Are you an Employer?    Attract the Best Candidates with Smart Job Postings! Search Legal Resumes
Legal Jobs Board for Attorneys, Law Students & Legal Staff | Serving USA & Other Countries | LawCrossing

Need Help? Call (800) 973-1177 

Job Seeker Login   Employer Login 

Job Seekers?  Try it Now  

ATTORNEY JOBS
LAW STUDENT JOBS
LEGAL STAFF JOBS
See Law Jobs We Have Recently Researched and Located for You
What Where
Show Recruiter Jobs  

Show Refreshed Jobs  



Search in Job Title Only
Job Type:
Employer Type:

+ Browse Legal Jobs     + Advanced Search     + Search Tips     + Upload Legal Resume
Legal Jobs >> Legal Articles >> Feature >> The Life and Career of Tracie Goodwin : Paralegal to Attorney
  • Feature

The Life and Career of Tracie Goodwin : Paralegal to Attorney


by      

The Life and Career of Tracie Goodwin : Paralegal to Attorney
Tracie Goodwin, Esq., decided she didn't want to be so comfortable; she wanted to be challenged.
Goodwin was born in Houston, Texas, but moved to Fresno, California, when she was 18. She had been working as a legal secretary for eight years when she decided to enter the paralegal arena.

"My boss had been giving me progressively more challenging projects, which I found more interesting than legal secretary work. The autonomy and the responsibility that came with being a paralegal appealed to me," she explains. "Once I decided to get a paralegal certificate, I had to find a paralegal program that worked with my schedule."

Working about 50 hours per week and married with children, Goodwin needed to find a flexible program. A two-year paralegal program at the city college and a one-year program at the local law school were being offered. After considering both, she found that neither worked well with her hectic schedule. A bit later, she found a 12-week, two-day-per-weekend course offered at California State University, Fresno, that worked for her. She received her bachelor's degree in liberal arts with a credential emphasis after a "grueling 12 weeks."

Although Goodwin's initial hopes of being a teacher didn't pan out, she continued her career in the legal field and has not looked back. After working as a paralegal for five years, she received the opportunity to progress further professionally.

"I have been working at the same law firm since I graduated from college. The firm I work at was very supportive of my going to law school," she says. "After my first year of law school, I passed the 'baby bar,' and I was promoted to a law clerk. I worked as a law clerk until I found out I passed the bar this last May. The firm I work at offered me a job as an associate, which I accepted."

She decided to take law classes at Concord Law School, an online law school. Although she went through a family tragedy — her father's passing during her last year before law school finals — she managed to graduate in July of 2006.

"I was very overwhelmed, and every day I had to talk myself out of dropping out of law school," she admits. "I just tried to take everything one day at a time."

Goodwin also saw opportunities for more financial gain working as an attorney.

"I also wanted to earn more money. I was doing very similar work to what our associates were doing but making considerably less," she says. "Also, when you are a paralegal, you only see a small portion of a case, and you are limited to doing what you are directed to do by the attorneys. I wanted the challenge of being able to work up a case totally on my own, implementing my own ideas."

Now practicing at Sagaser, Jones & Helsley, Goodwin insists, though, that law school is not for everyone.

"Make certain you weigh the pros and cons of being a paralegal as opposed to being an attorney before you make your decision," she advises. "While being an attorney can give you more control over the cases you work on and allow you to use your creativity, it also requires more hours, more responsibility, and more accountability for your work."

She also notes that her job definitely weighs more heavily on her day-to-day activities.

"When I was a paralegal I didn't have to worry about committing malpractice. Being an attorney, at least in private practice, is more stressful than being a paralegal," she says. "When you're deciding whether to become an attorney, you should look at the type of lifestyle you want to have. While being a paralegal is challenging, you generally don't have to take your work home with you — even if it's just thinking about it."

Now a grandmother, Goodwin loves spending time with her granddaughter, two cats, two rabbits, and "number of tortoises." She credits her husband with being her number-one fan.

"My husband has been really wonderful," she says. "He was very supportive and wouldn't let me give up."

Goodwin doesn't regret her decision to switch careers, and she hopes others will consider the job change if it is right for them.

"Being an attorney feels like a 24-hour job sometimes. However, I think it's a very good profession to go into, and I think it is particularly a good profession for women," Goodwin, a mother of three, says. "You have a lot more options with a law degree than with a paralegal certificate."

If you are a paralegal and are interested in applying to Concord Law School, you must hold an undergraduate degree or higher and must pass the Concord Online Admissions Test. You must also provide Concord with official transcripts from relevant colleges and universities. After the first year of law school, the State Bar of California requires you to pass the First-Year Law Students' Examination before continuing studies.

