headshot of Paralegal certificate grad Christopher Simon

Student Spotlight: Christopher Simon

A political science professor at the University of Utah, Christopher Simon has been teaching for 25 years and he’s also a lifelong learner, so he understands firsthand the importance of education—for both his students and himself. As an adult learner, he has been taking continuing education classes since his early 40s, focusing on subjects that he overlooked in his younger days, and recently completed UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education’s (CPE) Paralegal Studies Certificate Program.  

What led you to CPE’s Paralegal Studies Certificate Program?

I earned my Ph.D. in political science from Washington State University in 1997. In the course of my studies, I had not taken many law-related courses and have always regretted that choice. Given my field of study, it made sense to improve my understanding of legal process and increase my knowledge of American law. During the COVID lockdowns, I had time to earn a paralegal certificate—I felt that might help me to overcome a self-imposed deficiency in my formal education.  

What were your goals going into the program?

My goal was to earn a Paralegal Certificate through UC Davis and earn Certified Paralegal credentials through NALA. I accomplished both goals in about 18 months while working full time. I also interned for a U.S. District Court Magistrate judge.  

What did you find most valuable about the program?

The program was very thorough and prepared me for both my internship and NALA certification exams. I have also improved my knowledge of the American legal process. UC Davis instructional support was outstanding, the format and workload were perfect for working professionals, and the program was rigorous, which makes the training more meaningful.  

How do you plan to use your paralegal certificate?

The paralegal certificate will help me as a political science professor and researcher. Legal process skills are also important for administrative decision making. I now have a new way of thinking through issues and decisions.  

Join a Growing Profession!

Between 2019 and 2020, paralegal positions in the Greater Sacramento Area grew by 28%. Gain the skills you need to succeed in this high-demand field. Learn more about our Paralegal Studies Certificate Program.

Would you recommend the Paralegal Certificate Program?

I would recommend CPE’s Paralegal Program. It is very cost competitive and highly beneficial training. Paralegals are in high demand and the training you receive from UC Davis will likely lead to job opportunities. Even if you choose not to become a paralegal, the certificate training will help you in any job that you might pursue.  

As an adult learner and educator, how would you describe your experience with CPE and would you recommend CPE’s programs to other adult/lifelong learners?

I would recommend CPE to adult and lifelong learners. There is nothing better than learning and discovering that you can still learn regardless of age! Making it through the Paralegal Studies Certificate Program boosted my confidence and sharpened my mind. When my own students tell me about their struggles to earn their degree, I surprise them by saying, “Hey, I am also a student!” I think that being a student makes me a more effective teacher.

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