As all four of my kids got older and I found myself a single parent and a need to find a business direction I had put on hold while they were little had come to the forefront. Answer, Paralegal certificate from Colorado State University. It was years ago and doing this by mail was my option as I lived in California but knew I would be moving to Colorado for many reasons. I jumped for it with all appendages and raring to go!
I had dreamed of being in the legal professional for years and so had my mom. It was finally time to see if I could do it.
Having passed up a college scholarship after high school to raise kids which I was blessed to do and with a fashion degree in hand I thought why not? As a Jill of all trades it would be the perfect addition to my varied skills.
What I had not considered? Were to focus my skill and what a courtroom would be like.
After months of study and testing I attained my certificate with a perfect A and several learning moments and accolades. It was a much tougher program than I thought but having succeeded I felt pretty invincible and able to conquer. Legal eagle moment in life here I come!
Well there it was folks I thought, “I am on my way”.
Moving to Colorado with a little Jeep wrangler and pulling a trailer with the three kids left at home, no job yet, and nothing in hand but the will to survive, I figured would be the hardest part. I felt ready to conquer with this hope of a new career and success.
After settling and getting on a seemingly good rhythm I immediately applied for courthouse positions. A position in County Court came up as an asst. Court Clerk. They did not seem to care about the paralegal certificate and were more focused on organizational skills and accuracy of what I did. That was fine with me. A job, and in a courthouse I was happy. Great hours and a wonderful experienced Court Clerk to work for and the Judge was very level headed and fair.
We handled any county court case, criminal mostly with once a month of helping with vehicle ticket violations. I was good at this job and doing well although there were some crucial things I had not considered.
When a parent goes to jail because they cannot pay a fine of any sort and they are the only parent home where do the kids go? How do they keep their job? How real lives are affected. I was cornered in the courtroom one day by a man who was begging me to help him keep his kids out of state custody because he had forgotten his drivers license at home during a busy day as a single parent and could not afford the fine.
I watched as criminals who had several DUI’s walk out of the courtroom for one technicality or another able to go home to their kids. It started to not make sense at all.
I used my sales skills from fashion actually to listen and try to help in some way, mostly by showing empathy. I could not help those who truly needed it or stop those who should have been stopped. It was frustrating and confusing.
I sat in the courtroom and listen to violent sexual offenders say it was not their fault some served time and some due to a technicality walk away basically “Scott Free”.
Once a month we also handled domestic violence cases. I listened to a man say “hey she deserved to get hit she was told not to wear those red shoes, she knew better”. I wanted to jump up out of my chair and scream at him but sitting motionless and emotionless was part of the job.
Although My Judge would put them in their place it was so disturbing and horrific. I listened to a woman beg for her life after her ex-boyfriend had been able to walk away with a restraining order he had already broken several times. She screamed, “He will kill me, you have to do something “and a domestic violence group would escort her to her car as he followed the recommended steps behind her.
I took many phone calls where I had to tell someone come in even though you missed your court date and we will reschedule to find out they actually would be arrested on a warrant I had issued for not showing up in the first place. Yes they would get a new court date but after jail and bail.
I loved the law and this Country but I did not consider the heartache and real danger involved in being the one to write the warrant or listen to those pleas for help and be the one unable to do anything to help.
I was told many times by the experienced court clerk, “You need to get a tougher skin, or you will not survive this job”. Truth is I did not survive and when I considered a law career of any kind I should have considered specifically what kind. Had I been in research law or in changing the law or even in helping those who had these issues find a way to make it work? Or put an abuser away for being threatening without words but actions or anything of that nature my law career would still be thriving and I believe I would feel pretty good about it.
The Courtroom, not for me but research and investigation, change, and helping those in need with that skill, well I would be thriving in law.
I quit and started my career of teaching expression again. It is where my heart was mostly especially after that experience.
So when considering law careers consider all the options and all the specifics of where your skills would not only be most helpful but your passion in that area is and your personality.
It will lead you to where you want to be the legal eagle with wind direction. Your success will follow and there is great need there.