Ellie Pope

​Legal Secretary
Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program

“I heard about the Paralegal program at El Centro, and after I went to talk with Carole Olson, I just saw an opportunity to start a new career that I would really enjoy. I like learning about the legal system and the law, and I really enjoy working with the clients and attorneys. There are a lot of career options for paralegals, from corporate to self-employment — just a whole myriad of things.

“My education at El Centro has been very thorough. They go over all types of law and all of the details that you need to know for work: paperwork, pleadings, court documents — it’s a very well-rounded education. They teach you how to interact with attorneys and how to get started on documents — it’s just a great background. Most of our instructors are attorneys or judges, and they’re very experienced people in their field.

“To do well in this field, you should be interested in the law and willing to do time-consuming, meticulous work. It is pretty exacting. You should also enjoy working with people from all walks of life.

“I would definitely recommend El Centro’s Paralegal program. The outlook for becoming a paralegal is very bright — there are so many options and ways to go. It was helpful to me to have already earned a bachelor’s degree because I got to skip a lot of prerequisites. But I think for young people just starting their college education, getting an associate degree is a great way to go to get prepared for a good paralegal job.”

Ellie Pope earned a bachelor’s degree in social welfare from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Ill., more than 30 years ago. After working in customer service for the U.S. government for more than 20 years, she began the Paralegal program at El Centro.

The Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program works with the Dallas Bar Association in recruiting attorneys to take pro bono cases for indigent and low-income clients.