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I interviewed Jenn Devan who is a paralegal. She works at the National Guard in Colorado Springs. A paralegal is somebody who gets employed by a lawyer to perform substantive legal work for which the lawyer in responsible for. The more specific roles of a paralegal are to assist the attorney when doing tasks such as preparing got trials, hearings, and closings. A large part consists of conducting legal research as well as gathering any information relating to the case. A paralegal is also responsible for presenting the information during a trial, as well as keeping the information organized, for the lawyers to assess.
They also get formal statements affidavits that could be used as evidence in the court. Rather then handling the case from beginning to end, a paralegal reduces the work that lawyers and attorneys do.
Jenn Devan had to complete a 4-year bachelor’s degree, in order to be able to work at the National Guard. She completed her degree at Liberty University in Virginia.
She stated, “I first was interested in this field because of the show Criminal Minds, but as I continued to research careers in the legal field, I found a paralegal to be the most interesting career of all of them.”
She has had many successes and failures in this field. One example is when she had a client who was a previous known felon and was caught for burglary. As she was preparing her clients file, she had noticed that her client has a record of crime, such as drug dealing, fraud, assault, driving under the influence, in which she was unaware of before the agreed to work with this client.
She found it very hard to try and support her client and try to help her lawyer win the case. She also finds it very difficult when her clients lose a case, and end up having to serve time, pay fines, be on probation or parole. In this class, I have learned about the ups and downs of the criminal justice field. One thing that I have related to wanting to become a paralegal, is when we watched the documentary on the case where 8 guys admitted to committing a murder, when only one guy did it. In this case, being a paralegal would have been very interesting, because I would have to be careful as to who I agree to work with. Being in the legal field can be very difficult as well, because a lot of people who are looking for lawyers have very valid cases. This would convince me to hire them, because they make it seem as though I can help them win this case. If I were to be in this situation, I would have hired any of the guys thinking it would be an easy case to win, however I would then have many regrets as I did further research in finding out that multiple guys have admitted to committing murder, however none of them were accused of actually committing.
Jenn Devan enjoys her career a lot. She finds that doing research for clients is very interesting because she gets to see what their past looks like and gets to come up with new information that can help her clients win the case. She also thoroughly enjoys when her clients win a case, because she feels like she helped and that she played a part in that.
She can continue taking classes which would further her education in the legal field. This would include classes such as specific business classes, and different classes about debating strategies, and learning about specific types of cases and how to win them. She could also continue classes about research, which would help her win cases more frequently. This criminal justice class has been very fascinating to see the different sides of crime. We have looked at what its like to be in the eyes of a delinquent, a criminal on death row, heroin addicts, lawyers, judges, attorneys, a juror, a police officer, prison guards. With being able to see all of the perspectives in the criminal justice field, I have found the legal view point to be the most intriguing. When I continue onto college, taking the different coursed that Jenn Devan took, seems very fascinating to me.
She also gave me some advice for continuing into being a paralegal. As she sates, “When I began to handle my first cases I found it very tempting to just want to work with every client, however with being in this field for over 10 years, I have learned that research play a very important role when figuring out which clients to work with. I have also noticed.”
CRJ 110 has taught me that research is a very vital part with any cases you handle or with any criminals. It has also taught me that the criminal justice field requires critical thinking, and requires a lot of paper work. A paralegal is a career that seems very interesting to me and something I want to go to college for and pursue.
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