Paralegal Faculty

Faculty Bios


Full Time Paralegal Faculty 


Sally N. Fairbank received a Bachelor of Arts in English from Northwestern University, a Juris Doctor degree from Washington University in St. Louis, and a Master's degree in Education from Northern Illinois University.

She served as a law clerk for an appellate court judge in St. Louis after graduating from law school. She later worked as an associate attorney in product liability defense, and as in-house counsel for International Harvester (now known as Navistar) and Motorola. She served as an assistant public defender in the juvenile division at the DuPage County Public Defender's office.

Sally has been coordinator of COD's ABA-approved Paralegal Studies program, a program which she started, since 2006.

She was named 2011-2012 Outstanding Faculty Member at COD and  2012 Illinois Outstanding Full-time Faculty Member by the Illinois Community College Trustees Association. She received a 2012 Influential Women in Business award from the Daily Herald Business Ledger. In 2016, she received the Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award at COD.

Adjunct Paralegal Faculty


James Bebawy received a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from the University of Illinois at Chicago, a master's degree in Business Administration from Keller Graduate School of Management, and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Toledo College of Law.

As a law student, he worked for a personal injury and civil rights firm in Chicago and for a federal judge in Ohio.

James has received the Presidential Humanitarian Award from the federal government for his service in Tahtah, Egypt with Coptic Orphans, a not-for-profit charitable organization.

He teaches Immigration Law at COD.

Carol Carlson received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Elmhurst College and a Juris Doctor degree from Loyola University Chicago School of Law.

She has practiced in the areas of real estate law, corporate law, employment law, and contract law. She co-authored numerous publications, including Illinois Proficiency Exam Prep: Broker to Managing Broker, 1st Edition and  Illinois Proficiency Exam Prep: Salesperson to Broker, 1st Edition for Dearborn Real Estate Education, and also reviewed and contributed materials to the textbook used in the real estate classes at COD, Modern Real Estate Practice in Illinois by Galaty, Allaway, and Kyle.

Carol teaches Drafting Legal Documents, Real Property Law, Contract Law, and Introduction to Paralegal Studies at COD. She is an Illinois Licensed Real Estate Pre-Licensure Instructor who also has taught Real Estate Broker Pre-License classes at COD for 20 years.

She received the 2013-2014 Outstanding Part-time Faculty Award at COD and the 2015-2016 COD Innovation Award.

The Honorable Robert E. Douglas received a Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science from the University of Illinois, and a Juris Doctor degree from DePaul University College of Law.

He was appointed an associate judge in DuPage County in 2012, and is currently serving in the domestic relations division in Wheaton.

Prior to becoming a judge, he worked in the civil division of the DuPage County State's Attorney's office, and in the Illinois Attorney General's office. He also worked in private practice. He previously taught at the American Institute of Paralegal Studies.

Judge Douglas was commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Army Reserve in 1979. After completing the Judge Advocate General's course in 1983, he was recommissioned in the Judge Advocate General's Corps. His last post was as the Staff Judge Advocate of the 84th Division, Milwaukee and Ft. McCoy, WI. He was deployed as a civil affairs officer to the NATO Peacekeeping Force in Bosnia-Herzegovina from October 1997 to August 1998, where he served as the Staff Judge Advocate for the Combined Joint Civil Military Task Force. He was deployed as a civilian affairs officer as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom from March 2003 to April 2004, where he served in a variety of positions, culminating in the job of civil-military liaison between the Coalition Provisional Authority and the 101st Airborne Division, commanded by Major General David Petraeus.
He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, and the Legion of Merit, which is the military's seventh highest decoration. He retired from the military at the rank of colonel, after 30 years of service.

Judge Douglas teaches Civil Litigation at COD.

Randall (Randy) T. Erickson received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and a Juris Doctor degree from Loyola University Chicago School of Law.

He is the founder of Erickson Law Group, PC., an intellectual property law firm located in Wheaton, IL and is a registered patent attorney with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. His practice provides services in all areas of intellectual property law including patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, unfair competition, and licensing.

Randy has prosecuted patent applications in far ranging technical subject matter, including semiconductor devices, farm tractors and harvesters, diesel engines, heart pacemakers, computer software, and consumer products. He has filed and prosecuted patent and trademark applications both domestically and internationally.

