I had the question posed to me once, why did you choose the legal profession? I reflected on this to discover, I did not choose the legal profession it chose me.
I was offered the job of Support Enforcement Aide for Mahnomen County Child Support in 2004. I assisted with case maintenance, client contact, legal document and legal form generation. In 2007, I was offered the Child Support Officer position. This opened up my love for the legal profession even more. I was able to not only draft legal documents, legal forms, interact with clients and maintain cases but I was also able to attend child support hearings and testify in both the Expedited and District Court. I enjoyed being involved in the legal aspect of my job on a day to day basis that I decided to make it my life work.
I applied to Minnesota State Community and Technical College in August 2014 and graduated with my Associates of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies in May 2017. The world of child support has so many avenues and streets to turn on and that is why I have enjoyed my profession thus far. I get to do genetic testing, establish paternities through Recognition of Parentage or Adjudication, establish child support orders, enforce child support orders and work with other states in resolving these matters. I have had to learn, interpret and apply regulations, laws, rules, statutes and/or policies relevant to child support activities and actions. I was able to establish a contempt policy for the county in order to be able to more effectively collect on cases where there were no collections. I was also able to handle and negotiate settlements in accordance with guidelines and statutes by drafting stipulations between parties. I had to apply judgment in dealing with all of my clients on my caseload but more so at times those who were angry, hostile or uncooperative.
I have also had the opportunity to be exposed to different committees while serving Mahnomen County. I served on Mahnomen County Safety Committee, Mahnomen County Civil Rights Committee, participated in Union negotiations, State of Minnesota Department of Human Services Training Committee for Child Support. These also have allowed me to be able to further educate myself in areas of working relationships, client support and legal issues to be dealt with.
My latest milestone has been receiving my paralegal certification from the Minnesota Paralegal Association. This is a subchapter to the National Federation of Paralegals Association, for which I am also a member. This allows for me to use MnCP in my professional portfolio. I have met their requirements for education and experience to be able to present myself as Brenda J. Chisholm, MnCP.
I have enjoyed working in this profession and as I said it is why I decided to further my career. I want to be submerged in the profession and therefore I have opened MinneKota Legal Support and Mediation Services in order to better serve myself, attorneys and clients. I enjoy all aspects of law and do not want to be tied to just one aspect of the law. By starting my own contract legal support business I am able to be available to all areas of the law.