WPDN might have always been in the back of her mind, but it took Kristie Whittle a while to figure out exactly what it was she actually wanted to do with her professional life.
“I was always interested in the field of law”, Whittle revealed. “I wasn’t quite sure that I wanted to go all the way and be a lawyer, so I was exploring other options like probation and parole or criminal justice. I even considered being a teacher for a time. So I bounced around a lot, but I kept coming back to the areas in the legal field.“
Whittle worked a variety of jobs while she was enrolled in Casper College, mainly as a secretary at different medical practices. She eventually received her Associate’s degree in Paralegal Studies, which landed her a job with a different law practice in town that focused primarily on family law and guardianships. She was a paralegal for that firm for 10 years and, in that time, she learned a lot about the various aspects of the legal field. Her experience with that job, as well as her degree, eventually led to a job at Williams Porter Day and Neville.
She started as a legal secretary for Steve Emery and Jason Neville and worked in that position for 5 years. Eventually, Whittle decided she wanted her job to utilize more of the skills she learned in her paralegal studies, but WPDN requires all of their paralegals to be certified. This means taking classes, studying for and passing the certification test.
“I did the work and eventually got my certification,” Whittle stated. “Then it was just a matter of waiting for the right time and the right opportunity to start as a paralegal here.”
Finding the right time took some, well, time. While waiting for a paralegal position to open up, Whittle familiarized herself with the ins and outs of the firm and was able to witness firsthand, how things were done at WPDN. Finally in October 2019, a paralegal position opened up for attorneys Scott Ortiz and David Shield and Whittle applied.
She was hired immediately.
“I think starting as a legal secretary and working my way up has helped me to be a well-rounded paralegal at this firm,” Whittle shared. “The attorneys at WPDN are always willing to teach. Scott [Ortiz] told me that I should never be afraid to ask questions and that there are no stupid questions. It’s nice to have that kind of backup because coming from a firm with just one attorney to a firm like this was a little overwhelming at first. But everybody has made me feel like part of the family. And I truly believe, honestly, that the attorneys at WPDN are the best. They have the best interest of their clients in mind and at heart at all times. It’s not about the money, it’s about getting the best outcome for their clients. Whether it’s an insurance case, a family law case, or something else, entirely; our attorneys put a hundred percent into what they do, every day. They’re hard workers, and they expect us to work hard, too.”
She continued, saying that she was “super thankful that David and Scott gave me this opportunity, and I’ve learned a lot in the year that I have been working for them. I know I still have a lot to learn and they have both been great about teaching me.”
Next on her bucket list is going to trial.
“Although I haven’t gone to trial yet at WPDN,” Whittle said, “I know that my job during those times is vital and I really look forward to when I get to go to my first trial. Part of what is so cool about our job is being able to be a part of the case from the beginning to the very end.”
But Whittle’s track record proves she is patient. Until her first trial, she will continue to refine her skills and learn as much as she can from others at WPDN.