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Kathy Surber Moore: Paralegal with Butler, Vines and Babb, Knoxville, TN [By Kenneth Davis] Kathy Surber Moore said that she was motivated to become a paralegal because she wanted a career that was both challenging and personally rewarding. She added that she also wanted a career that was connected to the law in some way.

“I have always had an interest in the law

once she has reviewed and analyzed those

accomplishment because she had to work

and felt that working as a paralegal would

documents to locate any relevant findings

full-time and attend school at night to earn

provide me with those opportunities,” she

necessary to the case at hand, she prepares

both degrees.

said. “I hold very strong beliefs when it

summaries and/or chronologies (timelines)

comes to justice and fairness. I don’t like to

based on this information for the attorney

Moore joined Butler Vines in June of 1999.

see anyone getting taken advantage of simply

to review. She added that she also spends

She said one of her professors in the

because of someone else’s negligence or

a significant amount of time doing research

paralegal program recommended her to

greed. I wanted to be part of something that

that is both legal and non-legal in nature.

the firm.

and serve the greater good of the community

“Again, the type of research is often

Moore discussed what she enjoys most

in which I live.”

determined by the type of case that I’m

about her job:

provides a remedy or solution to help others

working on,” Moore said. “One day, I might Moore has been a paralegal with the law

be trying to locate information on city or

“I enjoy the feelings of accomplishment

firm Butler, Vines and Babb, which is based

county building codes, and the next I may

that I get when I know I’ve done a good job

in Knoxville, TN, for more than seven years.

be trying to locate a potential witness

and have helped our client’s position,” she

She said she has been assigned to work

who is serving time in a federal prison. In

said. “I feel my work has purpose and that

primarily with two attorneys at the firm:

addition, I contact clients, witnesses, police

my thoughts and opinions are valued by my

Edward U. Babb and John W. Butler. Moore

officers, and treating physicians to gather

attorneys that I work with.”

added that she works chiefly in the areas of

information relative to the facts of the case

insurance defense, workers’ compensation,

and/or their opinions. Oftentimes, I feel as

She said the most difficult challenge of her

and personal injury; she also works on some

though I play more of an investigative type

job is keeping up with her workload.

product liability matters.

of role because it’s my job to not only find information but figure out how to get access

“This is definitely not a career for someone

Moore said her tasks as a paralegal are so

to it, as well. I draft discovery responses

who likes to leave the office every day

numerous and varied that it’s difficult to

and various memoranda, as needed. I also

with a clean desk,” she commented.

give an accurate description of the details

assist my attorneys at depositions and trials

“Oftentimes, it can get very stressful trying

of her job.

when needed.”

to keep up with the huge caseloads that

“So much depends on the type of case I am

Before becoming a paralegal, Moore was

working on,” she explained. “However, most

a marketing coordinator for a major cable

Moore is a member of the Smoky Mountain

of my responsibilities are centered around

television company. During that time, she

Paralegal Association (SMPA) and the National

the discovery phase of a lawsuit, although I

attended Walters State Community College

Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), the

am generally involved from beginning to end

in Morristown, TN; she received her A.S.

leading national paralegal association.

in all matters.”

in Paralegal Studies from the school in

most attorneys carry.”

May of 1999. From there, she continued

“Being part of a paralegal association is a

Moore said she spends a great deal of time

her education at Tusculum College in

wonderful opportunity to network with other

collecting and reviewing various documents,

Greeneville, TN, where she earned her B.S.

paralegals, to share information and ideas,

such as medical records, employment

in Organizational Studies in 2002. Moore

and to be a support system for one another

records, social security files, criminal

graduated from both colleges with honors.

in dealing with various problems or concerns

records, accident reports, and so on. And

She said that she’s particularly proud of this

that may arise within the legal field or on the

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job,” she said. “Associations also help us

won’t seem nearly as daunting when you

all pay the price for such conduct. There

to keep focused on improving our skills and

encounter them. I also encourage students

needs to be a ‘common sense’ rule written

knowledge so that we can be better at what

to honor their ethical guidelines, even if

back into the laws these days, so that people

we do and encourage those around us to do

they see other legal professionals doing

cannot continue to get away with filing these

the same.”

otherwise. It is important to always try to

senseless and unsubstantiated lawsuits.”

do the right thing and be the example for In 2004, Moore passed the National

others to follow.”

Association of Legal Assistants’

When she’s not working, Moore likes to spend time with her husband, Kelly. They

comprehensive examination, making her

Moore said one of the highlights of her

have been married for six years and recently

a Certified Legal Assistant (or Certified

career was receiving her professional

finished building a new house.

Paralegal) and granting her the designation

designation as a Certified Paralegal through

“CP.” In addition, Moore is currently an

the National Association of Legal Assistants.

adjunct faculty member at her alma mater,

“We sort of live in the country and love being outdoors when we can,” she said. “My

Walters State Community College. There,

“At the time of my certification, there were

husband is a huge bass fisherman, and I

she teaches a course entitled “Introduction

only 236 paralegals in the whole state of

occasionally accompany him to the lake,

to Paralegal Practices, Legal Ethics, and Law

Tennessee who had accomplished this task,”

although I spend more of my time enjoying

Office Management.” She’s also a member

she said. “In order to become a certified

the peaceful solitude and reading a good

of the school’s advisory committee for the

paralegal, one has to sit for a two-day

book versus catching bass.”

paralegal studies program.

extensive legal exam (much like the bar exam for attorneys), which tests your knowledge in

Moore added that she’s also a huge animal

Moore explained what she likes most about

11 different areas of law, from legal research

lover.

teaching:

to civil litigation to criminal law. There is a 70% fail rate on first attempts at taking the

“My husband says that is why we had to move

“It is very rewarding for me personally to be

exam; however, I passed in all 11 sections

to the country-so that we would have room

able to share the things that I have learned

on my first attempt. Needless to say, I was

for all of the homeless or neglected animals

and experienced while working in the field

ecstatic when I received my congratulatory

that I tend to take in and give much-needed

with new paralegal students,” she said. “I

letter from NALA.”

love and affection,” she said.

something in appreciation for all of the good

Moore said she believes frivolous lawsuits

Moore said she also loves flowers and

things that I have received and experienced

are one of the most important issues facing

gardening, spending time with family and

in my life and career.”

the legal community today.

friends, and shopping.

Moore had the following advice for paralegal

“I feel that frivolous lawsuits are becoming

students:

a major black eye to the legal system here

feel that this is my opportunity to give back

in America,” she said. “At one time, the “I like to encourage the students that I

law was considered to be an honorable

teach to be willing to work hard and apply

profession. However, in today’s society,

themselves diligently in their classes, to

people are becoming so ‘lawsuit-happy’ that

be willing to do whatever it takes to get

the courts are inundated with senseless

the job done (so long as it’s honest and

and unnecessary lawsuits. People aren’t

ethical), and to love what they do,” she said.

interested in justice or fairness anymore;

“Every career will have its highs and lows,

they are only interested in how much money

but if you truly love what you do, the lows

they can get from someone. And, sadly, we

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Kathy Surber Moore: Paralegal with Butler, Vines and Babb, Knoxville, TN