Directors’ Biographies

Northern District:

Director A – Tabitha Ivy Peterson

I graduated with my A.A.S. in Legal Business and Office Technology from Moberly Area Community College in 1991. I became determined to get my Bachelor Degree in 2007 and in 2013, I received by B.S. Degree in Paralegal Studies and graduated cum laude from Kaplan University. I continue to broaden my education and hone my skills through attending CLE classes at the Missouri Bar Association quarterly meetings and through the Missouri Paralegal Association.

 

Currently, I am employed at Lovett Law LLC in Milan, Missouri where we practice family, probate, real estate and criminal law. Family and Criminal law have always been of great interest to me so I am very happy in my position. I continue to study and learn Missouri Rules of Civil Procedure and the Statutes that affect our practice areas.

 

I was very excited when I joined the Missouri Paralegal Association in September, 2015. I hold a great deal of regard for the values and goals the Missouri Paralegal Association has assembled. Furthering our profession is a personal mission for me and the Missouri Paralegal Association is a great catalyst for that pursuit. I enjoy writing and have had an article published in the MPAlert.

 

Along with my involvement in the MPA, I periodically volunteer with Hospice and Disaster Relief.

Director B – Debbie Wells

I have been a member of MPA since its inception. I believe the organization is vital in promoting the paralegal profession in the State of Missouri. I feel it is unique in being able to provide to all Missouri paralegals a unified voice to the Missouri Bar and the public in general. I plan to continue, as I have in the past, having the welfare of this group foremost in my mind. I am co-editor of MPA’s newsletter the MPAlert! and assist with gathering information to keep information on our new website current and relevant. I strongly believe that we need to provide current information and CLE opportunities to our members. I would like to push for regular regional CLE and social events. I would consider it a privilege to continue to serve MPA.

 

I have worked in the area of criminal prosecution for the Buchanan County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office since 1993. I assist the elected prosecutor with high profile cases in our jurisdiction. These have included child abuse/sexual abuse; homicide; adult sexual offenses; kidnapping; assaults. I have over 25 years of experience practicing in the legal field. I formerly worked at a general practice firm in the areas of personal injury, real estate law, contract law, estate planning.

 

I hold an Associate’s degree in paralegal studies and a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Missouri Western State University. Recognitions include a Certificate of Appreciation for assistance in prosecution of a homicide case, Attorney General of Missouri, 1998; Certificate of Appreciation for assistance in prosecution of a homicide case from Andrew County Missouri Prosecuting Attorney, 1998; the Bronze Award for Valor (for work in a homicide case), MWSU and KQTV, 2003.

 

Other areas of service include Co-Chair of the Missouri Bar Committee on Paralegals; Board member of Missouri Paralegal Association (currently Secretary and Public Relations Co-Chair); past president, vice-president and secretary; Advisory Board of Legal Studies Program, MWSU; and Past Board Member of NW Missouri Children’s Advocacy Center; PEO Sisterhood; Beta Sigma Phi sorority; Missions Chair at Clair United Methodist Church. I enjoy reading, walking, storm chasing and star gazing with my husband.

 

Number of years practicing: 25+ years.

Director C – Lorie Burnley

I graduated from Missouri Western State College in December 2003 with a bachelor of science in criminal justice with emphasis on legal studies. I also have an associates in art from Maple Woods Community College. I also have my paralegal certificate from Missouri Western.

I have worked at Office of The Chapter 13 Trustee since May 1998. I worked my way from file clerk to my current job Paralegal Bankruptcy Specialist. I have been a paralegal since January 2004. I have only worked in Chapter 13 bankruptcy law.

I am married and have a 4 year old little girl. I also have a dog and a cat. I like to read, hang with friends and watch TV. I am currently the social media person for the Missouri Paralegal Association.

