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News Release

December 20, 2022

Paralegal Student Wins National Award for Essay

College of the Canyons paralegal studies student Ryan McLaughlin won the American Association for Paralegal Education (AAfPE) Lambda Epsilon Chi (LEX) national honor society scholarship after taking first place in the annual essay competition. 

McLaughlin is the second College of the Canyons student to win the $1,500 scholarship award in as many years. 

His essay, “Accessibility and the American Legal System: A Case for Paralegal Licensure,” explored whether paralegals should be licensed to practice law under limited circumstances. His essay will be published in an upcoming edition of the AAfPE's The Legal Educator

“I was surprised that I won first place in the AAfPE essay contest, as there are so many intelligent paralegal students at not only COC, but throughout the country,” said McLaughlin. “However, the essay topic was one that was incredibly thought provoking. I spent a significant amount of time researching and crafting my essay. The paralegal studies program at COC has enhanced my legal research and writing abilities, which has allowed me to confront challenging legal topics with confidence.”

McLaughlin is working towards his associate degree in paralegal studies and plans to graduate in spring 2023. His goal is to work as a paralegal while pursuing his juris doctor degree. 

AAfPE's membership includes hundreds of universities, colleges, and other institutions of higher learning throughout the United States and in Canada, and over 125 chapters belong to its LEX national honor society, including College of the Canyons.

College of the Canyons is one of 29 California Community Colleges in partnership with the State Bar of California through California LAW, a nonprofit organization, offering a pathway to law school to some of the state’s top law schools. 

Approved by the American Bar Association, the college’s paralegal studies program helps students gain a broad-based understanding of the American legal system and the role of the paralegal in that legal system. 

For more information, visit the program’s webpage