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Legal studies student wins statewide paralegal scholarship

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published Nov 11, 2020

It’s a confirmation of decisions made for College of Lake County (CLC) legal studies student Lisa Henricks. She is the Illinois Paralegal Association’s (IPA) 2020 Patricia Murphy Coleman Memorial Scholarship winner. While the scholarship honors a long-time Illinois paralegal, for Henricks, winning honors the memory of her late husband.

“One of the bravest things I've ever done is career jumping after becoming a widow,” said Henricks. “I wondered if I did the right thing, but I have faith in CLC.” 

Photo of Lisa HenricksTwo years ago, Henricks (right) was about a decade into employment with an environmental consulting firm, and two decades into a marriage with her husband, Ted Henricks. That all changed in January 2019 when he passed away from a heart attack. Now at 51, the Grayslake High School graduate is pursuing a life-long goal.

“I reevaluated after that change in life circumstance. I’ve always been interested in the legal field but life got in the way many, many years ago,” said Henricks. “I left stable employment to go into the legal studies program at CLC because I love the logic aspect of the law.”

This scholarship helps Henricks come closer to her dream. In order to qualify for consideration, she had to be a member of the IPA, submit her transcripts, receive two letters of recommendation and compose an essay based on the prompt, “how do you think the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic will change the future of the paralegal profession?” After sending everything in, and with the announcement deadline approaching, she was then told there would be one final requirement.

“I got an email from the IPA president and she said we want to do brief interview with the finalists,” said Henricks. “After they asked me to tell them about myself, they said, ‘there are really no other questions. All we want is to tell you that you won the 2020 scholarship.’”

It was all a ruse to capture Henricks’ reaction to the news that she had won the $500 prize. It was even captured on video and shared at the IPA fall education conference. CLC legal studies department chair Gayle Miller was a part of the virtual surprise and said of Henricks, “She’s a model paralegal student and aspiring paralegal. Her dedication and values will carry her into the professional world.”

Henricks will receive her legal studies certificate in December, and then she will be studying furiously for the Paralegal Core Competency Exam (PCCE). Something she is confident she’ll pass thanks to the preparation given to her by the college.

“The statistics on the legal studies program for job placement and success rate is just incredible,” said Henricks.

In fact, the 2019 CLC pass rate for the PCCE was 86 percent; 20 percent higher than the national average. The legal studies program at CLC is also the only American Bar Association approved paralegal education program in Lake County. Learn more about what it takes to enter and complete the legal studies program.

About College of Lake County:

The College of Lake County is a comprehensive community college committed to equitable high-quality education, cultural enrichment and partnerships to advance the diverse communities it serves in northeastern Illinois. Offered at three campuses in Grayslake, Vernon Hills and Waukegan or online, college classes are affordable and accessible to help each student achieve academic, career and personal goals. More than 70,000 students graduated with degrees and certificates since the college opened in 1969. The College of Lake County is the only higher-education institution ranked among the top 15 best places to work in Illinois by Forbes and is a national leader in many areas, including sustainability and conservation.