Paralegal Student Spotlight: Jacob Fischer

U.S. Army veteran transferring to U of M Duluth to study criminology

This week is National and Minnesota Paralegal Week (see below).

Jacob Fischer, 27, is earning his Associate of Science (A.S.) in Paralegal at Inver Hills Community College. Jake is on track to graduate in May 2024. He is looking forward to transferring to the University of Minnesota Duluth to complete a B.A. in Criminology with the goal to become a police detective.

Jake: 1st photo in uniform

Jake is inspired to follow that career path from listening to detectives on the job. “I’ve learned how awesome detective work is,” he said. “That makes me want to do it. I would love to work in St. Louis County, which is in the Duluth area. I want to be a homicide/narcotics detective.”

In 2014, Jake was a 17-year-old junior in high school when he joined the U.S. Army Reserves. He served in an 801st Combat Support Hospital Reserve Unit from May 2014 to September 2015. His duties included working as a unit supply specialist and medical logistician.

“I was a split-op, so I did basic training my junior-year summer at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri,” he said, “and then finished Advanced Individual Training at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. I was based in Bartonville, Illinois.”

Jake joined the U.S. Army after completing his service in the Reserves. He was assigned to Alpha Troop 3-71, or 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division. Alpha Troop, also called Apocalypse Troop, is a type of infantry company.

“Apocalypse Troop is one of six toffs, or areas of operation, in the squadron,” Jake explained, “and that is where we do all our daily workouts, training in the motor pool, and also all the chores we must complete five days a week.”

Jake served as an Alpha Fire Team leader, reconnaissance instructor, and combat fire saver. He attained the rank of corporal and was awarded the Army Accommodation Medal, Good Conduct Medal, and NCO Development Ribbon. During his military service, he deployed to Afghanistan and was stationed at Forward Operating Base (FOB) Fenty in Jalalabad.

“I was 5 years old when I saw the Twin Towers come down,” Jake said. “I told my mom that I wanted to enlist in the Army to serve my country.”

When asked how his military experience prepared him for college, Jake said: “To be completely honest, my MOS doesn’t transfer to any college credits, but what my time in the U.S. Army taught me is to be disciplined in the respect of getting everything done efficiently and done to the expectations of my professors.”

When asked what advice he would give young people thinking about volunteering for military service, he said: “Do it! You can enlist and go active for the benefits, but you will also experience what it’s like to be a soldier 24–7.

“Be careful regarding toxic leadership—this kind of leadership will make your career in the military not enjoyable. DO NOT VOLUNTEER yourself to be in the good graces of your leadership; this will make other soldiers hate you. Respect your superiors. Some may be younger than you, but trust me when I say that they have more experience than you.”

Faculty perspective: Chyara Smith-Stopp, JD

Chyara Smith-Stopp, JD

“Jacob’s winning personality comes across loud and clear, even in a virtual environment. His military background and his law enforcement goals provide him with a unique approach to his studies.

“Being able to connect complex legal issues to a client’s specific case is an important skill for any paralegal. Jacob demonstrates this quality by relating material covered in class to his real-world experiences.”

Chyara Smith-Stopp, JD, LLM, MSML
ABA-Approved Paralegal Program Director, Coordinator, and Faculty
Inver Hills Community College

More about Jake…

Jake and Autumn at Hamel Rodeo

Originally from Warrenton, Georgia, Jake graduated from East Peoria High School, Class of 2015. He works while going to Inver Hills as a direct support professional at Living Well Disability Services.

Jake just got married on September 23, 2023. His new bride, Autumn, is a medical student at St. Scholastica studying to be a nurse practitioner or doctor. Jake and Autumn have three dogs, a King Charles Cavalier named Frankie, a Shih Tzu named Nala, and a Morkie named Milo.

In his free time, Jake enjoys reptile handling, baseball, basketball, wrestling, cross country, track, rodeo (bucking broncos, roping, team roping, and steer wrestling), traditional horseback riding, hunting, fishing, camping, kayaking, boating, eating exotic foods, and spending time with his wife and dogs. Cross country, track, and wrestling were sports did in high school.

Jake, Autumn, Frankie, Nala, and Morkie reside in Maple Grove, Minnesota.

Jake life gallery

One word that best describes your experience at Inver Hills:


Jacob Fischer Q & A

Jacob Fischer
What inspired you to enroll in the Paralegal program at Inver Hills?

I wanted to go to law school, and I thought being a paralegal would help me through law school.

What do you like best about the Paralegal program?

Definitely the professors. They all are very understanding and caring individuals. I especially like that they treat this class like we are in an actual law firm.

What advice would you give students thinking about majoring in paralegal studies?

Time management is the key to success. Be organized and read all the case law three times. Read once to get the overall idea of the case, read a second time to understand how the court got to their decision, and then a third to do the IRAC system [Issue, Rule, Application, Conclusion structure of legal analysis] to best understand everything the case is trying to convey.

Trust me, it works, especially if you’re just starting out. Take notes on everything you see and hear; most of the information will show up on the exams in the class.

Three words that describe you as a college student:

What area of the criminal justice field interests you the most and why?

Criminal law is something that I have always enjoyed. I think it’s interesting seeing the aspects of what makes criminals do the crimes they do, and you never really truly understand until you sit face to face with a hardened criminal. That is why I want to become a detective and get my degree in criminology.

