Student Stories: Leslie Hollowed

Leslie Hollowed

Major: Paralegal Studies

Leslie Hollowed considered attending law school but life took her in other directions.

“My dad was an attorney, and I had always been interested in the law,” she said. “In 2012, I was working at a boring job I hated. I could not imagine doing that for much longer and decided that I wanted to do something substantive that would use my skills and interests. Law school was not an option; paralegal studies seemed like the right fit.”

Hollowed, who held a bachelor’s degree in Applied Behavioral Science from National-Louis University, had attended College of DuPage several times, taking both academic and personal interest classes. She discovered the Paralegal Studies program and decided to enroll.

“I have always been a supporter of COD, so it was the first of several programs I investigated,” she said. “COD was geographically desirable, more affordable and, most of all, an accredited program that would give me the tools to achieve my goal of being a well-prepared, valuable part of a legal team.  

“The program director, Sally N. Fairbank, the faculty and fellow paralegal students formed a supportive and encouraging network during my time as a student and continue to do so. Advice, information about job opportunities and social connections are enrichments readily available to Paralegal Studies students and alumni alike.”           

After completing the program, Hollowed was fortunate that the attorney with whom she did her internship connected her to his former firm, where she was hired. The firm allowed her to grow her skills and she even returned to COD for an additional paralegal class. 

She now works for the College as the paralegal and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) officer in the Office of the General Counsel, bringing her full circle to the institution that made a positive impact on her life.

“I think that I have achieved the primary goal of being a successful paralegal, happy in my work, but I hope to continue to learn new areas of the law and expand my knowledge and skill set,” she said. “I am also considering pursuing various paralegal certifications that are only available after a certain number of years of paralegal experience.”

For students considering the Paralegal Studies program, Hollowed suggests they research the career and meet with Fairbank in order to take advantage of her guidance.

“Explore what a paralegal does and the skills required. Take the Intro to Paralegal Studies class to see if this kind of work really interests you,” she said. “Effective paralegals need to be organized and timely, able to multi-task, have good writing/communication skills, be proactive rather than reactive, and take direction well. 

“College of DuPage is a fine school, dedicated to student success, with abundant learning opportunities in a wide variety of subjects and majors. Whether you want a starting point on the path to a four-year degree, a place to earn certification in a particular area, skills development for a career change or simply to explore new personal interests, you cannot find a better place than COD.”

More about the Paralegal Studies program