David Mosier had already been working as a paralegal for decades when he enrolled to be a student at Center for Advanced Legal Studies. David was in the litigation support industry, and the job prospects were withering due to a declining economy. As an independent contractor, it was becoming increasingly difficult to land jobs.
A Legal Background
Ironically, David's father is one of the most prominent real estate attorneys in Harris County. Why did David not follow the well-worn footsteps of his father and become an attorney?
It certainly wasn't for lack of trying on his father's behalf. When David was in high school, he would help out at his father's busy law practice. He learned how the office ran and a little bit about the practice of law. But David went to college for music education, until life happened and he needed to drop out of school to take care of his new family. His father encouraged him to finish college and then go on to law school so David could carry on the family business.
But David chose a different path to the legal field. Since he already had a “mild background in the legal industry,” he and his brother started a litigation support business. For 25 years, that was enough, but five children later, David needed better security and a chance to make a better living.
A School Chosen by Legal Professionals
David's father suggested that he pursue formal training in the legal field, and David could see the logic in the suggestion. Getting his Paralegal Certificate would enable him to advance the career he already had.
Already a professional in the legal field, he wanted the very best education he could get, and thoroughly researched his options for paralegal education. Center for Advanced Legal Studies (CALS) stood out as an institution that concentrated solely on training paralegals and doing that job well. The reputation of CALS impressed David and he signed up.
Reinforcing Legal Knowledge and Adding Skills
Being familiar with the law and the role of paralegals might have made classes at CALS repetitive for David. At that time, he was working for Child Protective Services of Harris County, and he already knew a lot about family law.
But he said this of his paralegal classes: “A lot of the stuff that I was doing on a daily basis, I went over in class. I saw the practical applications of the theory in my job, and it reinforced what I was doing at work.” He was especially intrigued by Immigration, Intellectual Property, and Criminal Law. These were areas that David knew little about and exposure to them has allowed him to expand his career opportunities. Even though David had been most recently employed in the family law arena at the Harris County's Attorney's office, after graduating from CALS, he is now employed in the real estate industry.
Unforeseen Benefits for Paralegal Students
As a mature student and a legal professional, his goal was clearly in mind: He'd do his work, get his certificate, and get out. Working full time, seeing to his hectic family, and going to school in the evenings did not allow for a lot of social time. But even though making new friends was not a priority for David, there were a few fellow students in his classes that bonded over their work, their shared challenges, and the pressure of managing everything on their plates. They graduated together, remained friends, and now commiserate over work and life. David didn’t realize at the outset the friends and colleagues he could gain over the course of his paralegal studies.
Paralegal Training Increases Self-Confidence
Not only does he have a ready-made support group and a better job, but since attending paralegal classes at Center for Advanced Legal Studies, David has grown in self-assurance. “I'm a lot more confident in my job. I take the initiative and offer my opinion. I can express myself succinctly to my peers and superiors, and I sound like I know what I'm talking about. I've only been here [at my job] for six weeks, but I'm already producing good work for the firm.”
Joy Oden is an Adjunct Professor at Center for Advanced Legal Studies and a Guest Blogger for CALS. She writes about her students because she is continually amazed at their desire to change their lives, their ability to overcome difficult circumstances, and their determination to help others.