What person has influenced your life the most and why?

My wife most definitely. I have never had stability in my life, and my wife and her family have given me that stability. Everyone on her side supports me in everything I do, and push me to do the best I can do in my life.

If you could make one thing happen on Earth right now, what would it be?

No more poverty.

National and Minnesota Paralegal Week
October 22–28, 2023

National Paralegal Day
October 23, 2023

History of National Paralegal Day…¹

National Paralegal Day, an annual event on October 23, celebrates those who do the legal research (and mountains of paperwork) that enables law firms to function. Attorneys, who are ultimately responsible for a paralegal’s work, depend greatly on these men and women to get things right. That means having a firm grasp on the facts and the law.

Whether you call yourself a paralegal or a legal assistant, the work is basically the same—to be an essential part of an attorney’s administrative team.  As the need for attorneys continues to grow, skilled paralegals are increasingly in demand. If you’re currently working in the profession or considering working as a paralegal in the future, National Paralegal Day has abundant information to get you up to speed on what the job entails and what kinds of certifications (if any)  are required.

As far back as the early 1970s, interest was stirred about the need for an organized group of paralegals and legal assistants.  This challenging job involves preparing and copying boatloads of legal documents like wills, real estate closings, affidavits and more, assisting attorneys with cases and trial prep and working with clients.


Jacob Fischer 12 Answers

  1. Favorite sport or physical activity: Rodeo
  2. Place you would most like to visit: Greece
  3. Most exciting thing you’ve ever done: Shooting a .50 caliber machine gun
  4. Three things you would do if you won a $1 billion lottery: 1) Get my wife and myself out of debt and buy property 2) Help our families out of debt 3) Give our kids a college fund, so they can become successful like their mom and me
  5. Best book or movie you’ve read or seen lately: A Haunting in Venice
  6. Time period (past or future) you would explore if you could time travel: 1861 to meet Abraham Lincoln
  7. One thing you most want to accomplish in your life: Being a good dad
  8. Your national bird if you were your own country: Peregrine falcon
  9. Dream occupation: Homicide detective/undercover detective
  10. Person you would most like to meet: Donald Trump
  11. Skill you would most like to learn and master: Making my own sushi
  12. Most important issue or problem facing humankind: Trusting the government to do right by the people
Learn more about the Paralegal program at Inver Hills by contacting:

Admissions Team
College Center

¹ SOURCE: National Today

More about the Paralegal program

Approved by the American Bar Association since 1978, the Paralegal program at Inver Hills Community College prepares you to work under the supervision of attorneys in civil and criminal matters. Paralegals work in a range of legal practices such as probate, wills and estates, real estate, employment law, transactional, criminal law, and corporate law.

Please note that paralegals cannot give legal advice, represent clients in court, or otherwise engage in the unauthorized practice of law. The practice of law by non-attorneys is strictly prohibited by law.

As a graduate of the Paralegal program, you will have completed quality, practical coursework primarily in an online synchronous class format along with a paralegal internship. You will be equipped to assume the general and ethical responsibilities of a professional paralegal.


Paralegal Associate of Science (A.S.): 60 credits
Paralegal certificate: 30 credits

>>> Paralegal program planning guide

Why enroll in the Paralegal program at Inver Hills?

Outstanding career outlook.
Paralegals in Minnesota earn more than $30 an hour on average with top earners in the Twin Cities area topping $40 an hour. The job outlook statewide is impressive, posting a growth rate approaching 11 percent.

Cutting-edge legal technology.
You will sharpen your paralegal skill set using Westlaw for online legal research, the National Society for Legal Technology for top legal software programs, and e-filing and e-recording for state and federal court systems.

Topflight professional oversight.
A dedicated, diverse Paralegal Advisory Committee of legal professionals supports our program to keep our curriculum up to date on legal trends.

ABA approved to ensure quality.
Our Paralegal program is approved by the American Bar Association (ABA) with continual re-approval since 1978.

Highly rated, experienced faculty.
Our instructors have extensive legal backgrounds in their practice areas, considerable teaching experience, and a strong commitment to students.

Reputation for excellence.
Top-rated program by area legal employers, legal recruiters, and internship supervisors. Our program coordinator is an experienced instructor and attorney with a passion for student success.

Your doorway to the legal profession.
Paralegals are legal professionals trained to assist lawyers in a broad range of substantive legal work. Paralegals find careers in a number of fields, including professional, scientific, and technical services as well as the management and administration of organizations.

Paralegals and Legal Assistants

Assist lawyers by investigating legal facts or preparing legal documents.


This career that pays above the statewide median of $24.25/hour


Median: $30.15/hour
High: $39.72/hour

Seven-county Twin Cities metro

Median: $30.70/hour
High: $40.89/hour


In Minnesota, there are 6,140 workers employed in this medium-sized career, which is in high demand and seeing high growth compared to other careers. Growth rate in the U.S. is 12 percent.

There will be a need for about 6,746 new Paralegals and Legal Assistants to meet market demand between 2020-2030. This includes the demand due to replacement (workers leaving the occupation or retiring) as well as growth.

SOURCE: Minnesota State CAREERwise Education (October 10, 2023)

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