This is one of those trivia facts that you're not too sure what to do with but makes a difference in how you might perceive the paralegal field.
Most schools, articles, books, tall tales, and verbal chronologies of the paralegal field identify the field as starting in or around 1978 or so. In fact, the first paralegal program at UCLA started about then.
However, in a solicitation for paralegal recruits, the Air Force states that in 1955, paralegals were recognized as their own career field and awarded their own Air Force specialty code. In 1979, the Air Force approved a Community College of the Air Force Associate Degree program.
The reason this impacts what we know about the field, is that we can no longer claim the field is all that new. Identifying the position in 1955 makes this field over 50 years old and hardly the new field, "only 30 years old" as most of us seem to believe. Does that mean we should be further along in development? Does it mean that law firms were even slower then we thought to embrace the concept? Does it mean that the public should be even more aware of proper utilization of paralegals?
On another note, if you're looking for a new employer, this might be attractive to you. Air Force paralegals assist attorneys in providing legal support to commanders, first sergeants and other key personnel on a wide range of legal issues such as international and operational law, civil law, military justice and claims.
In 2003, the paralegal apprentice course opened its doors to non-prior military personnel. New trainees are now given the opportunity to volunteer at basic military training. As part of the application process, new trainees are required to write a biography and be interviewed. The career field is highly competitive and only some of the best are selected.
The paralegal career field is all volunteer, consisting of about 1,440 enlisted Airmen, and is open to military personnel of all AFSCs. To be considered for selection, applicants must be able to type 25 words per minute, have a minimum general aptitude score of 51 on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery examination and have no convictions by courts-martial, Article 15s or civilian court convictions. Minor traffic violations and similar infractions are not considered civilian court convictions. Reserve opportunities as an individual mobilization augmentee are also available. For more information, call Master Sgt. Sandra Pfeffer at Edwards Air Force Base at: 277-4310.