President - Karen Nichols, ACP
Karen Nichols, ACP is employed by Jackson Kelly PLLC as an advanced certified paralegal in the Business Law Department. Karen has been in the legal profession for 25 years and has been a paralegal for 13 years. She graduated in December 2003 from Marshall University with an Associate in Applied Science, Legal Assistant degree, with high honors. Karen obtained her CLA certification from NALA in January 2006, and APC in Business Organizations: Incorporated Entities in October 2008. She is currently serving on the Jackson Kelly Parqalegal Liaison Committee, is an active member of the National Association of Legal Assistants, Inc. (NALA), and a member of the Defense Trial Counsel of West Virginia. Karen served as LAPSWV Treasurer from 2007-2009, LAPSWV's NALA Liaison (2009 - January 2010), Second Vice President (January 2010 - June 2010), First Vice President (July 2010 - January 2011), and is currently serving as President. Ms. Nichols was a member of the Executive Committee honored by LAPSWV as the 2009 Paralegals of the Year.
First Vice President - Patricia Schoolcraft, CLA
Patricia Schoolcraft, CLA, is employed by Preston & Salango, PLLC, as a civil litigation paralegal. She has been in the legal profession for over 23 years and has been a paralegal for 17 of the 23 years. She worked as a regulatory paralegal with the West Virginia Insurance Commissioner Office and as a litigation paralegal for Flaherty, Sensabaugh & Bonasso before going to work for Preston & Salango. She graduated in May 1992, with high honors, from Marshall University with an Associate in Applied Science, Legal Assistant degree. She obtained her CLA certification from the National Association of Legal Assistants, Inc. (NALA) in September 1998. In August 2002, she earned her Bachelor's degree from the West Virginia University Institute of Technology. She has been an active member of the National Association of Legal Assistants, Inc. (NALA) since 1998, a founding member of Legal Assistants/Paralegals of Southern West Virginia serving as the Treasurer for the first two years and on various committees, and was a former member and officer of the Association of Legal Assistants of West Virginia from 1988 to 2004.
Second Vice President - Cynthia "Cindy" J. Spreacker
Cynthia "Cindy" J. Spreacker - With over 13 years of legal experience, Cindy is currently employed as office manager/paralegal with the law firm of Steptoe & Johnson PLLC in its Huntington office. Cindy focuses her legal skills primarily on Railroad Litigation involving diesel, solvent and asbestos issues along with personal injury matters. She has been a member of LAPSWV since 2004 and has served on its various committees. Cindy attended Marshall University and Huntington Junior College with emphasis on legal specialization. She is a paralegal member of the Defense Trial Counsel of West Virginia and volunteers her time with Big Brothers/Big Sisters.
Treasurer - Renee Clay, ACP
Renee Clay, ACP has been employed by Steptoe & Johnson PLLC since October 2003 and works out of its Huntington, WV office. Renee has over 20 years of experience in the legal profession. She currently performs various tasks associated with defense of complex civil litigation including both commercial and personal injury matters, appellate litigation, and labor and employment litigation. Renee is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Marshall University where she earned her Bachelors of Science Degree in Business Education in 1991 and earned her Masters of Science Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies/Adult and Technical Education in 1997. In 2004, she became an active member of the Legal Assistants/Paralegals of Southern West Virginia (LAPSWV), served on its various committees and offices, and currently holds the office of Treasurer. She became a paralegal member of the Defense Trial Counsel of West Virginia in 2007. In September of 2007, Renee became a member of the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) and received her CP certification. Renee received her Advanced Certification in Discovery from NALA in May 2010. She is also a member of the Legal Assistants’ Committee of The West Virginia State Bar, serves on the Paralegal Studies Program Advisory Committee of ITT Technical Institute’s Huntington, WV campus, and serves on the Advisory Board for the Paralegal Studies Program of Kanawha Valley Community and Technical College in Charleston, WV.
Loretta J. Walker, ACP
1500 Chase Tower
707 Virginia Street, East
Charleston, WV 25301
Secretary - Loretta J. Walker, ACP
Loretta J. Walker, ACP is employed by the law firm of Kay Casto & Chaney PLLC. After working for Kay Casto and Chaney PLLC for more than 26 years, Ms. Walker moved to Phoenix, Arizona in 2011, where she was employed by the firm of Tiffany & Bosco, P.A. In 2012, Ms. Walker returned home to West Virginia and to Kay Casto and Chaney PLLC, where she is the firm’s only advanced certified paralegal. Ms. Walker previously worked as legal secretary for two of the firm’s senior commercial attorneys. Ms. Walker attended Marshall University’s Legal Assistant Program. In 2005, Ms. Walker received her national certification through the National Association of Legal Assistants; in January, 2011, she received her advanced certification in Discovery through NALA. Ms. Walker has been an active member of Legal Assistants/Paralegals of Southern West Virginia (LAPSWV) since 2004, and was a member of its predecessor Legal Assistants of West Virginia (“LAWV”). She has served as LAPSWV’s Secretary (2006-2008), as LAPSWV's Second Vice President (2008 - January 2010) First Vice President (January 2010 - June 2010), President (July 2010 – January 2011), and currently holds the office of Secretary. Ms. Walker is also a member of the West Virginia State Bar’s Legal Assistant/Paralegal Committee, which consists of paralegals and attorneys throughout the State of West Virginia. Ms. Walker was a member of the Executive Committee honored by LAPSWV as the 2009 Paralegals of the Year. Ms. Walker is a member of Keystone Apostolic Church in Charleston, West Virginia.
NALA Liaison - Melanie Hicks, CP
Melanie Hicks, CP obtained an Associate Degree in Paralegal Studies in 1994 from the College of West Virginia now known as Mountain State University. She has worked for over 17 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 became a member of LAPSWV in 2008 and passed the NALA certifying examination in March 2010. Melanie served as LAPSWV Secretary from 2011-2012; and was elected as 2012-2013 NALA Liaison at LAPSWV's Eighth Annual Meeting on June 1, 2012, in Huntington, WV.
Parliamentarian/Historian - Cynthia L. Kline, ACP
Cynthia L. Kline, ACP attended the University of Charleston and has been a litigation paralegal for more than 22 years. She is currently employed by the law firm of Jackson Kelly, PLLC, in its Charleston office, where she assists attorneys in the firm's Pharmaceutical, Toxic Tort and Product Liability Practice group. She also assists with asbestos litigation. Cindy received her Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) credentials in January 2006 and her Advanced Paralegal Certification in Discovery (ACP) in March 2007. Cindy has been an active member of Legal Assistants/Paralegals of Southern West Virginia (LAPSWV) since 2004. She served as LAPSWV's Secretary (2005-2006), Second Vice President (07/2006-09/2006), First Vice President (09/2006-2008), President (2008-2010), NALA Liaison (2010-2012), and currently is serving as Parliamentarian/Historian. Cindy is an active member of the National Association of Legal Assistants, Inc. (NALA), where she served a three-year term on the Professional Development Committee, and was a 2012 graduate of NALA's Leadership Enhancement and Preparation (LEAP) program. She is a member of the Legal Assistants' Committee of The West Virginia State Bar, the paralegal representative on the Board of Governors for The Defense Trial Counsel of West Virginia, and an Advisory Board member for the Paralegal Studies Program for Kanawha Valley Community and Technical College, Charleston, WV. Cindy was honored by LAPSWV as the 2008 and 2010 Paralegal of the Year, was a member of the Executive Committee honored as the 2009 Paralegals of the Year, and received NALA Affiliates Awards in 2008, 2009, and 2010.