By Kimberly M. Johnson

Do you remember your property law instructor? I do.  He was an old school kinda guy who believed each of his paralegal students should know everything about contracts and title research. Our dedication (and grades) were tested each week when he gave us projects to complete at the local courthouse. Mind you, I had a part-time job and other classes. Hmmph. What made him think that his class was the only one?   Let’s just say, I put a little more effort in reading a contract after taking his class.

For some of us, paralegal school was a natural extension after high school.  For some more of us, it was the first door we opened as we  marched into a second career.  For me, it was a step that allowed me to expand my interviewing, writing and researching skills that I used as a staff writer for a daily newspaper. After completing a graduate program,  I applied and was accepted to Midlands Technical College’s paralegal program in South Carolina.  I liked the fact that the paralegal program director is a local attorney and was a former newspaper reporter.

Do you remember your legal research and writing instructor? I do. He was a  person who reminded me of Peter Fauk’s TV detective, Columbo. A little quirky but always gets the job done.  My first reaction:  He’s a pretty smart guy — learn as much as you can.  I appreciated his old-school research methods and the modern approach to analysis. That Westlaw training and brief writing exercises helped immensely during my first foray into the legal world.

Do you remember the uneasiness of quizzes, multiple choice tests with short answer questions, group project meetings at the library and securing an internship? I do.  There was one instructor whose in-your-face manner put  fear into the entire class with surprise pop quizzes. I learned a vital lesson: Always be prepared.

As you reminisce your about paralegal program instructors, think about how their training instilled confidence and developed skills that you currently use. Go on, take some time and thank them.