We recognized National University for offering one of Pre-Degree Paralegal Certificate Programs, adding them to our list of top recommendations for students in the area.
We were excited to hear from Bryan Hance, faculty member at National University, 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?
Bryan: Yes, I would say approximately 25-30% fit that description. Many of them always dreamed of working in a law firm or going to law school. Then “life” happened and, for whatever reason, they weren’t able to pursue that dream at the time.
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?
Bryan: Our program focuses on training paralegals to do solid legal research and writing, offering free access to the two main legal search engines, Lexis and Westlaw, and several classes on the subject. That way, the paralegal can serve as an even more integral part of a team beyond calendaring, summarizing documents, filing, etc. We also believe in giving students current practical training, along with a solid foundation in the major areas of the law. I believe that practical training, along with education in developing areas of legal practice, such as e-discovery, are essential to educating paralegals today.
Does the program at your school include an internship and are faculty available to help students find one?
Bryan: Though not required, our program offers an internship option and faculty are available to help students find one.
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?
Bryan: I and our faculty love what we do. Though we offer a paralegal associate degree and certificates, we are one of only a handful of programs in the entire state of California to offer an ABA-approved bachelor’s degree. That means we can offer students more training, education and experience, and really get to know them in a smaller class size. The program also is a terrific preparation for law school as we cover nearly all of the typical first-year subjects. I only wish I had this background before I went to law school!
Check out our full interview series here to see what other professors and faculty are saying about their paralegal programs.