Legal Assistants/Paralegals of Southern West Virginia

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Legal Assistants/Paralegals of Southern West Virginia

Nominations for 2014 LAPSWV Paralegal of the Year are being accepted through May 1, 2014

Each year LAPSWV selects a Paralegal of the Year. Nominees must be an active member of LAPSWV. The Paralegal of the Year award will be presented at the 10th Annual Seminar & Meeting on May 30, 2014. 

Active members of LAPSWV should have recently received a letter and nomination form from LAPSWV President, Patricia Schoolcraft, CLA.  Your nomination must be postmarked by May 1, 2014.  You may make only one nomination. The Executive Committee will review all nominations received and will select the Paralegal of the Year. 

If you are an active LAPSWV member and did not receive a nomination letter and form, please contact Patricia Schoolcraft, CLA, LAPSWV President, at



Candidates for Office of President 

Patricia Schoolcraft 2013

Patricia Schoolcraft, CLA                              
Patricia Schoolcraft is employed by Preston and Salango, PLLC, as a litigation paralegal. She has been employed as a paralegal since 1992. She previously was employed as a regulatory paralegal with the State of WV and as a defense litigation paralegal with a large WV defense firm. Patricia received her B.A. degree from WVU Institute of Technology in 2003, her A.A.S., Legal Assistant, with high honors, degree from Marshall Community and Technical College in 1992, and her CLA certification from NALA in 1998. Patricia has been a NALA member since 1998, and was a member of LAWV from 1992-2004. She is a founding member of LAPSWV. As a member of LAPSWV, she has served as Treasurer, Secretary, Second Vice President, First Vice President, and Presdent. She previously served as Chair of the Nomiantions and Elections Committee, Audit Committee, Membership Committee, and By-Laws Committee for LAPSWV.

 Melanie Hicks, CP - 2014 




  Melanie Hicks, CP


Melanie Hicks obtained an Associate Degree in Paralegal Studies in 1994 from the College of WV (nka University of Charleston, Beckley). She has worked for over 19 years for sole practitioners in real estate, civil litigation, family law and criminal law areas of the legal field. Melanie incorporated Paralegal Solutions, LLC in 2008 and now works as a freelance paralegal for numerous attorneys and firms performing real estate work, litigation support and contract review. She becam a member of LAPSWV in 2008 and passed the NALA certifying examination in March 2010. Mealnie was elected as LAPSWV's Secretary for 2011-2012, NALA Liaison for 2012-2013, and First Vice President for 2013-2014. She is currently a member of NALA's Leadership Enhancement and Preparation (LEAP) Class of 2014.

  Candidate for Office of First Vice President

 Karen Nichols, ACP



Karen Nichols, ACP  


Karen is employed by Jackson Kelly PLLC as an Advanced Certified Paralegal in the Commerical Law Department. Karen has been in the legal profession for over 30 years and has been a paralegal for over 20 years. She graduated in December 2003 from Marshall University with a degree of A.A.S. Legal Assistant, with high honors. Karen obtained her CLA/CP certification from NALA in January 2006 and Advanced Paralegal Certification in Business Organizations: Incorporated Entities in October 2008. She is currently serving on the Jackson Kelly Legal Assistant Liaison Committee, the Advisory Committee for the Kanawha Valley Community and Technical College, and is a former adjunct professor for the Kanawha Valley Community and Technical College. In addition to currently serving as NALA Liaison for LAPSWV, Karen has served as LAPSWV President, 1st Vice President; 2nd Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. 

Candidate for Office of Second Vice President

Cynthia L. Kline, ACP




Cynthia Kline, ACP

Cindy is employed by Jackson Kelly PLLC as an Advanced Certified Paralegal. She has been in the legal profession for more than 27 years; and has been a paralegal for 24 years. Cindy has been a member of LAPSWV since 2004, and has served LAPSWV in many capacities, including President from 2008-2010. She obtained her CLA/CP certification from NALA in January 2006 and her Advanced Certification in Discovery in March 2007. Cindy is an active NALA member and currently serves on NALA's Continuing Education Council. She is also a 2012 graduate of NALA's Leadership Enhancement and Preparation (LEAP) program. Cindy is a member of the Defense Trial Counsel of WV, the Legal Assistants Committee of the WV State Bar, and the Advisory Committee for the Kanawha Valley Community and Technical College. She is currently enrolled in the Paralegal Studies program at Kanawha Valley Community and Technical College and anticipates graduating in 2015 with an Associate in Applied Science, Paralegal Studies Degree.

  Candidate for Office of Treasurer 

Sherri Rasmussen 2013

Sherri Rasmussen                  

Sherri attended Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, TX where she received a B.S. in Education in 1985. She has been a litigation paralegal for more than 20 years and is currently employed with The Masters Law Firm, LC, focusing in mass and class action litigation and products liability cases. Sherri has been an active member of LAPSWV since 2009, serving on the Audit Committee from 2010-2012, and elected as Treasurer for 2013-2014. She has been a member of NALA since 2013 and is an active member of WV Association for Justice (WVAJ) legal assistants program.

Candidate for Office of Secretary

Mica Spratt 2014



Mica Spratt


Mica Spratt is employed by Lamp Bartram Levy Trautwein & Perry, PLLC as a litigation paralegal.  She has been employed with Lamp Bartram Levy Trautwein & Perry for seven years. Mica received her Bachelors Degree in Music/Voice and also received a minor in Psychology from West Virginia Wesleyan in 2007. She has been a member of LAPSWV since 2013. Presently, she is studying for the NALA certifying exam.

