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Legal Assistant Ordered to Go to Law School – or Lose His Job

Legal Assistant Ordered to Go to Law School – or Lose His Job

Matt Schultz made more money for my law firm as a legal assistant than any lawyer who has ever worked for me. He’s supposed to be a lawyer. ~ Dan Soloway, Attorney

The Pensacola News Journal has published an excellent feature article about highly successful Florida litgator Matt Schultz, a shareholder at Levin Papantonio. Schultz never intended to be a lawyer, but was so successful as a legal assistant that his supervising attorney, Dan Soloway, told him he’d lose his job within two years if he didn’t go to law school.

Schultz graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi with a degree in history in 1992, but went back to USM to get a paralegal education after he started a family.

Two weeks after Schultz started work as a paralegal for Soloway’s firm, Soloway realized he’d hired someone with an unusually keen understanding of the law. “I knew that he was going to become one of the greatest lawyers I would ever know.”

The irony is that after encouraging Schultz to go to law school, where he had an outstanding academic career, Soloway couldn’t offer Schultz the salary level he could command as a highly sought after attorney.

While there are many extraordinarily talented and smart paralegals and legal assistants working today who love their jobs and don’t plan to go to law school, Matt Schultz is a great inspiration for those who do want to become lawyers.

What about you – is law school in your future?

4 Responses to Legal Assistant Ordered to Go to Law School – or Lose His Job

  1. Great article. I have never worked for a law firm but instead have worked as a Legal Document Assistant at We The People and now at my own LDA firm. I do some freelance work for Attorneys as well and I agree with the idea that many paralegals can match the expertise and knowledge of attorneys.

    I plan on attending a correspondence law school this year and beginning my journey to a law degree; its the rational next step in my career.

    -David G

  2. Sometimes I think about it. But since I'm not finished with my paralegal degree yet, that decision is a long way off!

  3. Dawn, the law is fascinating, and I think that most talented paralegal students and working paralegals at least consider the possibility of going to law school.

    But you're right, as dim as the hiring prospects are these days for new attorneys, getting out there and working in a law firm for a while to see if it's the career for you is definitely the way to go before making the long term and expensive commitment to law school.

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Lynne J. DeVenny, N.C. State Bar Certified Paralegal

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Lynne DeVenny is a North Carolina State Bar Certified Paralegal with over 27 years of experience working on complex litigation cases, including medical malpractice, personal injury, workers’ compensation, and Social Security disability.

Disclosure: I am not a lawyer and cannot provide legal representation or legal advice.

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