On Sunday, November 23, 2014 Spartanburg Methodist College held its 2014 Paralegal Certificate Evening Program graduation in the William Milton Davis Mission Chapel. Justin Bradley, Spartanburg County Councilman-elect, District 2, was the commencement keynote speaker. Bradley serves as corporate counsel for Shellpoint Mortgage Servicing, a division of New Penn Financial, LLC with responsibility for litigation management, licensing, and vendor management.
Paralegal instructor, Jennifer Jordan, with the Office of the Seventh Circuit Solicitor, was recognized by the graduating class as the 2014 Instructor of the Year, an honor she also received in 2009 and 2013.
Stella Johnson, of Una, SC, was presented by her classmates with the prestigious Queen Mims Memorial Student Speaker Award, which carries the honor of delivering the commencement speech on behalf of the class. The award is named after Jonesville native Queen Elizabeth Mims, a 2007 SMC Paralegal Certificate Program graduate, who worked as the office manager for her brother, local attorney Albert V. Smith. Mims, who served as class speaker of her graduating class, lost her battle with cancer in 2011. Johnson served her country for eight years in the United States Air Force and then served for over three years in the Georgia Air National Guard. Participating in the City of Spartanburg’s Citizen’s Police Academy peaked Johnson’s interest in law and led her to the SMC Paralegal Certificate Evening Program.
Spartanburg resident Susan C. Abbott, was recognized by her instructors with the Liz Patterson Student of the Year Award. The award is named after Liz Patterson, the former 3-term United States Congresswoman for the 4th Congressional District of South Carolina, who founded the program, which she began in 1997 at Converse College. In 2004, Patterson was instrumental in the moving of the program to SMC, where she currently serves as a member of the Board of Trustees and is a member of the Paralegal Certificate Program’s Advisory Committee. Abbott was recognized for her good moral character, confidence, strong academic and leadership abilities and her exceptional promise. She was judged to represent the ideal qualities of a Spartanburg Methodist College Paralegal Certificate Program Student.
Additional graduates include Catherine Danniel Johnston, of Woodruff, SC. Spartanburg residents Gerald J. Harblin and Cheyenne Nicole Harblin, the program’s first father-daughter duo; Ashley Alexandra Agnew; Alicia Elaine Crouch and Katie Gault Easler, who were both recognized with 212 Degree Awards for their extra drive in securing employment in the legal field while still students in the program.
“Our graduates are unique and intelligent individuals who all shared a dream to work in the legal field when they entered the program. I am very proud of our program’s commitment to bestow students with marketable job skills that increase their employer’s efficiency, productivity, and billable hours. It is an honor to play a part in helping students’ dreams become realities,” shared Yvonne Harper, who has directed SMC’s Paralegal Certificate Program since 2004.
The roots of the paralegal profession can be traced to the late 1960s when Congress, law firms, local bar associations, and the American Bar Association (ABA) began significant efforts to increase access to legal services in the United States. Paralegals, trained non-lawyers, working under the supervision of attorneys, provide clients with affordable and efficient legal services that otherwise would be performed by licensed attorneys.
SMC’s paralegal program, designed for beginning as well as advanced legal workers, offers personalized academic advisement and faculty, composed of local practicing judges, attorneys and paralegals, who provide networking opportunities and offer real-world experience with practical application. Instruction is practice-oriented and relates to those areas of the law in which paralegals are most in demand. The program consists of fourteen 10-week courses. Classes are held on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 5:30 p.m. For information, contact Yvonne Harper, firstname.lastname@example.org or 864-266-7409.