Brookdale Community College has been named the state’s third Best Paralegal Education Provider in the New Jersey Law Journal’s The Best of 2013 survey (see related release). The award is based upon voting by the journal’s 30,000 readers, 70 percent of whom are practicing attorneys. Brookdale was the only community college to make the list, receiving the Bronze Award.
For current students, the honor may mean increased job opportunities, noted Michael Sullivan, director of the Paralegal Studies Program.
“It is a clear indication that the community we’re sending our graduates to is satisfied with the education we’re providing,” Sullivan said. “The very same community that voted will be employing people when they graduate.”
Sullivan credits the award to the caliber of the program and the fact that it is staffed by mainly full-time faculty, allowing students to interact with them on a daily basis.
Of the 20 paralegal programs in New Jersey, Brookdale is one of just 12 in the state approved by the American Bar Association (ABA), he said. ABA approval is an arduous process that involves campus visits every seven years and interim reports, all to ensure that teaching, testing, and resources meet with ABA’s strict guidelines. Brookdale was first granted approval in 2000 and again in 2007.
“We’re always updating the types of software we train our students on, offering more on-line classes and changing the types of upper level classes based upon what the legal community demands,” Sullivan said.
Faculty are experienced attorneys and include Lillian Harris, who draws on a 30-year family law background, Joseph Zavaglia Jr., whose expertise is real estate and entertainment law, and Sullivan, whose specialty is civil litigation and transactional law.
Sullivan, a 1999 Brookdale criminal justice graduate, said he shares the award with them, as well as Business and Technology Division Dean Pat Gallo, learning assistant John Costigan, department secretary Phyllis Nicholson, internship coordinator Jayne McBride, and the department’s adjunct instructors.
“It’s a small team. The recognition is shared by everyone in the department,” he said.