Committed to Criminal Justice

Paralegal Studies graduate Summer Bosse eyes a district attorney position

UC Berkeley Legal Studies graduate Summer Bosse is motivated.

In 2019, Summer had finished a yearlong internship with the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office and had already been accepted to the University of San Diego School of Law (USD). She also added one more highlight to her burgeoning résumé—all before graduating from UC Berkeley in 2020: Summer completed our Certificate Program in Paralegal Studies.

You may be wondering, she was studying law as part of her undergraduate degree. Why complete a certificate, as well?

“I was looking for a career path that would allow me to work in the legal field and for a certificate that would give me a solid foundation for whatever field I choose to pursue after graduation,” Summer explains.

The field of law had been a draw for Summer long before her studies at Berkeley.

“I've always been interested in law,” she says. “I grew up watching every crime show on TV, but when I realized being a police officer or detective wasn't the right path for me, I looked for another way to be involved in the criminal justice system.”

By spring 2020, her undergraduate résumé also included:

Those summer internship experiences provided her with practical skills outside of academia.

At the Law Offices of John J. Thyne III, she learned how to do research and submissions for federal, state and local government contract bids. Summer also identified possible opportunities for future business and developed processes for her client—a local, minority- and female-owned construction firm—so they could quickly respond to government contracts. She also got a taste of what goes on at court hearings, which she attended with the firm’s lawyers.

As an intern for the Santa Barbara District Attorney’s Office, Summer worked with the assistant district attorney and conducted legal research on pertinent cases and laws. There, she developed a solid understanding of the California judicial system through trial observation and by assisting in trial preparation.

“Completing the whole Paralegal Studies certificate has allowed me to be a well-rounded employee and to work in any field of law.”

After she returned to the Bay Area for the school year, Summer started yet another internship—this time as a paralegal—in the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office.

The knowledge she gained from the Paralegal Studies certificate proved to be relevant to this internship work. She conducted legal research and compiled evidence on multiple felony cases, processed multiple discovery and computer-aided dispatch (CAD) requests, and redacted official court documents for discovery. She also indexed trial and jury selection binders for attorneys in preparation for trials, court hearings and jury selection.

One class that stood out for her is our Paralegal E-Discovery Process and Practice. Because of this course, Summer felt confident in her abilities to have a successful career in the field.

“I worked as an Office intern in the San Francisco District Attorney’s General Felonies, Crime Strategies Unit, and the Child Abuse and Sexual Assault Unit,” Summer tells me. “Working in such a fast-paced environment—where the work can change the lives of victims, loved ones and defendants alike—the certificate gave me an excellent foundation and impressed my boss, too! I was able to easily acclimate to the speed at which paperwork needs to be completed and turned around, and understood all of the legal terminology the lawyers were throwing at me.”

The certificate’s fully online learning format also gave her the flexibility she required.

“This program had been an amazing experience for me and had fit really well with my schedule as a full-time student and an intern for the S.F. District Attorney's Office,” enthuses Summer. “The instructors were always more than helpful and easily accessible! I am ecstatic to have this certificate on my résumé.”

Her pick for favorite paralegal course? Paralegal Intellectual Property Law.

“The Intellectual Property course was so interesting and really relevant for a career dealing with the rise and evolution of technology!”

And not just that, Summer believes that the program is “beyond worth the investment and will provide you with skills that apply to every field.”

She has started to put that statement to the test as she continues her dream of a career in criminal justice by attending USD, best known for its offerings in the areas of business and corporate law, constitutional law, intellectual property, international and comparative law, public interest law and taxation.

“The Paralegal Studies certificate had opened my eyes to so many areas of law that I never would have thought to study, thanks to the diverse selection of electives,” she effuses. “By having a paralegal education in so many different topics of law, I felt more prepared during my undergrad and now law school courses!”

Summer believes having the Certificate Program in Paralegal Studies on her résumé played a part in her acceptance.

“The program showed me that law was a field I wanted to pursue beyond my undergraduate degree,” she says. “It helped me solidify my chosen career path. It taught me skills that I can incorporate into law school. I also think it was a huge accomplishment to put on my résumé that set me apart from other applicants, making me feel more confident in my applications.”

Summer’s goal after law school takes her from her internship experience to her new career: “I hope to work as a district attorney in San Diego, while living in La Jolla with a dog!”