Paralegal Profile


Miller Canfield paralegal enjoys making a difference

By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

Paralegal Carolynne O'Hara wanted a career where she could make a difference. "In the legal field you can definitely do just that," she says. "Whether you assist an attorney in a huge case that wins a multi-million-dollar judgment or you assist a pro bono client to avoid their house being foreclosed, you make a difference."

A paralegal in Miller Canfield's Litigation and Dispute Resolution Group in downtown Detroit, O'Hara's practice mainly focuses on the areas of construction, real estate, state and local tax, bankruptcy, foreclosure, and collections.

She earned her degree in Paralegal/Legal Assistant studies from Eastern Michigan University, where she was on the dean's list. Previous work experience includes Ford Motor Co. and one of the largest foreclosure firms in Michigan.

Working for attorneys Lawrence Dudek, Real Estate and Construction Litigation; LeRoy Asher, Real Estate/Zoning/Title Issues; and Gregory Nowak, State and Local Tax, O'Hara assists with a wide variety of tasks including client communications, preparing pleadings, preparing and responding to discovery requests, preparing real estate documents, public record searches, Relativity database searches, preparation of marketing materials, and assistance with billing/collections. She also conducts legal research and writing; and creates PowerPoint presentations and Excel spreadsheets for use at hearings, trials, and client presentations.

"I like the variety of work, it varies from day to day and attorney to attorney," she notes. "You need to be very organized and prepared to adapt to the way different attorneys work."

She enjoys working at Miller Canfield's office in the heart of Motor City. "I love all of the excitement and seeing the revitalization firsthand it's great," she says. "There are a few great coffee shops downtown. I love to treat myself with a cup of coffee when I know that I have a busy day of work ahead of me."

As a member of the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association, Legal Assistants Section, O'Hara has enjoyed vendor events hosted by the State Bar and Detroit Bar. "They are a great way to network with your colleagues," she says.

A native of Madison Heights in Oakland County, she now lives in Shelby Township in Macomb County, with her husband, Michael, daughter Megan, 17, a student at Utica High, and 11-year-old son Brendan, a student at West Utica Elementary.

In her leisure time, O'Hara enjoys camping, scrapbooking, and any activities with her family especially watching her daughter compete in cross country/track events and attending Boy Scout events with her son.

She also volunteers for a couple of early morning shifts each year at M-Crest, a homeless shelter sponsored by her church, St. Lawrence, located in Utica.

"There's nothing like putting your life in perspective when you see people that travel from church to church, week to week, and have nowhere to call home," she says. "I really like to talk to the residents about their stories."

Published: Mon, Sep 21, 2015