 Candidates for Office of NALA Liaison

Heather Jordan 2014
Heather Jordan


Heather Jordan is employed by Huddleston Bolen LLP as a litigation paralegal. She has been employed as a paralegal since 2010 and was a legal secretary for five years prior. Heather received her B.S. in Environmental Science from Marshall University in 2003 and her Master of Science in Environmental Science from Marshall University in 2007. She has been a member of LAPSWV and NALA since 2011. Presently, she is studying for the NALA certifying exam.


Rhonda Swartz, CLA - 2013 jpeg
Rhonda Swartz, CLA
Rhonda Swartz, CLA is employed by the US Attorney's office in the Civil Division. She has been a member of the legal profession for approximately 24 years. Rhonda earned an Associate in Administrative Science and an Association in Secretarial Science/Information Administration from Glenville State College with high honors in 1991. In 1995, she graduated with a Regents Bachelor of Arts from Glenville State College with high honors. She obtained her CLA/CP certification from NALA in September 2000.  Currently, she is preparing to take the ACP exam. Rhonda is currently an active member of NALA.  She is a founding member of LAPSWV, and served as Historian/Parlimentarian, 2nd Vice President, 1st Vice President, and President. During her tenure she also served on various committees which include the Education/Scholarship Committee, Audit Committee, and Membership Committee. Rhonda is an active member of The West Virginia Bar Association, Legal Assistant Division (2002-present).


If you cannot attend the LAPSWV annual membership meeting on May 30, 2014, you may designate another active member and an alternate to represent you.  You must file a Designation of Proxy form with the LAPSWV Secretary by April 29, 2014.  It is prudent to file this form even if you plan to attend the meeting.  Should unforeseen circumstances keep you from attending the election, then a designated proxy could step in for you.  Be sure that your designated proxy and alternate are active members, and that they plan to attend the meeting. 

You may use the Instructions to Proxy and Alternate Proxy form to instruct your proxy holders on how you wish your vote to be cast.                               




LAPSWV Sponsors three (3) scholarships:

Applications must be received by the LAPSWV Scholarship Committee on or before May 1, 2014.




Friday, May 30, 2014
Holiday Inn & Suites
3551 Route 60 East
Barboursville, WV


July 23-25, 2014
Charleston, SC

Registration is now open for the 2014 NALA Convention. 
Click for more details!


NALA 2014 Convention Picture





Filing Deadline

Late Application
Filing Deadline
(With $25 late filing fee)

 January 1-31

 December 1

December 10

                   May 1-31

             April 1

                    April 10

            September 1-30

          August 1

August 10


As a reminder to all, the Certified Paralegal examination consists of five examination sections: 

  1. Communications
  2. Ethics
  3. Judgment and Analytical Ability
  4. Legal Research
  5. Substantive Law

September 2013 was the first testing of the new format of the Certified Paralegal examination, Substantive Law section. The Substantive Law section now consists of questions on the following subjects:

  • American Legal System
  • Civil Litigation
  • Business Organizations
  • Contracts

Additional optional areas are no longer available. All examinees will take the same test.

The Certifying Board announced modifications to the Substantive Law section earlier this year after careful study of the 2012-13 Job Analysis study. The Certifying Board strives to link the Certified Paralegal examination directly to the day to day duties and responsibilities of paralegals in the workplace. The modifications are a continued effort to ensure the Certified Paralegal examination remains an accurate and relevant reflection of the duties and responsibilities of today's paralegals.

 A detailed list of specifications for the Certified Paralegal examination may be found on the NALA web site under "Certification/Certified Paralegal Exam Description" (click here) as well as a more detailed statement of these modifications.


New Practice Tests for the Certified Paralegal Exam Now Available!  

Since introduction of the computer based testing for the Certified Paralegal examination, examinees requested the experience of taking the examination.  Examinees have also requested more practice tests for the Certified Paralegal examination.  

NALA put the two requests together and announces the availability of practice tests for the Certified Paralegal examination on the same testing environment as the Certified Paralegal examination itself.

The practice tests have been developed from the web-based Certified Paralegal review programs on NALA Campus.  

If you have taken a NALA Campus course, you will recognize many of the questions.


*    Practice tests may be accessed through   The practice tests are delivered on exactly the same platform as the actual Certified Paralegal examination.
*    Participants will receive instructive feedback on most questions. The feedback describes why the answer is correct or incorrect. Upon completion of a test, participants will have an opportunity to download the question item feedback.
*    Participants also receive feedback describing how they scored on the exam based on the subject category of the question.  
*    The Judgment & Analytical Ability practice test includes a bonus handout - an assignment and sample memo for self-grading.
*    The practice tests are about 1/2 of the entire Certified Paralegal examination.

To Purchase:
*    Individual sections:  $30 each for Communications, Ethics and Legal Research; $40 each for Substantive Law and Judgment & Analytical Ability.
*    Purchase of all five sections:  $85 (50% discount if all five sections purchased)

Paralegal Schools:  Vouchers are available for quantity purchases. Contact NALA for details.

Upon purchase, a login will be provided. Practice tests may not be downloaded for future reference, nor printed. Printing and reproduction of the test questions is strictly prohibited.


Did you miss the renewal deadline?

Dues for renewed membership in LAPSWV were due and payable on or before July 1. If you missed the deadline and wish to retain your LAPSWV membership, please contact Sherri Rasmussen at to determine what you need to do to renew your membership. 



Litigation Paralegal Position Available in Charleston, WV.

Employment opportunities are posted to the Members Only section.  Forgot your password or login, contact the system administrator at


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