UCLA Extension’s Paralegal Training Program celebrated its 50th anniversary with a gala event on Dec. 7 for alumni, staff and students. More than 200 current and former paralegals, legal professionals and administrators, and university staff gathered at UCLA’s Carnesale Commons to celebrate the occasion and share stories of the program’s successes.
“I got my job because of this program,” said Tanvir Hossain, a 2017 graduate who now works as a paralegal for Maersk, a shipping company. Hossain credited being able to put UCLA on his resume for landing his first interview and encouraged future graduates to network and connect with alumni.
“We are a tight-knit community,” he said. “We look out for each other.”
Launched in 1972 as the Attorney Assistant Training Program, the Paralegal Training Program has grown to become one of the largest certificate programs offered at UCLA Extension. The program is one of the first to be approved by the American Bar Association and is taught by UCLA School of Law approved instructors.
“We are proud of the quality of education the program continually has provided to its students," said Program Director Aymara Zielina. "It is incredibly rewarding to see our graduates across varied practice areas and roles in the legal profession and know that the program played a part in their success."
A lifetime achievement award was given to retired Judge Elizabeth Allen White, who completed the program while pursuing her undergraduate degree at UCLA in the 1970s. Decades later, White – who went on to become a lawyer, judge, mediator, author and served as past president of the National Association of Women Judges – taught paralegal courses at UCLA Extension, returning to the same program that had given her a start years earlier.
“I would not be standing here before you had I not had the opportunity the program offered,” said White in accepting the award.
With fully online courses in 5- and 11-month cohorts, the program supports the legal community in Los Angeles and beyond providing pathways towards paralegal and other legal professions.
“As we enter the next 50 years, we look forward to furthering the vision of providing access to paralegal education to Angelenos, especially those from underrepresented communities,” said Sheila King, UCLA Extension’s assistant dean of strategic initiatives and chief of staff, in her speech at the event.
For more information on the UCLA Extension Paralegal Training Program, visit the program certificate website.