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


Pearson, Horowitz and Burnett, P.C. working in the small, Denver, CO, firm take her career in a new and interesting direction. Woodward is currently taking training courses that will prepare her to be a Child and Family Investigator (CFI).

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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
                                                                                                            “In California, I really enjoyed the complex
describes as a “very cool field.”                   us. You’ve got great potential here. Why don’t
                                                                                                            litigation cases,” she said. “I really enjoyed
                                                    you think about moving into more of a legal
“[A CFI is] a Child and Family Investigator                                                                 digging through documents—mounds and
                                                    career?’” she said.
appointed by the courts in divorce matters to                                                               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
                                                                                                            In addition to her duties at the firm, Woodward
between the children [and the courts],” she         legal secretary in a law office, something she
                                                                                                            is also involved in the Colorado Association of
said.                                               recommends to all paralegal students. She
                                                                                                            Professional Paralegals and Legal Assistants
                                                    said working in the legal field while in school
                                                                                                            (CAPPLA) and helped found the association.
Woodward thinks the voice of the children           is a great way to get a realistic idea of what
                                                                                                            Upon moving to Colorado, she and several
should be heard in family law issues and that       paralegals do after graduation, and it also
                                                                                                            other Certified Legal Assistants (CLAs) decided
judges should heed the recommendations of           helped her better understand the material she
                                                                                                            to start an association that would provide
CFIs when dealing with divorce cases. She           learned in class.
                                                                                                            continuing education to CLAs in their area.
said her interest in this area came from her
                                                                                                            CAPPLA was also instrumental in getting the
past experiences with family law, a need she        Currently, Woodward’s position at Pearson,
                                                                                                            state of Colorado to adopt an official Paralegal
saw in the court system, and some of her own        Horowitz & Burnett is a combination of a
                                                                                                            Day on which paralegals would be celebrated
personal experiences.                               paralegal and legal secretary position. As one
                                                                                                            and honored.
                                                    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.                           “It makes the law firms aware of what we do
very interesting,” she said. “Having to listen                                                              for them, and it also makes the general public
to everyone’s immediate problems…and what           “I do kind of a combination of everything,
                                                                                                            aware,” she said.
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
                                                    as general civil cases. We have a lot of trial          ON THE NET
that you were not only helping someone get
the divorce but you were helping them learn to      work going on right now. We also do a mixture
                                                                                                            Colorado Association of Professional
cope with visitation, learn to cope with having     of other things. We’ve done some wills and
                                                                                                            Paralegals and Legal Assistants
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.”                                            Pearson, Horowitz & Burnett, P.C.
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.           www.cobar.org


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