August Volunteer Spotlight – Thomas Pokladowski

NALA Volunteer Spotlight – August 2023
Thomas Pokladowski

Thomas Pokladowski works as an attorney at Wilson Elser, a national law firm. He is currently in the second year of his term on NALA’s Certifying Board. However, it is not his first time serving on the board.

“I connected with one of the Certifying Board members who was teaching at UC Irvine’s Paralegal Program when I was director of the program. She thought I’d be a good fit on the Certifying Board.”

He enjoys the people he volunteers with on the Certifying Board. He’s happy to serve NALA.

“It’s really gratifying to work with the people on the Certifying Board. We have a good time together because everyone is invested in putting together a good, high-quality exam that is useful to the profession, maintaining the integrity of it, and creating a credential that is the gold standard in the industry.”

Though not a paralegal himself, Thomas works with paralegals.

“One of the greatest things about working with paralegals is that they make sure the attorneys are on top of things. In my office, the paralegals are our lifeline to the clients. They are indispensable in maintaining our client relationships.”

As an attorney, he sees paralegals at work almost every day, and he has some advice for their success.

“My advice to paralegals is always keep learning. Don’t be afraid to ask why your attorney wants you to do something because it can deepen your understanding of the work being done. Showing interest and a desire to learn can strengthen your relationship with your attorney, so they rely on you more.”

He understands the importance of a strong bond between the attorney and the paralegal.

“If the paralegal can anticipate the attorney’s needs, that is going to set them apart from a paralegal who is just told what to do every step of the way.”

Thomas serves on NALA’s Certifying Board, which means he contributes to the development of the Certified Paralegal (CP) Exam and knows the value of earning a CP from NALA.

“The CP credential demonstrates that someone has the knowledge to hit the ground running as a paralegal. Even more importantly, it demonstrates a commitment to the profession.”

As an attorney who hires paralegals, Thomas knows that a candidate who has their CP has put in a lot of time and effort to pass a test as rigorous as the Certified Paralegal Exam.

When he’s not working, Thomas spends time with his dog, Stanley, and his husband of 22 years. They credit Stanley for helping them get through quarantine and the pandemic.

If he could meet anyone, dead or alive, he would find it fascinating to meet Walt Disney.

“I worked at Disneyland when I was in college. I’d like to have a candid, private conversation with him to get a sense of how his mind worked and see what he’d think about how Disney has grown and changed.”

Thomas loves to travel, and his favorite TV show is “The West Wing.” He and his husband rewatch especially seasons 1-4 every year.