Eugene Shenk '09 When I decided to make a career change, I was drawn to the wide-open nature of the paralegal field. Completing Hamline’s paralegal certificate program in one year by attending full-time gave me a highly respected credential in a timely manner. The program’s faculty, my fellow students, and the curriculum all contributed greatly to my experience at Hamline. The faculty was committed, knowledgeable, and accessible. This combination produced a classroom that was focused yet relaxed, and further enriched by students’ enthusiastic participation and professors’ valuable insights from their own legal practices. Courses like Civil Litigation and Legal Research gave me an understanding of legal reasoning and procedure, and the program’s emphasis on legal writing along with focused study of specific areas of law such as Torts, Real Property, Estates, and Trusts helped develop my skills in legal work and in critical thinking generally. I also took advantage of a new course offering, Law Office Technology, which proved especially valuable in preparing me for the paralegal work environment. Hamline's internship program prepared me to contribute in a concrete way to a working law firm. In the firm where I interned, the attorneys were impressed with my writing sample, which was based on a memorandum of law I produced in Hamline's Torts class. After the internship, I volunteered as a paralegal with a local solo practitioner, performing legal research, drafting pleadings, interviewing clients, and attending court. These experiences reinforced a theme from school: the world of the law is much more than the letter of the law. I also joined the Minnesota Paralegal Association. Knowledge gained in their member seminars, such as real estate and electronic discovery, relate to my current job. For almost a year I’ve been employed as a case assistant in a downtown Minneapolis law firm with offices around the country. My duties overlap greatly with the paralegals’ and even a bit with the attorneys’. I regularly calendar case deadlines, update specific databases, and take on “as needed” tasks like organizing incoming documents for attorney review or determining the responsiveness of materials sought by opposing counsel. The variety of my work continues to expand, and most case assistants are promoted to paralegal after a few years.