- This month’s newsletter is about mentoring and the law. Working in Operations as a teleworker, you often have to help lawyers and their staff through issues, which can be a form of mentoring them. Tell us a little about what you do day to day, and how you view your role with respect to the overall operation of the Court?
Answer: I view my role with the Court as a jack of all trades, master of none. I’ve been afforded many opportunities over the years to learn and grow in several different capacities in Operations. I attribute many of the successes in my career to Margaret Earnest, a former Clerk of Court who first hired me, and Lisa Reyes, our current Clerk with whom I have had the pleasure of working with for many years. My day-to-day duties include managing the CM/ECF helpdesk and doing my best to help out all who call with an unimaginable number of issues. In doing so, I am able educate and provide tips to attorneys and their staff, ensuring that their experiences with CM/ECF are positive and that they are comfortable using the system. I also provide training to incoming law clerks and chambers’ staff, and I am very fortunate to be able to train new employees in Operations and to provide guidance on a daily basis to case managers. It is very rewarding for me to help other staff members as I have been helped over the years. I also manage the CM/ECF data dictionary and attorney database, and I provide reports and statistics to the Clerk of Court.
- Where are you from? How long have you worked at the Court? Where did you work before?
Answer: I grew up in the DC area and I currently reside in beautiful South Florida. I have worked at the Court, off and on, since 1997. I have also worked at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and for a very brief period of time at the law firm of Crowell & Moring, which gave me a great insight and understanding into what the people on the other end of the phone are dealing with and experiencing.
- Most of us have been adjusting to working remotely just since March, as someone who has always teleworked remotely what are some tips you can give us to improve our experience?
Answer: Prepare for problems and have a backup plan: If you can’t connect wirelessly to your network, make sure you have a long enough cord so that you can plug up with your router. I had to rush out and get a 50 foot one so I could finish a project on time. If you lose internet service, remember that most, if not all, cell phones have a hot spot. Remember that if you’re on Skype or Teams or whatever you use to communicate via video, people can see your surroundings and, if you’re not muted, hear too. And most importantly, if you have a 7-year old, make sure you have a quality lock on your office door. Believe me when I say, they can successfully bypass inferior locks and appear at training sessions, interviews and even meetings with judges.
- What role can the Bar play in assisting you in ensuring the operations of the court function as close to normal as possible during this time?
Answer: Call if there are ANY problems, concerns or questions because we really are here to help. If there is a suggestion for a procedure or docket event or tutorial that could help make things more efficient, please let us know.
- What is the role of Operations generally as well as in times of crisis, such as the recent COVID-19 pandemic?
Answer: We do our best to keep things moving and in order! Continue to provide service to the public – attorneys and their staff and pro se litigants. And our judges of course!
Rapid Fire Round!
- Mac or PC?
Answer: Mac, but only because they look really cool.
- Top-three songs on your Spotify/I-tunes playlist?
Shot in the Dark – AC/DC
Shadow Life – Slash
Song # 3 – Stone Sour
- St. Andrews or Augusta? And, favorite Course to play in Florida?
Answer: St. Andrews, my game requires a lot of open space. Being 100 yards right of the fairway, it’s possible, I’ve been there. Sandhill Crane, they do a good job in waiting to send out the next group. You disappear after your second shot and don’t see anyone until you finish. And the alligators leave you alone!
- Biggest fish you ever caught?
Answer: Nothing worth mentioning. My fishing is like my golf – I have the tools and look like I know what I’m doing but the end result is usually bad.
- Stay-at-Home Binge: walking your dogs, books or television?
Answer: Television. Recently watched all 4 seasons of Hart of Dixie – don’t judge me – it’s a great show!