Student Spotlight: Jackie Freeman
Jackie Freeman wanted to be a lawyer since the second grade.
But life got in the way, and she eventually earned a bachelor’s and two master’s degrees in other disciplines. Freeman hoped to take a somewhat early retirement to do pro bono work for the Innocence Project, but the recession forced her to change her plans, and she found herself considering a legal field once again.
“A Paralegal Certificate was on my ‘bucket list’ since my 40s,” she said. “After a 30-year corporate career and more degrees than I probably need, my goal is to find a job doing work I enjoy, that challenges me, stimulates my brain and keeps me active.”
Freeman selected College of DuPage’s Paralegal Studies program because of its excellent reputation and ABA-approved curriculum, which she considered essential.
“COD and the Paralegal Studies program moved me in the direction of finding gainful employment again,” she said. “On a personal note, I made some wonderful friends, some of whom will be friends for life.”
Freeman was vice president of the Paralegal Club and found the club events as important to her education as classes. She strongly encourages other students to participate in the club, which presents speakers and provides opportunities to give back to the community.
After graduating with high honors, Freeman found work at McCracken Label, a family-owned printing company in Chicago.
“It was never my intention to work for a law firm,” she said. “I wanted to enhance my business credentials with a legal education to reenter the corporate world. I have 26 years of printing industry experience, so this is a perfect fit.
“While the Paralegal Studies certificate was on my bucket list for purely personal reasons, the knowledge gained in the program is proving to be very useful in my new job. I have to say the business-focused classes -- Contract Law, Labor & Employment Law, and Corporations & Other Business Organizations – are helping me now. I even took my textbooks to work as reference guides!”
At McCracken Label, Freeman is using her legal education to implement HR processes and consult with attorneys as needed. She is currently managing the implementation of a new ERP for the company.
Freeman said prospective students should take full advantage of the advising and counseling opportunities at COD.
“I met with the program coordinator and with Stephanie Wilcox before deciding to enroll,” she said. “I also set up job searches in a variety of fields in advance of enrolling. I received more job postings for paralegal jobs than for any other field.”
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