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PROFILE

Profile: Tita Brewster, freelance paralegal Road warrior with more than 5,000 trial hours [by Regan Morris] Tita Brewster has more trial hours than most attorneys. LawCrossing speaks with the freelance paralegal about her career as a road warrior.

Brewster calls herself a road warrior parale-

they can be in San Francisco in any one of the

our needs and that security was going to be

gal. A specialist in complex, large, docu-

federal courts.”

sufficient to where we wouldn’t have to worry, and all of that was true,” she said. “It was a

ment-intensive litigation, Brewster travels

wonderful experience. The people were won-

the United States and the world—wherever

Trials are in Delaware, she said, because

the trials are. And she’s involved in seemingly

many of the companies are incorporated

derful. They’re all extremely well educated

every paralegal association in existence. It’s

there.

and have an incredible work ethic in the Phil-

Brewster recently took on a job with Redwood

them the project. That was quite lucrative for

Based in Las Cruces, NM, Brewster is an

City, CA-based firm Ropers, Majeski, Kohn

the company.”

expert in trademark and intellectual property

& Bentley to shut down a repository of docu-

hard to imagine when the woman sleeps.

ippines, so it worked out beautifully. We gave

litigation, and as a result, she often works for

ments from a case she originally started

Brewster was president of the Paralegal

law firms in Silicon Valley. She’s willing to go

working on in 1994. The case had a repository

Association of Santa Clara County in 1993

anywhere, and she’s been many places.

of several-million documents, and Brewster’s

and 1994. Then she became president of the

job is to conduct inventory on the docu-

California Alliance of Paralegal Associations

“There are very few people in my position who

ments, notify the numerous parties who have

(CAPA). Then she got involved with the Na-

have over 5,000 actual trial hours,” she said.

documents there, and then hire an imaging

tional Association of Legal Assistants (NALA)

“So when people are in a bind and they don’t

company to scan and store the documents.

as its ethics chair and then professional

have people to support a trial, they call me.”

She can do some of the work at home.

development chair. She has also served as

A paralegal for 27 years, Brewster spent most

Brewster said she did not intend to hit the

of her career in Santa Clara (CA) County. She

road as a career choice, but cases started

has freelanced several times over her career,

demanding the travel, and she didn’t mind.

NALA’s treasurer, secretary, and second vice

often joining a law firm for the duration of a

president. “And I’m about to try to get reelected to first vice president at our conference in July in

big case and then picking up a new case as

“It wasn’t intentional to begin with, but the

Kansas City,” she said of NALA’s conference

soon as the trial’s over. Freelancing allows

cases started requiring that; and since I have

celebrating its 30th anniversary this summer.

her to work on big cases, then spend time at

a real independent husband and my son was

home.

raised, it just seemed to evolve,” she said.

“In my other life, which is where I am now,

When she moved to New Mexico from Cali-

started working for a judge in El Paso, TX,

we have a toy store. My husband runs the toy

fornia, she planned to work for firms in New

doing some real estate work. Then she joined

store when I’m running around doing what

Mexico and across the border in Texas. But

a law firm as a secretary, working her way

I’m doing,” she said. “I go where the trials

the California firms kept calling “with offers

up to paralegal (although they didn’t use the

are. So in particular, trademark and intel-

that I couldn’t refuse.”

title). When she moved to California in 1980,

When Brewster started doing paralegal work, there were no paralegal schools. She

lectual property litigation, that can take you

she joined a law firm as a secretary and was

anywhere in the United States, although the

She was once sent to the Philippines by a law

lawsuits for patent infringement are usually

firm to look at a facility for offshore coding.

quickly promoted to paralegal. “I think the attorneys realized that the work

filed perhaps with companies in Silicon Valley, which is where I do most of my work…

“The defense steering committee just wanted

that some of their secretaries were doing

The trials are generally in Delaware, although

to know that it was going to be able to handle

was billable, and that was how the paralegal

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PROFILE

profession kind of evolved,” she said. “I loved it. I worked for a law firm at one time who wanted to put me through law school, and I didn’t want to go to law school. The paralegal profession is different from being a lawyer, and I really, really like the difference.” Brewster has advised several paralegal schools on curriculum. Despite years of solid work experience, Brewster decided to get her paralegal certificate in 1983 from West Valley College in Saratoga, CA. Education is key to success as a paralegal, she said. “I would contact a national association and get a mentor if you can,” she said when asked what advice she would give new paralegals. “Join your local paralegal association; get a mentor; and if there aren’t any formal education programs near you, contact NALA. They have some wonderful programs online. Keep your educational requirements up with your state requirements. California is very stringent. So are Texas and Florida, but for the states that aren’t, don’t let that stop you from keeping on top of your game.” Freelancing is only for the experienced. If you do intend to freelance one day as a road warrior, Brewster said don’t work for too many law firms because you run the future risk of losing work because of conflicts of interest in a trial. “If you get out of paralegal school and you qualify to take the national exam to be a Certified Legal Assistant, that is the first step down the road of professionalism and prosperity in this profession,” she said. “I’m telling you, you can make a lot of money and you can be very, very happy. There’s not a day that I don’t wake up thanking God that I have this job. I love my job.”

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Profile: Tita Brewster, freelance paralegal Road warrior with more than 5,000 trial hours  

Tita Brewster is specialist to freelance paralegal at Road warrior.

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