Kelly Menefee is a 2016 JFKU Legal Studies Program graduate that is currently working as a Paralegal.
Q: Why did you choose JFKU’s Legal Studies Program?
A: I wanted to change my career path and had an interest in the law. I felt that the paralegal profession closely matched my existing skill set, while also offering new ideas and areas of learning. JFKU offered a flexible schedule that allowed me to realize my goal while also taking care of my other responsibilities.
Q: You mentioned JFKU allowing you to realize your goal, what were some of the other factors, besides a flexible schedule, that contributed to you achieving this goal?
A: Asking a lot of questions, even when they felt stupid. Also, finding other students to study with and discuss concepts with. I really appreciated that most of the professors were easy to contact and willing to help, even on their days off.
Q: What tips would you give students starting the program that would help them achieve their goals?
A: Find people to study with and bounce ideas off of. Actually do the reading. Don’t wait until the last minute to start projects and tasks. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Q: What guidance would you provide to someone who has not yet started the program but is considering starting the program?
A: You are investing in yourself. Invest big. Believe that you will succeed. Don’t waste opportunities to network.
Q: Now that you know what it is like to work as a paralegal, what do you think are the most important skills for a new paralegal to have?
A: Humility, the willingness to learn without ego and not take things personally. Organization skills. Also, understanding that every mistake is an opportunity to learn and grow.
Q: What does your typical day as a paralegal look like?
A: I spend a lot of time going through financial documents, organizing and making sense of where they belong in the overall timeline of a client’s case. I spend an even greater amount of time doing organizational and preparatory tasks to help the attorney present his/her best case. If that means copying and scanning, then I copy and scan. If that means calling clients to ask questions, or filing something at the courthouse, then that is what I do. I’m learning that this job requires a great amount of flexibility, humility, and the willingness to learn various tasks that may or may not seem related.
Q: Aside from your typical daily projects, are there any projects that are assigned to you on a weekly basis?
A: My weekly projects include billing, correspondence, court filings, preparation of forms, client intake, assistance with trial prep, calendaring, and research.
Q: What do you enjoy most about your job?
A: I like the hands-on learning. Also, I greatly appreciate how kind and accepting my employer and co-workers are as I learn the practical skills that are required. I couldn’t have found a better team.
Q: What type of technology/software do you use to complete the previously mentioned projects?
A: Essential Forms, Rocket Matter, Microsoft Office, and the internet.
Q: What skills did you learn at JFKU that have enabled you to successfully complete the numerous projects you previously mentioned?
A: Number one, oddly enough, is reading a document all the way through before filling in any blanks. This is critical. Additionally, what the paralegal program at JFKU gave me is a sense of understanding about the law and the way the law functions, legal terminology, standards, research and writing. It basically gave me a foundation on which to build my hands-on skill set.
Q: Any parting thoughts or advice you can share with us about your education at JFKU or your current job?
A: I love my job. It is an opportunity every day to learn and expand, and apply what I’ve learned at JFKU. Money well spent.