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home : news : news May 14, 2021

3/7/2021 5:55:00 PM
Gaston College Alumna Uses Skills At Law Firm
Joie Da Cruz is paralegal for King Law
Joie Da Cruz (Photo Courtesy of Gaston College)
Joie Da Cruz 

(Photo Courtesy of Gaston College)

Lincoln Herald Staff

You might say Gaston College helped her Cruz to success.

Joie Da Cruz is bringing her paralegal skills and unique perspective to her job with the Charlotte-based King Law Offices. According to Gaston College spokeswoman Stephanie Michael-Pickett, Da Cruz is a 2020 graduate of the school’s paralegal technology program, and she works as a paralegal and personal injury case manager for King Law.

A Namibian native, raised in her African nation’s capital of Windhoek, Da Cruz’s first exposure to the legal system came at age 18, when she was hired as a typist for court proceedings in the Katutura Magistrate Court House. She networked with several attorneys and court reporters that encouraged her to study to be a paralegal. She came to America five years ago, settling in North Carolina to enroll in Gaston College’s paralegal technology program, according to Lisa Albright Jurs, dean of the school’s career and technical education program.

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“Joie was a conscientious and curious paralegal student,” said Jurs. “It was not enough for her to do well. She wanted to truly understand the concepts we studied. Joie also brought a unique, international perspective to the classroom. She will be an excellent paralegal because she has a calm demeanor and values listening to and understanding others.”

Da Cruz speaks English, French, Portuguese, Afrikaans, Lingala and Nama-Damara. Besides America, she has been to seven other countries and hopes to travel more. 

The college’s work-study program gave Da Cruz the opportunity to work in an administrative role at its radio station, WSGE. She also participated in the school’s internship program, where she got more legal job experience as an administrative assistant in the public defender’s office at the Gaston County Courthouse.

“The paralegal technology program from start to finish was very educative,” said Da Cruz. “Lisa Jurs and all the classes she taught, especially the research class, have helped me a lot in my daily job. She emphasized the importance of proofreading. When I began working at King Law Offices, I quickly picked up that I would be doing a lot of these two things. I also appreciate the work-study program. Because of this program, I began my career in administration at WSGE. The experience I gained there helped me tremendously in the job market.”

For their help, she cited station manager-program director Cathis Hall, administrative assistant Barbara Gordon and assistant program director-music director Tim Greene.

Da Cruz intends to stay with King Law and gain more experience. But she has no plans to seek a law degree.

“It simply does not fit with my personality,” she said. “I am, however, on a continuous self-betterment journey with books I read daily and podcasts I listen to in the car.”

Da Cruz added that she is thinking of taking courses in business professionalism, psychology, accounting and finance. She’s pleased with her current status, personally and career-wise.

“Firstly,” she said, “I must thank God for taking care of me so far away from home and for just being good to me and giving me peace in all the challenges I have faced. Secondly, I must thank my amazing parents, J.P. and Rina Da Cruz. They have set me up to succeed, to be the best I can be and to go beyond what they have achieved in their own lives. My parents walked so I can run. They have given me a college debt-free life, and I appreciate them for that.” 

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