In 2001, Felecia Fife fell in love with real estate law just two days into a short-term temporary job assignment as a receptionist for the Hutchens Law Firm in Fayetteville.
“That two-day assignment turned into the career I have now,” she said. “I continued to ask for more work to do, so they kept bringing me back. One day, the attorney I worked for asked if I was interested in learning how to search titles, and I guess the rest is history.”
After growing up in Arkansas and earning a degree in accounting from Arkansas State University, Fife joined the U.S. Army in 1993 and was stationed at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. She was assigned to a military occupational specialty as a Petroleum Supply Specialist, driving fuel tankers filled with hazardous material. Two years into her service, her unit leaders learned she had a degree in accounting, and moved her to the Battalion where she handled the budget. While stationed at Ft. Bragg, she met and married her husband, Marshall J. Fife. She left active duty in 1997 and remained in the Army National Guard until 2000.
Fife ended her Army career without a career plan, so she connected with a temp agency and sought jobs in accounting. That’s when she was assigned to the law firm and never looked back.
“With no formal training as a title search paralegal, I consider myself blessed to be where I am today,” she said. “I was lucky to work for an attorney who was willing to teach me everything I know. I worked alongside a law school student who is currently a partner at the firm where I work.”
CPN: What inspires you to get up and go to work each morning?
FF: I actually love what I do. Some people might think title searching is a boring and monotonous job, however it’s anything but that. I think it takes a special person to do the job. You either like it or you don’t. There is no in between. You have to have an extra eye and a sixth sense for it. When a problem arises, you have to be willing to take the extra steps to solve the puzzle. In the world of real estate, there is always a puzzle to be solved. Another thing that motivates me is going to work and learning something new every single day. No matter how many searches I do, none are exactly the same.
CPN: Why do you feel it is important to give back to your profession and your community through volunteer service?
FF: I believe it is important to give back because there is always a need. I’m currently a member of the Cumberland County Paralegal Association. One of the things we do is look for local agencies, groups and families we can help in some way. We’ve done volunteer work with the local food bank, nursing homes and schools. I feel it’s my duty not only as a paralegal and veteran, but also as a person to give back in some way, because I’m able to.
CPN: How do you keep a healthy work/life balance?
FF: This is a hard question. I’ve recently started working out and taking better care of myself. So for me it’s walking. I absolutely love to walk outside where I can clear my mind of the problems and stresses of the day. It helps me wake up each morning with a clear mind so I can do it all over again.
CPN: Who were your childhood heroes?
FF: My grandparents were my childhood heroes. They had little to no education, and raised five successful children and me. Neither of my grandparents could read and could only write their own names, but they made sure their children got an education. They showed all of us the true meaning of hard work and how to remain humble at all costs.