Sally Dahlquist, J.D. serves as the Paralegal Program Director and Chair of the Yellow Ribbon Company at Inver Hills Community College in Minnesota. She is very active as a member of the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Paralegals and was honored to serve as the Past Chair of the ABA Approval Commission for Paralegal Educational Programs. She began as a legal receptionist, worked her way to paralegal in the probate and corporate areas of small and large firms, and practiced family law as an attorney. Transitioning from the legal office to the classroom, Sally followed her passion to serve people by assisting students with their educational goals, providing opportunities to all people to read, study, and learn new ideas and about the law, and preparing them for careers in the legal community.
I am interested in the work of the ABA Standing Committee on Paralegal Education because of its profound dedication to quality education and the paralegal profession. Serving on the Standing Committee and ABA Approval Commission has deepened my understanding of how and why paralegals are vital to our public good, legal community and practice of law. What excites me the most is the ABA Standing Committee’s commitment to excellence! As one of my Program graduates says “my ABA approved education is the gold standard”.
The ABA doesn’t just provide training tips for students. It focuses on educating “competent” paralegals. The core of the ABA Standing Committee’s Guidelines challenges us to be our best, serve the public well, and deliver “practical” paralegal education. I have learned that paralegals ARE the glue to the practice of law, and without them, attorneys lose focus and clients’ needs can sometimes go unmet. The Committee has inspired me to continue to volunteer and serve on our state’s Alternative Legal Models Task Force, and the Minnesota Supreme Court Legal Paraprofessional Implementation Project Committee. My work with the ABA Standing Committee has instilled a passion for the paralegal profession to increase the public’s access to justice, and to assist with the delivery of strong legal representation to our community.