After earning an undergraduate degree in paralegal studies and working in the field for six years, Sawyer Lyn Imrie (Hennlich) wondered if her goal of becoming an attorney had passed.
“I felt comfortable with my paralegal career,” said Imrie. “But I was thinking about law school back in high school and here I wasn’t sure if that was going to happen.”
Imrie was the primary earner in her house and couldn’t quit her job to attend law school full time. Fortunately, she noted, the enrollment options at Mitchell Hamline School of Law allowed her the flexibility to earn her J.D. while still working. She has attended part-time, adding the flexibility of online studies during COVID also made it easier to manage work and school. “It was kind of a no brainer for me on where to go.”
The 29-year-old plans to graduate from Mitchell Hamline in Fall 2022.
“If being an attorney is something you think is your calling as an end game, I’d encourage any paralegal to go for it,” she said.
“Yes, it’s prudent to look at earning potentials and not make a rash decision. But at the end of the day, if it makes you happy and you want to be more in control of your workload, I say do it.”
Imrie’s paralegal work started in intellectual property and patent law at three different firms after college.
In mid-2021, she moved to a more business law-centered job with Asset Marketing Services, a company in Burnsville that sells coins and other collectibles—artifacts that date back thousands of years, in some cases.
As a paralegal and law clerk, one of Imrie’s tasks is reviewing all advertising the company places, making sure the ads comply with laws that pertain to the coin and collectible industry. “I knew nothing about coins going into this role and there’s so much to learn,” she said. “It’s really interesting to learn the history, too.”
She also works closely with the company’s general counsel, preparing legal drafts and other memoranda on a range of corporate matters. Once she becomes an attorney, Imrie says she expects to have opportunities to grow within the company. And she hasn’t looked back on the decision to take her paralegal skills to the next level and attend law school.
“For me, it seems like if I wouldn’t have done it, I would have always wondered and had that big ‘what if’ in the back of my mind.”