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Alumni Spotlight

  • Jon Sloan

Paralegal Training Paid off for This Detective

UCI Detective Sergeant Jon Sloan advanced his career and secured a key courtroom win with a DCE Paralegal certificate.

Detective Sergeant Jon Sloan always knew he was destined for a life of service to others. His faith and upbringing set him on that path early on, and as Jon grew older he felt that the best way forward was a career in law enforcement – a calling that eventually led him to seek a broad skillset with a strong background in law.

So, two years into a detective tour with the UC Irvine Police Department, he enrolled in the DCE Paralegal certificate program. Armed with a bachelor’s degree in economics from Cal State Long Beach and five years serving as an L.A. County Deputy Sheriff, Jon felt that the program would give him a new perspective on his work, along with a big advantage when it came time to advance his career.

Earning his Paralegal certificate turned out to be a life-changing move. He was told it was a deciding factor in being chosen for a promotion over other highly qualified UCI PD candidates.

“I pursued the paralegal program to gain a better understanding of the civil processes of our legal system, mainly because many of the criminal matters I deal with cross over into the civil realm,” he said. “I wanted to have a working knowledge and familiarity with court processes so I could be more effective in helping people solve problems. I chose UCI for convenience and course selection. I didn’t know how good the program was until I was in it.”

It’s a prime example of how a Paralegal certificate can advance careers in a range of fields: financial services, contract administration, human resources and marketing, to name a handful. Virtually anyone, in fact, can benefit from the organizational and analytical skills of a paralegal.

For Jon, the program provided significant legal proficiencies and led to lasting relationships with a wide cross section of fellow students.

“I had a great experience,” he said. “The class I liked the most was the Corporate Law course. I’ve practiced almost everything I learned in that course. And one of the best parts of the program was meeting others who are in the legal field. I still talk to some of my classmates who went on to work for law firms and the courts.”

Gaining a legal mindset

Fully accredited by the American Bar Association, the DCE Paralegal certificate program provides real-world, expert instruction from practicing attorneys and paralegals from law firms, corporations and nonprofit organizations, reflecting the range of possibilities conferred by this prestigious certification.

Curriculum provides a solid foundation in the legal principles and procedures that can set students up for success. The program addresses the latest trends and technology, with an emphasis on practical litigation and transactional skills, creating a framework for mastering the most relevant areas for paralegals or any position that could benefit from a background in law.

Paralegal students also have access to DCE Career Services, a valuable resource that includes a 24/7 mock interview platform, online resume review service and one-on-one career counseling sessions to discuss topics such as resume creation, interview techniques, job search strategies and LinkedIn profile reviews. Additionally, the Legal Skills course in the program provides hands-on examination of the skills needed to enter, apply for, and succeed in the legal environment.

A calling to community service

As a child, Jon watched and studied TV shows like Adam-12 and SWAT, inspired by the way those stories were portrayed, all the while getting a sense of the sacrifice and commitment to community required of police officers. The shows helped convince him that his life’s calling was in law enforcement.

“No other career connects you to people more than this one,” he said. “Watching those shows, I saw the sacrifice police officers make to protect and serve their respective communities. It made me realize the challenges of the job, and I wanted to make sure I was on the front lines partnering with the community I serve to solve its problems – to solve problems in general.”

The Paralegal program gave him a new perspective on the role of a law enforcement professional, enhancing his ability to serve the community he loves. The curriculum opened his eyes to “a whole new world of legal considerations, from torts to civil restraining orders,” he said.

Gaining a deeper insight into the legal issues involved in his work was invaluable, Jon added. Studying briefs from past cases allowed him to better understand the legal matters involved in criminal trials and, on a more practical level, helped him pass the promotional exams that ultimately led to his promotion.

“I remember the position came down to me and another officer who was way more qualified. When I was given the good news, my Assistant Chief told me that the selection panel was so impressed with my completing the paralegal program, it was the deciding factor in my selection for some panelists. A couple of years after that, I was selected to the rank of Sergeant, and now I am currently the Supervisor Detective Sergeant.”

Along with playing a key role in his career advancement, Jon’s paralegal training has paid off in the courtroom. In one particularly memorable case, it proved instrumental in securing an important and landmark restraining order against a dangerous individual.

“I was in court attempting to get a Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO) against a very bad person who wanted to do harm to a lot of innocent people,” he said. “GVROs were relatively new in our profession and not many agencies were pursuing them. Given the legal research skills and civil procedures courses I took, I was able to confidently navigate that process to where we got our department’s first GVRO.”