Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Gail Carmack

Paralegal Gail Carmack doesn't need to be an economist to know why she's still out of work after being laid off in 2009. She is now competing with laid off lawyers who are now willing to do the kind of document review work she used to do.

Gail Carmack


Paralegal Gail Carmack doesn't need to be an economist to know why she's still out of work after being laid off in 2009. She is now competing with laid off lawyers are now willing to do the kind of document review work she used to do. Now, she said, staffing firms require document reviewers to pass the bar examination. 

Carmack's experience centers on trial preparation, handling the massive amount of material involved in complex litigation. For example, when she worked at E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co., she managed complex product liability cases averaging 150 lawsuits filed in state and federal courts.

She spent her last six years as a paralegal contract worker assigned to Pepper Hamilton LLP., a Center City lawfirm. Her assignment? Document review for large-scale pharmaceutical litigation cases. She also had five years handling employment cases at AstraZeneca. Carmack is proud of the way she managed to reduce Dupont's outside counsel fees by 35 percent in one year through detailed review and monitoring of their bills.

Carmack has a master's degree in organizational development and a bachelor's degree in political science on top of her paralegal certification, but these days, she'll take any job. "I'm not too proud to accept any kind of job as long as it's legal," she said.

Financially, it's difficult. The emotional challenge is equally hard. "I'm a strong person. It's a truly humbling experience," said Carmack. "There's been many a day when I just want to say, `The hell with it.' But you can't. It's about keeping on and keeping strong."

Update: In December, 2011, Carmack was still looking for work.

  • Gail E. Carmack
  • Hometown: Philadelphia.
  • Profession: Paralegal
  • Experience: Handled complex litigation, including document review for pharmaceutical cases and trial preparation for massive product liability cases.
  • Education: American University, master's degree in organizational development and bachelor's degree in political science.
  • E-mail address: gail_carmack@yahoo.com

Read past profiles in the Looking for Work series.

Read my Jobbing blog for other news about the world of work.


The Inquirer is not endorsing this individual as a job candidate; potential employers should do their own background checks.

Contact staff writer Jane M. Von Bergen at 215-854-2769 or jvonbergen@phillynews.com.

Inquirer Staff Writer
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About this blog

Jobbing covers the workplace – employment, unemployment, management, unions, legal issues, labor economics, benefits, work-life balance, workforce development, trends and profiles.

Jane M. Von Bergen writes about workplace issues for the Inquirer.

Married to a photographer she met at her college newspaper, Von Bergen has been a reporter since fourth grade, covering education, government, retailing, courts, marketing and business. “I love the specific detail that tells the story,” she says.

Reach Jane M. at jvonbergen@phillynews.com.

Jane M. Von Bergen Inquirer Staff Writer
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