For a Good Cause: Becoming a Paralegal From Home

Holly O’Brien is a stay-at-home mom who works with the global non-profit, All Things Kabuki, which supports people with Kabuki Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder. Before becoming a stay-at-home mom, she worked in a large government contracting company where she worked alongside paralegals and became interested in their aspect of the job. Once she started working with the non-profit, she decided she wanted to join the legal side of the organization and further her education. 

When looking for a paralegal program, Holly’s main criteria was that the legal program had to be ABA-approved. She states, “If I was putting the effort into it, I wanted to make sure it was going to be worthwhile.” When looking at our ABA-approved programs, she also found our flexible scheduling to be helpful. At ANU, we offer daytime, nighttime, and weekend courses, making it easier for students to schedule their time to complete assignments between our synchronous classes. She says, “Being a stay-at-home mom, my schedule is all over the place… having the option of afternoon or evening classes was definitely a huge contributing factor for sure!” 

While first attending her classes, Holly was initially nervous to jump back into the classroom scene but was comforted by the teamwork and overall communal aspect of the class. When reflecting on her classes, she feels they have given her confidence in her ability to work as a future paralegal, “The professors do a really good job of offering their professional experiences [with academic knowledge] … so you know where education meets the real world.” She remembers conversations with her professor and Dean of Legal Studies, Wendy Notz, saying, “She’s very professional, but she is very honest. It’s nice because she doesn’t put rose-colored glasses on. She explains the good and the bad” For both Professor Notz and Professor Edwards, she says “you have to be attentive and participating so you know what you are getting into.” 

After she graduates from the program, Holly hopes to apply what she’s learned at ANU to the nonprofit where she works to help those who need an advocate. She also hopes to continue her education and earn her bachelor’s degree. To anyone thinking about going back to school, Holly’s advice is, “Just do it… you have to take time to buckle down and make it a priority.”  

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