PICTURED: Fanny Hall, rear, has more than mentored her fellow paralegals, Bailey Cox, left, and Allie Harding, at The Floyd Law Firm in Surfside Beach, SC. “I call them my ‘office daughters’,” Hall said.
In the bustling world of law firms, where professionalism is paramount, The Floyd Law Firm PC stands out as a place where colleagues are not just coworkers but a close-knit family. In a heartwarming recognition, three outstanding paralegals – Fanny Hall, Allie Harding, and Bailey Cox – have been featured in the January 2024 issue of Carolina Paralegal News, a Publication of North Carolina Lawyers Weekly and South Carolina Lawyers Weekly – for their remarkable work friendships and the familial atmosphere they’ve cultivated.
Fanny Hall, a seasoned paralegal for Attorney and Founding Partner Dalton B. Floyd Jr. for over 30 years, has embraced the role of mentor to Bailey Cox and Allie Harding since their arrival at the firm. What began as a traditional mentoring relationship has blossomed into a deep bond resembling a family dynamic. Hall affectionately refers to Bailey and Allie as her “office daughters”, a term inspired by her own experiences as the youngest member of the firm many years ago.
Hall’s commitment to mentoring extends beyond legal guidance. Recognizing the challenges faced by paralegals entering the field, Hall goes above and beyond to impart not only legal knowledge but also life skills. Bailey Cox acknowledges Hall as a “life mentor” emphasizing the profound impact that goes beyond the professional realm.
The trio of paralegals, each specializing in different areas of law, reflects the diversity and collaborative spirit at The Floyd Law Firm. Bailey Cox, recruited by her sister, initially started as a part-time paper pusher and later transitioned to working in real estate law. Allie Harding, a civil litigation and personal injury paralegal, appreciates the vibrant office culture at Floyd Law, a departure from her previous experiences.
The intergenerational dynamics at The Floyd Law Firm create a unique learning environment. Fanny Hall, despite her extensive experience, acknowledges the value of fresh perspectives from younger colleagues like Allie Harding. The exchange of ideas and approaches enhances the overall work experience, creating a dynamic where everyone benefits from each other’s insights.
A Family Beyond the Office
The family environment at The Floyd Law Firm extends beyond the three featured paralegals. Self-described as the “three amigos”, Hall, Harding, and Cox not only work closely together but also share daily lunches and provide support inside and outside the firm. The firm-wide family atmosphere, with occasional parties and brunches, fosters a sense of community and boosts morale.
All of our paralegals, along with the rest of our staff, are here to help individuals, families, and business owners to make informed legal decisions with advice from seasoned advocates. Providing experienced legal counsel and practical solutions to a wide variety of legal concerns, we work together to protect our client’s rights in and out of the courtroom.
The story of Fanny Hall, Allie Harding, and Bailey Cox exemplifies the genuine connections that can thrive in a law firm. These paralegals have transformed their workplace into a family, showcasing the importance of mentorship, diversity, and a supportive community in the legal profession.
Carolina Paralegal News – A Publication of North Carolina Lawyers Weekly and South Carolina Lawyers Weekly
Three paralegals at The Floyd Law Firm PC have been mentioned in the January 2024 publication of SC Lawyers Weekly for their keen ability to work together as a family. In the newest issue of Carolina Paralegal News – A Publication of North Carolina Lawyers Weekly and South Carolina Lawyers Weekly – Fanny Hall, Allie Harding, and Bailey Cox were honored with an article in the magazine regarding work friendships.
“Family Ties – Close mentorships at law firms build morale, boost business”
Carolina Paralegal News
by Teri Saylor
Fanny Hall points out a photo of herself labeled “beautiful Fanny,” but quickly clarifies she didn’t give it that moniker; rather it came from her “office daughter” who made the photo and labeled it that way. Hall, 58, is a paralegal at The Floyd Law Firm at Surfside Beach, South Carolina. She has been mentoring Bailey Cox and Allie Harding for a few years, since they arrived at the law firm, eager to fit in and learn the ropes. The three have developed a bond that goes beyond the traditional office mentoring relationship and into one that resembles a family.
“Bailey and Allie work in different areas of law than I do,” Hall said. “I call them my office daughters, an idea I got many years ago when I was the youngest in the firm and I had my own office mother, who has since retired.” Light on experience but eager for success, paralegals fresh out of school or bringing their experience into a new firm environment are often casting about on their own, searching for advice on office culture and norms and striving to fit in.
Hall supports Dalton B. Floyd Jr’s legal practice, which includes estate, trust, real estate, business, and golf course law. She found her way by shadowing him and learning about every one of the firm’s practice areas as she worked her way up from receptionist to senior paralegal. She’s been at the firm for 25 years.But it was her “office mom” who served as a real role model and helped Hall navigate a pathway to success using her soft skills. “She was the sweetest woman who never had children of her own, and so she considered me as a daughter,” Hall said. “A mother-daughter mentoring relationship cuts deeper than a formal mentoring relationship because you know they have your back.” Today, Hall is paying it forward with her office daughters, whom she guards with the love and ferocity of a mother duck and her ducklings.
