Stacey Burnworth owns and manages Professional Paperworks, Inc., located in Merritt Island, FL. She is a paralegal who specializes in wills, probates, power of attorney, evictions, corporations, adoptions, marriage, divorce, child support, custody, deeds, mortgages and notary service. Although Stacey isn't a realtor, she received her real estate license because she wanted to learn the legal aspects of real estate. She has earned the Meritorious Public Service Award for serving on the Unlicensed Practice Law Committee for the 18th Circuit. Stacey assisted the committee for seven years. She has twenty-two years' experience as a legal staff member, and all of those years have been devoted to successfully running her business in the Sunshine State.
Stacey was born in Riverdale, MD, and has resided in Brevard County, FL, since she was six years old. She has two children, which include Sean, who is twenty-seven years old and Jennifer, who is twenty-three years old. Stacey earned her B.A. in Legal Studies from the University of Central Florida. She was a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.
When the paralegal isn't working, she enjoys spending time with Dakota, her Siberian Husky and Smokey Bear and Smeagol, her two cats. Stacey loves watching comedies, dramas and romantic movies. Her favorite book is Alexandre Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo, which also happens to be her favorite movie. Stacey is an avid ice hockey fan and she roots for the Orlando Solar Bears and the Tampa Bay Lightning. She is a frequent visitor of Carrabba's Italian Grill.
Stacey's Successful Business and Tips for Paralegals
Does Stacey have a most memorable educational experience? She recalled researching George Carlin's Seven Dirty Words for her legal research class. Stacey said she worked with a group of people and they all cried and laughed while working on the George Carlin case.
Why and when did Stacey decide to become a paralegal? "I decided to become a paralegal in 1985 because I had family members who got into trouble with the law. That peaked my interest." Stacey explained that she originally wanted to become a marine biologist, but she switched her major to engineering because she lives next to the Kennedy Space Center. She later switched her studies to business administration because she couldn't understand her engineering professors' accents. Stacey finally decided to study legal studies. She claimed, "I found the law interesting and it's constantly changing. The law varies and nothing is the same. I found it interesting."
The businesswoman discussed the best part about her job. "I enjoy being my own boss and I set my own hours, which are always less than full time. I also enjoy helping individuals solve their problems and I get a lot of referrals, which lets me know I am doing a good job."
What is the number one reason why couples get a divorce? Stacey replied, "The individual is unhappy with their spouse and they have grown apart. They are no longer compatible and are unhappy with each other."
Stacey talked about why she appreciates working for herself. "I don't have to answer to anyone. I enjoy being my own boss."
What is the paralegal known for professionally? "I am a problem solver and I take stress off of people. I take their legal burden off their shoulders." Stacey continued to say that she is known for her estate planning and she receives a lot of "word of mouth referrals."
What does Stacey think about the paralegal field in Florida? "It's a profession that's going to be around forever. It's a recession proof business and I believe you will always have a job. I also believe you are bound to make a good living out of it. You can provide a good standard of living by becoming a paralegal."
What would she change about the paralegal field? "I would advise continuing education for paralegals. Realtors have to renew their license every two years and I believe paralegals should have to continue their legal training to stay abreast with the law."
Stacey was asked about her current assessment of the legal market. "I think that the independent paralegal business will explode and take off in the next decade and beyond." Stacey noted that independent paralegal businesses in Florida continue to grow.
Since Stacey has twenty-two years' experience as a legal staff member, many readers may want to know what her advice is to new and recent legal staff members. She said, "To learn the law takes time and patience, but the rewards are worth the effort."
What advice would the businesswoman give to students who are contemplating becoming a paralegal? She candidly advised, "I would tell them in addition to getting an education, you should find an internship position because practical experience is just as important as the book work."
Where does Stacey see herself in five years? "Doing exactly what I am doing today."
If Stacey wasn't a legal staff member, what would she be doing? "I would be a marine biologist."
Why is Stacey motivated every day to do her job? "Because of the need people have for my services. I also enjoy helping individuals."
Being a Mentor, Nonprofit organizations, a Rewarding Position and Goals
Is Stacey a mentor? She said she is a mentor to one of her employees who has been working for her for the past six months.
Is Stacey involved with any non-profit organizations? She expressed that she used to serve on the Unlicensed Practice Law Committee for the 18th Circuit. Stacey explained that she admires any humane society or organization that assists children and that fights for animal rights. She admires Make-A-Wish Foundation, a non-profit organization, which grants wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses.
Why does Stacey find her position rewarding? "Mainly because I help solve individuals' legal situations that they can't handle on their own."
Is there a downside to her position? "I can't give legal advice and I can't represent people in court because I am not an attorney. That's the downside."
Does the Floridian have goals? "Personally, I am working on paying my bills and I am saving for retirement. I would also like to travel. Professionally, I would like to expand my business into mediation services in the next year. My employee will be a mediator and I will eventually become a mediator as well."