Professor Annamaria Maciocia leads the Paralegal Program at Marist. From start to finish, she advises Pre-law students as they work toward a Paralegal Certificate. Along with this responsibility, she continues to practice law and serve as a local town justice.
What is one thing you want prospective students to know about you?
That I enjoy being a faculty member at Marist more than any other professional experience I’ve had. Marist students are very engaging. They are very curious and in so many ways it is very rewarding to teach and advise students who are here really to bring change to the world. Our students are so interested in being the agents of change and I think it is very apparent in the classroom. Being around students with these ideals is extremely rewarding.
Can you describe your law career?
I have been in private practice since 1992 and most of my caseload has involved transactional lawyering. I have also served as a town justice for the town of Plattekill since 1996. I have been elected back for consecutive four-year terms. As a town justice, I find that helping the people who appear before the town court to understand the law and presiding over cases is a rewarding civic engagement to have.
How have you been able to bring this experience to the classroom?
I think that working in law as an attorney and a judge gives me a very front row seat to what the legal environment is like, in the practice of law and in the adjudication of cases. I think it’s important to bring a dose of reality into the academic setting.
How will students benefit from graduating with a Paralegal Certificate?
There are several ways. First, it gives them the opportunity to enter this incredible career. It mixes and matches with every major that is available and helps to open a door that would not otherwise be there for that student. I also think that it provides them with an excellent foundation for the further study of law if they want to do that. Finally, I think that so many times, as individuals, we need to understand the law in terms of better understanding whatever job that we do. I think that it makes you more productive if you go off into any field having an understanding of how law and regulation interphases with what you do.
Why should students take a law class even if they aren’t in the Paralegal Program?
Understanding law brings vital skills to any career. And I think employers are really looking for people who can demonstrate that they are well prepared to handle the challenges of the various fields. Coming along with a certificate certainly demonstrates that you have this anchor to a whole other discipline. It helps you to be a better decision maker.
What do you do to prepare students for the real world?
In the classroom, we like to make sure that there is a solid emphasis on those skills that are necessary for success in the real world. Obviously, at the core of everything that goes on students need to be engaged in reading, in thinking, and in writing, Then, I think that in the paralegal profession we also try to go beyond, helping students to make real connections with the work product that a paralegal would be involved in. So, through the various structure of assignments, we try to give students a very realistic view of what it's like to create legal documents.
How did you get involved in law as a student?
From the time I was in high school, I knew that I enjoyed helping people to resolve conflict. For me, law was a natural path to follow for that. I think that sometimes our problems are so blown out of proportion by people not understanding and not being able to verbalize their circumstances. It’s important to be a voice for people that would not otherwise be able to make their point. It’s important to be the individual who can see through the conflict and create a path towards some type of resolution to bring the parties to a consensus.
What is the one thing you hope students take away from your class?
I hope they genuinely develop a respect for the rule of law. By that, I mean a respect for making it, enforcing it, applying it and, most of all, respect for changing it. An appreciation of how law operates and how the law is so fundamental to our society.
Written by Sarah Gabrielli '18
Profile Tags:Profile Type: Faculty
Academic School: Liberal Arts
Campus: New York