The Honorable Justice Richard Huffman has been Chairman of the USD Paralegal Program Advisory Board and Curriculum Advisor for the past 15 years.
With this lofty title, Justice Huffman is charged with ensuring that ABA guidelines are followed and that the curriculum fulfills the ABA's statement that "the primary concern of a legal assistant is to develop occupational competence."
The Advisory Board is comprised of practicing attorneys, paralegals, university administrators and legal professionals who meet regularly to discuss current trends in the legal profession.
"Participation of a committed advisory board provides the program a solid anchor in the legal community," said Justice Huffman. "The board has been of assistance in formulating the curriculum and in making USD's graduates more valuable to future employers. Board members have also provided access to excellent internships for the students."
"The roles of paralegals have expanded over the years," said Justice Huffman, in regards to the evolution of the paralegal profession. "They are being used extensively in government and industry as well as in the traditional law firms. While paralegals will always be an asset to litigation firms and those engaging in a business practice, they will be seen more frequently in the future in businesses which must deal with a wide array of regulatory agencies. Trained paralegals will likely be used to aid corporate counsel in areas of regulatory compliance in addition to the more traditional tasks performed by paralegals in the legal profession."
Justice Huffman works closely with Program Director Sue Sullivan to evaluate faculty, exams and course content to ensure a quality program for USD students. He meets regularly with faculty to ensure that teaching methods facilitate practical knowledge used by working paralegals.
Maintaining high classroom standards is key to a successful program.
"I think it is clear that the graduates of the USD program are well respected by the legal profession," he said. "The longevity and excellence of the USD Paralegal Program has established a reputation in the legal community that is not equaled by other paralegal training programs."