Director D – Morgan Hansen

In 2007, I graduated from Missouri Western State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice with an emphasis in Legal Studies and a Paralegal Certificate. Prior to graduation, I completed an internship through a private defense attorney. For my final internship, I found my future home, working with the Buchanan County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office as a Paralegal and Domestic Violence Victim Advocate. In 2008, I received my Victim Advocate Certificate from Missouri State University Extension Campus.

As a Domestic Violence (DV) Victim Advocate, my responsibilities have been to advocate and protect victims’ rights as they go through the criminal justice system. I keep the victim informed of all court dates, accompany them to court if desired including civil Orders of Protection hearings, I make referrals for local victim services and ensure the victim receives notification once the defendant is sentenced. I conduct all the trial preparation if the case is set for trial and keep statistics on all DV cases. I enjoy working on these types of criminal cases knowing I’ve been the emotional support for someone in their time of need and hopefully they are safe and much happier place after the trauma that has taken place.

I also chair the CVRW Committee which is responsible for creating events to promote crime victim rights throughout Crime Victims’ Rights Week each year.

Just this year I’ve been placed in charge of assisting the Missouri Department of Revenue, through the Prosecutor’s Office, in the collection of delinquent tax debts for Buchanan County. It has been both interesting and challenging managing both caseloads thus far.

As far as myself, personally, I am a lifelong resident of Saint Joseph, Missouri. With that being said, I love to travel! I absolutely love exploring and island hopping in the US and British Virgin Islands, enjoying the big city fun of Chicago and of course the excitement of Las Vegas. I also enjoy time with family and friends, camping, boating, volleyball and playing in the yard with my German Shepherd named Jack.

Eastern District:

Director A – Amanda J. Chapman

I am a litigation paralegal at the law firm of Brown & James, P.C., primary focusing on insurance defense matters, including class action, municipal law, personal injury, business litigation, and breach of contract. Here, I am responsible for managing high-volume document production, eDiscovery, data mapping/preservation, obtaining and summarizing documents, people investigations, preparing and responding to written discovery, preparing matters for trial/mediation/deposition, and identifying/vetting appropriate expert witnesses.

I obtained a B.S. in History and Social Studies Education from Missouri Valley College and paralegal certification through Adams State College. In 2011, I obtained national certification as a Registered Paralegal (RP) through NFPA and have maintained this designation since. In 2014, I was honored with the St. Louis Paralegal Association’s Paralegal Legend award.

An active member of several professional associations, I bring nearly 15 years of experience in the legal field to the table and work hard promoting the profession. I have served as a mentor to paralegal students and junior paralegals, have presented at CLE seminars locally and nationwide on countless topics, and have been given research credit in publications and training materials. Professional Affiliations include Missouri Paralegal Association, St. Louis Paralegal Association, National Federation of Paralegal Associations, Women in eDiscovery, and EDEN.

Director B – Nancy Gazca

My professional legal background started in 2008 at Rogers, Ehrhardt, Weber, and Howard in Columbia, Missouri, where I was employed as a part-time paralegal while attending William Woods University.

After graduating in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science in Paralegal Studies (Magna Cum Laude), I was employed as a full time Civil Litigation Paralegal at Corbett Law Firm in Springfield, Missouri. While there, I learned all aspects of Civil Litigation. Then in March 2011, I accepted a position closer to home at Loraine and Associates Law Firm in Osage Beach, Missouri.

I am currently at Loraine and Associates and continue to be heavily involved in civil litigation, as well as probate, and estate planning.

Other areas of service include former Vice-President-Secretary of the Mid-Missouri Paralegal Association. I currently serve as MPA Eastern District Director and Treasurer. I also act as the Secondary Liaison between MPA and the National Federation of Paralegal Associations.

Outside of my legal profession my service includes the American Heart Association’s Speakers Bureau; Go Red for Women Movement, and the Zonta Club – Professional Business Women.

Director C – Kathy Widman

After 25 years being a sales representative, I attended St. Louis Community College at Meramec to earn my certificate in legal studies. One of the courses included an internship; the internship turned in to a job and with that, my new career had started.

