Paralegal enjoys the challenges of litigation work at Lansing firm

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By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News
 
With a strong interest in criminal justice, Felicia Watson headed to Oakland Community College with the intent of pursuing a degree in criminal justice but her interest in the law pulled her in another direction.

While in college, Watson accepted a job opportunity as a legal assistant where she provided administrative and litigation support for an Auburn Hills firm for more than four years. She soon discovered a new interest in legal work, specifically litigation.

“Having a career that keeps you excited and motivated is invaluable, and I’m grateful I was able to find that,” says Watson, now a litigation paralegal at Fraser Trebilcock in Lansing. “I enjoy what I do and find the work to be quite rewarding.

“Criminal law was the area of law I initially wanted to assist in, as I have had a strong interest in helping provide justice to victims of crime. Although I work in civil litigation, I still receive a similar type of satisfaction of helping provide justice to our clients. For instance, I often see fraud in this and there are endless individuals trying to exploit our clients and it is our job to help protect clients from false claims and wrongdoing.”

Watson handles a significant amount of investigative work for attorneys, including: formulating discovery requests, responses and other legal documents; analyzing and summarizing records/information/data; conducting background checks, witness interviews, legal research, and social media inspections; identifying and consulting with expert witnesses; and assisting in trial preparation.

“In my role, it’s important to gain a strong understanding of the facts surrounding each case and purposefully communicate those details, both verbally and in writing, to the attorney,” she says. “I have also had the opportunity to provide litigation support at trial—which is really fascinating because you are able to see the case you have worked so hard on come together in front of you.”

A member of the new State Bar Paralegal Section, where she serves on the Council, Watson particularly appreciates the educational opportunities, charity work, networking events and collaboration with other legal professionals.

“The educational opportunities are extremely beneficial,” she says. “It is a way to help members improve and/or develop skills, while staying current with the latest trends, technologies and legal rules in their respective fields. These tools enable legal professionals to work more efficiently and relay their findings back to their firms.”

Watson, who holds a BBA from Walsh College, also appreciates the camaraderie with fellow legal professionals in the State Bar Section.

“There are so many sharp individuals who work in all different areas of the law—we bond over shared experiences in the legal field, and learn from one another,” she says. “The diversity creates an abundance of knowledge and unique experiences from all parts of the state that we’re able to draw from and utilize.”

Watson spent a couple of years as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for Care House of Oakland County. After receiving training, it was her responsibility to ensure her appointed child’s health, safety, and environmental standards were met.

“This position is critical because these children have an ever-changing and emotionally exhausting journey through the foster care system, which includes the constant changing of case workers, houses or group homes, teachers, schools, and more,” she says. “These children go through so much in the foster system, in addition to what they have already experienced before entering the system. It is so important for them to have at least one constant and familiar person in their life. As a CASA, I was also able to learn more about the Family Division of the Circuit Court, as I was required to attend court hearings and complete monthly status reports to submit to the court.

“I would encourage anyone interested in helping improve the lives of foster care children to consider becoming a CASA—it is rewarding and the children are in a great need of positive and stable people in their lives.”

Originally hailing from the small town of Sparta, in Kent County, Watson moved to the metro Detroit area a few years after high school, attracted by the Motor City’s diversity and greater opportunities.

Watson and her wife, “proud parents to three feline fur-babies,” enjoy traveling, hiking, kayaking, camping, fishing, cooking, working out, and networking. The last couple of places they visited were Zion National Park in Utah, and Quito, Ecuador.

“Both locations were breathtakingly gorgeous with some of the best hiking,” she says.