Fifty Years of Service

For most of you it’s likely difficult to imagine doing anything for fifty years. (I’m frequently amazed that I’ve practiced law for over 35!) It’s especially hard to envision a paralegal working as a paralegal for fifty years when the ABA did not recognize the profession until 1968. However, the ABA is frequently at least a few years behind the real world. I’m presently working on a course syllabus for a course that studies the paralegal profession through film, including 1949’s “Adams Rib” and, of course, Della Street from “Perry Mason.” But those are fiction, and now we have real life proof that there were people performing the functions of paralegals before the ABA recognized the profession as NewOK reveals in its story, “Paralegal marks 50 years with Oklahoma City law firm.”

Jo Balding “stumbled” into the job starting as a legal secretary according to the story, but it’s clear that the job ultimately demanded all the skills of a paralegal, including the ability to relieve stress. Here’s a bit of the story:

Balding said her job takes strong organizational skills and, with a lot of last-minute tasks, the ability to handle stress.

As a way of relieving stress, she said she joins friends she’s made through various quilters guilds in making quilts for wounded soldiers who return to the U.S., quilts for soldiers in Afghanistan and quilts for preemie babies at the various hospitals.

“It feels good to do something for someone else, and it’s calming and relaxing,” Balding said.

Crowe & Dunlevy directors Michael Laird and Brooke Murphy praise Balding’s five decades of service.

“For 50 years, Jo Balding has invested her intelligence, savvy, courage and wit in this firm and in the clients we serve. She has truly been the professionalism benchmark by which so many others who have come after her are judged,” Laird said.

“She understands the importance of strict attention to detail for each client matter on which she assists our attorneys,” Murphy said, “and she has dedicated her career to consistently maintaining high standards.”

So, congratulations to Jo Balding and to her firm!

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