As part of our ongoing series that highlights NHTI alumni, the following blog post is written by Jennifer Codding, Paralegal Studies certificate graduate in the class of 2000.
In 1998, I was working as a correctional officer at Valley Street Jail in Manchester. After 3 years of working in that tough environment, I decided it was time for a change. I already had my Bachelor of Arts from UNH in English/Journalism, but because I had little job experience, I needed to add something to my resume to make me more desirable to employers.
After considering options, I decided to apply for the Paralegal certificate program at NHTI. In researching the program, I found that not only did it introduce students to various legal subjects, but it gave students a practical understanding of what a paralegal position entailed.
My fondest memory of the program was when we took a field trip to Franklin Pierce Law Center to view the school’s law library and learn how to research case law. At the time there was one law student studying in the section where we were working, and I remember thinking two things: 1. I was glad I was not him, and 2. I wasn’t smart enough to be a law student.
Before I even finished the program, I landed a paralegal position with a small law firm assisting an attorney with transactional real estate matters. For 10 years I worked as a real estate paralegal and loved my job, but found that I was no longer challenged.
Without anyone knowing, I applied to law school. I was shocked when I was accepted at multiple schools and found out indeed I was smart enough to be a law student! I selected Franklin Pierce Law Center as my school. In 2010, I graduated from Franklin Pierce’s prestigious Daniel Webster Honors Program and went on to pass both the New Hampshire bar exam and the Florida bar exam.
Today I practice real estate transactions and litigation at Massey Law Group, P.A. in St. Petersburg, Fla. I am thankful for my experience at NHTI because it helped give me the knowledge, confidence, and practical experience necessary to do what I do today.