County employee named ‘Distinguished Paralegal’
July 8, 2006
Hoytsville resident Lonnie Dawson is the first face many see when they enter the criminal division of the Summit County Attorney’s Office in Silver Summit.
Defense attorneys easily recognize her blond hair and the Paralegal Division of the Utah State Bar recently recognized Dawson as Utah’s ‘Distinguished Paralegal of the Year."
Surrounded by conversations that at times resemble episodes of the TV show "Law and Order," Dawson works with a team of five prosecutors.
"In that function, Lonnie handles all aspects of their criminal cases, from answering calls and providing assistance to pro se defendants, to preparing subpoenas, and satisfying discovery demands," Summit County Attorney David Brickey wrote in letter that nominated Dawson for the award from the Utah State Bar.
According to Brickey, Dawson, who has worked for Summit County for nearly 14 years, often answers questions from witnesses in cases and citizens with complaints.
"Lonnie exhibits compassion, professionalism, and tact in dealing with the various personalities that come through the door," Brickey wrote.
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She was "shocked" to receive the award, Dawson said.
"This is the first time they’ve had this type of award," she said.
Dawson became a certified paralegal in 1997 after attending the University of Phoenix in Salt Lake City.
"We’re kind of the go-to people," she said. "Some days are very overwhelming."
Dawson says she tries not to think about the office while at home.
Perhaps she was most upset by a case where a Snyderville Basin woman was acquitted of shaking a baby to within inches of its life a few years ago, she said.
"It actually makes you appreciate your world quite a bit," Dawson said.
She lives in North Summit with her husband and three sons.