Since then, my focus has been as a litigation paralegal, and I have had the opportunity to assist on a number trials. Presently, I work as part of an in-house counsel team representing a chain of nursing homes.

I am a past president of the Missouri Paralegal Association and have been a member of the St. Louis Paralegal Association. I enjoy reading, sewing, gardening, puttering around the house and being with my kitty cat, Layla.

Director D – Danielle Y. Juliette

I am a paralegal for attorneys Douglas W. Hennon and Jason H. Ludwig with Carson & Coil, P.C., Jefferson City, Missouri.

Previous work includes being a regional office manager with Midwest Litigation Services; paralegal with Dysart Law Firm in St. Louis, Missouri;legal assistant for Hoffman Law Center in St. Louis, Missouri; and paralegal to John M. Williams, P.C. in Park Hills, Missouri.

I received a graphics design two-year vocational certificate from Uni-Tech Career Center in Bonne Terre, Missouri before deciding to go on to college for my paralegal degree. Graduating salutatorian of my class with an associate in applied science degree of paralegal studies from Patricia Stevens College now known as Stevens Institute of Business & Arts in St. Louis, Missouri. I am currently completing my bachelor in applied science degree of paralegal studies online with William Woods University.

Dennis and I do not have kids. Our kiddos are of the canine descent; we have three Labrador Retrievers.

My motto on being a great paralegal: be involved. Learn your clients. Work with them directly. Most of all be courteous. It doesn’t matter what the situation is, always be supportive. Be hands-on, efficient and ahead of your attorney when possible. And most of all be prompt with your calendar and organized. You will find your day at the office much more manageable.

And above all pick a field of work that you have enjoyed since college. If you didn’t like your family law course, then don’t work in it. Neither you nor your attorney will be beneficial to each other. If you want to be an advocate for people, work for an agency that does so.

Southern District:

Director A – Kerry Noe

Kerry is a Senior Litigation Paralegal with Spencer Fane, LLP in Springfield, MO. He has been in the paralegal profession continuously since 1983 and has had many unique and rewarding opportunities to work on interesting and complex litigation throughout his career, actively participating in countless bench and jury trials in State and Federal Courts. His responsibilities include work in all aspects of litigation, including client/witness interviews, pleadings, discovery, trial preparation/attendance and appeal work. Kerry has been a presenter at various seminars and CLEs attended by paralegals, attorneys and judges on several key litigation topics including Effective Investigation Techniques, Trial Preparation from Start to Finish, Litigation Essentials and Ethics for Paralegals. Kerry has previously twice served as the President of MPA and has been on the board of MPA since 2009.

 

Immediately after graduation from high school, Kerry enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and served his country for 4 years. After receiving an Honorable Discharge, he returned home to Missouri and attended Drury University in Springfield, MO with a dual major in Psychology and Criminal Justice. He began his legal career at that same time, becoming employed as the first paralegal for the Springfield Law Firm of Farrington & Curtis while attending college. He has generally worked for the same attorneys his entire career, with Farrington & Curtis being acquired by Husch & Eppenberger (now Husch Blackwell) in 1997.

 

In 2014, several attorneys from Husch Blackwell left to start the Spencer Fane office in Springfield and asked Kerry to come with them. He has been with Spencer Fane, LLP ever since and continues to assist in complex and protracted litigation, including commercial litigation, employment discrimination, class actions, domestic relations and other types of general litigation disputes.

 

Kerry has been married since May 2013 and in August 2016, he and his beautiful wife Liz welcomed into the world their first child – Elliana Sarah. In his spare time, he enjoys outdoor activities, is an avid Star Trek fan/memorabilia collector and thoroughly enjoys travel throughout the world. He has a particular passion for visiting wineries and adding to his already significant collection of wines stored in the private wine cellar in his home in Springfield.

Director B – (open)

Director C – (open)

Director D – (open)