Paralegal Happy

From time to time I’ve posted on Paralegal Unhappy – paralegals who are unhappy with their careers. Many times, this is a result of where they are employed and the lack of understanding and respect those paralegals receive from the attorneys with whom they work.  Sometimes it is a result of the paralegal’s inability or unwillingness to empower themselves or to plan for happiness.

On this nice Sunday afternoon I have the good fortune to be able to post on a Paralegal Happy – Wendy Matteau, a paralegal in Casper, Wyoming. According to the Billings Gazette, Wendy has the good fortune to both receive understanding and respect from the attorneys with whom she works and to have the ability and willingness to empower herself. Here’s some of the Gazette’s story:

CASPER — She was only 9 years old, but Wendy Matteau knew she wanted to go into the legal field…

Matteau graduated from Kelly Walsh High School in 1986 and went to college. She left in 1988 to give birth to her son, Zach. She found a good-paying job in the medical billing field.

Even while raising her son, Matteau took an occasional class to get more direction on what she wanted to do. She received her associate degree in general studies from Casper College in 2003. She needed something to boost her resume, and the general-studies program was the quickest way to do it.

In 2005, after 17 years in the medical field, Matteau decided to change careers to what she wanted to do — be a paralegal. …

She started working as a paralegal with Clapp, Ingram & Olheiser, a job she loves. The firm offered to pay for her paralegal coursework, and she started the program at Casper College in spring 2008.

“It helps them and it helps us,” attorney Todd Ingram said. “She’s wonderful.”

Matteau’s coworkers also helped with homework and were understanding of her class schedule. Still, she put in extra time on the weekends and before and after work when classes happened during the work day.

“These guys have helped me fulfill a dream,” Matteau said.

Friends and coworkers ask her if she’ll get her bachelor’s degree next. Maybe after she studies for and takes the certified legal assistant exam next year, she said.

“This is what I’ve always wanted to do,” Matteau said. “I smile every day going to work, seriously, and it’s not an easy job.”

Congratulations to Wendy and to Clapp, Ingram & Olheiser – each in their own way role models for legal professionals.

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