Facebook Pixel Code Midland College paralegal program educates next generation of workforce through online and evening classes

Midland College paralegal program educates next generation of workforce through online and evening classesJune 24, 2019

The image to use for this article. Listing image managed through RSS tab. Left to Right Meagan Cox and Jennifer Garcia

When students think about a career in law, their first images are usually lawyers and judges dramatically fighting for justice, objecting loudly in court and delivering verdicts that put the guilty behind bars. But the legal profession is not limited to attorneys and judges. Paralegals are a vital and significant group, and at Midland College (MC) there are different options to get a legal technician certification and/or paralegal associate degree. Students can choose from an all online track or evening class options.

Meagan Cox graduated from MC’s paralegal program in 2018. She immediately started working in the field at Davis, Gerald & Cremer. She explains some of her duties as a working paralegal.

“Whenever the law firm gets documents, I read through them,” Cox said. “I summarize them so the attorney can see the important information at a glance and decide if it is something they specifically need.”

Jennifer Garcia will receive her paralegal certificate this spring and her associate degree from MC next year. She adds the following to a paralegal’s duties.

“Paralegals are the face of the law office,” Garcia said. “We are an important extension of the attorney for whom we are working. Our job is to make the attorneys’ lives easier. Paralegals have to be organized. We have to know where everything is, and we have to know what the attorneys need before they even tell us.”

“Being organized is definitely the number one trait that makes a good paralegal,” Cox said. “It is also important to be inquisitive. I like to know how and why things may have happened. So when I go through documents, I read for those important details. Finally, you have to like working in a fast-paced environment and taking on challenges. Situations change; cases are always different, and assignments vary on a daily basis. All those responsibilities make for very interesting and fulfilling work.”

Both Cox and Garcia agree that the paralegal career is growing. The firm where Cox was interning hired her after MC graduation. She said that another paralegal was also recently hired in her office. Garcia explained that a lot of attorneys who visit MC classes say they have jobs waiting for graduates. The strong employment outlook especially applies to the Permian Basin area. A lot of booming oil and gas companies employ paralegals to help with the legal processes of land owning and title documents. 

"The valuable skills developed through the paralegal program at MC translate well to positions with oil and gas companies operating in the Permian Basin," Kathryn Chandler, a professional in the field said. "Paralegal graduates have the communication and organization expertise that make them a great team member to work with landmen, operations teams, and land and mineral owners. MC's program is an asset to the community, and I look forward to seeing it grow."

The salary, benefits and work life balance for a paralegal are very competitive and enticing for graduates. Cox says she has a great work-life balance, working 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and she earns more than her other friends with associate degrees.

The fact that paralegals have many options for their education is also a benefit. Garcia has enjoyed attending MC for many reasons.

“MC costs a lot less compared to other universities, and I can live at home,” Garcia said. “I can take care of my family, keep everything under control and balance it all. I will be the first in my family to get a degree, and MC has supported me every step along the way. At MC I am not just another student; the professors give me personal attention and everyone--classmates and staff—are really helpful and friendly. It is definitely the place you want to start your educational journey.”

Garcia’s professors speak highly of her abilities. 

“Jennifer is motivated and excels in the paralegal coursework,” Charity Rohlfs, paralegal instructor said. “One way she uses her paralegal training and passion for helping others is volunteering at Legal Aid of North West Texas. She will be an amazing addition to any team she joins.”

“The MC paralegal program helped me a lot with writing,” Cox said. “Even though the law firm I worked for was looking for an entry level, trainable employee, being able to say I had a degree in paralegal studies from MC helped me get my foot in the door. MC set me up for success; without it I would have struggled and not been given the opportunities I have had so far in my young career.”

 Photo Left to Right: Meagan Cox and Jennifer Garcia

MC Public Information Office

The Public Information Office is responsible for the overall development of messages that help promote Midland College. This includes preparing and distributing news releases, news advisories and public service announcements for radio, television, newspapers and social media.

Allison Fine Arts Building, Room 141
Midland College, 3600 N. Garfield
Midland, Texas 79705
(432) 685-4556

Welcome

Midland College has many programs and options for our students. If you are investigating the opportunities we offer, our Welcome Center is the perfect place to receive general information.