The local chapter of the National Association of Legal Support Professionals (NALS), the Legal Staff Professionals of the Midlands (LSPM), opens up an award for Boss of the Year to its members each year. Attorney Mario Pacella of Strom Law Firm was the winner of the award for the year 2021, and he was nominated by Stephanie Jones, an experienced Paralegal of the law firm.
The members are asked to write a 500 word essay about their boss and why they are deserving of the LSPM Boss of the Year award.
Stephanie: “This year, I nominated Mario as Boss of the Year. The nominations committee chose my essay over the other entries and awarded Mario with the award.”
Boss of the Year Nomination Essay made by Paralegal Stephanie Jones
One of the attorneys I work for is a shining light in the legal community. He has achieved many accomplishments as an attorney, but I would rather talk about how it has been to work for such a superb human being over the last eight years.
I had dealings with this attorney for many years prior to working under him. The firm I was working in at the time was referring many potential clients to this attorney in a class action suit. There were many times I expected to speak with a paralegal only to receive responses from the attorney himself. He would call me directly to talk through the process or the potential client’s claim and I immediately had a feeling that this man was a respected attorney. He was so knowledgeable and took the time to explain anything that I was having trouble with. I immediately started to respect him even in my brief dealings with him. He had made quite the impression.
Over time, his name stuck out to me, even after that case was resolved. About six years later, I took a paralegal opportunity at the same firm. While I understood I wouldn’t work directly under him, I was excited for the opportunity to work with him in some capacity again. Well, it turned out that he does quite a bit of criminal cases and is appointed to appellate work as well – this has me under his direct supervision.
Working with this attorney has been so refreshing. So often, we are only told what tasks need to be done. We don’t always know why or what the strategy is, or even the nature of the case, sometimes. This attorney has taken the time to explain things, educate me on the aspects I had not previously come across, and even discuss the cases. He can do his own work and very often prefers to take on tasks that many other attorneys would consider suitable for a paralegal or legal assistant. While I joke about this often, every task he gives me is a challenge which is hard to come across after so many years of experience.
But, not only is he a great attorney to work for and with, he is an impressive individual. He has two beautiful children that he provides exceptional care for. He doesn’t miss an event, takes them to almost all of their medical appointments, and spends the needed time with his family that so many attorneys are unable to find time to do. He is a black belt in karate and trains with his children as well. He also retains everything he reads. It is impressive to see him spout out case law or recent updates in the law without even a stutter – things he’s learned over time and just never forgotten.
I would never trade working for this attorney for anything in the world. He is a great person all around, but one of the best attorneys I’ve ever met. Five hundred words is not enough room to discuss this attorney and his achievements! For these reasons, I strongly nominate him for the LSPM Boss of the Year award!w
Mario was born in Buffalo, New York in 1972. He graduated from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia in 1994 with degrees in Government and History. While at the College of William and Mary, he was a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, an honorary society for leadership and academic achievement. In 1997, Mario graduated from the William and Mary School of Law, ranking ninth in his law school class.
Immediately following law school, Mario clerked for United States Magistrate Judge James E. Graham in Brunswick, Georgia. Following his clerkship and prior to joining the Strom Law Firm, Mario served as an Assistant Public Defender in DeKalb County, Georgia. Mario also served as special counsel to the Center for Prisoners’ Legal Assistance in Georgia and assisted inmates with Habeas Corpus petitions and wrote the litigation manual for inmate litigation under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983.
Mario joined Strom Law Firm in February 2000. He is a member of the South Carolina, Georgia and New York State Bars. He is admitted to practice in the United States Supreme Court, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, United States District Court for the District of South Carolina, United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia, United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, United States District for the District of Colorado, The Supreme Court of Georgia, and all state courts in South Carolina, Georgia, and New York.
Mario has also been admitted pro hac vice in numerous federal courts, including: The Northern District of Florida, The Southern District of Florida, The Northern District of Alabama, The Middle District of North Carolina, The District of Connecticut, The District of New Jersey, The Southern District of Iowa, The Southern District of California, The Central District of California, and The Northern District of California. Mario has also practiced in a number of other Federal courts in Multidistrict litigation.
Mario represents individuals in class actions, social security disability, worker’s compensation, personal injury including traumatic injury, defective products including defective drugs, nursing home neglect, and predatory lending cases. Some of the most tragic but rewarding cases involved representing the childhood victims of sexual abuse.
Mario defends criminal cases in State and Federal Courts in South Carolina as well as the Southern District of Georgia, Northern District of Georgia, and the Middle District of Georgia. Additionally, Mario has litigated appeals in state and federal courts in South Carolina and Georgia and has appealed cases to the United States Supreme Court.
Honors and Awards:
- Omicron Delta Kappa
- Legal Writing Instructor, University of South Carolina School of Law, 2003 – 2006
Mario is a member of the American Association for Justice, South Carolina Association for Justice, South Carolina Bar Association, Georgia Bar Association, and New York Bar Association.
Mario lives on St. Simons Island with his wife Gwen and two children, Clare and Wesley. He attends St. Simons Community Church and enjoys kayaking on Dunbar Creek and cheering on the Buffalo Bills. Mario also has a black belt in Isshin Ryu Karate. Mario serves on the board for Glynn Visual Arts and has assisted a number of political candidates seeking local office in Glynn County.