Paralegal Division

Publication year2021
CitationVol. 34 No. 3 Pg. 64
Paralegal Division
No. Vol. 34 No. 3 Pg. 64
Utah Bar Journal
June, 2021

May, 2021


by Greg Wayment

I live in a little condo building, and three or so years ago, the long-running Home Owners Association (HOA) president and the finance chair left unexpectedly. Unfortunately, they both left at roughly the same time. I was the lowest ranking member of the committee of three, and I thought for our little fifteen-member HOA, it was quite a blow. I wasn’t interested in being the president, but it was one of those moments as Mitt Romney and others have said, “If not you, who? If not now, when?”

And so it was that I inherited the position. A couple of other owners were coaxed into joining, and we formed a new board. An unexpected result has been that I have learned a lot about leadership. I haven’t been much of a leader as a paralegal. I’ve spent the last sixteen years working as the only litigation paralegal at a firm (which has only been possible because of great assistants). And although I’ve served many years on the Paralegal Division Board, I’ve managed to stay mostly in supporting roles.

As I pondered this, I wondered if any of it had any relevance for paralegals. It occurred to me that not only are there paralegals in leadership positions, almost every paralegal I know wears multiple hats. Many of you are parents and wear multiple hats for that role! But many of you are also real estate agents, adjunct instructors, athletic coaches, volunteers, or…HOA presidents. I think it’s in the DNA of a paralegal to be asking, “Am I doing enough?” So I think, even though as paralegals we are mostly in supportive roles at work, there are a great number of opportunities to be leaders. Here are some of the things I’ve learned:

1. Have a plan. In the HOA world, ideally you can afford to have a reserve study professionally prepared. This is an expert evaluation of the systems of your building or community and what needs to be done now, what needs to be done in the future, and how much money you’ll need to accomplish those goals. It’s not always possible to have a “reserve study” as a paralegal, but when you can tackle any project or case with a plan, you will be much more effective.

2. Keep a written budget. As the HOA president, I spend every dollar on paper at the beginning of each month. We also keep QuickBooks records. My budget helps me keep track of where the money is going and how much we’ll need to meet future demands. The...

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