Why I chose to be a paralegal instead of an attorney

Why I chose to be a paralegal instead of an attorney

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Many people have asked me why I didn’t go to law school and become an attorney. The answer to me is simple: I love what I do. I love analyzing a situation, picking out unique issues, researching those issues, and writing about those issues. I truly enjoy supporting, complimenting, and strengthening legal arguments. In addition, I enjoy providing relevant legal information to others. This may sound boring or lame, but to me, this is fun.

When I went to college at age 30, I had a difficult time figuring out what I wanted to do. All I knew at the time is that I wanted to make some type of positive change, even if only a minor one. I contemplated many fields: psychology, sociology, and journalism. Then I discovered the Legal Studies program at the University of Illinois at Springfield and it hit me: I want to become a paralegal. And, not just any paralegal, but the premier paralegal throughout the country.

I particularly studied the areas of Family and Constitutional Law, as I believed that those were the areas that needed the most positive change. I learned how to disseminate the information by learning HTML coding and building websites. I studied so hard and did so well that I graduated with honors at both the BA and MA levels. I was even the Graduate/Commencement Marshal for the Legal Studies Program because I had the highest grade point average among all the graduates.

Since March of 1999, I have had the honor of putting my skills into practice, working with multiple attorneys throughout the State of Illinois and the country making positive things happen both at the appellate levels and legislatively. Over the years, I have summarized thousands of court decisions, and written numerous amicus briefs, memorandums, and legal articles. I disseminated all of that information by creating, organizing, and maintaining the legal section of my employer’s website, which resulted in a great research tool for attorneys and public officials. Additionally, I copy-edited, proofread, and indexed numerous legal publications.

My background in the legal field and life experiences had me extremely interested in alternative dispute resolution, as an alternative to costly litigation – and by “costly” I mean the financial costs, resources, and mental anguish. Therefore, I took the 40-hour training to receive a certificate in Mediation to compliment my life’s work of making a positive change. Now, I offer parties the ability to negotiate rather than litigate.

I love being a paralegal, mediator, copy-editor, proofreader, and online marketer because I feel honored to be able to be of service.

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