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New paralegal tips presentation from an ABA-approved San Jacinto College student

15 June 2012

Recently I was interviewed by paralegal student Ms. Cynthia Shortle. She attended San Jacinto College’s paralegal program, an ABA-approved program here in Texas, and is a recent graduate. Just before her graduation, she was assigned the task of interviewing a working paralegal and then presenting the information she gathered from that paralegal to her class. For her interviewee, she chose moi, and you can click the link below to see her presentation.

I was asked questions such as what paralegals do, what are some tips for new paralegals, what skills should future paralegals nourish, and so on. What follows is the result. Thank you, Ms. Shortle, for agreeing to share your presentation with LegallyBlog followers. (You can click “save as” to save the file to your computer or simply open it to view the presentation.)

Hartsfield paralegal presentation

When Ms. Shortle agreed to share her presentation with LegallyBlog followers, I asked her about her own past and what brought her to paralegal-land:

I received a BFA in painting and art history as first education from UH, and for a while taught art elements to children in the education department of the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston, which was the most fun and rewarding work I have done thus far.

A nursing career that followed a divorce was completely pragmatic. I graduated in 1991, magna cum laude, with a BSN from HBU.

I planned to do a masters in art therapy when I left the military (USAF), but economic stresses drove the decision to get a masters degree in nursing, which was from UT health science center at Houston with honors. I left nursing after a 18.5 year career when my only child passed away.

Interest in paralegal work, in the legal field? I like factual research, advocating for equitable and optimal treatment options for underserved patients, and had been told at HBU and the graduate program that I had a knack for writing. Then I learned about the paralegal program at San Jacinto College [in Texas].

I made a decision to find a different focus and a new career using analytical and listening skills.

I had been working an internship in a mostly family law practice since spring 2012, though I really like the intellectual property coursework–perhaps because the content is related to creative efforts, and I would like to work in that specialty.

I graduated from the SJCD program on Saturday, May 12, 2012, Phi theta kappa and Lambda Epsilon Chi.

I hope to find interesting work with fair salary and benefits, and plan to take the NALA Certified Paralegal exam sometime next year. Additionally, I joined the Houston Paralegal Association.

Hartsfield paralegal presentation

For more info:

San Jacinto College’s ABA-Approved paralegal program

Demand remains high for paralegal graduates despite recession

List of ABA-Approved paralegal programs throughout the United States

Sami K. Hartsfield, ACP is a senior paralegal at a consumer law firm and freelance writer based in Houston, Texas. She is a NALA Advanced Certified Paralegal, and has earned six specialty certifications since 2007: Discovery; Trial Practice; Contracts Management; Social Security Disability Law; and Entity & Individual Medical Liability. She is also WestlawNext certified. Sami has worked as a law firm Webmaster, law firm social media marketer, and a ghostwriter for personal injury law firms. She holds a degree in paralegal studies with a 4.0 GPA and a bachelor of science degree in political science, graduating summa cum laude. Sami interned with Texas’ 14th Court of Appeals under Chief Justice Adele Hedges, and completed the University of Houston Law Center’s Summer 2008 Prelaw Institute with a 4.0. You can find her on Facebook and e-mail her with questions, comments, or ideas at

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