Everybody wants to hire someone with real-world experience….so why not get that in the classroom? Lucky for Globe University-Green Bay paralegal students in Laura Nelson’s class, students learned firsthand how to provide pro bono legal assistance in a divorce case under the supervision of an attorney. Nelson agreed to take the case pro bono on the condition that her students were permitted to assist as her paralegals—handling every aspect of the case from client communication, pleading and other document preparation, and discovery—under her supervision.
This project helped confirm career aspirations for one of the students involved. Tena Bunker, a paralegal student, said, “Overall, I think this was a great service learning experience, and I think that I am really going to enjoy doing this type of service for a career.”
Through this project, paralegal students learned valuable skills that will help them become more successful in their careers. These four main skills were attained through this project:
1. Identify ethical problems facing the legal profession.
2. Research ethical issues in state statutes, court opinions, ethics rules, and ethics opinions.
3. List the constraints placed on attorneys and their employees through the Rules of Professional Conduct.
4. Articulate the competencies and diligence required of the attorney and paralegal practice.
What did students like best about this applied learning opportunity? Three things in particular included an understanding the real dynamics of a paralegal, learning workplace skills and working on an actual case. So many times, you learn from a textbook, but when you get to apply those skills to an actual experience, it takes on a higher level of learning. Brittany Rohde said, “I like the fact that it was a hands-on live case experience.”