Almost six years ago I walked into my local college with no idea what I wanted to do with my life. After talking to a guidance counselor and finding out my options were slim due to my late enrollment, I ended up signing up for some basic law classes. I never really had any interest in a career as an attorney or working for an attorney; I grew up playing school and dreamed of being a second grade teacher, but as it turned out, life had different plans for me. From my first legal course I was hooked and knew I had found the career that I was born to do.

What I loved so much throughout my coursework and what made me realize being a paralegal was exactly what I wanted to do with my life was the fact that I would have a career helping people who may otherwise not be able to get the help they needed. Working for Craig Valentine at Norton Frickey has been so rewarding not only because he is a highly qualified and experienced attorney, but because he also has shown me what it is like for an attorney to truly care for their clients. Unfortunately, due to my spouse’s career in the military, today is my last day at Norton Frickey, which means I am knee deep in the search for a new job.

While looking for paralegal jobs on Indeed, Craigslist, and Monster, and because of my experience at Norton Frickey, I have decided to only apply for positions at firms that I would be happy to have represent me if I was ever injured.

Much like looking for a career in the legal field, a client should also do their due diligence when hiring an attorney to work for them. When seeking employment at a firm, the first thing I confirm is the type of law the firm practices. As an employee, my passion lies with plaintiffs’ work, primarily personal injury and medical malpractice. Because of this, I would never apply for a position at a bankruptcy firm. As a client, if you are seeking representation, make sure the law office you are contacting specializes in the type of law that you need.

The next thing I check into is the attorney’s reviews and if any disciplinary actions have been taken against the attorney. If clients are reporting on Yelp! that they have been treated poorly in the past, then I know they probably do not treat their employees very well either. I also know that if an attorney has been in trouble in the past for unethical behavior, I personally wouldn’t want to work for them, nor would I want them to work for me if I were a client. A quick google search reveals reviews of attorneys and firms and most states maintain a database of serious disciplinary violations and actions taken against attorneys.

During the interview process, I not only get the opportunity to discuss why I am the best choice for the job, but I also get to decide if personality wise the firm is a good fit for me. This is true for clients as well. If you come in for a consultation and decided you did not like the distance between your home and the office, or the receptionist was rude to you, or the attorney was preoccupied during your meeting, you can decline representation, just as I can decline a job offer for the same reasons.

I am sad to leave not only Norton Frickey, but also the Colorado Springs area. I am glad to know though that I am leaving our clients in the best hands possible. The next firm I go to will have some big shoes to fill, but I know I will end up at a firm that cares as much about their clients as I do because I will never accept a job offer at a firm I wouldn’t hire to represent me.

While searching for an attorney is never easy, know that you have options and are never stuck with the first firm you find. Do your homework so you end up with an attorney that you are proud to have on your side and you can trust to get the best outcome for you.

By: Tatum Tipton