A midlife career change brings Kamal Chatman to Tri-C's paralegal program
December 14, 2017
Kamal Chatman spent two decades as an educator before becoming a student at Cuyahoga Community College.
A midlife decision to change professions brought Chatman to Tri-C in January 2017. He enrolled in the College’s Paralegal Studies program and began chasing his childhood dream of a career in law.
The 44-year-old will graduate this month with a post-degree professional certificate in his new field.
“I woke up one morning and thought, ‘I really don’t want to do what I’m doing anymore,’” Chatman said. “I decided right then to go back to what I always felt passionate about doing. I wanted to be in law.”
So Chatman left his post as CEO and superintendent of a Cleveland charter school and began classes at Tri-C’s Western Campus near his Parma home. He carried a 4.0 GPA into his final semester.
The stellar grades come as no surprise, given his previous academic success. Chatman already holds a bachelor’s degree from Kent State University and a master’s degree from Youngstown State University.
Those degrees powered a successful career in education that included time as a teacher and administrator. Still, he was nervous about returning to the classroom as a student.
“It had been a long time,” Chatman said, “and it was something completely new to me.”
Paralegal students at Tri-C receive a general legal education with coursework in civil procedure, basic legal research and writing, computer-assisted legal research, and various paralegal specialty areas.
Chatman quickly put his lessons to use in a College-arranged internship at a North Royalton law firm.
“Everything they gave me, I knew how to do it,” Chatman said. “I didn’t have to ask questions. I was just able to delve in and do the work. It really showed how well Tri-C prepared me. I know I’m ready.”
He intends to work as a paralegal for a few years after graduation to gain experience in the field. Chatman said he is considering whether to pursue a law degree.