2011 Paralegal Studies Grad Uses Research Skills to Help Field Museum

Lee Price at the Field Museum

Lee Price at the Field Museum

Lee Price certainly didn’t enroll in Roosevelt’s paralegal certificate program to connect with Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History (FMNH). Many years away from her bachelor’s in biology and working in an immigration law office, she was more focused on expanding her career options in the legal field. But then one thing led to another…
During the program Lee discovered that in addition to her love for the natural world, she had a strong interest in Legal Research and Legal Writing.” “I might be a nerd,” she says, “but finding a case on point is a thrill!” Her two interests came together when Lee, a member of the national paralegal honor society LEX, attended the 2011 Roosevelt honors ceremony. She introduced herself to one of the presenters, Julian Kerbis Peterhans, PhD, Professor of Natural Science, and a curator at FMNH. “I’d always wanted to be involved with a natural history museum,” says Lee, “and I thought maybe this was my chance.”
When Professor Kerbis asked Lee what skills she had to contribute to the Field, she was so far away from her biology days she had to think for a minute. Then she remembered Legal Research and the answer became obvious. “I can track down information,” she said.
Today Lee finds information that helps Prof. Kerbis publish his research: she confirms the accuracy of existing reports about the habits of creatures in far-flung places. Just as in legal research, this is a matter of locating sources, and it presents its challenges. “Many of the relevant papers date from the early 1900s and are difficult to find. Others are behind a journal pay wall or under copyright protection,” Lee explains.
To get access to them, she can consult specialized data bases that have some of the older publications digitized; look for scanned copies posted on university course web sites; search the electronic collections of other natural history museums; and look in various other places. As a result, she faces a question every Legal Research student is familiar with: “Where should I begin?” “Sometimes I just start with the title of the article on Google; sometimes I go straight to a data base; and sometimes I do a search through the Field Museum Library’s web site,” says Lee. She notes that just as in Legal Research, key words are crucial. She stresses that there’s no formula: the process is as much an art as a science.
Most of the time Lee finds that a recently-published paper accurately reports the original source. “But sometimes you find conflicting accounts of how an opossum or a rat behaves,” she says. “An expedition to the Belgian Congo in 1913 reports one thing; a more sophisticated study with improved methodology in 1983 another.” Then she drafts a description that includes all relevant previous opinions, another parallel with legal research.
If Lee was surprised to find herself at the Field Museum as a result of the program, she is less so that the certificate has contributed to her career development, as she originally intended. She uses her combined science-legal background to work on immigration cases for researchers who want to come to the U.S. “I am fascinated by what they do and enjoy learning about it,” she says. “I like putting my skills to work for them and for the Field Museum – it’s my own small contribution to science.”

Paralegal Studies Program Alumni Group invites you to a presentation of – RU LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is an online social network that is designed for business professionals. It is widely used by legal employers to find job candidates. Please join us for a presentation on how to create your profile and how to use LinkedIn to maximize your job search efforts. Professional networking through LinkedIn and recommendations for using other social media in your job search will also be discussed.

Our presenter will be Cheryl Kettler. Ms. Kettler has been a member of the Paralegal Studies Program faculty since 2003 where she teaches Commercial Law and Legal Writing. She is also a National Partner Specialist, for AbstoneLalley, Inc.

The presentation is being held twice. Attend on the day and time that is most convenient for you:

Monday, April 13, 2015
Roosevelt University Gage Building
18 South Michigan , Room 700
6:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Roosevelt University Wabash Building
425 S. Wabash, Room 1111
12:15 pm to 1:15 pm

Register by calling (312) 281-3186 or send an email to
Kay Levoy at klevoy@roosevelt.edu

Paralegal Studies Program Celebrates 40th Anniversary

The Roosevelt University Paralegal Studies Program
is hosting a 40th Anniversary Reception and Award Ceremony

Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Registration: 5:30 p.m.
Reception: 6 – 7 p.m.

Roosevelt University
425 S. Wabash Avenue, Room 1315
Chicago

______________________________________________________________________

In recognition of our program’s 40th anniversary, the Hon. Abishi C. Cunningham Jr. (Ret.), Public Defender will receive the Roosevelt University Social Justice in the Legal Profession Award.

Please join us for wine, hors d’oeuvres and conversation
as we celebrate. Meet, greet and mingle with old friends and our current faculty and staff.

For more information, please contact Yvette Garcia,
ygarcia@roosevelt.edu

Paralegal Alumni Group April 2014 Events

The Roosevelt University Paralegal Alumni Group
invites you to our next events – a social networking event
and a career presentation on writing your resume.

Welcome Spring! Social Networking Event

Berghoff’s Restaurant
17 West Adams Street
Thursday, April 10, 2014 at 5:00 p.m.

