November Volunteer Spotlight – Donna W. Gilliland, ACP

NALA Volunteer Spotlight – November 2022
Donna W. Gilliland, ACP

Donna W. Gilliland, ACP, is serving her third term on the NALA Certifying Board. She decided to start volunteering after finishing NALA’s leadership program, LEAP. “Jaye Koch, the Chair at the time for NALA Certifying Board, contacted me and asked me to send her a resume if I was interested in becoming a Board Member. I was more than thrilled that Jaye contacted me. I love serving on the NALA Certifying Board and have met some awesome paralegals and attorneys during my terms.” 

Donna graduated from the Armstrong Atlantic State University Paralegal Program in 1989. She is an Advanced Certified Paralegal in Business Organizations: Incorporated Entities. She is currently the NALA Liaison for the Southeastern Association of Legal Assistants (SEALA) and has previously served as SEALA President, Secretary, and Treasurer.  

When asked about her favorite aspect of paralegal work, Donna said, “The ability to hold client’s hands through situations when needed. We do estate planning, tax, probate, and corporate. The holding hand comes more through the probate process. It is hard for some clients who have lost their loved ones and being there to listen to them sometimes means more than we ever know. Making a difference in someone’s life when they are having a tough time is very rewarding.” 

Her advice to her fellow paralegals is “Love what you do and do what you love! Work hard and smart. Always proof your work before turning it in to your attorney. Be the most valuable paralegal so that your attorney will not want to practice law without you at his side.” 

Donna has been married to her husband Terry for 36 years. They have three daughters and five grandchildren. They now have their hands full raising two puppies, Shih Tzu Bailey (six months old) and Rottweiler Lulu (five months old). 

Her favorite movies include Titanic and Dirty Dancing. “We watch a lot of action movies and a lot of those are in my top movies also.” Her current favorite book is Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens.  

When asked if she could meet anyone past or present, she chose her paternal great-grandfather. “He was full-blooded Cherokee Indian, and I would love to get to know him and listen to his stories of growing up and learn more about his heritage.”