He teaches Intellectual Property Law at COD.

Capper C. Grant received a bachelor's degree from the University of Kansas with a major in biology and a minor in anthropology and received a Juris Doctor degree from The John Marshall School of Law, where he was a member of the Gavel Society.

Capper served in the United States Army during Vietnam, and was awarded a Bronze Star.

He worked as a senior litigation lawyer and resident attorney for a leading insurance company's staff legal department. He is a chair- qualified arbitrator for the Illinois Supreme Court Mandatory Arbitration program.

He serves as a member of the Advisory Council for the Paralegal Studies program at COD.

Capper received the 2013-2014 COD Divisional Outstanding Part-time Faculty Award and was the keynote speaker at COD's LEX (National Honor Society for paralegals) Induction Ceremony in 2017.

Capper has taught at College of DuPage since 2008. He teaches Introduction to Paralegal Studies, Legal Ethics/Law Office Organizations, Civil Litigation, Personal Injury, Tort and Insurance Law, and Corporations and Other Business Organizations.

Susan (Suzi) Horn received a bachelor's degree in Marketing/Business Economics from Indiana University, and a Juris Doctor degree from Loyola University Chicago School of Law.

After working as a law clerk, she served as an assistant attorney general for the Office of the Illinois Attorney General - Environmental Division. Later she worked at two private law firms.

Suzi began teaching Business Law at College of DuPage in 2008, and she began teaching paralegal classes at COD in 2011. Suzi teaches Introduction to Paralegal Studies, Drafting Legal Documents, Advanced Legal Research and Writing, and Environmental Law.

Linda Jenkins received a Bachelor of Science in General Management from Purdue University, and a Juris Doctor degree from DePaul University College of Law.

She is a retired bankruptcy lawyer. At different points in her career, she represented mortgage companies, worked for the Chapter 13 trustee, and represented debtors.

She is a co-advisor of Paralegal Club, and of Lambda Epsilon Chi (LEX), the national paralegal honor society. She was honorarily inducted into LEX in 2013. She received the 2010-2011 COD Club Advisor of the Year award, and the 2012-2013 COD Divisional Outstanding Part-time Faculty Award.

Linda has taught at COD since 2009. She teaches Advanced Legal Research and Writing, Drafting Legal Documents, and Bankruptcy Law.

Elizabeth (Liz) McGuan received a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Language and Literature from the University of Michigan and a Juris Doctor degree, summa cum laude, from Northern Illinois University College of Law. Prior to attending law school, she earned a certificate in Paralegal Studies from William Rainey Harper College.

As a paralegal student, she was inducted into LEX, the national paralegal honor society. She worked as a litigation paralegal for several years before becoming an attorney.

A certified domestic relations mediator, Liz concentrates her practice in family law and immigration law. She speaks frequently in the community on issues relating to immigration law, and volunteers her time with Administer Justice, a legal aid clinic based in Elgin.

She has taught Introduction to Legal Research and Writing at COD since 2016.

Sandra Polanco received a bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago, with a major in Criminal Justice. Additionally, she received a Paralegal Certificate from Roosevelt University and both a Juris Doctor degree and a master's degree in Business Administration from Northern Illinois University.

Prior to becoming an attorney, she was a paralegal for nine years. Her past legal experience includes bankruptcy, investment management, worker's compensation, commercial litigation, real estate, and employment law. She also served as general counsel for the Aurora Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. She currently works as in-house counsel for American Guardian Warranty Services, Inc., and is an elected official on the DeKalb County Board. She is fluent in Spanish.

Sandra has taught part-time at Kishwaukee College, Northern Illinois University and Chicago State University. She teaches Introduction to Paralegal Studies at COD.

Ellen Samuel received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Spanish from the University of Iowa, and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Illinois College of Law in 2009, where she served as an associate editor for the university's Elder Law Journal and received honors in her research and writing classes. She has completed extensive coursework in online teaching methods, earning a Master Online Teacher Certificate from the University of Illinois.

Ellen has focused her practice on litigation and transactional matters in a variety of areas, including Elder Law and Public Interest law.

Prior to law school, she researched human neurobiology using functional magnetic resonance imaging at the University of Iowa's Huntington's Disease Center of Excellence.

