Paralegal of the Year Finalist Donna Clark
Published March 2, 2020
The first finalist of the Paralegal of the Year Award is Donna Clark. Our Business Development Manager for the North-East, Barry Boyle, travelled to Inverness to catch up with Donna and hear her amazing stories…
Donna started her journey in the legal sector in 1971 as an Office Junior at 15 years old. She originally wanted to be a typist and started day release at college whilst working as an office junior. At the same time, Donna also worked at a department store in Inverness; Donna was only being paid £5 per week for the work that she was doing at the legal firm, whilst earning £7.50 for working a Saturday job!
In 1978 Donna stopped working to have her first child but returned to part time evening work at the Inverness Courier and at the Kiltmaker shop. She later returned to work in a legal firm. Through a conversation with someone from another firm she had found out about SOLAS and undertook her accredited training and qualified as a Scottish Law Accountant in 1994. Donna now works in the Executry department and this is the area that she loves the most; Donna loves to deal with customers, she is very compassionate and is a great relationship builder.
The key qualities of a good Executry Paralegal are compassion, people skills, excellent listening skills, caring and most importantly, being organised (there is a lot of admin in the role!). ‘Anyone from any background can become a Paralegal, you just need the determination and the support of an organisation to do so’. Her daily tasks consist of client calls, responding to emails, general administration and, for Donna, best of all client contact. ‘It is hard work being a paralegal but very rewarding, you meet people in the most difficult of situations after a bereavement but with some kindness and a caring attitude, you can make a positive contribution to someone’s life.’
Donna is planning retiring in October 2020, a well- earned break after a career spanning nearly 50 years. Donna will have plenty to keep her occupied. One of her hobbies is baking and she makes a mean tablet. ‘The best in Inverness’ according to some! She enjoys reading and reads a book every week. Donna’s favourite book is Gone with the Wind. She enjoys walking and swimming and is planning to complete a triathlon when she retires. Donna used to be a big swimmer in her younger days and often completed the swim between Inverness and the Black Isle before the bridge was constructed. The earliest memory was completing the swim at the age of 9. She plans to complete the triathlon for charity as she recently lost her cousin to cancer. Donna currently undertakes quite a bit of charity work and volunteers regularly through one of the local churches, as well as promoting the Highland Foodbank, MACS Café at the Mackenzie Centre and also has been involved with the support at CAFÉ42 with the tremendous backing of the Directors and staff at Macleod and MacCallum.
Donna is the mother of 3 children and grandmother to 4. She has been married for 44 years. Asked about the secrets to a long successful marriage, she said: ‘2 Televisions! And doing your own things!’
Peter Mason, Managing Director at Macleod and MacCallum added: ‘The work that Donna does is invaluable to the firm. Donna has been a real asset to us and she has helped a vast number of clients over many years, and recognition at the Scottish Legal Awards is well deserved recognition of this.’’