Preparing Students for Careers in the Legal Field
Steve Adubato goes One-on-One with Patricia Greer, Esq., Chair, Legal Studies Department, Berkeley College, to talk about the current legal landscape and prepping students for careers in the legal field.
"We are pleased to welcome Patti Greer, who is Chair of Legal Studies, Berkeley College School of Professional Studies. How you doing? I'm doing well. How are you doing Steve? We're doing great. We actually had a conversation with our friend Patrick Dunican at a law firm right around here, Gibbons, who talked about the business of law and how it's changing dramatically. So you and your colleagues are teaching, on some level, the business of law, and who are you teaching it to? Yes. So we are teaching the business of law to our students, who basically want to come into, you know, a legal studies program, either as a career change, or as the first time out of high school looking to get into the field. How do we teach the business of law? We have a specific course on law firm management and administration. But, you know, we try to, in all of our courses, give the real life experience, you know, examples to our students of, okay, when we're practicing law, this is, you know, this is what happens. So they like that. They like that real life experience. So is it paralegal? Because I know you have a paralegal program. Yes. So we have a legal studies program. Right. Where we prepare students to either go into the paralegal profession or there are those students who also want to go to law school. So we have two. So it's so interesting. Okay, I'm sorry for interrupting. No problem. I was saying to you that I've done some leadership development with people who are lawyers, and I'll often say to them, "Look, I know you're telling me you only want to, quote, 'do the law.' You study the law. You love the law." And I'll say, "Okay." Right. "Great. But you also have a responsibility to build business, to build relationships, to understand..." I don't like using the term "sales" but that's part of it? Right. Right. Am I wrong? You're definitely not wrong. I mean, in today's day and age, any... obviously any law firm is a business. So anyone who wants to work for a law firm has to recognize the fact that, you know, there is that responsibility on the business end to, you know, cultivate relationships. Even at the level of a legal assistant. You know? Especially if you want to advance. I mean, that's you know, that's... it's just necessary in today's world. Is the legal field flooded right now? Are there too many lawyers? Well New Jersey does have the dubious distinction of having the greatest number of attorneys for the population. [laughter] So... Is that true? I... [laughter] We're number one? I... as far as I know, but you can fact check me on that. Is..."