject matter in which children’s lives are sometimes at stake.” As lead prosecutor in the Juvenile Division, Assistant County Attorney Marc Brumberger said that “it is hard to express just how impressed I am with Diana’s dedication and determination. She is always positive and upbeat.”
The Texas Board of Legal Specialization was established in 1974 by the Supreme Court of Texas at the request of the State Bar of Texas. It is the only governing board authorized to certify attorneys and paralegals in legal specialty areas. The TBLS certifies paralegals in 7 areas of the law. According to County Attorney J D Lambright, “the Board Certification process is rigorous and thorough with ongoing requirements that continue even after a person becomes certified”. Paralegal certification recognizes and promotes the availability, quality, and utilization of the services of paralegals who, working under the supervision of duly licensed attorneys, have achieved a level of special knowledge in particular areas of law.
The paralegal certification process closely parallels the attorney certification process. It includes a thorough assessment of the paralegal’s experience under the supervision of a licensed Texas attorney as well as their record of Continuing Legal Education and specialty area duties. It requires the completion of Baccalaureate or higher degree, or completion of an accredited paralegal program or four additional years of relevant experience. References from attorneys, judges and other professionals associated with the specialty area are evaluated, and a passing score on a half day area examination is required. In the entire State of Texas, only approximately 300 paralegals have distinguished themselves with board certification.
Along with other attorneys and paralegals throughout the state who have achieved the Board Certified milestone, Diana will be formally inducted into the Texas Board of Legal Specialization on February 20, 2015 at a ceremony in Austin, Texas. Each of them will be awarded a Certificate of Special Competence.