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The Life and Career of Tracie Goodwin: Paralegal to Attorney

published December 03, 2007

Mahsa Khalilifar
( 415 votes, average: 4.7 out of 5)
What do you think about this article? Rate it using the stars above and let us know what you think in the comments below.
For Tracie Goodwin, being a paralegal wasn't quite enough.

''After being a paralegal for about five years, I began looking for more of a challenge,'' she says. ''I decided to become an attorney mainly because I wanted more control over the work I did, and I wanted more of a challenge.''

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.

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