Cox, 28, arrived at the firm five years ago, recruited by her sister, who also worked there. “I was hired as a part-time paper pusher, and later I worked in the real estate department and took on all of Fanny’s paperwork,” she said. Today, she spends time working in a variety of service areas —a” little bit of everything,” she says. At 32, Harding, a New Jersey transplant, has been a paralegal for 10 years. She works in civil litigation, personal injury and homeowner association matters.
To the younger paralegals, Hall is more than a career mentor. She goes above and beyond the call of duty to show them the ropes inside and outside the office. “She’s a, like a, life mentor,” Bailey said.
Life mentors can be even more impactful than those who train you in the technical aspects of your job, says Camile Stell, 61, president and CEO of Lawyers Mutual Consulting and Services in Raleigh, North Carolina.
A Certified paralegal herself, Stell found a calling when Meredith College established its first mentorship program in the late 1980s. Stell graduated in 1984.
“I wanted to participate in the program, and I was assigned a mentee,” she said. “I was early in my career and didn’t know a ton, but I did know more than a student knows. I was able to offer students tips on things that would help them succeed in the profession.”
Rather than show them how to file a document or create a pleading, her way of mentoring was to describe what it was like working with different attorneys, understanding their personalities, and developing strategies for working with them successfully.
“I just always felt that was the kind of thing that no one ever tells you,” Stell said. “You just kind of show up with a degree or certificate, and there’s work waiting for you on your desk, but you don’t really know how the office runs.”
Stell says she has always received positive feedback, even when mentoring young associate attorneys, and they are just as appreciative as the paralegals and legal assistants she’s helped along the way.
“It doesn’t take long after graduating from paralegal school or law school ot realize how little you really know,” she said.
Hall has been working in law firms so long that she doesn’t know what they teach in law school and paralegal programs anymore, but she’s always available to help with the little things, such as locating documents that have been in file drawers or on computer hard drives for years.”I have both paralegals and attorneys who come to me looking for files or documents from years before,” she said. “I can remember certain specific files or how a process was completed as far back as 20 years ago.”
Soft skills are also in Hall’s wheelhouse. “Fanny has definitely taught me patience,” Harding said.
Sometimes the tables are turned, and Fanny is the student. “I’ve been in the business world a long time, but I always learn something new from the younger employees,” Fanny said. “They put a fresh spin on things, and if you’ve done the same thing for years and years, it helps to see them through a fresh pair of eyes.”Stell points out that paralegal mentoring relationships are almost always organic, and that opens the door to developing tight bonds. “If you are the new paralegal, there’s no one telling you how to do your job and navigate office policies,” she said. “I think that’s why relationships grow so close, like a mother and daughter or office mom situation, because the way mentors often care about the success of their young employees goes way beyond what even a good, organized mentoring program would be at a law firm.”
Paralegal associations also have been instrumental in helping cultivate mentorships, and Stell advocates for them as places paralegals in solo firms can find mentors, network with each other and build friendships. “The associations have always been places where you didn’t have to ask people who worked in your own firm for advice, and therefore demonstrate you didn’t know what you were doing,” she said. “By building relationships through associations, you build trust with each other because you are peers.”
At Floyd Law, Hall, Harding and Cox call themselves “three amigos” who eat lunch together every day and support each other inside and outside the firm. “The first question we ask each other when we get to the office each morning is what’s for lunch, and we make sure that’s covered before 9am, ” Hall said. “We are together most days and through very pivotal moments in our lives.”
They were together when Harding went through a divorce. “They came to my hearing, and I’ll never forget that,” she said. “That support meant everything to me.”
Hall teared up when she described the support she received when she had a medical crisis three years ago, and Cox saw her through it. “Bailey was my rock, and I think that in itself brought us even closer together,” she said.
For the three paralegals, their relationship is one of the more important aspects of their lives and careers, and they cannot imagine going to work without having each other nearby. “I feel like if you don’t have relationships like this at your job, you would be miserable coming to work,” Cox said. “It’s like having unwavering support. No matter what, even my worst days can be made better because I have my office family.”
For law firms, fostering close relationships among employees is good for business. It helps office morale and increases efficiency. “If you don’t have those relationships, you might find that entry-level employees will continue to fumble around, trying to navigate your firm,” Stell said. “And I think if firms have someone willing to invest a little time up front, the return on investment will be rapid.”
Stell recalls many paralegals she has mentored over the years who have gone on to rewarding careers, and that instills a sense of accomplishment for her, too. “I think people are reluctant to mentor because of the time commitment or fearing they don’t have enough wisdom to share, but if you’ve been in your job for a period of time, you have plenty to share, and you’ll get a big benefit out of it,” she said. “It is such a cliché, but I always get more out of being a mentor than I ever did as a mentee.”
At Floyd Law, the family environment spreads practice-wide, enhancing everyone’s experience working there and helping build a sense of community, the three paralegals say. “We have a small 16-person firm, so we’re not huge,” Hall said. “We sometimes have parties or a brunch on Fridays, and everyone brings a dish, and it gives us a boost.”
For Harding, the office culture is far different than where she came from. “I came from a stuffy firm where we just basically went into the office, did our job and then left,” she said. “We are not like that here. We have parties, we’re always sharing new recipes with each other, and, by the way, Fanny’s chicken bog is to die for.”