Major: Paralegal Studies
Zac Wiles began working at a plaintiff-focused personal injury and medical malpractice firm as a clerk and legal assistant and discovered a career.
“I found that the legal profession provided unique mental challenges and that every work day was different, which appealed to me,” he said. “I knew that I wanted to continue working in the legal field but wanted to be able to advance my career with further education and training. College of DuPage offered convenient evening classes that I could attend without interfering with my full-time job.”
Wiles began taking classes part-time and eventually earned an Associate in Arts degree and both an Associate in Applied Science degree and certificate in Paralegal Studies.
While still a student, Wiles obtained a paralegal position, which led to his current role as a paralegal at Momkus LLP. He initially supported the family law and commercial litigation practice groups but now works with the Trust and Estate practice group, handling estate administration and estate planning matters.
He also continued his education and graduated from Dominican University with a Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies, which he was able to complete in one year’s time due to the number of credits that were accepted from COD and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, which he had attended previously.
Wiles sees great career growth opportunities. He passed the Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam offered by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations, which earned him the nationally recognized PACE Registered Paralegal certification.
“Long-term, I would like to obtain a senior paralegal title and continue to work in a law firm or in-house legal department,” he said.
As for prospective students, whether just graduating from high school or an adult looking to go back to school, Wiles strongly recommends COD and the Paralegal Studies program.
“Take that first step toward your educational and career goals,” he said. “The COD Paralegal Studies program's American Bar Association-approved status gives you the opportunity to earn a degree or post-degree certificate that is recognized for meeting high standards in legal education. I found that my classes were taught by experienced and invested instructors, most of whom brought valuable real-world experience to the classroom.
“Program Coordinator Sally Fairbank has done a tremendous job guiding the Paralegal Studies program since its inception more than a decade ago. The Paralegal Studies program continues to graduate skilled paralegals who are able to contribute at their workplaces on day one when they begin their legal careers.”