Last month we completed another session of our Paralegal Graduate Certificate Program and awarded certificates to 20 students. Many of our paralegal students already work in the legal arena, but others are experienced professionals from other fields who have chosen to pursue a new career in law. How does one break into a completely new field? Well, our program gives them a practical way to get a foot in the door.
Throughout their course of study, each paralegal student must prepare various documents for a mock client under the guidance of the instructors. Instructor Lori Swann, an attorney with the Cunningham Law Group who previously served as an assistant district attorney for Harris County, says students prepare such documents as an interoffice memorandum, interview questions and documents that would be filed in a lawsuit including an initial complaint, discovery documents and a motion for summary judgment.
"Preparation of the documents entails not only using and modifying legal forms, but also requires the students to utilize legal research and analysis skills," Lori says. "This is precisely the type of work required of a paralegal in the real world."
Even though the portfolio is for a mock client, job-seekers can show it during interviews, Lori says, because it demonstrates that the students have the skills required of a competent paralegal. "It also provides documents that the students may submit as writing samples which are very helpful to potential employers."
Need to hire a paralegal? We post resumes of recent certificate holders who are seeking new opportunities.