Archive | November, 2013

Professional Networking: The Benefits of Informational Interviewing

26 Nov

informational interviewIn the business world, finding a job is often more about who you know rather than what you know. This is very important to those of us who are finishing up our Paralegal degrees and will soon be hitting the pavement searching for the perfect job. Websites such as are very helpful for setting up a professional profile and beginning your network of business professionals. You may have success finding the right job this way, but there are other options to consider as well.

A fantastic way to meet others in your field as well as get to know the “ins and outs” of companies in your area that may be looking to hire people with your expertise is to practice a type of networking known as informational interviewing. A good definition of an informational interview is “a meeting between you and a professional. The purpose is to help define your career options or research a company where you want to work. It is NOT a job interview. Do not expect anyone to make you an offer.”

The first step is to find places in your area that you want to learn more about and would be interested in working. Next, find someone you would like to interview. This could be a paralegal with the company, a lawyer, or an administrative professional. There are several articles available on how you should approach the person you choose to ask for an interview.

Once you have the interview you should compile a list of questions to ask. These could be questions about the firm or company in general, what the interviewee’s favorite part of the job is, what the interviewee’s credentials are that enabled them to get the job, and many more. You should have a different set of questions for different interviews depending on the person’s job. Some very good sample questions can be found here.

Hopefully you will have gained some good insight to the business at the conclusion of your interview. Be sure to ask the person you are interviewing if they know of others in the field who would also be interested in allowing you to interview them. This is about networking and building connections with others in your field, after all. Soon after the interview, you should follow up with the individual by sending a card, thanking them for their time. If one of the connections suggested by the interviewee helps you to land a job, it would be a good idea to let that person know and thank them again.

I hope you consider trying this method of networking and that it brings you success. Happy job hunting!

-Traci Ruffner, DTCC Paralegal Student


Is Someone Watching You While You Shop?

26 Nov

smartphone-hiBig Brother is watching you—from your cell phone.

Do you turn your WiFi off when you go to the mall?  Unless you do, as you move from store to store, from counter to counter, your cell phone is constantly sending out signals that track your location.  And just who is interested in these data? Retailers, for one, and “MLACs,” for another–mobile location analytics companies.  MLACs make their money by selling the data to others.  A problem?

Senator Chuck Schumer of New York thought so.  His efforts resulted in the October 22, 2013 introduction of a new code of conduct for the mobile location analytics industry designed to bring this data collection more into line with the FTC requirements of “notice and consent.”  According to an article in the North Carolina Journal of Law and Technology (NC Jolt), however, as of November 12, only “some” MLACs, and no retailers, had signed up.  Still, you may begin seeing notices about opting out of this surveillance via a central website in the coming weeks or months.

For more information, see this article in North Carolina Journal of Law and Technology.

Barb Stenross, DTCC Paralegal Student

2014 NCCP Exam Date

22 Nov

The North Carolina Certified Paralegal exam is scheduled for April 12, 2014. The application deadline is January 15th.

Certification is a big deal for paralegals–both the NCCP and NALA exam help paralegals stand out in the crowd. Stay in touch with important dates about certification by checking out the blog’s certification page, which will be updated when there’s any new information. That page lists the requirements to sit for certification, and contact information needed for registration.

It’s never too early to start preparing for these exams!

Paralegal Club Meeting – Thursday Dec. 5th

19 Nov

The next paralegal club meeting will be Thursday, December 5th, from 2pm – 3pm in White 35.

Paralegal Club Meeting 11/19

19 Nov

November 19th, at 2pm in White 35.

Classroom Change – LEX 250

7 Nov

LEX-250-030 Wills, Estates, & Trusts will be held in Collins 201 on Thursday, November 7.


Volunteer Opportunity at NCBA – Lawyers 4 Literacy

5 Nov

The North Carolina Bar Association is giving Durham Technical Community College paralegal students the opportunity to make a big difference in a child’s future. Volunteers will meet with a student or small group of elementary school students and help them read books that focus on civics, history or biography.

Want to go to a Lawyers 4 Literacy event? Visit the Southpoint Barnes & Noble Bookfair on Sunday, December 1st, at 1pm.

From the NCBA’s Lawyers 4 Literacy page:

Lawyers 4 Literacy (L4L)

L4L consists of Judges, attorneys, paralegals and law students who will spend 30 minutes a week for a minimum of 4 weeks with 1-4 students who have been selected by their teacher for additional help to improve their reading skills. Volunteers will share their time, love of reading and knowledge of Civics, US History, and biographies of American heroes.  Volunteers are required to listen to the children read interesting non-fiction books and pitch-in as needed.

L4L has not only helped these young students with reading skills, it has sparked their interest in non-fiction books in general.  Children do want to read about real things that happened and are curious about how they can become active and vital parts of their government and a part of the change that they want to see in the world around them.

On the first day the students will be given a passport booklet to record the books they read, with the volunteer and alone.

Here’s how it works:

  • Volunteers will meet with a student or group of students (1-4) to practice reading.
  • LRE provides these primary books on the topics connected to civics, history or biography.
  • During each 30 minute visit, the children read and the volunteer discusses the book or additional books with the students.
  • At the end of four sessions, the students receive a certificate and their choice of book as an incentive for their hard work and to help start to their own home library.

The LRE department of the NCBA supplies the books, passports, and certificates in a kit to the local volunteer coordinator who will supply them to the volunteer readers that are connected with a school involved in L4L.