Heather Conner: Case Manager Paralegal at DarrasLaw
Heather Conner is a case manager paralegal for famed plaintiff’s attorney Frank Darras. Her daily responsibilities include working on all of the litigated cases, writing all of the ERISA appeals, reviewing new cases, setting up mediations, answering written discovery, calculating damages, and trial preparation. Currently, she works on a team that handles disability and long-term care insurance issues.
Conner, who graduated from the University of Akron with her J.D. degree in May of 1998 and passed the Washington State bar exam in 2000, worked as a paralegal and then as an associate at a firm in Seattle, WA. She went back to working as a paralegal at the firm she is currently at after she and her husband relocated from Washington to Southern California. She has not yet taken the California State bar exam.
Conner first became interested in the legal profession after taking part in her high school’s mock trial of the Watergate hearings. She played the lead prosecutor for the U.S. and said she got hooked. When asked what she enjoys most about her current job, Conner said she loves the contact she has with clients and she loves working for Darras.
“So many of them [the clients] are in such desperate situations, yet they continue to conduct themselves with grace and class under the most extreme forms of financial and emotional pressure,” she said. “I also love working under and for the preeminent attorney in this field of law. To work with Frank is pure joy—he hasn’t lost the love for fighting for the little guy, and his enthusiasm is contagious.”
However, she did admit that working for such an expert in the field can bring about some difficult challenges.
“Because Frank is sought after and so many people need his help, I often joke that I need to clone myself,” she said.
Her advice to paralegal students stems from her own love of the clients in the field of law in which she’s involved.
“Make sure to remember to be compassionate and grateful to the clients for the opportunity to represent them,” she advised.
When asked to recount an experience that was particularly emotional or rewarding for her, Conner chose the story of a truck driver who came to the firm for representation after he was injured on the job and let down by his occupational accident policy.
“We were able to obtain him a life-changing amount of money,” she said. “His first thought was he was going to take his wife on their honeymoon after 35-plus years of marriage. Those are the type of people and stories that make this so rewarding.”
Conner currently lives in Rancho Cucamonga, CA, with her husband of nearly two years. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, scrapbooking, and spending time with her friends and family.