Ellen teaches Drafting Legal Documents, Elder Law, and Law Office Technology at COD.

Gina M. Spada received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Loyola University Chicago. She received both a Juris Doctor degree cum laude and an LL.M. degree with honors in Information Technology and Privacy Law from The John Marshall Law School.

After working at a small law firm in Chicago, Gina opened a solo law practice based in Berwyn. She helps individuals with estate planning and estate administration issues. Her practice also focuses on providing services to women-owned small businesses.

Gina has been interviewed for the Washington Post about Guardianship for Minors and the Wall Street Journal about Estate Planning for Pets. Her practice strives to protect families, finances and furry friends.

She previously taught Law Office Technology and currently teaches Estate Planning and Probate Law at COD.

Lori Vardas received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Emory University, and a Juris Doctor degree from Loyola University Chicago School of Law.

She worked as a legal consultant for McDonald's Corporation, negotiating and drafting various finance contracts for the company's treasury department. Prior to that, she was an enforcement attorney for the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, where she investigated and litigated potential securities laws violations, such as insider trading and market manipulation.

She has taught at COD since 2007. She teaches Legal Ethics/Law Office Organization, Drafting Legal Documents, Introduction to Paralegal Studies, and Business Law.

Paul Watkiss received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an emphasis on computer programming from Illinois State University and a Juris Doctor degree with honors (top 10%) from DePaul University College of Law.

Paul is currently employed as the managing attorney for State Auto Insurance Company's in-house counsel office located in Naperville, Illinois. He defends personal injury actions brought against State Auto insureds, and he litigates coverage disputes. He is licensed in both Illinois and Indiana.

As a practicing attorney, Paul is a member of COD's Paralegal Studies Program Advisory Council.

Paul has taught at COD since 2007. He teaches Personal Injury, Tort and Insurance Law, and Corporations and Other Business Organizations.

Jennifer Wiesner received her bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois and her Juris Doctor degree from DePaul University College of Law.

Jennifer began her law career in the law department of the Chicago Public Schools. After seven years with the Chicago Public Schools, Jennifer opened her own small business working as a sole practitioner. Her primary practice is domestic relations and family law, but she also does work in real estate, contracts, criminal law, and probate law.

Jennifer received a pro bono service award from DuPage County Legal Aid, and was appointed in 2014 to the prestigious Illinois State Bar Association's Family Law Committee.

Jennifer has taught Family Law at COD since 2011.

Contact Information 

If you are considering this program as an area of study, consult with a faculty member in this field. To send an email, click on the name of the faculty member. 

Paralegal Full Time Faculty 
                

Sally N. Fairbank, Coordinator
Berg Instructional Center (BIC), Room 1816A
(630) 942-2955

Paralegal Adjunct Faculty

 

2011-2012 Outstanding Faculty Award Winner

video

Sally Fairbank

Sally Fairbank, professor and coordinator of Paralegal Studies, College of DuPage's 2011-2012 Overall Outstanding Faculty Member.

Faculty Spotlight

  • Spotlight: Sally N. Fairbank

    Sally N. FairbankParalegal Studies

    "My students are bright, hard-working and dedicated to learning. I hope they take away respect for the law and the legal system, a desire for ongoing growth and self-improvement, and constant intellectual curiosity."

    Read Spotlight
  • Spotlight: Carol Carlson-Nofsinger

    Carol Carlson-NofsingerParalegal Studies

    “I tell my students regularly that an education is never wasted, even though they may end up pursuing other careers and goals unrelated to their discipline. I want to see them succeed, grow professionally and eventually give back to the community.”

    Read Spotlight
  • Spotlight: Linda Jenkins

    Linda JenkinsParalegal Studies

    "Every paralegal must know how to write and how to edit his or her boss’ writing. I also want my students to develop a passion for our legal system. That passion will make them better paralegals and better citizens."

    Read Spotlight
  • Spotlight: Capper Grant

    Capper GrantParalegal Studies

    "Our students invest time and money and hope in the training we offer. They have remarkable life stories featuring challenges to be overcome before success will call them. My inspiration is fueled by such students."

    Read Spotlight
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College of DuPage

425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn IL, 60137

(630) 942-2800 (Main)

(630) 942-3000 (Student Services)

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