Back in October 2021, I was interviewed by Kyla Woods at Fleming College for a Graduate Profile piece that has now been published on the Fleming College website. If you are interested in reading more detail behind that article, below you can read my full answers to her questions.
1. What program did you complete and what was your year of graduation?
I’ve completed a few programs at Fleming College. In 2013 I graduated from the General Arts and Science University Transfer Certificate program and went onto Trent University to complete my Bachelors in 2015, just two short years later. After one year of working full time, I decided to go back to college and enrolled in the Paralegal/ Law Clerk Dual Diploma program. Since I had a degree at that point, I was able to skip the first semester and start right into semester two. I graduated from the Paralegal program in 2017, and the Law Clerk program in 2018.
2. Can you describe your time at Fleming College?
My time at Fleming College was challenging… but in a good way. Every day I was learning something new and getting pushed out of my comfort zone. For example: public speaking used to terrify me, but during my time at Fleming I learned that not only was I good at it, I actually enjoyed making oral arguments.
3. How did your education influence your career?
Short answer: my education created my career path, rather than influenced it.
When I first started at Fleming College back in 2012, law wasn’t even on my radar. But my sociology class covered international development, which then led me to majoring in International Development Studies at Trent University. During my last year at Trent, I took courses such as Law, Rights and Development and Global Migration, which really drew me towards immigration law. I then headed back to Fleming College to the dual diploma program, which taught me that owning my own law office was not only possible, but I wouldn’t have to go to law school to make it happen.
4. What inspired you to open up your own immigration and paralegal law office?
After working with various law firms and in-house legal departments, I came to realize that many young professionals believe there are only two options when dealing with a legal matter: they either go to a lawyer or self-represent. And if they do decide to seek help, they look for someone to guide them through that one specific issue and hope it is dealt with quickly before invoices start racking up. The problem with this is that legal support is only sought after when there is a problem; it is perceived that justice is only for those that can afford a lawyer, and that anything “legal” is “Kafkaesque”. This is a serious gap in the legal industry and where I hope my business can step in.
Whether it’s study permits, lease agreements, employment contracts, or fellow legal professionals running their own law firms or businesses (all positive and exciting new chapters in life), my hope is that young professionals realize that they can have access to justice and that there are other legal professionals (such as paralegals and immigration consultants) that can help them through the many legal matters (positive and negative) that will pop up in their lifetime. My goal is to build solid, long-term relationships with my clients so they know they have someone they can lean on that can steer them in the right direction (even if that is right into a lawyer’s office).
5. Do you plan on hiring Fleming grads and/or current students at your business?
Absolutely! Spring 2021 I took on my first placement student (who is now a fully licensed paralegal) and another paralegal student this fall 2021. I would like to take on students annually and provide them with the exact placement opportunity that I would want. I was lucky enough to have a great placement experience (which led to full time employment before I even graduated from Fleming College) and want to pay that forward!
6. What’s your message to young entrepreneurs that are looking to chase their dream of opening a business but hesitant due to current circumstances?
Go for it! There will never be a “perfect” time to start. There will always be roadblocks in the way and challenges to overcome, but if you keep on dreaming about it, you will eventually find a way to make it work. The great part about being an entrepreneur is that you call all the shots. You can make it whatever you want it to be so find motivation in that and just pull the trigger!
Co-Written by Kyla Woods and Rebecca B. Tripp
Edited by Lucas Wynheart
Originally posted December 22, 2021
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