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Tamara Parker owns and runs Legal Document Services, which is based in Santa Cruz, CA. She is a legal document assistant who specializes in family law. Tamara is the only non-attorney in the County of Santa Cruz who provides legal assistance for those going through Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. She is a member of the California Association of Legal Document Assistants (CALDA), and has served as its past president. Tamara has been in the legal field for twenty years, and has been devoted to successfully running her business in the Golden State since 1996.
Prior to founding her company, Tamara worked as a paralegal for a corporate law firm. She served as a part time paralegal for four years for the Superior Court, County of Santa Cruz, in the Office of the Family Law Facilitator (self-help center). Tamara also worked for the U.S. Bankruptcy Trustee.
She was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. Tamara earned her Lawyer's Assistant Certificate (paralegal) from the University of San Diego in 1988. This program is approved by the American Bar Association. She graduated with a B.A. from San Jose State University, and she did graduate work at the University of San Francisco.
Tamara has been married for three years. She described her husband as a wonderful man who doesn't stifle her personal independence. Tamara has two children, two step children, and six grandchildren. She lived in Santa Cruz County for more thirty-nine years.
When Tamara isn't working, she enjoys traveling. So far this year, she took her second trip to Cuba and also visit Tokyo, Burma, Singapore, and Bali. Next year, Tamara's itinerary includes Chile, Argentina, and Easter Island.
Tamara's Successful Business and Tips for Legal Document Assistants
Why did Tamara decide to become a legal document assistant? She candidly claimed, "I didn't know what else to do. I was in my mid forties and I sold my previous business." Tamara continued to say that her friend who had taken the paralegal program at the University of San Diego influenced her to enter the profession. She added, "Being a legal staff member is a good career for older women. The industry doesn't discriminate against age, and I thought the field sounded interesting."
What is the number one reason why people get a divorce? "People think the grass is greener on the other side. Couples stop communicating and they are no longer interested in each other. It's about compromising. When you don't compromise, the integrity of the marriage is in trouble. One person told me that love is wanting your spouse to have the biggest strawberry in the bowl."
The businesswoman discussed the best part about her job. "The best part of my job is when my clients tell me they feel so much better right before they leave my office."
She also discussed why she appreciates working for herself. Tamara jokingly said, "I am the best boss I know. I appreciate my independence and my job gives me the freedom to live my life the way I want to."
What is Tamara known for professionally? "I am really good at what I do. I am a really good legal document assistant."
When asked what she thinks about the legal document assistant field in Northern California, Tamara noted, "I wish more people knew that they had choices other than an attorney. My profession doesn't do enough to make the public aware that we are here for them."
What would she change about her profession? "CALDA should work on informing the public that legal document assistants are here for them."
Since Tamara has over twenty years of experience in the legal field, many readers may be wondering what advice she has for new legal document assistants. "Join CALDA and get involved. Make sure you network with other legal document assistants. Also, always carry your business cards with you." Tamara explained that legal document assistants should be professional about their business. She advises them to get help managing their business by contacting a consultant through the Small Business Development Center, which is funded in every county in California. Consultants will help a legal document assistant structure their business for free. Some of their services offered include developing a business plan, PR and advertising, and accounting. Tamara acknowledged, "Legal document assistants should treat their profession as a business, or they won't be in business for long. This is not a hobby."
What advice would she give to students who are thinking about becoming a legal document assistant? "Find a legal document assistant who will mentor you. You should also enjoy what you are doing. If you love what you are doing, you will make money."
Where does Tamara see herself in five years? "I will be retired and I will be traveling." She pointed out that she will purchase a trip around the world ticket. These tickets let you fly around the world and stop at many different countries all over the world.
If she weren't a legal document assistant, what would she be doing? "I would be traveling."
Mentoring Others, Volunteer Activities, A Rewarding Position, Tamara's Goals and Final Thoughts
Is Tamara a mentor? "I recently taught the beginning family law class at CALDA's annual conference and I have mentored legal document assistants throughout the years. I believe in the mentoring system."
Is she involved with any volunteer activities? Tamara supports Dining For Women, an organization that meets every month to raise money for women around the world.
Why does Tamara find her position rewarding? "I feel good about what I do. I am making a contribution in my community."
Does the Californian have goals? She emphasized that one of her goals is to purchase an around the world ticket. Tamara also stated, "I live everyday like it's a gift."
Is there anything else you would like to share about yourself professional or personally? "Legal services and legal access should be affordable to the general public."
*** Tamara Parker is not an attorney and can't give legal advice. ***
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