Why did you go to Paralegal School?

Ask paralegals why they went to paralegal school and you will get a wide variety of answers. 

For many, the paralegal profession found them. They were either working in a different capacity at a law firm and realized they were capable of more; or a colleague recognized their potential and urged them to get additional education\training. For instance:

“I was a legal secretary for a sole practitioner for six years. When I left to go work for a large firm, I found myself secretary-ing to a paralegal doing what I had been doing at my previous job (and an attorney that would put her pencils in her outbox for me to sharpen!) and realized that the “piece of paper” mattered so I went to school at night and in only 6 years earned my BS in paralegal studies.”

“I was a legal secretary. An attorney I worked for told me about paralegal classes and suggested I go. I took his advice and have never regretted it.”

“I was working as a legal secretary and thought I had the ability to do more substantive legal work, so I went back to paralegal school. Best decision I’ve ever made!”

“I got a job as a legal secretary at age 20. I had basic secretarial skills but no experience. I wanted to know more about what I was typing and why.”

Others were either re-entering the workforce or wanting to change professions.

“I wanted to change professions, and it was a new program available in my city. I started the program part-time while working full time advocating for indigent hospital patients. I wanted to work for a corporation, not a law firm. And now I have my dream job – protecting habitat for elk and other wildlife in my position of corporate paralegal for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF).”

“I needed a new profession after raising two children. My friend (who is a paralega)l recommended it”

“I love collecting vintage sewing machines and quilting, but I figured I would still suffer from empty nest syndrome so I went back to school. I’m in my final semester of school with just six weeks to go.”

“I was working as the office manager for a real estate firm. I was planning to relocate and trying to  figure out what I should do with all the experience I had from working in real estate. Our closing attorney for the office told me that he thought I would make a great paralegal so I initially went into it thinking I would be a real estate paralegal but I ended up getting into injury law.”

“I was coming back into the workforce after several years as a stay home mom. I wanted new skills so I could get an interesting, well paid job with flexibility.”

Others found themselves pulled in by exposure to some aspect of the profession:

“In my freshman year at Central Michigan University back in 1983, I lucked into a fantastic Business Law 101 class, and was totally hooked!”

“I was working as a paralegal for several years after getting my first job by chance with no work experience and no education… It just seemed like the logical next step because I wanted to further my career.”

“I didn’t chose the paralegal life … the paralegal life chose me.”

“I have an interesting story. Just after graduating high school, I witnessed a close friend get falsely accused, tried, and convicted for something he didn’t do. I was a witness that could have testified that the allegations were untrue, but the de…See More

“The law called me.”

“I knew that education would set me apart and give me a community.”

“I wanted the credentials to back up my title. I have also earned NALS’ PLS and PP Certifications.”

“I took that fun career test in high school to determine my skills and abilities. I said to myself, “What the heck is a paralegal?!” Then I proceeded to do a lot of research (go figure) and the rest is history.”

“I needed the certificate before anyone would hire me for a paralegal position, despite having a four year college degree. One of the best decisions I ever made!”

“The FBI and law school weren’t quite right (I had applied to both). Even though I had a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice, I got another Associate’s in paralegal studies when my husband was on his second deployment overseas. This is my second profession.”

This is my second profession, too! My first was as a dry cleaner, believe it or not! I owned my own business.”

“I was awarded Rehabilitative Alimony in my divorce – and my divorce convinced me I needed to understand law. At 43 I started the paralegal program at Southeastern Paralegal Institute in Nashville, TN – which my research revealed was the only ABA approved program out of 5 in the area.”

Reasons for attending a paralegal program are many but everyone agrees that the decision was one of the best they made. Why did you go to paralegal school? Please leave a comment below.