Paralegals: Making a Difference Behind the Scenes
Published on July 23, 2013 by Peter Tomala
Every industry is comprised of people who do the little things that end up making a big difference. In the law field, these unsung all-stars are highly trained paralegals. An individual with firsthand knowledge of their importance is Broadview University’s Paralegal Program Chair Michelle Quist. Michelle is a law expert (admitted to Utah Bar in 2007), who is taking her practical skills into the classroom.
“I enjoy teaching paralegals because they are the backbone of the legal field; they do everything behind the scenes and most of the writing,” Michelle says. “I like to see the students grow; it’s a fulfilling area because you see that instant gratification, whereas lawsuits take 3-5 years and complex cases could take 9-10 years.”
Fortunately for students, a degree in paralegal doesn’t take that long to finish. It also provides the nuts and bolts of a becoming a successful professional.
“Students start by learning the basic types of law, get hands-on experience by drafting most documents, and when they graduate, they have the ability to start working—there is no learning curve per say,” Michelle added. “What makes a good paralegal from just a paralegal is that they can do it all.”
The paralegal program at Broadview University focuses on research and writing skills along with testing critical thinking. If you like to read and are naturally inquisitive, you will be right at home. Even individuals who lack skills in these areas but are determined to make an impact can succeed in the program.
“It’s trial by error—at the end of the day it’s about can you or can’t you complete it?” Michelle said. “I don’t give up on students until they give up on themselves. It is obtainable if you want it. The benefit of being a paralegal is that you are constantly making an impact on people’s lives; just because you are behind the scenes doesn’t mean you aren’t making a difference.”