For The Record

You might say that current law student Mandy Truman started her legal career at the age of 14. That’s when she got a job “pulling staples out of paper” at the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission.

The whole time, though, she thought to herself, “I’m never going to be a lawyer.” Her dream was to become a police officer, but after a serious car accident, Truman reconsidered her options.

Several experiences helped cement her decision to pursue a legal career. Working in the clerk’s office of the Supreme Court of Virginia, Truman learned about both the substantive and practical aspects of the justice system. She also spent time back at the Workers’ Compensation Commission and at a workers’ compensation defense firm in Richmond. Her job at the private firm proved especially fortuitous: It was there that she met her future husband, Bryn Swartz, L’11. “I met him across the table at a hearing for workers’ compensation,” said Truman, which she acknowledges as “the silliest meet-cute on the planet.”

Later, the couple were headed in for a scheduled cesarean section to welcome their first son when, moments before delivery, Swartz received an email notification that he was being laid off by his firm. “He looked at me and said, ‘Do you want to start a law firm?’” said Truman.

That same day — after the safe delivery of their son — they sat in her hospital room, formed an LLC, and started the hunt for office space. Pathfinder Injury Law was born.

Based in Glen Allen, a Richmond suburb, Pathfinder specializes in workplace injuries. Swartz is the primary attorney, while Truman — who has an associate degree in paralegal studies and is a certified paralegal — is the firm’s administrator. She keeps the operations running, from human resources to research and writing to tax filings.

In addition to her work at the firm and being parent to an active toddler, Truman has taken on extra responsibilities in law school: She’s president of the Animal Law Society, vice president of First Generation Law Students, and networking and alumni relations chair for the Phi Alpha Delta law fraternity.

Last November, Virginia Lawyers Weekly named Truman to its annual list of Unsung Legal Heroes, a program that recognizes some of the “most talented and dedicated legal support professionals.” It was an unexpected but welcome honor for Truman. “It’s really cool to be acknowledged by the legal community, especially for something that I wanted to do for so long,” she said. “It means a lot to be respected and to be proud of where I came from.”