We recognized Colorado Mountain College for offering one of Top Entry-Level, Pre-Degree Paralegal Certificate Programs, adding them to our list of top recommendations for students in the area.
We were excited to hear from Diane van Os, faculty member at Colorado Mountain College, who took the time to answer a few questions about how the school works to create a great student experience that helps prepare graduates for a career in the legal field.
Are you finding a lot of career changers in your program looking to get their start in the legal profession?
Diane: Some students were in a CRJ program and want to switch to PAR, but some are coming from majors such as business and want to change their plan of study. CMC is one of the very few schools in CO to offer a fully online PAR degree so we get our primary roster from students who want to get their PAR Degree.
Paralegals are really getting the respect they deserve these days, and taking on more and more responsibilities on the job. How is this changing the approach to educating new paralegals?
Diane: A major change is to instill how much a paralegal actually does do in a law firm or corporate legal department. They are often the first contact a client has so a paralegal sets the tone for the relationship. We teach research and writing skills since these are the real life tasks students will do after getting a job in the legal world.
Does the program at your school include an internship and are faculty available to help students find one?
Diane: We help students find internships, and we often receive requests for students to apply to law firms. We typically follow up to make sure our referred student worked out for the firm.
What are some of the things you love most about the paralegal program at your school – the kind of things you’d like future students to know about as they consider their options?
Diane: Our Program has satisfied a long felt need for a fully online degree that is granted by an accredited institution. Our courses are taught by practicing attorneys and judges so the material is up to date, and students work with instructors who teach real-world skills versus just assigning chapters in a book.
Check out our full interview series here to see what other professors and faculty are saying about their paralegal programs.