Concord Law School's program-specific requirements are below:
  1. The Concord J.D. program is a four-year, part-time program.

  2. The terms are year-long; coursework must be completed in terms of 48-52 weeks as stipulated by the State Bar of California rules.

  3. Students report that they study 25-30 hours per week.

  4. The first two years of the J.D. program, the curriculum is comprised of required courses.

  5. Students have the opportunity to take electives in their 3L and 4L years. Electives include a series of health law courses, patent law courses, cyberlaw courses, advocacy courses, and business law courses — business planning and contract drafting. In the fourth year, there is also an externship program, the Legal Education Experience Program (LEEP), where the student works in a legal setting under the supervision of an attorney.

  6. Admission requirements are a bachelor's degree and generally a 3.0 GPA or better. Applicants also must take Concord's online admission test, although Concord does not require the LSAT.

  7. Tuition is $8,900 per year.

  8. Applicants may request information at the Concord site. An admissions person will contact them for an interview and provide access to the online exam and application. For more information, please go to info.concordlawschool.edu/admissions.


Related Article
The life and career of Phil Corboy Personal Injury Attorney

This week, we profile a legendary Chicago personal injury attorney who rose to prominence over the last few decades through his sheer focus and his willingness to embrace who he was. ....

The Life and Career of Natalie McKenney: Paralegal, Minneapolis, MN



Natalie McKenney experienced the type of on-the-job training about which most people can only dream. Imagine beginning a career search—a fact-finding mission of sorts—at the very company where your career would eventually unfold. McKenney began working at Halleland, Lewis, Nilan & Johnson in Minneapolis o ....

The Life and Career of Janice Favreau: Paralegal, Enfield, CT



Some special needs children in Central Connecticut may have Janice Favreau to thank for being schooled alongside their mainstream classmates. Favreau's son was traumatically brain injured as a result of an automobile accident, and she tirelessly advocated for his inclusion in regular classes at his school. ....
Rate This Article
   View top rated articles
On The Net
Concord Law School
www.concordlawschool.edu

California State University, Fresno
www.csufresno.edu

Sagaser, Jones & Helsley
www.sjhattorneys.com/sagaser.html


Printable Version    Printable Version PDF Version    PDF Version Email to a Friend    Email to a Friend
Comment    Post A Comment View Comment    View Comment Discuss    Discuss

Featured Testimonials

Thank you LawCrossing for your excellent service. I am very pleased with what LawCrossing offers.
Gunnar A.

Facts

LawCrossing Fact #228: We offer a live support feature that allows you to chat live with a member of the LawCrossing team if you ever have any questions.

"We want to hear your thoughts. Please comment on this article (below)!"

Comments


Article ID: 3794    

Article Title: The Life and Career of Tracie Goodwin : Paralegal to Attorney

Comments:
Hi,
I am about to enroll in Capital City Carrers Legal Assitant Program. If I do I will recieve a diploma with a legal assitant degree and then I would have have to take the test to get a certificatio. First of all would this be considered an associates? and would I be able to use this later to get the a Bachelor's in Paralegal? And last would a Bachelo's in Paralegal count for law school? I have to make a decision by tuesday so I would appreciate your advice! Thank you!!

Posted by: Annabel Martinez   |   Date: 09-26-2008




There is a new book at Americas Legal Bookstore called The Online Law Schools Book, it details how paralegals can become lawyers online and it has all the Online JD programs. Plus, there is a complete chapter on ABA Law schools that have online LLM programs now. I saw this copy and thought of this book i Just bought. Anyone interested in law, I would say to get it.

Posted by: Mike Colangelo   |   Date: 09-15-2008




hi .
i went to a college and get my degree in paralegal/legal studies ,but now i would love to become a lawyer it is possible for me to go to a law school with my degree or i wll have to start all over again...?how long does it take to become a lawyer? thankx.....

Posted by: katty aponte   |   Date: 08-22-2008




Comment Comment   View Commments

Facebook comments:


total jobs
51,347
Upload Your Resume
New Legal Jobs in Last 7 Days
15,541
Facebook Twitter
job search tip
If you are going to be late, call and reschedule instead. You'll make a much better impression being on time.
LawCrossing



The Job Search Program that Guarantees Success.
Our career counselor creates a tailor-made job search strategy for you and walks you through every step of the process.
Create your unique brand for just $2,495!
2014 Most Influential Legal Recruiter Rankings
Get the ranking

Your privacy is guaranteed. We will never give out, lease, or sell your personal information.


Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss it, you will land among the stars.