Building on Success: A Bright Future for Paralegals

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Villanova University College of Professional Studies has been producing high-performing paralegal certificate program graduates for over 30 years, and the future is only getting brighter as we stay on top of the trends and developments in paralegal education. Over the summer the paralegal curriculum underwent a facelift, along with a slew of new faculty hires and a revamped “cohort” format for both the day and evening program. The curriculum was updated to touch on the most relevant and critical information in order for our paralegal graduates to complete the program and transition seamlessly into a leadership role as a paralegal.  

One of the new standout faculty members in the program is Teena Handline ’11 CLAS. Handline has an interesting education and industry background, and will without a doubt bring expertise and useful real life experiences to the classroom. Handline earned her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and became a paralegal upon graduating, focusing on intellectual property law. While she worked as a paralegal, Handline attended Temple Law at night and earned her juris doctorate in 2014.

When asked about the role and necessity of paralegals today, Handline said “I’ve been in law firm settings and legal departments within larger organizations, and the roles of a paralegal differ from setting to setting. But what I’ve found in every situation is that the paralegal function is absolutely critical. You are the primary communicator with clients, you write briefs, research cases, and manage client portfolios, among many other responsibilities. A paralegal is like the neurocenter of the firm or department, and the liaison between client and attorney.”

Handline believes her time working as a paralegal has been invaluable in helping her to get to this point in her career working as a Senior Contract Specialist in Villanova’s Research Administration office. “Starting my professional career as a paralegal taught me people skills, time management, project management and, most importantly, client management. For me the important thing for paralegals to understand is the difference between what’s technically written in the law and how it’s applied in reality. Law school is all about the law. The blend of theory, application and “soft” skills is what given me confidence in my career and taken me in a bit of a non-traditional route as a lawyer.”

If you’re interested in learning more about our full-time day or part-time evening paralegal certificate program, visit paralegal.villanova.edu, call 610-519-4300 or email cps.info@villanova.edu.

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