Career Presentation on Resumes

Please join us for a presentation on preparing your resume. A local legal professional will provide strategies and advice for preparing your best resume. Cover letters will also be addressed. We will also provide an opportunity for follow-up individual advice on your resume from experienced program alumni.

Roosevelt University Gage Building Campus
18 S. Michigan Avenue, Third Floor Commons
Tuesday, April 29, 2014, 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Please sign up by clicking on the following link:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-roosevelt-university-paralegal-alumni-group-february-meeting-tickets-10209459769

Look for future announcements on our upcoming career related presentations offering advice for paralegal program graduates and current students. The following topics will be covered throughout the year: interviewing; using social media in your job search and professional life; dress for success/professionalism in the workplace.

For questions, contact alum@roosevelt.edu

Paralegal Alumni Group Graduate Panel

The Roosevelt University Paralegal Alumni Group
invites you to start your new year off with an opportunity to energize your career!

Please join us for a Panel Discussion with
Paralegal Program Graduates

Tuesday, February 11, 2014
6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Roosevelt University Gage Building Campus
18 S. Michigan Avenue
Third Floor Commons

We will hear from graduates who hold a variety of positions in the legal field and have varying years of experience. They will be sharing their own career success stories and offering advice for anyone looking for a job in the legal field.

This will be the first in a series of career related presentations offering advice for paralegal program graduates and current students. The following topics will be covered throughout the year:

• Resume and Cover Letters
• Interviewing
• Using Social Media in your Job Search and Professional Life
• Dress for Success/Professionalism in the Workplace

Please invite your fellow Roosevelt alumni to come!
Please sign up by clicking on the following link:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-roosevelt-university-paralegal-alumni-group-february-meeting-tickets-10209459769
For questions, contact alum@roosevelt.edu

Paralegal Studies Instructor Advocates for Students with Special Needs and offers new course in Special Education Law

The Paralegal Studies Program faculty members are a diverse group of legal professionals. A great example is Sande Shamash, Director of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago’s Legal Advocacy Program (run through Jewish Child and Family Services) which has provided affordable Special Education legal services to thousands of families for more than 20 years. Shamash has devoted his career to working with children and families.  He started in 1993 as an Assistant Cook County Public Guardian and Attorney, successfully representing over 800 children alleged to have been abused or neglected.  Since then he has worked for Illinois Department of Public Aid in various capacities, including Chief Judge. He has also served as the first ever Executive Director of the Tourette Syndrome Association of Illinois, Inc.  Shamash joined the Paralegal Studies Program in 1996 and taught Commercial Law for several years. He also serves as a member of the program’s advisory board. Shamash is bringing his expertise in special education law to the program with a new course to be offered in Spring 2014, LAWA L34/PARA 334 Introduction to Special Education Law.

In his current position with the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, Shamash along with staff attorney, Marissa LaVette, advocate for students with special needs in local schools.  Most of their special education cases involve getting school districts to provide adequate education for students with special needs. The specialized field of Special Education law can be expensive.  “Thanks to JUF and JCFS, we’re one of the very few programs I know of that can work with low-income families,” said Shamash.  “Our services aren’t free, but we use a sliding scale and might charge a client anywhere from five dollars an hour to $350 per hour. “ According to Shamash, at a full rate, fees for a family could approach $50,000-$100,000 if a case has to go to a hearing. “It’s nice to be able to do my job for the client and know that fees won’t preclude us from helping,” said Shamash.

Shamash’s new Introduction to Special Education Law course is geared towards giving paralegal students an overview of special education law and practice, and the unique role paralegals can play in this exciting field. Shamash finds that special education is a growing and underserved area of law. It is derived from a mix of federal and state law, the United States Constitution, statutes, regulations, administrative procedures, and state and federal judicial decisions.  In the new course, students will learn the core concept of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act, that requires a “Free and Appropriate Public Education” in the “Least Restrictive Environment.” They will learn how to develop an individualized education program (IEP). In addition, students will study how Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, a civil rights law, can be used to protect all students and their family against discrimination in education. Students will become familiar with the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA) and how it establishes educational rights. Finally, students will learn about the importance of paralegals in special education law and their ability to both participate in and impact cases. “Special education law is one of my passions. I am excited to be teaching the new Introduction to Special Education Law course because I can share that passion and knowledge about this unique and important area of law with students and soon to be paralegals, ” said Shamash.

Leading the Legal Advocacy Center's efforts to represent students with special needs are attorneys Sande Shamash (l) and Marissa LaVette.

Leading the Legal Advocacy Center’s efforts to represent students with special needs are attorneys Sande Shamash (l) and Marissa LaVette.