President - Patricia Schoolcraft, CLA
Patricia Schoolcraft, CLA, 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 West Virginia and as a defense litigation paralegal with a large West Virginia defense firm. Patricia received her Bachelor of Arts degree from WVU Institute of Technology in 2003, her Associate in Applied Science, 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, and, First-Vice President. She previously served as Chair of the Nominations and Elections Committee, Audit Committee, Membership Committee, and By-Laws Committee for LAPSWV.
First Vice President - Melanie Hicks, CP
Melanie Hicks, CP obtained an Associate Degree in Paralegal Studies in 1994 from the College of West Virginia now known as The University of Charleston – Beckley Campus. She has worked for over 18 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 has served as LAPSWV Secretary in 2011-2012, and as NALA Liaison in 2012-2013. Melanie was recently selected by the National Association of Legal Assistants to participate as a member of the 2014 Leadership Enhancement and Preparation ("LEAP") program.
Second Vice President - Tiffany B. Skaggs
Tiffany Skaggs is employed by BrickStreet Mutual Insurance Company as a litigation paralegal. She has been employed with BrickStreet for a little over a year and previously worked as a litigation paralegal for three different defense firms in West Virginia and also worked in the Nuclear Medicine department of St. Mary’s Medical center for nine years. Tiffany received her Associate in Applied Science, Legal Assistant, degree from Marshall Community and Technical College in 1990. She has been a member of Legal Assistants/Paralegals of Southern West Virginia (LAPSWV) since 2008.
Treasurer - Sherri L. Rasmussen
Sherri L. Rasmussen attended Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas where she received a Bachelor of Science in Education in 1985. She has been a litigation paralegal for 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 Legal Assistants/Paralegals of Southern West Virginia (LAPSWV) since 2009, serving on the Audit Committee since 2010. She recently applied for membership with National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) and is an active member of West Virginia Association for Justice (WVAJ) legal assistants program.
Sandra Castillo, CLA
1900 Kanawha Blvd., E.
Bldg 5, Room A-228-G
Charleston, WV 25305
Secretary - Sandra Castillo, CLA
Sandra Castillo, CLA has been a paralegal for 25 years and currently is employed as a grievance administrator for the WV Division of Highways (DOH) as the Level One Grievance Administrator. Her responsibilities include hearing and deciding all grievances filed by the DOH employees. She also served as the Worker's Compensation Coordinator for the DOH; was the clerk for the Environmental Boards; a paralegal at the old WV Worker's Compensation Fund; and spent approximately 15 years working for plaintiff’s counsel, where she managed claims for injured workers. Sandra obtained her AAS in Legal Assisting in 1987 and a Regents Bachelor of Arts Degree in 2011 from Marshall University. She joined LAPSWV in 2006 and obtained her CLA credentials shortly thereafter. Sandra also serves on the Advisory Board for the Paralegal Studies Program at Kanawha Valley Community and Technical College in Charleston, WV.
NALA Liaison - Karen Nichols, ACP
Karen Nichols, ACP is employed by Jackson Kelly PLLC as an Advanced Certified Paralegal in the Commercial Litigation Department. Karen has been in the legal profession for over 30 years and has been a paralegal for 17 years. She graduated in December 2003 from Marshall University with a degree of Associate in Applied Science, 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, is a member of NALA, the Defense Trial Counsel of West Virginia and West Virginia Bar Association, is serving on the Advisory Committee for the Kanawha Valley Community and Technical College, and is an adjunct professor for the Kanawha Valley Community and Technical College. In addition to currently serving as President for LAPSWV, Karen has served as President of LAPSWV from January 2011 to June 2013; 1st Vice President from July 2010 to January 2011; 2nd Vice President from February 2010 to June 2010; NALA Liaison from July 2009 to January 2010, and LAPSWV Treasurer from July 2007- June 2009. Ms. Nichols was a member of the Executive Committee honored by LAPSWV as the 2009 Paralegals of the Year and was individually recognized as the LAPSWV 2013 Paralegal of the Year.
Historian/Parliamentarian - Rhonda Swartz, CLA
Rhonda Swartz, CLA, is employed by the U. S. Attorney’s office in the Civil Division. During her career with that office she has earned numerous performance and distinguished service awards. She has been a member of the legal profession for approximately 23 years. Her experience includes 11 years as a legal assistant for a sole practitioner and a plaintiff’s firm. Rhonda earned an Associate in Administrative Science and an Associate 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 the CLA/CP certification from the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) in September 2000. Currently, she is preparing to take the Advanced Paralegal Certification (ACP) exam. Rhonda was a member of NALA from 1999-2001 – and recently applied for current active membership with NALA. She is a founding member of LAPSWV (2004 to present), and served as Second Vice President, First 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).