We recognized Montclair State University for offering one of Top Post-Degree Certificate Programs, adding them to our list of top recommendations for students in the area.
We were excited to hear from Nicole A. Fackina, faculty member at Montclair State University, who took the time to answer a few questions about how the school works to create a great student experience that helps prepare graduates for a career in the legal field.
Are you finding a lot of career changers in your program looking to get their start in the legal profession?
Nicole: We have a decent amount of students looking to change careers and head into the legal profession. It is a fairly easy transition for most students. For example, it is a great opportunity for someone in the nursing field to transition into an insurance paralegal. Several fields connect to the legal profession and the paralegal certificate can open many doors in many different facets of employment.
Paralegals are really getting the respect they deserve these days, and taking on more and more responsibilities on the job. How is this changing the approach to educating new paralegals?
Nicole: We are an ABA Approved Program so we are constantly looking to keep up with the evolving job market. We hire experienced attorneys to teach our legal specialty courses and bring real life experiences and assignments into the classroom.
Does the program at your school include an internship and are faculty available to help students find one?
Nicole: We require an internship in our program. It is a 90 hour field experience over a 15 week semester. There is also an academic classroom component. Our Applied Learning Specialist/Internship Coordinator places all our students. The faculty teaching the course along with the Internship Coordinator stay in contact with the student and the site to ensure the best experience possible.
What are some of the things you love most about the paralegal program at your school – the kind of things you’d like future students to know about as they consider their options?
Nicole: I believe each student is entitled to an individualized course of study that works for them. As the Paralegal Director I am the academic advisor to all of the paralegals in the program and I feel responsible for the experience they have in my program. I am caring and most importantly available to meet with students in-person , on the phone or via email at all times. I take pride in watching my students come into the program, grow and learn throughout their time in the program and then keeping in touch with them as they enter into the legal profession. It is important that students know once they leave the program they still have access to all the resources they need to be successful in the field.
Check out our full interview series here to see what other professors and faculty are saying about their paralegal programs.