Paralegal program graduate finds success beyond OU

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Paralegal program graduate finds success beyond OU

courtesy of Alexis Sawatzke

courtesy of Alexis Sawatzke

courtesy of Alexis Sawatzke

Taylor Crumley, Staff Reporter

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Some people finish college with a degree they love, but still feel like they could be doing more or have passions elsewhere.

Alexis Sawatzke, a recent graduate from the paralegal program at Oakland University, had these exact feelings upon finishing her bachelor’s degree in business marketing in 2017.

“I very much enjoyed my degree, but at the same time, I felt like something was missing in my career path,” she said. “Ever since I was a little girl and growing up, my family always told me that I should be a lawyer due to my ability to always have an argument over everything.”

Sawatzke’s passion for law led her to research how she could be involved with law without pursuing the typical career path of becoming an attorney. It was through her research that she discovered the paralegal position.

“Through my research, I saw that they do a lot of the same things that an attorney does,” she said. “I started thinking about how that could be a fun career choice and began researching on how to make that possible.”

Her research eventually led her to OU, where the program really stood out to her.

“It was a year-long accelerated program, which I liked due to the fact that I had just went to college for four years,” Sawatzke said. “I found out that their program is American Bar Association Certified, which demonstrates that their paralegal program is held to high standards. They also would assist you on getting an internship.”

Jumping back into a new program made Sawatzke nervous, but once she got to OU, the nerves turned into excitement.

“The way courses are set up and the wonderful staff that is a part of this program is what truly make this a great program,” she said. “The professors are so eager and willing to teach you and help each student out in the ways that best suit them.”

Through her year in the paralegal program, Sawatzke learned every side of the law and found where her interests fit in.

“I have personally taken so much from this program, but if I had to choose one [thing], it would be that the law is never black and white,” Sawatzke said. “You can never take a stance on an issue until you know and can understand both sides of the story.”

Sawatzke said everything she took away from the paralegal program at OU allowed her to have a career she loves waking up to every day. Her experience at OU led her to getting an internship with the Sam Bernstein Law Firm, where she was then hired full-time after graduation.

“I look back from a year ago to now and can’t help but feel so accomplished and proud that I was able to make my dream come true,” she said.

Looking to the future, Sawatzke sees herself remaining in the field of law for the rest of her life.

“Whether I decide to go to law school or continue to advance in my paralegal career, I am thankful to Oakland University, my professors and my current employer,” Sawatzke said. “I would recommend this program to anyone who thinks they might have an interest in it.”

For more information on Oakland University’s paralegal program, visit their webpage or contact the program director Barbara Lister-Tate at [email protected].