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Faculty Spotlight: Sally N. Fairbank

Sally Fairbank

Sally N. Fairbank
Program: Paralegal Studies

As long as she can remember, Sally N. Fairbank was interested in the legal system.

"I find the law to be endlessly fascinating," she said. "I enjoy using rationality, logic and principles of fairness to solve problems, and I am always impressed by the power of the courts to affect positive change."

It's no surprise that Fairbank entered a legal career. Before becoming coordinator of Paralegal Studies at College of DuPage in 2006, she worked in a variety of job settings as an attorney. During and after law school graduation, she was a law clerk for a state appellate court judge in St. Louis. She then moved to Chicago and worked as an associate attorney doing defense litigation at a medium-sized law firm.

Then came transactional work in the law departments of two Chicago corporations – International Harvester (now Navistar) and Motorola.

"The Motorola law department had many skilled paralegals, and that is where I first became aware of the important contribution paralegals make to the legal profession," Fairbank explained. "I wanted courtroom experience, so I began working at the DuPage Public Defender's office in the juvenile division. At the same time, I started teaching Business Law part-time at College of DuPage. Subsequently, I was offered a full-time position coordinating the Paralegal Studies program at South Suburban College before coming to COD."

Fairbank enjoys giving people the tools to build satisfying careers and finds herself learning in the process.

"My students are bright, hard-working and dedicated to learning," she said. "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.

"In return, I enjoy spending time with people who share my fascination with the law. And, any teacher will tell you that the opportunity to teach carries with it the opportunity to learn from your students on a daily basis."

As a teacher, Fairbank draws inspiration from two of her COD colleagues.

"I am inspired by Associate Dean Laura Ortiz, a former Spanish instructor, who has the ability to stay calm, patient and good-natured when things get hectic," she said. "Humanities professor Julia diLiberti displays a creativity, imagination and joy in teaching. Both of them inspire me to do my best at College of DuPage."

More about the Paralegal Studies program