Paralegal Studies Graduate Embarks on a New Career

Mark Feldmann,

August 18, 2023

Jennifer Paulmann

MATC’s program really helped me get ahead. I would highly recommend this program. It was worthwhile and well done. The program provides the basic information, but it’s the information you need to know.

Jennifer Paulmann MATC Post-Baccalaureate Legal Studies/Paralegal graduate

Jennifer Paulmann moved to Milwaukee in1989, fresh out of college and fired up to start a job at the corporate headquarters of a thriving department store chain.

She thought she’d work there forever.

But in 2018, after being sold several times and declaring bankruptcy, the company she had been at for almost 30 years shut down for good.

“I found myself looking for a new job,” Paulmann said. “All along you think something is going to happen and everything will be alright, but nothing ever happened. It was really, really tough. I expected to retire from that job, but that’s life and life happens.”

A few months later she took a job as an office administrator at a small legal firm in Milwaukee. She became keenly interested in elder law and guardianships, and decided to become a paralegal. “I have a 28-year-old son with a disability, so I had some personal experience,” she said. “I found what I was doing was very, very interesting, and I also felt like it was very meaningful. I figured I could make this a new career.”

She has, thanks to Milwaukee Area Technical College. 

Paulmann enrolled in the college’s Post-Baccalaureate Legal Studies/Paralegal technical diploma program, learning how to conduct client interviews, obtain case information, perform legal research and provide general assistance to attorneys.

She earned her diploma Summer 2023. Thanks to her training, she got a job at a larger law firm, working in the estate and probate department. 

“MATC’s program really helped me get ahead,” Paulmann said. “I would highly recommend this program. It was worthwhile and well done. The program provides the basic information, but it’s the information you need to know.”

Paulmann took one class in the summer of 2022, two in the fall of 2022, two in the spring of 2023 and one summer class to earn her diploma. Most of her classes were 100% percent online, so she could work and take courses. 

“At my age, it was a little scary to go back to school, but MATC made it easy,” Paulmann said. “If you’re thinking about doing this, don’t be afraid of it. MATC really has this figured out.” 

Maggie Ehlert, an advisor in MATC’s Community and Human Services Pathway, helped Paulmann stay connected to her classes and provided any support she needed.

“It's always great to see motivated and eager students returning to college.  In Jennifer’s case, it was easy to work with her since she utilized the resources that exist to help students,” Ehlert said. “She was a model student, always proactively reaching out and following through on things that we planned or discussed.”

MATC has increased its services to students who need help with technology, time management, study organization, tutoring and child care, Ehlert said. 

That support helped Paulmann feel comfortable taking her courses and succeeding.

“Five years ago, I never thought I’d be doing something like this. But I believe this really suits me,” she said. “It has been good, I’ve had to grow and push myself, and we need to do that every once and a while.

“I would encourage anyone going through a life transition or interested in becoming better at their job to take a close look at MATC,” she added. “It’s not expensive, you can do it while you’re working and it provides a great education.”

Learn more about MATC’s Post-Baccalaureate Legal Studies/Paralegal program

About MATC: Wisconsin’s largest technical college and one of the most diverse two-year institutions in the Midwest, Milwaukee Area Technical College is a key driver of southeastern Wisconsin’s economy and has provided innovative education in the region since 1912. More than 28,000 students per year attend the college’s four campuses and community-based sites or learn online. MATC offers affordable and accessible education and training opportunities that empower and transform lives in the community. The college offers more than 180 academic programs — many that prepare students for jobs immediately upon completion and others that provide transfer options leading to bachelor’s degrees with more than 40 four-year colleges and universities. Overwhelmingly, MATC graduates build careers and businesses in southeastern Wisconsin. The college is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.