KPA supports the fundamentals of the profession and the formal education process. Two of the programs KPA utilizes to assist students, educators, new paralegals, and employers are the Mentor Program and the Internship Placement Assistance Program.
The Mentor Program essentially pairs paralegal/legal studies students and paralegals that are new to the profession or a specific area of law with more experienced paralegals. There is no cost to participate in this program and although membership within the KPA is strongly encouraged, it is not required for students who wish to participate in the program.
Individuals that are interested in participating in the Mentor Program (either as a Mentor or Mentee) should contact KPA’s Education Director, Andrea Duncan, RP (firstname.lastname@example.org) and provide the following information:
- Name and contact information
- Whether you would like to be paired with a Mentor or are available to serve as a Mentor
- Areas of interest (Mentees)/areas of legal experience (Mentors)
- Geographic location
- If you are a student:
- What educational institution you are enrolled at
- What degree or certificate you are working towards
- Anticipated graduation/completion date
Once that information is received, the Education Director will pair the Mentee with a Mentor that provides the best fit for the requested geographic location and/or areas of law. Once the Mentor and Mentee are paired, it is for them to determine the method and frequency of communication or contact. Some individuals prefer to meet in person, while others find it more feasible to communicate via email.
The Mentor Program provides an opportunity for networking, camaraderie, and professional development.
Internship Placement Assistance Program
One frequent question from paralegal students is, "How does someone get their first paralegal job when everyone wants to hire someone with experience but they don’t have any because very few employers will hire a paralegal without experience?” One answer to this question is by participating in an internship.
Many of the area colleges with paralegal programs offer or require students seeking a two or four year degree to do an internship as coursework during one semester of their education. This serves as an opportunity for students to take the theoretical skills and knowledge they have acquired during their formal course of education and apply it to the practical work world. To achieve the required number of hours for the course students generally need to be able to work at their internship site for 10-15 hours a week for one semester. The total number of hours per week and the number of weeks the internship extends for is generally for the student and internship site to determine based on their needs and schedules.
This is an opportunity for employers to give back to the legal community by promoting formal education and supporting the idea of more qualified paralegals entering the field right out of college. Employers can also take advantage of low cost (or potentially no cost) assistance by agreeing to participate as an internship site for these students. There may be specific requirements of the sites that vary from institution to institution.
KPA needs help from the legal community to establish a collection of firms, offices, and companies that may be interested in participating in these paralegal student internships as hosting sites. Many students reach out to KPA for assistance with placement for internships.
If you are interested in learning more about becoming an internship site or would like to provide your contact information for future internship placement requests to be directed to you, please contact:
Andrea Duncan, RP, Education Director
KANSAS PARALEGAL ASSOCIATION
PO Box 1902
Topeka, KS 66601