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June 20, 2012

A state of her own

South University Newsroom

Ellen Wright
Class of February 2010
South University, Online Programs
Employment: Director of Operations – LaGrange Division, RGP Attorney Services, LLC; LaGrange, Ga.

In July 2011, if you wanted a photo of everyone in the state of Georgia who could use the designation “Core Registered Paralegal,” you wouldn’t have needed a wide-angle lens, a set of bleachers and a ladder. Instead, you would have needed a photograph of Ellen Wright. Just Ellen Wright.

In June 2011, Mrs. Wright, who graduated from the Associate of Science in Paralegal Studies program through South University, Online Programs in February 2010, took the inaugural Paralegal Core Competency Examination (PCCE). Although 188 others across the nation took the exam, she was the only person in Georgia to pass.

The National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), one of the two nationally recognized professional groups for paralegals, developed the PCCE to assure employers of a basic level of education and skill.

It took a while for Mrs. Wright to discover that legal work was for her. After working in a clinical healthcare laboratory for years, she knew that she needed a new direction, and she had some clues about what she to do next.

“I realized there were aspects of my job that I didn’t like, but I was drawn to the regulatory side of it,” said Mrs. Wright. “My father always told me I had the mind for legal work, but at my age I wouldn’t be able to recoup the investment in a law degree. So I started looking at legal assistant and paralegal job postings.”

She noticed that many law firms were looking for similar credentials – an associate’s or bachelor’s degree from a program approved by the American Bar Association (ABA).

When Mrs. Wright researched all the ABA-approved schools in the Atlanta area, South University came out on top. The partially online format of South University’s program was a good fit for her.

“I could take most of my classes online, and drive to Clayton State University one night a week for the four classes I took on campus,” she said.

Mrs. Wright said that she really enjoyed her instructors, and she obviously learned much from them, graduating with a 4.0 grade point average in her paralegal courses.
Mrs. Wright has been working with RGP Attorney Services since March 2011 and is responsible for services on the south side of Atlanta. She holds permanent appointments in the superior courts in the Coweta Circuit, and is a notary public.

Get more information as to what you can expect from the Associate of Science in Paralegal Studies program today!

Editor’s note: The Associate of Science in Paralegal Studies program at the Savannah, West Palm Beach, Montgomery, and Columbia campuses are approved by the American Bar Association, 321 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60654-7598 312.988.5522 800.285.2221. Except as permitted by law, paralegals must work under licensed attorney supervision. A legal assistant or paralegal is a person, qualified by education, training or work experience who is employed or retained by a lawyer, law office, corporation, governmental agency or other entity and who performs specifically delegated substantive legal work for which a lawyer is responsible.