Limited License Legal Technician – Family Law
PACE Registered Paralegal*
I began working with the firm in 2008, as a litigation paralegal, working with the attorneys on all types of matters. Prior to, and concurrent with, my employment with Shepherd and Allen, I was the legal assistant to respected Whatcom County family law attorney Elizabeth Balas for over ten years, until Liz’s retirement in 2009.
A Whatcom County native, I graduated from Ferndale High School in 1993. In 1997, I graduated from Whatcom Community College, with an Associate in Science Degree in Paralegal Studies. I earned the designation as a Registered Paralegal* by passing the National Federation of Paralegal Associations’ Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam (PACE) in June 2014.
I completed the Limited License Legal Technician (LLLT) Family Law program at the University of Washington School of Law in 2015 and became the 4th LLLT to be licensed in the state of Washington on November 2, 2015. I am excited to be a part of the LLLT program, as Washington State pioneers the move to allow non-lawyers to engage in the limited practice of law in specific practice areas. It is my compassion for individuals trying to navigate our complex family law system on their own that has driven me to take part in this new licensing opportunity. In October 2017, I was appointed to the Washington Supreme Court Limited License Legal Technician Board. The Board was established by the Supreme Court to administer the Legal Technician Program. For more information on Limited License Legal Technicians, please visit Legal Technician FAQS.
I am a member of the Washington State Bar Association (WSBA), Washington State Association for Justice (WSAJ) Eagle Legal Staff Section, the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), and the Washington State Paralegal Association (WSPA).
In addition to work and school, I’ve been involved for several years with Whatcom County’s Law Advocates organization. I began volunteering in 2010 and, since 2012, have held a funded contract paralegal position with Law Advocates in their Kinship Custody Clinic, assisting pro se Law Advocates’ clients who are seeking non-parental custody of relative and non-relative children in difficult situations.
I enjoy spending time with my family, including my precious four-legged children, the outdoors, working out, cooking, fishing, and “pinning” projects, I will likely never find the time to complete.
Admitted to Limited Practice:
- Washington State Limited License Legal Technician – Family Law, LLLT No. 104, 2015.
Lectures, Presentations and Publications:
- “The Electronic Office Tool Box.” February 24, 2011. Presentation, Washington State Association for Justice.
- “Whatcom County’s First LLLT, wait…what’s that?” Whatcom County Bar Journal, March 2016, 9-11.
- “The Limited License Legal Technician (Licensed in November 2015).” Paralegal Today, 33(1), 12-13, 2016.
- Interviewed by Paralegals RTW, Jen Petersen, RP, March 30, 2016.
- Interviewed by South Fork Law, Jill Bernstein and Paula McCandlis. Jen Petersen – The New Limited License Legal Technician program in Washington, June 15, 2016.
- “Access to Justice & the Unauthorized Practice of Law; Limited License Legal Technicians.” September 14, 2017. Presentation. Washington DCS Claims Officer Workshop.
- Interview by Christie Thompson for The Marshall Project. “Can’t Afford a Lawyer,” July 18, 2018.
- Interview by Paula Wissel for KNKX. “‘Erased in an afternoon’: WA Supreme Court abruptly ends innovative legal tech program.” July 1, 2020.
- Washington State Bar Association (WSBA)
- Washington State Association for Justice (WSAJ), Eagle Legal Staff Section
- Washington State Paralegal Association (WSPA)
- National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA)
- Notary Public
Previous Legal Experience:
- Paralegal to Whatcom County family law attorney, Elizabeth Balas from 2000 until she closed her practice in 2009.
- Whatcom Community College, Associate in Science – Paralegal Studies, 1997
- University of Washington School of Law, Limited License Legal Technician (LLLT) Program, 2015
- Washington Supreme Court Limited License Legal Technician Board, October 2017 – Present.
- LAW Advocates, Volunteer ’10-Present
- LAW Advocates Kinship Custody Clinic, Funded Paralegal ’12-Present
- Bellingham Technical College, Business and Computer Information Systems Advisory Committee, Committee Member, June 30, 2016 – Present.
- Whatcom Community College, Paralegal Studies Program Advisory Committee, Committee Member, Present – 3 year term ending Spring Quarter 2020.
**PACE Registered Paralegal is separate from and not a requirement for the LLLT license; the Washington Supreme Court does not recognize certification of specialties in the practice of law.