Our next faculty spotlight is on Allen Delgado, instructor for MTI College’s Paralegal Studies program. Allen has been an instructor in the paralegal program for two years. Interestingly enough, however, this is not his first experience with MTI. He is a graduate from the very program he is now teaching. Prior to his enrollment as a student at MTI, Allen worked in the medical field for eight years as a licensed EMT. He realized that he did not want to become a nurse or a doctor. Allen realized that he wanted a change in career. At this point in his career, he felt he had become stagnant and felt trapped. He had a strong feeling that he needed to make a change. Allen started off like so many other students, seeing commercials and hearing ads on the radio concerning job training programs. He started researching and making a list of careers. Allen became interested in the paralegal field because he enjoys critical thinking, reading, and writing. Also, there is always someone who needs help, and he found it very interesting to be able to work with attorneys, other paralegals and even judges. It seemed to be a natural fit for him. He enrolled in MTI College’s Paralegal studies program. He graduated on the Dean’s List and Honor Roll. Prior to graduation, he went to work as a paralegal in a very successful law firm.
In addition to teaching at MTI, Allen works full-time in the legal field. He is a legal analyst for the state of California. As a legal analyst, one of his main duties is to review motions that are filed by other parties. Upon reviewing the motion, he can make a recommended ruling to the judge on how they should rule according to the regulations and laws surrounding that motion. After the judge makes the formal ruling, Allen’s job is to process the orders and serve them on the party. He is also responsible from the time the case is open until the judge renders the formal decision. “It is all my responsibility,” Allen states, “the good and the bad.” Painting this realistic picture for his students, the good and the bad, is something that is very important to Allen. “I really try to give hands-on practical skills of what it is really like,” he explains. “Sometimes there is a distinction between what is in the books and what is in the real world. I try to merge that gap.” Allen makes an incredible effort to make sure students know the concepts as a foundation for real world practice. When asked to describe some of the challenges that students face, he explains that if you state on your resume, “Attention to detail,” you must practice that theory. When it comes to legal writing and studying documents for a judge or attorney, that attention to detail must be truly impeccable. Students can get caught off guard with how attentive to detail they have to be, especially on a formal court document. Also, some students may be challenged by the amount of comprehension they need for laws, regulations, and how they apply to a client’s case. Researching regulations, analyzing, and applying them can be very overwhelming.
As an MTI paralegal graduate, Allen’s advice to students is “do not begin doubting yourself.” The moment students begin doubting themselves is when they ruin their chances of success. “I remember as a student, it was challenging for me,” Allen reflected. He needed much support from his family and friends to get through the paralegal program. It was difficult working full-time, taking care of his family and going to school simultaneously. It felt overwhelming. “But if you have support and you’re passionate about it, then the sky is the limit. Success is based off of the amount of effort you put in.” Allen knew nothing about being a paralegal before MTI. He did a complete turnaround from the medical field. However, with the support of his wife and now five-year-old daughter, combined with his hard work and dedication, he graduated with honors and has built a phenomenal career.
Allen currently teaches paralegal courses such as Introduction to the Legal Environment, Introduction to Paralegalism, Client Interviewing and Ethics, Legal Technology. One of his favorite courses, and a current “hot topic” in the field, is Ethics. Allen very wisely explained that everyone’s ethics are different because they are based upon their particular environment and personal history. Therefore, within the Ethics course, when Allen brings real-world situations into play, such as the current political climate or professional “What if?” situations, it makes for a fun discussion. Being a teacher is always something Allen has been passionate about. “As a student sitting in class I would always think to myself, ‘I could do that’ and how I would do it.” He would think about how he could teach material in different ways so students would comprehend it even better. He thought about how he could tailor the curriculum so the information would be retained better by the students. After graduation, he kept in contact with a number of his instructors.
Being an MTI instructor is definitely one of the accomplishments that he is most proud of in his career. “Being a former student, saying that one day I can see myself teaching, and then actually accomplishing it, is an honor.” Allen is also incredibly proud of the legal career he has built. “I really take pride in my work. I am proud to say that I am a legal analyst for the state personnel board. I love my job. I love what I do and it is only because of my paralegal education at MTI College.”