We recognized The University of Texas at Austin Center for Professional Education 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 Tiffany Haas, faculty member at The University of Texas at Austin Center for Professional Education, 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?
Tiffany: Yes! Generally, 50% to 75% of the enrollees in our program have engaged in work outside of the legal profession. We also have enrollees that work in the legal profession, but hope to advance their legal careers by completing the Paralegal Certificate Program.
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?
Tiffany: In response to the trend of paralegals taking on more and more responsibilities, we have engaged professionals in the legal field, both attorneys and paralegals, to serve as members of an advisory board for the program. Specifically, the board addresses the growing and changing responsibilities of paralegals, and how best to confer that to the students.
Does the program at your school include an internship and are faculty available to help students find one?
Tiffany: Enrollment in the Paralegal Certificate Program includes a one-year student membership with the paralegal professional organization, CAPA. Through CAPA, students have access to a mentorship program as well as a job-posting board.
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?
Tiffany: We are excited about the ever-evolving paralegal profession and educating students to be the most productive paralegals possible. We do this by employing current legal professionals in the community to serve as instructors for the program. These individuals use their past experiences as well as specialized knowledge of law to bestow an education upon our students like none other. Further, once a student graduates from the program, they have access to job postings through our social media page.
Check out our full interview series here to see what other professors and faculty are saying about their paralegal programs.