by Thora Searle
As the new Chair of the Paralegal Division, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself and the 2012-2013 Board of Directors.
Thora Searle – Chair: I attended Weber State University and have spent thirty-four years working in the legal field. I worked as a legal assistant to William Thomas Thurman at McKay, Burton & Thurman for twenty-one years and currently work as a Judicial Assistant to Judge Thurman at the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Utah. I have served several terms as a Director at Large and also as a Regional Director of the Legal Assistant Division/Paralegal Division of the Utah State Bar. I also served several years as the Secretary and the Membership Chair. I have participated in the Wills for Heroes program and feel that this program is a great way to pay it forward. As Chair elect, I served on the Governmental Relations Committee and will serve this year on the Bar Commission of the Utah State Bar as an ex-officio member. My time outside of work is devoted to my children, grandchildren, and great-grandson. I love to spend time with them and enjoy watching them participate in soccer, softball, dance, and tumbling.
Danielle Davis, CP – Immediate Past Chair: Danielle is a certified paralegal with Strong & Hanni where she works in insurance defense litigation. She has worked as a paralegal for twenty years with experience in insurance defense, personal injury, bankruptcy, construction law, adoption, collections, and family law. She received her paralegal certificate from Westminster College. Danielle was Chair of the Paralegal Division in 2005-2006 and 2011-2012. She has served as a Director-at-Large and an ex-officio member of the Division. She has served on the Bar Journal Committee, Governmental Relations Committee, and Licensing Committee and served as an ex-officio member of the Bar Commission of the Utah State Bar. She is a former President, Education Chair, Parliamentarian, and Newsletter Editor for the Legal Assistants Association of Utah (LAAU) and is a member of the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA).
Director at Large – Heather Allen: is a Paralegal at Ray Quinney & Nebeker. She has been with RQN since August 2010 and prior to that she was a paralegal at Snell & Wilmer since 2005. Heather works in product liability, personal injury/wrongful death actions, both defense and plaintiff. She graduated from Utah Valley University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Paralegal Studies and a minor in Psychology. She is also involved in the community as a volunteer at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray for the parent support group associated with the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
Director at Large – Sharon M. Andersen: has been a paralegal for over twenty-one years. Sharon currently works as an in-house paralegal for American Family Insurance. Prior to taking the job with American Family in June 2011, Sharon worked as a litigation paralegal at Strong & Hanni Law Firm for almost four years after having worked in the civil division of Salt Lake City Attorney’s office since 2004. From 1998 to 2004 Sharon worked as a paralegal in the General Counsel’s offices of several corporations including IHC, Kennecott Utah Copper, and Huntsman Corporation where she assisted in a variety of litigation matters involving medical malpractice, worker’s compensation, labor relations, contracts, chemical exposure, and environmental law as well as becoming contract administrator while employed at IHC. She spent the first eight years of her career in smaller law firms working primarily in family law, personal injury, insurance defense, and medical malpractice litigation. Sharon attended BYU, married and had a family, then returned to school and graduated from the Legal Assistant Program at Westminster College in 1990. Sharon served as CLE Co-Chair of the Paralegal Division from 2005-2007 and in that capacity actively participated in the Utah State Bar’s Spring Convention, Annual Convention, and Fall Forum CLE committees. In August of 2006, she became Chair-Elect of the Paralegal Division and served as the Division’s Governmental Relations Liaison to the Utah State Bar’s Governmental Relations Committee while also serving on the Division’s Executive Committee. From 2007 to 2008, Sharon served as chair of the Paralegal Division and as Ex-Officio member of the Bar Commission. From 2008 through 2010, she served as Ex Officio Director then parliamentarian for the Division. Sharon has six adult children and four grandchildren. She views her children and grandchildren as her greatest accomplishment and joy in life.