MLS LP Grad Will Address Gaps in Family Law through Legal Paraprofessional Training by Helping Low-income Community and Domestic Violence Survivors

April 20, 2023

“There is a huge need for resources and assistance in family law that continues to build. I plan to focus on addressing these gaps and doing what I can to help with my certification.”

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Name: Kayla Mariah Batt-Hernandez 
Hometown: Nogales, AZ 
Degree: Masters in Legal Studies (MLS) with a Legal Paraprofessional Certification 
Awards, Student Groups, Clinics, Journals, etc.: Marshall Foundation LP Scholarship Recipient 

What initially inspired you to get your Legal Paraprofessional (LP) certificate, and has that changed over the course of your studies? I have always been interested in family law. However, when I initially started my MLS degree, I wasn’t sure which endorsement I wanted to pursue. I discovered the LP certificate and realized this would be a great avenue that would allow me to focus my career in an area I was passionate about. Getting certified as an LP in family law would allow me to utilize my academic career (BA in Law and the MLS) and experiences to work in a field that deserves more resources and attention.  

Why did you choose University of Arizona Law? I loved my time as an undergraduate student completing my BA in Law at University of Arizona Law. The professors, curriculum, and opportunities were excellent and helped my professional development immensely. I knew that I would eventually come back to pursue an MLS degree as well and it has been just as worthwhile. 

Why would you recommend the LP Certificate program? The curriculum and experiences that are part of this program go a long way towards professional development. This program forges a path that allows students to gain an in depth understanding of the system and how they can apply it in their future endeavors as an LP. With the Legal Paraprofessional field gaining traction, I think this program will only continue to grow and improve.  

What will you miss most about your time at University of Arizona Law? I will miss having a community to continue to learn and grow with. While I have no doubt that I will continue being a lifelong learner, having the access and availability to learn from so many prominent faculty members alongside my classmates has been such an important part of the experience for me and I will miss it.  

What was your favorite experience or extracurricular activity, and why? My favorite part of the experience would have to be getting to spend a semester in University of Arizona Law’s Family Law Clinic. The hands-on experience was what helped me really comprehend the complexities of the legal processes involved. Getting to help community members at no cost to them was amazing and I loved my time there. 

What are you most proud of while at University of Arizona Law? I’m proud of the time and effort I put into the completion of my academic career. Balancing working full-time, school, and my home life was difficult, but I am proud to have made it through with a great academic standing.  

Are there any particular issues or causes within the legal system that you are passionate about or want to address in your career? As an LP certified in Family Law, I want to be able to work directly with low-income community members and domestic violence survivors to provide my services. There is a huge need for resources and assistance in family law that continues to build. I plan to focus on addressing these gaps and doing what I can to help with my certification.  

What are your future career plans? I hope to use my degree and LP certification to work with legal aid groups that direct their services to those in need. I would like to continue to build and add to my experiences, maybe even try for additional certifications further down the line, to be able to fully take on a worthwhile Legal Paraprofessional career.   

Looking back on your experience, what would you have done differently or what advice would you give to your younger self? Going back, I would tell my younger self not to stress so much about my future plans. I got to where I am through hard work, success, and failures. Every obstacle was necessary and every success worth celebrating. I would tell her to just enjoy the journey. 

Message for your fellow Class of 2023: To the class of 2023, I hope you will all continue to find success and passion in your individual journeys! Congratulations for everything you have achieved so far!