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Bouchard finds paralegal work fulfilling and rewarding

By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

Chelsea Bouchard initially viewed paralegal work as a way to save money towards law school – but after graduating with a paralegal degree and working “in the field” she realized she truly enjoyed this niche. 

And when her life plans took law school temporarily off the table, paralegal work was a perfect fit.    

Bouchard previously worked as a paralegal and office administrator for Josh Fields & Associates in East Lansing, and currently works at Toby White Law, PLC, in Okemos.   

“Being the person who can take a second and explain the process to a client, or transcribing that last minute pleading the attorney needs as soon as possible, is very fulfilling and rewarding,” she says.   

“I feel even though I may be working on a small or simple case, as long as I’m making sure things stay on track and are being done right, I’m making a difference in at least one person’s life and that makes the hours of researching and typing worthwhile.”

Bouchard’s caseload includes family law, contract law, criminal defense and general civil law.

“I love that every day is a little different. I don’t end up getting bored or feeling in a rut because I’m doing the same thing day in and day out,” she says. “Working on a variety of cases also gives me the chance to keep learning, which is important to me.”    

Bouchard graduated from the paralegal program at Lansing Community College.

“Most classes were taught by local attorneys who gave you not only the textbook lessons but also the practical knowledge of how they have utilized paralegals in their practices,” she says.    

“LCC’s paralegal program is ABA accredited which has really opened up some amazing opportunities as well has helped potential employers take me and my educational background seriously.”

While in college, Bouchard earned money and valuable business experience by working for a large fashion retailer.

“I was surprised at how many business concepts of retail work transferred over to client relations as a paralegal,” she says.    

A member of the American Association of Notaries since 2012, Bouchard became a notary on the advice of an academic adviser as another skill to add to her resume.

“However, since becoming a notary I’m so glad I took that advice because it’s extremely convenient to be able to notarize something in the office rather than heading over to a bank or have another attorney in the office take time from what they are working on to notarize something,” she says. “Belonging to the Association helps because they are always sending updates on new rules about what can, cannot, and should be notarized along with other general updates.”

Bouchard is also a member of the Lansing Chapter of NALS, the organization for legal professionals, and has been involved in some of the NALS community service events.

“NALS is really an amazing group,” she says. “In addition to being connected to amazing resources, continuing legal education seminars, and networking opportunities, NALS has given me the opportunity to make valuable friendships with people in the same field.    

“It’s great to have a serious learning experience and then unwind and have fun socially with people who are unwinding from similar work week situations,” she adds.

In her leisure time, Bouchard is an avid reader of non-fiction historical and political books and biographies as well as historical fiction and thrillers.

“My favorite author of all time is Jane Austen,” she says. “I’ve read a number of her books multiple times and I read ‘Sense and Sensibility’ at least once a year.”

Bouchard and her husband live in a rural area outside Lansing, where they are involved with a local fundraising effort to aid youth sports programs in their area.

While she enjoys the rural lifestyle, she also appreciates life in the city.

“Coming from a small town, working in the Lansing area has been very eye-opening,” she says. “I get exposure to a vast variety of people, cases, cultures, and situations.”   

The oldest child in a very large family, Bouchard strives to be a good role model for her siblings.

“And a benefit of coming from a large family is that there is always someone there to support me when I’m facing a challenge or taking on a new personal or professional goal,” she says.

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