From Paralegal to General Counsel: the Dream Ascension of a Legal Career is Possible

Many young paralegals dream of one day working as an attorney at either a prestigious law firm or a large corporation. This type of career advancement requires skill, determination, unwavering commitment and of course, consistent hard work.

Shawn Harju is proof positive that it’s not impossible to achieve such a goal and is living her dream as General Counsel at Dunkin and Bush, Inc, a position that was created specifically for her. Her evolution is as inspiring as it is admirable.

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It wasn’t easy for Harju to get to where she is today, however, especially in a field that has been historically difficult for women to advance in. She entered the workforce as a Legal Assistant, where she spent 7 years before becoming a Paralegal, a position that many people spend a fair amount of time in on their journeys to becoming attorneys. She spent a mere two years as a Paralegal before becoming an associate at her firm and then advanced to become a shareholder.   None of these positions can compare to being General Counsel, she admits.

At Dunkin and Bush, Harju is able to utilize all the unique and diverse skills she has acquired during her storied career. She can still research legal issues and write a brief or two – which is something she would have done back when she was a Paralegal – but she is also able to branch out and take advantage of the full spectrum of her abilities at maximum capacity.

Offering legal counsel, working with other colleagues, supervising and negotiating contracts are all in her job description, amongst many other things, which provides her with the valuable opportunity to continue to learn and evolve, something she has already demonstrated she is an expert in.

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