Ceaser Espinoza is a Professor of Legal Studies and the Director of El Centro College’s Center for Law Public Service Paralegal Program located in downtown Dallas, TX. He’s also the current Coordinator of the Criminal Justice program. He’s previously served as interim Executive Dean for the Health and Legal Studies Division.
A frequent speaker, Professor Espinoza has made several academic and motivational presentations at various schools and organizations across the DFW area. He’s a regular speaker at various continuing legal education events, including events sponsored by the Dallas Bar Association, Dallas Area Paralegal Association, and the Paralegal Division of the State Bar of Texas.
Professor Espinoza has been honored with numerous awards recognizing his dedication to the classroom and the legal field. He still maintains a law and pro bono practice, advising on various legal issues. He earned his AAS from Eastfield College, BA from the University of North Texas, and JD from Oklahoma City University.
On several levels, the ABA’s role is critical to the education of paralegals. From my viewpoint as a Director of an ABA approved program in Dallas, TX, it’s a necessity.
The ABA provides a program an undeniable status with the local bar and legal community. Both groups are rarely familiar with the intricacies of an effective paralegal program, but they certainly know the ABA. With that in mind, the legal community feels a sense of trust or pre-verification of the content provided at intuitions that are ABA approved. Not to say that there aren’t excellent non-ABA approved paralegal programs, there are. However, because the legal community is generally uninformed about paralegal programs, an ABA approved program provides some comfort, something familiar.
Similarly, the ABA elevates a program by providing equal footing with other accredited programs within an institution. I’ve seen first-hand other programs (nursing/allied health) receive increased support when accrediting bodies mandate certain changes based on trends in the field. To that end, the ABA promotes and encourages programs and institutions stay current in professional and pedagogical trends because it benefits the profession.
Finally, the ABA’s reinvented approach of guiding and explaining how to improve a program is a welcome change from its bemoaned reputation of having an “adversarial feel.” They’ve provided updated materials, e-reporting, hosted bootcamps, and provide forums at professional conferences. All designed with the intent to ensure program directors are well advised on the guidelines and ensure streamlined compliance.
As the legal community and legal education continues to evolve, so does the ABA. It’s an exciting time to part of an organization that is dedicated to serve members, our profession, and the public.