Karin Derry Named New Chair of DMACC’s Paralegal Program

Posted 10/5/2021

​​​​Derry has Experience as a Human Resources Manager, University Professor, Attorney and State Representative

  • Karin Derry will serve as Chair of the Paralegal Program and teach classes as well.

  • Derry has a diverse background working for nonprofit, for-profit and government sectors.

  • Derry said there is a need for paralegals and that the DMACC Program has been meeting the needs of the legal community.

Karin Derry of Johnston has been selected as the new Chair of the DMACC Paralegal Program that is housed at the DMACC Urban Campus​ in Des Moines.

“Karin comes to DMACC with a very diverse and experienced background," said DMACC Urban Campus Provost Dr. Anne Howsare Boyens. “She is the type of person we need to lead our Paralegal program through the changes occurring within the legal community."

Derry has Human Resources Management experience, working at Lutheran Social Service of Iowa, Easter Seals of Iowa and Broadlawns Medical Center.

She then went to law school and became an attorney, clerking for Justice David Baker on the Iowa Supreme Court, then joining the Whitfield & Eddy firm. She served as a Corporate Attorney for DHI Group from 2011 through 2018.

Derry was elected to the Iowa House of Representatives serving District 39 from January 2019 through January 2021.

“My background as an educator, HR leader, legislator and attorney has helped me in the classroom," Derry said. “Teaching requires not only a strong understanding of the subject but also the ability to listen carefully, communicate effectively, create and execute plans, meet deadlines, and organize information - the same skills I've used as an attorney, HR leader and legislator.  These are also the skills that I reinforce with students because they are important in the paralegal profession!"

While Derry is Chair of the Paralegal Program, she will also be teaching four classes each semester.

She said she feels fortunate to be stepping into a well-run program that has seen growth in enrollment. Derry said there is a need for paralegals and that the DMACC program is an important resource for the legal community.

“We will continue to monitor trends, developments, and issues in the paralegal profession, including the job market, as well as assess the effectiveness of the program in terms of student performance and meeting the changing needs of the legal community," noted Derry.

DMACC Paralegal graduates assist attorneys with many daily activities including doing research, helping to develop briefs and meeting with clients. A Paralegal is also good preparation for law school, providing pre law students with experience and confidence to excel.

Derry said an advantage of offering so many of the classes virtually is that it allows students from all over Iowa to enroll in DMACC Paralegal courses.

“The program has a good home with a lot of support for students on the Urban Campus. It's also close to many law firms and corporations located next door in downtown Des Moines," Derry said.

The former legislator earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Iowa, and then a Master of Public Administration and law degree, graduating with highest honors from Drake University.

Derry and her husband, Jeff, are long-time residents of Johnston, where they have raised their three children, David, Joseph and Karleen.

To learn about the DMACC Paralegal Program, visit dmacc.edu/prog​rams/paralegal​.

For more information, contact: Karin Derry, kderry3@dmacc.edu

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