Alumna Profile: Samantha Halliday '13

Samantha Halliday '13 took full advantage of the College's strong programs in the liberal arts and in pre-professional fields.
As an English major with minors in History and Medieval & Renaissance Studies, Ms. Halliday also completed a Paralegal
Certificate during her undergraduate career.

sh  Q. What kind of work do you do now?

  A: I am a legal assistant for a securities litigation firm in Stamford, CT.
  In the year and a half I have worked here, the office has grown from 4 to 7
  attorneys and 2 to 3 law school externs per semester. The firm’s practice
  areas have expanded in that time as well, so I have taken on a variety of
  different tasks. I am responsible for drafting and editing a few different types
  of documents, including discovery requests, motions for pro hac vice admission,
  and time and fee affidavits. Every day includes some form of problem solving;
  it could be determining why I am having an issue e-filing a document with
  exhibits A-T or resolving an IT issue before a major deadline.

  Q: Which aspects of your Marist experience in general have proven most
  helpful in your professional life?

  A: Looking back on my Marist experience, two aspects that I place a lot of value
  on are my time as a student worker and my relationships with my professors.

  As an undergraduate, I worked in the Office of Undergraduate Admission as a
  tour guide and as a student assistant in the operations department. I made
  incredible friends, established relationships with several staff members who later
  became great mentors and employment references, and I learned how to
  balancemy time as a full-time student who worked approximately 20 hours a
week. It was also the first time I was being held to a high level of professionalism and I’m thankful for this because, without it, I am
not sure I would have gotten the opportunity to learn these skills before I entered the workforce.

The positions I held within the Admissions Office shaped me into confident speaker and someone who is customer-service oriented
as well as assertive, organized, and diligent in their work. I would recommend on-campus employment to everyone. My previous employer would assign me cases based on my ability to speak with confidence and make a client feel like their case was being efficiently managed which is something I credit directly to my time in the Admissions Office.

Just as I developed professional relationships with my mentors in the Office of Undergraduate Admission, so did I have a deep
respect for my professors. My professors became familiar faces on campus as we got to know each other better over the years.
If I visited one professor during office hours, I knew to allow for extra time because I would always end up running into another professor, and sure enough, a third professor might recognize my voice and call me into their office for a quick chat as well. My professors were very approachable and down-to-earth and I was always excited to go to their classes. They demonstrated to me
that every work day (or every day in class) could be approached with positivity and excitement and this is a mentally that I think
I have successfully employed in my professional life.

As a legal assistant, these learning opportunities have been invaluable and they prepared me for the sometimes rigorous
demands of a full-time job. Most of all, these experiences strengthened my bond with Marist and has made me so proud of all
the wonderful things the school has done since I graduated.

Q: Which aspects of the Paralegal Program have proven particularly helpful in your work life?

A: Although it was not a program requirement at the time, I secured a legal internship during my junior year to gain firsthand
experience in the legal field. I worked with a wonderful general practice attorney in the Poughkeepsie area who gave me work
to do, took me to every court appearance she could, and introduced me to her clients and had me participate in their meetings.
She invited me to continue working with her until May of my senior year. I was able to secure my first job just a month following
graduation and I am sure that I would not have been as competitive of an applicant had I not taken on this internship.

One particular memory I have of the Paralegal Program had to do with the very basic but necessary knowledge of how to go
about applying for paralegal positions. Most, if not all, of the professors affiliated with the Paralegal Program taught at night
because they worked full-time as attorneys during the day, so they had useful and up-to-date advice about the needs of law
firms. I wasn’t sure when I should start applying for jobs, so I met with a professor after class. She explained that most of
the time, when a law firm needs a paralegal, they need one right away, so there is no use applying in February for a job I
couldn’t start until June. 

Q: What advice would you give to students just starting out on their college careers?

A: Get involved in your school and get to know your professors! Whether you join a few clubs or find an on-campus job, do
something to create a smaller community for yourself within the larger college community and dedicate your time to it. It will
give you a sense of purpose in addition to your school work. You will meet great people who can help you along your college
journey and you will accumulate experiences that will undoubtedly help you once you graduate from college.

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