Legal Industry

Q&A with OPVEON’S Vice President of Practice Support, Marsha Ray

OPVEON is pleased to feature our Vice President of Practice Support, Marsha Ray. Marsha is responsible for managing a team of Trial Technology Consultants, Creative Services Specialists, Production Specialists, and all OPVEON’S administrative staff.

By profession, Marsha is a Certified Trial Technology Consultant and former paralegal. Over the course of her career, Marsha has had the opportunity to work on all types of complex litigation. Everything from multi-jurisdictional commercial litigation to contract disputes, employment law cases, construction law, business torts, breach of fiduciary duty actions, estate claims, fraud actions, property damages, products liability and complex divorce and family law matters.

Her organizational and case management expertise has helped to minimize the stressors of trial preparation and maximize efficiency in the courtroom.

Marsha is married to Jim Ray, a military veteran. Together, they have three children, ages 16, 17, and 18.

“Marsha is a trusted and strong leader, and an invaluable asset to OPVEON. She takes ownership mentality in every case, every project, and every decision that we make internally. She is a difference maker and is possibly the most competent person I have ever had the privilege of working with. It’s fitting that she is being featured in March — Women’s History Month — because she is a prime example of a woman, who, through hard work, determination, grit, and sheer smarts, has risen to the top of her field. I am privileged to call her my colleague and friend.” — April J. Ferguson, CEO

Q&A with Marsha Ray

Q: When did you first know you wanted to join the legal field?

A: I fell into the legal field. I was 19 years old and living on the Island of Oahu with my husband who was in the military. I had zero legal experience but was desperate for a job (living in such an extremely expensive place). I walked into the law firm of Dwyer, Imanaka, Neeley & Peterson in the City of Honolulu and got a job as a receptionist (which is why I will never forget the name of the place). Within two years I was promoted to Foreclosure Clerk and in another year I was a legal assistant. I still have the letter of recommendation from that attorney who gave me a chance, knowing I would be leaving the Island in approximately a year from being promoted. He also gave me a Black’s Law Dictionary with a hand-written note inside (on a post-it of course), which I still have to this day. His confidence in me propelled me into a very successful career because I have strived to prove him right ever since.

Q: Can you tell us about your previous experience as a paralegal?

A: I have lived in many different places since that first job, and have always been able to find a job in every single one, quickly and easily, mostly due to that extremely strong letter of recommendation (along with another couple of letters I received along the way) and the job experience I gained in each place. In order: Honolulu, Tulsa, OKC, Tulsa, Salt Lake City, Tulsa. The last job in Tulsa (Doerner, Saunders, Daniel & Anderson) was where I met April, probably the strongest and most valuable relationships, outside of family, which I have ever had (and ever will). After a six-year stint as a stay-at-home mom (during which time I lived in three more cities), we moved back home to Tulsa, where I will stay forever. Even though I was out of the industry for six years, I was quickly able to find a job as a paralegal (on April’s recommendation) which led to my ultimate and final destination at OPVEON. Having worked in a large number of firms, on a variety of different types of matters, I gained valuable experience in all facets of litigation which shaped me into a very versatile employee, able to fulfill many roles.

Q: What is one thing you are exceptionally good at?

A: I am exceptionally good at organizing litigation files. I can take boxes and boxes of garbage and turn them into easily reviewable, organized files. I have also been told that I very good at managing people and projects. I work hard to ensure the right people are in the right positions and that we have the right resources assigned to every project.

Q: As OPVEON’s Vice President of Practice Support, what are some of your day-to-day responsibilities?

A: As OPVEON’s Vice President of Practice Support, I oversee the day-to-day operation of the consulting side of OPVEON’s practice. That includes supervising a team of trial technology consultants, graphic designers, contract paralegals, production specialists, and our administrative staff. All consulting and administrative staff members report directly to me so my job is a mix of administrative functions and client services work. On the client services side, I work with our clients to prepare cases for trial, answering questions about what is needed (especially in cases where they do not go to trial very often and are possibly overwhelmed) and organize the materials for trial. I regularly interface with clients, answer questions, and make sure resources are available for projects. . I also oversee the management of our production center.

Q: Is the nature of your work consistent or do you find yourself considering new challenges regularly?

A: Although the nature of my work at OPVEON varies wildly in terms of actual “tasks”, being outside of the traditional role of paralegal, I find that the general nature of litigation is actually very consistent. There is a beginning, middle and end to all litigation … the anatomy of litigation doesn’t change, which is what I find so satisfying about it.

Q: What do you enjoy most about working at OPVEON?

A: It is difficult for me to describe how much I enjoy my job. It just about drove me mad to not be able to come into the office when we all decided to stay home. I feel like this job is a reward for all of the hard work I put into every previous job. I work with amazing, talented, hard-working, creative individuals from all backgrounds. I work for a CEO who I admire more than I can possibly say. She successfully built a small business and navigated through 2020 … it is the accomplishment of a lifetime. I’m proud to be a small part of it and I am extremely positive about our future.

Q: What is the best advice you were ever given?

A: The best advice I was given was during the first 18 years of my life by my father. It was a series of very bitter pills, but I give the same advice to my teenagers. Work hard, never ever quit, your work ethic will set you apart, never make excuses, you are expendable. That sounds really harsh to someone under a “certain age” but normal to “my generation”. For someone stubborn like me, that advice has changed my life … although it took a while, it led me to my dream job.

Q: You are a working mom with 3 teenage kids. What advice can you give to other working moms on how best to balance a professional career while still maintaining an active role at home?

A: Kids are all so completely different and require different approaches. That doesn’t change whether you work at home or outside the home. I became a mom for the first time at 38 when I gave birth to my daughter and stayed at home for five years. I gained two bonus kids six year after my first was born at which time I was working outside the home again. My father gave me the same advice his dad told him when I became a mom for the first time: just love them to pieces and the rest will fall into place. It seemed so simple at the time but it resonates to this day. Some kids need more structure and some need less. Some need more discipline and some need less. But all of them need as much love as you can possibly give, especially when it is so lacking in most other areas of everyday life. Love leads you to teach them instead of doing for them (even when you’re exhausted). Love leads you to discipline with explanation when you’d rather just let it go. But mostly love leads them to love as much as you do … and what’s more important than that.

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