Full name: Charlotte Elizabeth Alexander Dool Paterson
University of Montana School of Law, Class of 1941
6 October 1919, in Red Lodge, Montana
Charles Alfred Dool and Charlotte Elizabeth Alexander
B.A., University of Montana 1939
LL.B., University of Montana School of Law 1941
Secretary, Law School Association; Assistant Editor, Law School News
Admitted to Practice:
Robert Paterson (Geologist/Geophysicist Oil Company)
two sons and one daughter
- Clerk, U. S. Employment Service, Missoula, Montana 1941-1942
- Clerk, Fremont Wilson 1942
- Division Attorney (exploration), Carter Oil Company, in Billings, Montana 1943-1946
- Reader Assistant, Denver Public Schools 1966-1992
- Office Assistant, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Colorado 1979-1984
Why did you go to law school?
“In 1912, my parents left New York City, where my father was a journalist with the New York Herald Tribute, and my mother a superintendent of nursing, in Belleview Hospital, to marry and try an entirely different life in Helena, Montana — an adventure in something new! They pursued a variety of experiences until they settled in Missoula, Montana, once and for all. When I graduated from Missoula County High School, at age sixteen, I wanted an adventure in something new; at the same time, further education was indicated. The vicissitudes of the Depression were a factor. When my father suggested that I study law at the nearby University of Montana, the possibilities were evident. The aspects of a legal education were, to me, new, adventurous, foreign to previous experience, and the way to a profession which would offer more of the same.”
How did you get your first law job?
“In Missoula, friends of my father offered jobs. In December 1942, the Carter Oil Company moved to Billings, Montana, and needed an attorney. I was recommended by the Dean of the law school and interviewed by an attorney who had done business with Carter Oil.”
“I enjoyed working for the Carter Oil Company, although wartime exigencies required a six-day week and salaries were modest. The many aspects of the oil business that I learned were interesting, and fellow employees, such as geologists, geophysicists, and land men, were helpful.”
“My career with Carter advanced pleasantly and productively, until I acquired a husband and his five-year-old son, in one fell swoop, and my husband was transferred to Denver. End of career.”
Although I left my law career when I had children, I don’t believe my legal education was “wasted.” “I gained philosophical and analytical skills, as well as patience and perseverance, together with respect for the law and perception of its complexities. Am I, fifty years later, satisfied with the results? Indeed, I am.”
Story about her name:
“Until I departed from Missoula, I was known as Charlotte (Elizabeth Alexander) Dool, but in Billings, I emerged as Alexander Dool, which I deemed a suitably imposing name, at least for correspondence, for the mostly masculine world I was entering.”
What advice would you give women law students today regarding combining marriage and work?
What advice would you give women law students today regarding combining parenthood and work?
“Significant facts to be considered are the intellectual and emotional rewards or detriments; attitudes of [spouse] and children; financial necessity; community service aspects; alternative activities.”
21 February 2006, in Colorado