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  • Diona Fu

Alumni Spotlight: Landing a Dream Job in the Legal Field

Winter 2021

Diona Fu parlayed paralegal and contract management certificates into a promising career in the legal field.

Diona Fu always wanted a career in the legal field, and she began her journey in earnest once she finished her undergraduate work at UC Irvine.

Starting out as a legal assistant and receptionist at a law office, she decided to come back home to UCI and get her paralegal certificate, a move that opened doors for her in so many ways. It was an experience that led to self-discovery as well as invaluable career opportunities.

“I was so familiar with UCI I really didn’t consider any other certificate programs,” she said. “I knew about the paralegal program and its excellent reputation. Taking the courses helped me explore my abilities and discover what I really wanted to do with my career, especially my legal writing class. It made me realize I had a real knack for writing and legal research.”

Diona’s talent for taking highly technical material and making it clear and understandable was a revelation, an essential skill in the legal profession. And when a guest speaker from videogame giant Blizzard Entertainment came to class, she discovered those talents could translate into a law career writing and analyzing contracts.

“The speaker from Blizzard was telling us how paralegals can specialize in contracts and legal writing, and it seemed like a great career path for me,” she said. “That really put it on my radar. Working for Blizzard seemed like a perfect fit because I was very familiar with the company and the games they design.”

Duly inspired, Diona decided to come back to DCE and get a certificate in contract management to bolster her credentials. “All the while I kept an eye out for job opportunities at Blizzard,” she said. “I finally found one, applied for it and got the job a few months ago.”

Today Diona’s settled into her dream job at Blizzard and serves on the Board of Directors for the Orange County Paralegal Association (OCPA). She found time to chat with us one late summer day about her ongoing journey and how DCE helped make it happen.

Tell me about your position at Blizzard. What exactly does it entail?

I work in contracts and legal writing, doing everything from service agreements and creative licenses to nondisclosure agreements and research. There’s a lot of overlap between what paralegals and contract specialists do. That was one of the most important things I learned taking the DCE paralegal program.

What were you doing before taking the DCE programs?

I had been working as a file clerk, supporting attorneys and paralegals, later moving into an administrative assistant position, helping with license renewals for domestic and foreign legal entities. It was good experience for when I started working as assistant paralegal and legal writer. They had me translate complex technology research and concepts into laymen’s terms for “extraordinary ability” visa petitions through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service.

Tell me about your experience getting those certificates. Would you recommend this path to potential paralegal students?

I certainly would recommend DCE to anyone interested in a career in the legal field. The instructors are all seasoned pros, very savvy and experienced, with a lot of connections throughout the community. They offer so many valuable networking opportunities. One of my instructors, Kai Williamson, really stood out and helped me a lot when I was getting started. Kai let me know about an open position that turned out to be my first paralegal job. DCE instructors like Kai are so connected and helpful. They’ll even let students know about job opportunities before they’re posted on Indeed and other platforms.

Any plans to continue your education and maybe become a lawyer?

I thought about it early on, but the expense and time it takes to go to law school wasn’t appealing. I still might go someday, but I really don’t think about it much. Right now, I’m very happy continuing my work with Blizzard.

Tell me about your work with OCPA. I understand you were a UCI Student Liaison for the organization.

Yes, that’s how I got involved. Then after I got my certificate an instructor prodded me to run for Board of Directors. So, I did and I was elected! I learned that OCPA is a great way to network and get involved in the local paralegal community. We do a lot of volunteer work, like last summer we met up at Orange County beaches for a big clean-up event. I also do pro bono work at a law clinic that helps people with minor offenses clear their records so they can apply for a job, things like misdemeanors from years back. And I love doing volunteer work for SoCal Bulldog Rescue, helping place rescued bulldogs in good homes.

Any final words of advice for anyone considering getting a paralegal certificate?

One thing I would strongly recommend is to speak up in class, get involved and reach out to your instructors. They’re so connected in the legal field and can offer so many valuable networking resources. Getting the knowledge and skills to succeed as a paralegal is important, but it’s just as important to network and build your connections.

Learn more about the Paralegal program.