Sometimes things are just meant to be. That would certainly be an appropriate way of describing Jenni Burton’s journey to MTI College.
A 2012 graduate of the Paralegal Studies program at MTI, Burton never really expected her professional life to go in the direction of a legal career. Born and raised in what she describes as the Sacramento “bubble,” Burton simply knew that she had a passion for helping people.
After graduating high school in 2006, her mind was set—she was going to attend a local junior college and pursue a degree in nursing. But as she started down that path, Burton quickly discovered that the extreme demand for nursing degrees in the area meant that she would likely have to wait for entry into her program.
“I would have had to wait longer than I wanted to, and I knew I didn’t want to put my career on hold that long. So I had to rethink what direction I wanted to go.”
One thing Burton was sure of was that she still wanted to embark on a career in a field where she would be able to make a difference in people’s lives. And another profession in which she knew that would be the case was law.
“The idea of being in a position of standing up for ‘the little guy’ and making sure people who find themselves in tough situations had the best possible advocates backing them up was really appealing to me.”
Being from the Sacramento area, Burton had heard of MTI College and was aware that it offered accelerated programs, but at first that was all she really knew. She determined that a paralegal studies program was the best fit for what she wanted, and as she researched area programs the picture became even clearer.
A friend of Burton’s was very familiar with MTI and helped open Burton’s eyes to just how respected the school was. She then discovered that the Paralegal Studies program at MTI was approved by the American Bar Association (ABA)—which distinguished it from other respected programs in the area—and her decision became clear.
“Being ABA approved is a very big deal. It means that that program is held to a higher standard than others. Another great thing about MTI that I found was how flexible they are with students, giving many options for them to complete the program.”
Throughout this time, Burton had been working at Raley’s Supermarket, in its online customer service department. When customers put in their grocery orders online, Burton was one of the team members who would put those orders together and have them ready for the customers to pick up.
And as luck would have it, many of her regular customers were attorneys.
“I remember I’d be talking with them and they’d always say how respected the MTI program was in their professional circles. How they knew that anyone coming from the MTI paralegal program would be so well versed and prepared to enter the legal field that they’d usually hire them on the spot.”
It didn’t stop there.
One of her regular customers at Raley’s was an attorney at a major Sacramento law firm and actually worked with Burton to get her foot in the door at that firm while she was working her way through the program at MTI. At first she started working as a file clerk. From there she moved on to reception and calendaring and then helping with discovery.
“That was another great thing about the MTI program. I was able to apply what I learned in my program on the job.”
She continued her work with the law firm as she completed her courses in the Paralegal Studies program, utilizing MTI’s convenient day and evening course options and four-day class week. Since she’d completed general education courses at the junior college she had attended, Burton would only need one-and-a-half years to complete the program.
She stayed with the firm for a couple years and, after completing the program at MTI, put her credentials to work at another firm specializing in employment law, where she continues to work today, helping stand up for the little guy.
“It feels good knowing that I’m playing a major role in helping people who need support. And I’m constantly amazed at just how comprehensive and relevant the MTI paralegal program is. I felt totally prepared coming out of the program and do feel like I was ready to hit the ground running.”
Other aspects of Burton’s MTI experience she appreciates are the bonds and friendships she was able to build. To this day she remains close with several of the students that she was grouped with in her last full year of the program.
In her time away from work, Burton most enjoys relaxing and spending time with her husband, Josh—also a graduate of MTI’s Paralegal Studies program—as well as their two children. The couple is currently remodeling their home, and the entire family enjoys taking care of their two dogs and two cats.
“And maybe one of these days we’ll get chickens, but who knows.”
Regardless, Burton says she will always believe in MTI and its mission of empowering students to achieve their professional goals. And to those students who are considering enrolling at MTI, her advice is simple.
“Don’t hold back. MTI is an amazing school with amazing programs. Don’t sell yourself short when it comes to your future or your education. They’re very supportive and focused on giving every student the support he or she needs to succeed. The really want to know you on an individual level, and that’s something you really don’t see that often in higher education.”