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Kurt A. McCrum: Paralegal, Sacramento, CA [By Judith Earley] Cameron Park, CA, resident Kurt McCrum seems to have a daredevil streak in him that drives him both in and out of the office. By profession, McCrum is a personal injury paralegal/computer expert/office administrator at the Law Offices of Edward A. Smith in Sacramento. “I handle a variety of personal injury matters from intake through trial, under the supervision of Edward Smith. I pride myself on my litigation capabilities and actually get a kick out of working on cases up to and through trial. I enjoy writing law and motion pleadings, mediation briefs, and other legal documents. Our office uses cutting-edge technologies to stay ahead of our competition and add value to our cases,” said McCrum.

Job experience, aptitude, and a desire for

he conveys good news and/or notifies them

According to McCrum, one of the most

a means of advancement-according to

that they have received huge settlements.

important issues facing the law community

McCrum, these were the three keys that

Said McCrum, “I also enjoy having claims

today is getting the word out to jurors that

led him into the paralegal field. “I began

adjusters and attorneys back down based on

the insurance industry-not the trial attorney-

my career as a clerk-messenger for a large

arguments that I’ve made.”

is the “big bad wolf.” “Lawyers get a bad rap,

law firm in 1986, right after graduating from

while insurance carriers line their pockets,”

high school. I took a part-time job while

Some of the most difficult challenges

said McCrum. “Our system of checks and

attending college, transitioned to full-time,

for McCrum include staying on top of the

balances is nearly non-functional due to

and ultimately started another job where I

constantly increasing workload, keeping on

propaganda paid for by insurance carriers.”

was trained up from clerk to legal secretary.

task by avoiding interruptions, and dealing

From there, after two years as a secretary,

with outrageous “offers.” When asked about

Over the course of his career as a paralegal,

I began working as a paralegal for a trial

some of the emotional highlights of his

McCrum said, he has seen huge changes

attorney. I enjoy helping persons and fighting

career to date, McCrum replied, “Let’s talk

in the legal industry. “Attorneys used to

the good fight,” said McCrum.

about this by voice. I’ve affected jury verdicts

be compared to doctors. Now they are

personally due to legal briefs I’ve written.

compared to used-car salesmen. The

“My experience in the school of hard knocks

I’ve made clients feel comfortable with their

insurance companies are winning the

(i.e., the legal industry) for over 20 years in

decisions, whatever decision it may be. I’ve

propaganda games. The net effect is that

addition to my aptitude for technology and

settled lots of large cases and taken away a

persons who need a good attorney don’t have

strong writing skills are what I draw upon

sense of good will from [the] same.”

the same access to good attorneys, playing even more into the hands of the insurance

when attempting to help persons injured through no fault of their own,” continued McCrum. “I guess I’m a softie when it comes to hearing about tragedies, and this desire to help and the rewards associated with helping someone get past a tragedy and perhaps turn it into a triumph are the factors that drive me to achieve on behalf of our office’s clients.” McCrum said he found his current position

Q. What do you do for fun? A. See above! Q. See above! A. What’s a CD player? MP3 tracks from David Sanborn was what I listened to on the way in today. Q. What’s the last magazine you read? A. Popular Photography, Model Aviation.

office, and recommended him for the position 11 years ago. And he seems to be a naturalborn advocate as he explains that the best part of his job is working with the clients, helping them through tough spots, and seeing the expressions on their faces when


changed the way a law practice operates,” explained McCrum. McCrum advised students who are preparing to become paralegals to start by finding jobs in the industry in order to get a proverbial foot in the door. From there, he said, work long and hard to demonstrate your aptitudes and abilities. Try to get recognized and

through an attorney who worked with him at another law office, worked at his current

carriers. In addition, technology has radically

Q. What is your favorite TV show? A. House. (I love a good medical drama.) Q. Who is your role model? A. Never really had anyone specific in mind.

promoted. “I would encourage someone starting out to work on an ROP/internship basis in a law firm and get their feet wet and see if it is something that is right for them,” said McCrum. “There are a lot of jobs much easier

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1. 800.973.1177

to perform than being a paralegal, and I think

of the challenges involved (keeping a plane

“Mid-air collisions, and/or ‘dumb thumbs’

the only way to find out if the person has

in the air or a helicopter from crashing) and

mistakes causing the plane to meet terra

the dedication and time-management skills

the serenity involved; flying slope gliders/

firma at high speeds are just part of the

necessary would be to actually work in the

sailplanes involves standing on a cliff, which

game. Destroyed planes and sunburns all

business for several months. That, and take

usually affords a nice view, and using the wind

around are par for the course after racing. It

as many English and legal writing courses/

as your only source of power. Because there

takes a lot of courage, and a bit of a fearless

computer science courses as possible.”

is no motor/noise and because the model,

heart, to toss a $2,000 fiberglass aircraft

pilot, [and] wind conditions all have to be in

you’ve spent 20-plus hours fitting out off of a

synch, it is often a rare and much-looked-

cliff in the first place. It takes even more to

forward-to ‘treat’ to get in a flight of 1.5 hours

enter into a man-on-man competition where

without stopping.”

the only certain outcome is that many planes will crash.”

“Racing sailplanes against two other pilotsOn a personal note, McCrum is 38 years

on a cliff, in high winds, with heavy planes

old, is married, and has a toddler son at

traveling at 100-plus miles per hour-is one

home. His interests include computers,

of the purest forms of adrenaline I’ve ever

the Internet, auto mechanics, boating,

found. I’ll drive all day just to get to L.A. to

fishing, and hiking. His primary hobbies are

enter a race. I’ll stand on a mountaintop all

photography and radio-control modeling with

day in the blaring sun, drinking 10 bottles of

an emphasis on sailplanes and helicopters.

water, if it means that I can hone my racing line and best my fastest lap and achieve

“I’ve spent 25 years flying model aircraft of

victory on occasion. I race two to three times

all types. Initially, my interest was piqued as

per year. The races I enter are two-day

a way of using my hands to create something

races. There is a lot of action-and danger-

that then had a function, i.e., building a plane,

involved, as the models whiz past the pilots,

then flying it,” explained McCrum. “The hobby

[who] stand in a neck-and-neck fashion, all

has become my favorite pastime as the result

fighting for the same ‘line.’”


ON THE NET The Law Offices of Edward A. Smith Cameron Park, California,_ California

Model Aviation

Kurt A. McCrum: Paralegal, Sacramento, CA  

Kurt McCrum seems to have a daredevil streak in him that drives him both in and out of the office. By profession, McCrum is a personal injur...

Kurt A. McCrum: Paralegal, Sacramento, CA  

Kurt McCrum seems to have a daredevil streak in him that drives him both in and out of the office. By profession, McCrum is a personal injur...