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 University of Charleston, Beckley. She has worked for over 20 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 was elected as LAPSWV’s Secretary for 2011 to 2012, NALA Liaison for 2012 to 2013, First Vice President for 2013 to 2014, and President for the 2014 to 2015 term. She has been nominated by LAPSWV for the NALA Affiliate Award for 2012 and 2014, and is a member of NALA’s Leadership Enhancement and Preparation (LEAP) Class of 2014.
First Vice President - 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.
Second Vice President - Cynthia L. Kline, ACP
Cynthia L. Kline, ACP has been a litigation paralegal for more than 24 years and is currently employed by the law firm of Jackson Kelly, PLLC, in its Charleston office, where she assists attorneys in the firm's MPLA Group and Pharmaceutical, Toxic Tort and Product Liability Practice group. Cindy received her Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) credentials in January 2006 and her Advanced Paralegal Certification in Discovery (ACP) in March 2007. She 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 Second Vice President. Cindy is an active member of the National Association of Legal Assistants, Inc. (NALA), where she is currently serving a three-year term on the Continuing Education Council. She previously served a three-year term on NALA's 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 Defense Trial Counsel of West Virginia, served as the paralegal representative on the Board of Governors for The Defense Trial Counsel of West Virginia from 2010-2013, and is an Advisory Board member for the Paralegal Studies Program for BridgeValley Community and Technical College, South Charleston, WV. She attended the University of Charleston and is currently attending BridgeValley Community & Technical College, where she serves as the 2014-2015 SGA Secretary. Cindy hopes to graduate in May 2015 with an Associate Degree in Applied Science in Paralegal Studies. 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.
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 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 from 2010-2012, and as Treasurer for the 2013-2014 fiscal year. She has been a member of National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) since 2013 and is an active member of West Virginia Association for Justice (WVAJ) legal assistants program.
Secretary - Mica Spratt
Mica Spratt is employed by Lamp Bartram Levy Trautwein & Perry, PLLC as a litigation paralegal. She has been employed with Lamp Bartram Levery Trautwein & Perry for seven years. Mica received her Bachelors Degree in Music/Vocie and also received a minor in Psychology from West Virginia Wesleyan in 2007. She has been a member of Legal Assistants/Paralegals of Southern West Virginia (LAPSWV) since 2013. Presently, she is studying for the NALA certifying exam.
NALA Liaison - Rhonda Swartz, CLA
Rhonda Swartz, CLA, is employed by a government agency. 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 25 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 is currently an active member of 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).
Parliamentarian/Historian - Tammy L. Welch, ACP
Tammy L. Welch, ACP recently changed careers, branching out to begin her new profession as a claims consultant with the West Virginia Mutual Insurance Company, beginning August 1, 2013. WV Mutual Insurance Company is the only non-profit, member-owned medical liability insurance company in West Virginia. Tammy was previously employed as an Advanced Certified Paralegal, Trial Practice, in the litigation department of Jackson Kelly, PLLC for 14 years, where she assisted attorneys in the firm's litigation department, focusing primarily on Medical Liability defense. Tammy received her Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) in January 2000, her Advanced Paralegal Certification in Trial Practice in April 2013, and is an active member of the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA). Tammy is a WV licensed insurance adjuster and passed her insurance license exam after only 12 days on the job at WV Mutual. Tammy has been an active member of LAPSWV since 2004, serving as LAPSWV's NALA Liaison (2005-2006 and Janua7ry 2010-June 2010), and as LAPSWV's Parliamentarian/Historian from June 2008 to January 2010, and June 2010 to June 2012). She is currently serving an appointment as Parliamentarian/Historian for the 2014-2015 term. Tammy is a member PIAA, a member of Defense Trial Counsel of WV, a member of the Paralegal Liaison committee of Defense Trial Counsel of WV, a member of the Legal Assistants' Committee of The West Virginia State Bar, and an Advisory Board member for the Paralegal Studies Program for BridgeValley Community & Technical College, South Charleston, WV. Tammy was a member of the Executive Committee honored by LAPSWV as the 2009 Paralegals of the year and was individually honored as the LAPSWV 2011 Paralegal of the Year.