The legal field is wonderfully diverse and a paralegal is equally as important to a legal team as a lawyer. If everyone whose job duties were akin to that of a paralegal disappeared for a day, legal proceedings would come to a lurching halt.
Fourth-semester Paralegal Studies student Natacha Clicteur wanted to invest in a career that would provide her with future job security, but more than anything she wanted to enter into a field that is exciting, varied and intellectually stimulating.
"With paralegal you do all of the dirty work, so you research, read, learn about the cases. It's amazing how whatever you do, there's an answer for it," says Clicteur. "I love to research those facts."
Clicteur's investment in her academic program didn't come without its share of stops and starts. She arrived at NCC in 2010 with little idea of what path she should take, so she spoke with admissions counselor Virginia Gonzalez and decided to participate in a series of career analysis studies to see what fields might be the best fit for her. When Paralegal Studies continued to reappear in the results, Clicteur decided to do some investigating.
"I researched. I observed. I shadowed. I went to court and I just fell in love with it," she explains. "Then I took the Intro to Paralegal course here with Professor [John] Thomas, and I fell in love with that, too. I kept on going and going, and now I'm one semester away from graduation."
There are many categories of the law, from criminal law to family law to contract law. Clicteur can see herself gravitating toward the latter of the three listed, primarily because of the diversity involved, and knowing that no one day in contract law will be the same as the next.
"I took a contract law class and it gave me the idea of what kind of bilateral and unilateral contracts there are, and what should be in them. My teacher, Jennifer Sletvold, was just absolutely fantastic, as well. It's always different. There's always a loophole, you have to put everything in writing. Contracts actually can really fall into every category of law."
Clicteur is looking forward to interning at the end of the semester and hopes to continue her education beyond Northampton, possibly to provide her with a background that will enable her to work in family law.
"My plan sounds awesome on paper but will probably be different," says Clicteur. "The great thing about the paralegal field is, I can work in one area, but with that experience I can also work in 20 more areas."
Name: Natacha Clicteur
Major: Paralegal Studies
Projected Graduation Date: 2013