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Karen Woodward: CLA, Pearson, Horowitz & Burnett, P.C., Denver, CO [By Charisse Dengler] Karen Woodward, a paralegal for Pearson, Horowitz & Burnett, P.C., enjoys working for the small, Denver, CO, firm. However, after almost 16 years as a paralegal, Woodward is about to take her career in a new and interesting direction, combining her love of the law with something else that is close to her heart.

Woodward is currently taking training courses

“I had actually been working in foreclosures

Over the course of her career, Woodward has

that will prepare her to be a Child and Family

and bankruptcies for a mortgage company, and

worked for firms in various states including

Investigator (CFI). She already has 30 out of the

the attorneys that we were using kept talking

Florida and California; and she has made some

40 required training hours and is excited about

to me and saying, ‘Karen, you’re on the wrong

great memories.

finishing up and getting involved in what she

side of the fence. You really ought to be with

describes as a “very cool field.”

us. You’ve got great potential here. Why don’t you think about moving into more of a legal

“[A CFI is] a Child and Family Investigator

career?’” she said.

appointed by the courts in divorce matters to

“In California, I really enjoyed the complex litigation cases,” she said. “I really enjoyed digging through documents—mounds and mounds and rooms full of documents—and

help facilitate and recommend to the court

After considering their suggestions, she

hopefully finding that one little smoking-gun

parenting time plans [and] potential counseling

decided to pursue a paralegal position. In order

piece, which I have done on occasion; and it

that may be needed for either the parent or

to improve her knowledge of the law while

really makes for a great time in a case.”

children or both and to kind of be a liaison

she was in school, she got a part time job as a

between the children [and the courts],” she

legal secretary in a law office, something she


recommends to all paralegal students. She said working in the legal field while in school

Woodward thinks the voice of the children

is a great way to get a realistic idea of what

should be heard in family law issues and that

paralegals do after graduation, and it also

judges should heed the recommendations of

helped her better understand the material she

CFIs when dealing with divorce cases. She

learned in class.

said her interest in this area came from her past experiences with family law, a need she

Currently, Woodward’s position at Pearson,

saw in the court system, and some of her own

Horowitz & Burnett is a combination of a

personal experiences.

paralegal and legal secretary position. As one of only two paralegals at the firm, she works in

“I did do some family law for a while which was

a variety of different areas.

very interesting,” she said. “Having to listen

In addition to her duties at the firm, Woodward is also involved in the Colorado Association of Professional Paralegals and Legal Assistants (CAPPLA) and helped found the association. Upon moving to Colorado, she and several other Certified Legal Assistants (CLAs) decided to start an association that would provide continuing education to CLAs in their area. CAPPLA was also instrumental in getting the state of Colorado to adopt an official Paralegal Day on which paralegals would be celebrated and honored. “It makes the law firms aware of what we do for them, and it also makes the general public

to everyone’s immediate problems…and what

“I do kind of a combination of everything,

they considered emergencies in their life, you

primarily civil litigation,” she said. “We do

really took a different perspective on the fact

some employment and labor law work, as well

that you were not only helping someone get

as general civil cases. We have a lot of trial

the divorce but you were helping them learn to

work going on right now. We also do a mixture

cope with visitation, learn to cope with having

of other things. We’ve done some wills and

to be nice to this person that they want to

estates and other things on occasion—kind of

divorce, and [learn to] work together for the

a general practice for most of the clients that

sake of the children.”

we service.”

Woodward first became a paralegal at the

Her favorite parts of her job include organizing

suggestion of some attorneys with whom she

documents, preparing the firm’s attorneys for

Colorado Bar Association

worked at the time.

trial, and participating in case discussions.


aware,” she said. ON THE NET Colorado Association of Professional Paralegals and Legal Assistants Pearson, Horowitz & Burnett, P.C.

Karen Woodward: CLA, Pearson, Horowitz & Burnett, P.C., Denver, CO  

Pearson, Horowitz and Burnett, P.C. working in the small, Denver, CO, firm take her career in a new and interesting direction. Woodward is c...

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