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NEWS | Aug. 27, 2013

Consider paralegal career option

By Charles Washington 628th Judge Advocate Office senior civil law paralegal

Are you interest in a career change? Consider this challenge - retrain into the legal career field.

Life of a paralegal

The Air Force enlisted legal career field has been in existence since May 1, 1955, and continues to play a very prominent role in The Judge Advocate General Corps. The JAGC's primary mission is to provide legal counsel to commanders, first sergeants and other key personnel on a broad spectrum of legal and quasi-legal matters.

The role of the legal noncommissioned officer (today called paralegal) is to assist the attorney in achieving that mission. Consequently, the paralegal apprentice/journeyman/craftsman supports virtually all areas of the legal office, including military justice, claims, civil law, legal assistance, contracts and environmental law. Within these divisions, paralegals conduct legal research, interview victims and witnesses, and draft opinions and documents. They also support investigations of serious incidents, such as aircraft, missile or rocket accidents.

Our senior paralegals (superintendents and managers) utilized their management abilities to ensure these missions are accomplished. This key element of TJAGC also performs the same type of tasks expected of any Senior Noncommissioned Officer in the U.S. Air Force: management duties such as budget, manpower, training and retraining paralegals into the career field; establishment of training programs; and staff assistance visits, to name just a few.

Are you eligible to retrain?

To be eligible to retrain into the paralegal career field, you must type a minimum of 25 words per minute and have a minimum general Airman Qualification Exam score of 50. If you are eligible and with want to retrain, you must complete a personal interview and then submit a retraining application.

The paralegal career field is extremely interesting and very challenging. It is rewarding for individuals looking for a job that gives them independence in their work, personal growth, and most importantly a sense of accomplishment at the end of each day. If this is what you seek, then becoming a paralegal may be right for you.

Start with the MyPers/Retraining site to begin the retraining process. While the online application is meant to be a self-service it can be overwhelming and SMSgt Michelle McMeekin available to assist with general questions, she can be reached at 963-2768. For more information about the paralegal career field, please contact Law Center Superintendent, Master Sergeant Donna Larkins at 963-5502.