Legal Education Student Success Stories

Melissa Blose, Class of 2017

Paralegal with PRA Group, Corporate Counsel Section

What made you choose Coastal?

I love that CCCC’s Paralegal program is very thorough in offering a variety of law classes.  It allowed me to investigate the various positions out in the world.  Further, the ability to take classes online was a huge bonus. My husband was military and received PCS orders after just three semesters.  Rather than transfer to another college and pray my classes would transfer, I was able to stay with Coastal and finish my coursework online as well as coordinate my internship.  Ultimately I was able to finish the program and obtain my degree.

How did you decide on the Paralegal Program?

I love working in the legal community and wanted something diverse and would transfer anywhere in the United States.  I also enjoy working behind the scenes in a support role.  Paralegals get into the trenches of any case, matter or project regardless of size.  I think that would make every workday different and really interesting.

What was unique about your program of study and how did it help you prepare for a career as a Paralegal?

Coastal offers so many courses in different law subjects which allowed me to discover what area appealed to me.  I realized a paralegal is able to do exponentially more than just research a point of law and interview clients.

What made you a successful student?

The support and encouragement I received from fellow students and the instructors.

If you could give a piece of advice to a potential student, what would it be?

Be professional and realize the habits you form while in school carry forward.  Be prompt, have homework completed on time and professionally presented, be professional and courteous in class and stay focused on coursework.

What are your plans for the future?

There are so many opportunities for paralegals nowadays.  I’d like to get certified through either the National Association for Legal Assistants (NALA) or National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) and continue working as a corporate paralegal for a publicly held corporation.  I’d also like to volunteer with local law clinics helping veterans with legal issues.


Michael Montgomery, Class of 2016

Victim Services Coordinator at the District Attorney’s Office for the 4th Prosecutorial District

What made you choose Coastal?

Coastal is cost effective. The college is close by and I heard good things about programs they offer.

How did you decide on the Paralegal Program?

I have always had a passion for law and the judicial system. The paralegal program offered that and more.

What was unique about your program of study and how did it help you prepare for a career as a Paralegal?

The internship was a huge help. I learned how the office worked. I was able to show what I learned in the classroom. I had the opportunity to network and it helped me get the great job I have now.

What made you a successful student?

Working together with fellow student along with asking questions and taking good notes.

If you could give a piece of advice to a potential student, what would it be?

The tedious tasks pay off in the long run.

What are your plans for the future?

My future plans are to go to law school. Working at The District Attorney’s Office as a Victim Services Coordinator has made me want to do more and pursue a career as an attorney.


Amy LeGrande, Class of 2016

Paralegal with Williams, Robinson, Rigler & Buschjost

What made you choose Coastal?

It was a school closest to me that had the program of study I wanted to go into.

How did you decide on the Paralegal Program?

I knew I wanted to go into the Paralegal Program after living in New Orleans and having my house damaged from a hurricane. The run around we and our neighbors received was ridiculous. I ended up helping my neighbors out with getting their houses repaired and I knew then that I wanted to have a career helping people. Being a Paralegal seemed like the best fit.

What was unique about your program of study and how did it help you prepare for a career as a Paralegal?

I think our entire program is unique. It’s not like other programs I have read about at other schools. We have classes focused on different areas of law, not just one semester. We have a broad range of instructors who are retired judges or lawyers, who still practice law, are business owners, who can educate us on the law, but the reality of working in it everyday, so have little surprises when we finally get out there. We also do an internship, which some programs don’t offer.

What made you a successful student?

Having a wonderful support system. With family, friends, classmates and instructors. I was never afraid to ask a question, even if I thought it was a dumb. Working hard, studying, and communicating with my instructors.

If you could give a piece of advice to a potential student, what would it be?

Don’t give up! Even when at times things get hard, and life outside of school interferes, don’t give up. You will finish, you will graduate, and you will be successful. Just have to keep trying and moving forward.

What are your plans for the future?

To continue working as a Paralegal, and with my volunteer work as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate).


Debbie King, Class of 2015

Paralegal with the Wright Law Firm

Debbie King

What made you choose Coastal?

  • Location was key.  Being a single mother, with no family in the area I had to find a college close enough for me to stay within driving distance of my children should an emergency arise.
  • Affordability was certainly a factor. With the availability of various grants and numerous scholarships offered through Coastal’s Scholarship Foundation, I was able to complete my Associates in Applied Science degree without the stress of having to take out personal or student loans.
  • Campus size and Student enrollment helped with the transitioning period from “stay at home mom” to college student. Making the decision to go back to school can be very overwhelming and this is especially true for the older student.  Starting my journey at a Community College which is a smaller institution as opposed to a University took some of the “fear’ out of going back to school and acclimating to student life once again.

How did you decide on the Paralegal Program?

  • After a year of getting acclimated to school and earning the pre-requisites required for any degree I focused on my “end game”.  My goal was simple, obtain the education I needed, to afford me the ability to support myself and my family while focusing on a career path that I could build upon.   The Paralegal Program is a two year degree program that opens the door for not just a job but a career.  The knowledge and skills obtained in this program give you a solid foundation for a career in and around the legal field.

What was unique about your program of study and how did it help you prepare for a career as a Paralegal?

  • The Paralegal Program is a two year block program. It gives you opportunity to focus on one area of study, the law.
  • The instructors of the Paralegal Program are in the legal field themselves and instruct with firsthand knowledge of that field.
  • The program teaches many different areas of the law, which helps the student find the “right fit” when it comes to a long term career choice.
  • The Paralegal Program has an internship program which allows you to experience the role as a Paralegal while working along with other Paralegals in the field.
  • As a member of the Paralegal Program you also enjoy the benefits of attending the Paralegal conference held once a year by the North Carolina Paralegal Association. This is a great opportunity to gain further knowledge within your chosen field of study and network with other Paralegals as well as the many vendors.
  • Over all the Paralegal Program allows you to work, study and interact with other students that are all reaching for the same goal, to work within the legal system.

What made you a successful student?

  • A successful student of any field acknowledges the fact that, you get out what you put in. You must commit your time, energy, and focus on your goal of becoming a successful Paralegal. 
  • Take full advantage of every opportunity offered by getting involved with the Paralegal Society (I was SGA Rep. in 2014).
  • When you enter into the program start thinking, dressing and conducting yourself as a professional.

If you could give a piece of advice to a potential student, what would it be?

  • Get as many of your pre-requisites done as you can before entering the program. This allows you to focus fully on the law.
  • Take advantage of every learning lab on campus. The library is open on Saturdays and is quiet.
  • Challenge yourself constantly to do better. Working together is great but don’t be lax in your portion of the assignment.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. The instructors are there to not only teach but to see you succeed.
  • Don’t fall victim to the saying, “C’s get degrees”. While that may be true, don’t settle when you can do better, surprising opportunities come to those who stand up and reach for the stars.
  • Carry yourself as a professional in all you do.
  • Attend the Paralegal conference. The NCPA is filled with amazing people, knowledge and networking opportunities!  It is also important to understand that you are not only representing the school but yourself as an up and coming professional Paralegal, so act accordingly.  The worst thing you can do is to put out a bad image of yourself before anyone gets to see your skillset.  Being a professional Paralegal is a well-respected field of individuals who worked hard to earn their place within the legal field.

What are your plans for the future?

  • I am very happy in my role as Paralegal with the Wright Law Firm and have plans to continue my education both here at Coastal and through CLE’S offered through various agencies such as the NCPA and the NBI.