Some people are just born with that “Wow” factor. There is something engaging and special about them. Our legal assistant, Crystal James, is one of those people. She rocks!
The first thing people notice about Crystal is her smile. She’s genuine in her desire to help. When clients are feeling overburdened and emotional about their case, Crystal’s infectious smile, the universal language, helps brighten even the toughest days.
As a Native American growing up in Mexican Hat, Utah, Crystal lived in a community about a 30-minute drive east of Monument Valley. An amazing person from an amazing place. Crystal can rattle off the titles of practically every movie filmed in Monument Valley, but admits the only celebrity she ever met was Clint Eastwood. And when she tried taking a selfie with Clint, the picture came out blurry. “It could have been anyone’s grandpa,” she laughs, “so all I have left is the memory.” Missing that photo op was a bit painful for Crystal because she adores movies from the 1980s. “Nostalgic with some cheesy effects, that’s what made them great!”
Crystal graduated from Kaplan University with her Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies and is a member of the Society of Collegiate Scholars. Proof that she knows her way around a computer, not only did she complete her coursework 100% online, she was on the Dean’s List and also held down a full time job. That shows her dedication to an important long-term goal and tremendous self-discipline. These are two qualities she shares with clients, helping them overcome challenges to focus on long-term objectives for themselves and their children.
Academically, Crystal is an over-achiever who has always stayed on course. Another career objective is to obtain her Paralegal Certificate. Knowing Crystal’s dedication to improving herself so she can better serve our clients and others, we’re confident she’ll accomplish that goal with flying colors.
Crystal is more than a community volunteer, she’s a community leader. She is a qualified Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). A volunteer position appointed by the judge, she is an advocate for the best interests of abused or neglected children who are before the court or in other legal settings. Becoming a CASA volunteer takes tremendous time, effort, and heart. Many of the children in these cases are desperately in need, on many levels. Crystal devotes 15-20 hours a month as a CASA volunteer and each of her cases typically lasts a year or longer.
In the Native American community, Crystal is an ambassador of Whisper & Thunder, an organization dedicated to Native American/First Nation empowerment. Members of this organization work at providing scholarships, keeping the heat on in cold weather at certain reservation homes, and teaching leadership classes to high school Native youth.
Crystal is also a student member of the Native American Bar Association and has volunteered with their fundraising efforts. She has been involved with organizing, planning, and executing the annual Seven Generation Awards Dinner and Silent Auction. Money collected through this event is used to fund scholarships for Native American students entering law school.
When busy with our own lives, we can lose sight of how some of those in our veteran community are struggling every day. Certain legal tasks, such as getting a driver’s license, can involve many frustrations and obstacles. As a court volunteer, Crystal also serves as a kind of “aide de camp” during the Annual Veteran’s StandDown, helping the attorneys assist homeless and at-risk veterans obtain their driver’s licenses.
Crystal is a hard worker who really enjoys her leisure time. Never a dull moment! She enjoys dining-out at Mexican and Thai restaurants (the spicier the better). Her favorite winter sport is snowboarding. Traveling to different ski resorts in the four corners – Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado – is becoming a tradition for her and her significant other. They have plans to snowboard California’s Bear Mountain and Mammoth Mountain, too.
When the desert is pleasantly warm, Crystal takes hiking trips with her family. She enjoys visiting our National Parks to camp, shoot, and hike in the wilderness. Crystal also enjoys more civilized adventures to amusement parks, here and in California. Ever the enthusiast, she hopes to travel to Ireland to experience the lush greenery and “castles of course!”
When it’s over 100 degrees outside and “you can cook an egg on a rock,” it’s time for indoor craft projects, crocheting and knitting, and reading. When not editing her personal manuscript (yes, she’s writing a book, too), Crystal sips Pho and Thai tea with Jane Austen. Or she curls up on the sofa to read yet another horror-mystery-thriller, maybe one that takes place on a dark and stormy night in Monument Valley.