Welcome back to A Paralegal’s Perspective! This months interviewee is our very own Program Director, Danielle Benzon!
✨ How did you discover the Paralegal profession?
🌺For as long as I can remember, I was interested in law and wanted to one day attend law school. After graduating UC Davis in 2013 I was a bit burnt out with school and wanted to take a break before pursuing law school. I discovered that Allan Hancock College offered a paralegal program, and I thought this would be a great way to dip my toe into the legal profession. I really enjoyed my classes and was excited to begin a career as a paralegal. While in school, I was hired by the San Luis Obispo Superior Court and worked there for almost 10 years before leaving to pursue my career at a local law firm as a paralegal.
✨ What is the most drastic change in this profession you’ve seen develop? Is it a negative, or a positive change? Why?
🌺One of the most dramatic changes I have seen in the legal profession is the expansive use of technology, including e-filing with the court, use of AI and Zoom for remote court appearances. E-filing has streamlined the filing process – you no longer have to wait in line at the clerk’s office to file a motion. Remote Court appearances allow for more people to attend hearings, and offers greater flexibility for plaintiffs, defendants and attorneys. AI has the capacity to streamline a lot of tedious, and mundane, tasks paralegals do, however, oversight is required, to ensure accuracy. AI has also been utilized by attorneys, without oversight, and Courts have created rules, and cautioned against using AI in pleadings filed with the Court. Technology is great, but it is only as good as the person utilizing and controlling it.
✨What direction do you see the Legal profession headed?
🌺I see the use of AI increasing in our profession. While AI can be very costly right now, I believe the technology will greatly advance, it will become more cost effective and be more widely used in litigation matters and the preparation of discovery. I also think that remote court appearances are here to stay, at least for some case types.
✨What is the most interesting type of law to you?
🌺My background and experience are primarily in criminal law and juvenile law, which I love and find so fascinating and exciting! I have recently started handling business law, transactional law, and corporate law matters. I am excited to learn more about corporate law in the course I am taking through the UCSB PACE program. Another area I am interested in is employment law and civil litigation.
✨If you could, would you change anything about this profession? What would that be, and why?
🌺This job can be extremely stressful and taxing, and it would be great for employers to increase vacation time, offer flexible schedules and work from home options for their paralegals. Some firms do this and others don’t. Our firm does offer flexibility and for 3/4 of the year gives us one afternoon off per week, paid, and it really helps with burnout.