A group of recent Daemen College paralegal studies program student alumni took to their seats on Wednesday, Feb. 22, before a gathering of current and perspective paralegal studies students in Rosary Hall.
Before moderating an hour long discussion with student alumni, Assistant Professor and Director of the paralegal studies program Margaret Phillips acknowledged the recent accreditation of the paralegal program at Daemen by the American Bar Association.
Phillips spoke enthusiastically saying that the accreditation from the A.B.A was a “stamp of approval” for Daemen’s 6-year-old paralegal studies program.
Phillips added that the accreditation indicated that Daemen has a “high quality program” and that the news was a “good way to commemorate where we are.”
New York State does not define education requirement for paralegals. However, employers in the state continue to higher more educated professionals.
Robert Altenburger, who now works as an analyst at M&T Bank, said that though his job is not amerced “directly” in law, many of the skills he learned in the paralegal studies program at Daemen have been “applied” to his current job.
Samantha Spicer graduated from Daemen in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies, to which she credits in giving her the “opportunity to go to law school.” She is currently in her third year of law school at the University of Buffalo.
Spicer expressed a sense of appreciation and reminiscence, when she said, “I wanted to cry when I came on campus today.”
Spicer was quick to endorse her own experience at law school but added that before you make the decision to go to law school, you have to address the situation and make sure that it is “in tune with your strengths.”
She continued, “it is important to have a willingness to learn, because the law is always changing.”
Ryanne Vekich, a 2016 bachelor’s paralegal graduate works for the Law Office of Roland M. Cercone. She works in personal injury law.
Vekich, said that it’s very important for her to be “personable” as her job often includes “talking to the clients”
Casey Oliphant, a 2016 bachelor’s paralegal graduate works at the law firm of Seaman Norris. She stated that she works for “five attorneys,” one of which is state assemblyman Michael Norris.
When it comes to working with Assemblyman Norris, it is her job to keep record of what “he can be involved in and what he can’t.” For example, she says that Norris is legally required to “avoid state interest.”
Breanna Reilly, another Daemen paralegal studies alumni is in her first year of law school. She enjoys law school but says you have to be “100% committed” and that her friend recently “dropped out” because she didn’t have the passion for law.
Reilly pointed out the strenuous readings that makes up a large part of law school saying, “if you miss one reading it is very hard to catch up.”
After the discussion ended, current and prospective paralegal students were given a chance to meet and greet both Director Margaret Phillips and the five former Daemen Paralegal Studies students present.
Director Margaret Phillips reiterated her excitement surrounding the Daemen paralegal A.B.A accreditation, and made the case that the news was not just symbolic, that in fact the accreditation was an important aspect of “housekeeping” and that it would lead to “increased enrollment” in the program.
An event designed to spread the word and answer questions about the College’s Paralegal studies program did just that. The discussion was wide ranging, touching on various aspects of the paralegal program and its translation to employment and extended education.