Paralegal Studies Grad Receives Honor

Catherine O’Neill, a graduate of Raritan Valley Community College in Branchburg, New Jersey, recently received the annual Baker & Rannells Paralegal Studies Student Graduate Award at a ceremony held at the College’s main campus.

The award was established by and named after Baker & Rannells, a local law firm specializing in intellectual property and copyright law. The award is given every year and recognizes a RVCC student in the Paralegal Studies program who graduates with a Certificate or an Associate of Applied Science and who exemplifies a high academic standard while also demonstrating a firm commitment to an “ethic of justice, fairness, and integrity.”

Baker & Rannells’ Business and Operations Development Manager, James F. Nielsen, Jr., stated that the law firm has employed several graduates of the Paralegal Studies program at RVCC, all of whom have had a positive impact on the firm and its reputation in the community. Nielsen said that the annual award is the firm’s way of giving back to the community and thanking the College for quality education it provides its paralegal students. The award included a $500 prize and a certificate of recognition.

O’Neill graduated from Harvard University in 1992 and joined the US Army two years later. After serving in the military, she held several temporary positions at various law firms in New Jersey, and in 2013 she enrolled in the Paralegal Studies program at RVCC.

O’Neill says it has been a dream of hers to become a paralegal and she earned a cumulative grade point average of 4.0 on a 4-point scale to graduate summa cum laude from the program.

The Paralegal Studies Certificate Program at Raritan Valley Community College is geared toward students who have already obtained or are in the midst of obtaining a degree in another field outside of paralegal studies. The program is approved by the American Bar Association and features courses in every area of law including Real estate and family law, litigation, and research and writing.