The Paralegal Studies program has had a huge impact on my career and personal life
and has truly given me the jumpstart that I was seeking. After receiving my Paralegal
Studies Degree from Cuyamaca, I immediately had a job lined up as a Paralegal from
the Internship course. From there, my career has taken off to where I have been employed
as a Paralegal ever since graduating.
The classes that have been the most beneficial to me and have helped me get to where
I am now are: Legal Research and Writing, Civil Litigation, and the Internship course.
To this day, I still constantly reflect on these classes in my professional career
and cannot overstate the importance of these classes no matter what type of law you
choose to go in. By the same token, the professors teaching in the Paralegal Studies
program are some of the best professors I have had in my educational career, especially
as it pertains to their personal knowledge of the legal field. Besides the fact that
we have the supervising judge of the Downtown Superior Courthouse, Judge Eddie C.
Sturgeon as one of our professors (which I constantly get brownie points for being
able to say I was a student of his), all our other professors are also judges,
attorneys, and specialized attorneys who are extremely knowledgeable about the topics they are teaching.
Lastly, choosing a career path as a Paralegal requires constant determination, learning, and mastering of certain skills to become successful in the field -- just like anything else in life. However, none of that would be possible to tackle without the foundation that the Paralegal Studies program at Cuyamaca provides you. There is a huge difference in the quality of work that I am able to produce over those who lack a certificate/degree in Paralegal Studies. This difference has been recognized by the attorneys I have worked for. I have only been out of school for one year.
I have started my new job with the State DOJ, and I am grateful for the exceptional Paralegal Studies program, the legal research and writing classes, in particular. The courses were essential to best prepare us for the paralegal field. It really is the most fundamental part of every paralegal job, no matter what field of law practice the paralegal chooses. I am already tasked with assignments above my grade because I was able to display skills I learned from the Cuyamaca Paralegal Program. I am reviewing pleadings as part of my job, and accurate citations are a MUST, so I use my quick reference guide from my course at Cuyamaca. In fact, part of my interview process was being handed a pleading and identifying all errors (misspellings, format, etc). I found 2 errors in citations that they purportedly had not intended, and no one had caught!!
I am excited to be one of the only Legal Secretaries in the DOJ with full, unfettered access to Westlaw and Lexis – and that is due to my demonstration of working knowledge of the programs acquired through the Cuyamaca Paralegal Program (they usually reserve Lexis and Westlaw access to attorneys and Senior Legal Analysts, only).
I want paralegal students/grads to know that there are jobs that utilize our education, but don’t necessarily say “paralegal” in the title, and may not be with a law office or anything judicial-related! I also now realize that there are many job openings that are great fits for paralegal students, even before they graduate, which can put them in a good spot to easily grab those paralegal jobs when they come up. For example, with the State of CA, a “Senior Legal Typist” or “Office Technician” is an objectively easy position for a student to obtain, in any department. It’s a decent salary with excellent benefits and Tuition Assistance, and allows one to get their foot in the door while still in school. By the time a student earns their Paralegal AS, they can quickly promote to Legal Admin, Legal Secretary, Legal Analyst, Auditor, etc and/or easily transfer to the department they want, with a good salary, benefits and retirement. Aside from govt jobs, claims adjusters, transcriptionists, med billing, exec assistant, contract admin, HR, etc… there are many jobs for which a paralegal degree qualifies or at least provides a good starting point.
I created a paralegal portfolio of work I completed in the Cuyamaca Paralegal Program – and it was simply invaluable. Being able to show writing samples, pleadings, legal research, e-discovery certs, even Time Sheets! and other things that I have done and can do is much better than telling someone in an interview that I am qualified because I took challenging classes and did a lot of homework. I interviewed with a few different agencies, and all said they had not seen a paralegal bring such a nice portfolio of work to the interview, if any, and were very impressed with the quality and volume of work I presented (which is helpful when we might not have the actual on-the-job experience required, but can demonstrate proficient ability though our practical work done in school).
Lastly, thank you for this Paralegal program. The curriculum was outstanding, but the instructors are really the most brilliant part of the program. I felt totally supported by my faculty as I pushed to graduating with honors at the top of my class! Thank you Cuyamaca.
The paralegal program has helped me transition from having more jobs than birthdays,
with a lot of work as a plumber (who don’t make the mountains of money unless they
own the company). Before graduation, the program helped me secure my first office
job with an insurance company who tasked me with developing a statewide resource for
administrative rules, regulations, statutes, and holdings to audit indemnity payments.
After graduation, I was promoted to a Triage Claims Examiner. Recently, I was asked
if I would be interested in a created position for a subrogation paralegal, where
I would again be able to use the skills taught to me by Professor Baker, Judge Sturgeon,
and Professor Sessom in drafting pleadings, discovery responses, and pursuing subrogation
recovery. It has been a circuitous path, however, I was a high school dropout who
never worked in an office before Cuyamaca. Finishing the Associate’s degree that
has given me the opportunity to pursue challenging, rewarding, and lucrative work.
I and my family are forever grateful.
The Cuyamaca Paralegal Program gave me much more than the tools and knowledge needed to start a new career path. This program expanded on my critical thinking, gave me a platform to develop leadership skills, and introduced me to the San Diego paralegal community where I have met some of my closest friends. During my time in this program, I had the privilege to work with and learn from some of San Diego's most reputable legal professionals. I gained some experience working as a trial paralegal through their internship, and I even received an award from the legal community for my volunteering efforts. The Cuyamaca Paralegal Program opened the world of law to me and I owe my success to them.
As a prior student at Cuyamaca College, I majored in the Paralegal program, and as an ABA approved program, it was cherry on top. Fresh out of high school, I knew what truly captured my heart and what I wanted to pursue in my career. I enrolled in Introduction to Paralegal my first semester along with G.E. classes, and instantly knew that l had a strong passion for law. In other words, Paralegal proved to me that what I strive for my career was in fact what I wanted to major in. My first week as a Paralegal student was difficult and nerve-wracking. It was brand new material presented, but as my introductory professor, Professor Sessom made the class interesting and offered an easy format to follow. The faculty, all whom are attorneys, judges, and outstanding professors, taught their material with pleasing skills in an intellectual way, such as Professor Baker, Judge Sturgeon, Professor Britton, and many more wonderful professors. They really cared for their students and were always there when you needed help or had questions. The classes were night time and 3-4 hours long (at least when I was a student), but I looked forward to those late night hours.
Each class taught me something significantly different and assisted me in attaining the right skills for each intended field of law. I took an internship course and landed a position at a family law firm. I was able to utilize the skills I learned through the Paralegal program, specifically family law course. After I completed my internship, I was later hired by the same firm. The Paralegal program at Cuyamaca helped me on my professional career path in many different ways. One way is the earning of my Associate of Science in Paralegal Studies Degree as an honor student, so this should tell you how my resume is built. Another way the program has helped me is the fact that without doubt, it was the only powerful stepping stone in boosting my passion for law. As a paralegal student for two wonderful years, I knew every semester, the growing appreciation and enjoyment within me was leading me to pursue my career in law. A third reason is how eye opening is the field of paralegal. IHit teaches you and educates you on law, the judicial system, how courts operate, how bankruptcy chapters differ, the steps in filing for any forms, and how to execute your job as a paralegal. Thank you, Cuyamaca!