She is both a Pennsylvania Certified Paralegal (Pa.C.P.) through the Keystone Alliance of Paralegal Associations and an Advanced Certified Paralegal (ACP) through the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA).
You'll enjoy reading Cindy's advice for anyone contemplating a paralegal career. Also, can you guess what Cindy's passion is in her 'spare' time? Thanks, Cindy, for taking the time to share!
1. Where do you work and what is your job title? I work for Attorney David A. Peiffer in Manheim, Pennsylvania which is in Lancaster County. My title is Pennsylvania Certified Paralegal.
2. What prompted you to choose a paralegal career? I was working in Management for General Mills in their Restaurant Division (they owned Red Lobster and Olive Garden at the time). One of the cashiers I knew started going to school and was taking an introduction to paralegal studies class. She would bring her book to work and study when it wasn't busy and told me how interesting it was. I decided to take one class to see if I liked it and the rest, as they say, is history!
3. What is your favorite part of your job? The attorney I work for is amazing! He is super nice and polite and so pleasant to work with. Having such a great atmosphere makes all the difference when working is such a stressful profession.
4. What professional associations do you belong to? I am a proud member of the Lancaster Area Paralegal Association (LAPA). I served as LAPA's President for 3 years and as a Director for over a decade. I also served as the Chair of the Student Liaison Committee for about 6 years.
LAPA is a member association of the Keystone Alliance of Paralegal Associations and I served as the Chair of the Alliance for 3 years and as LAPA's Primary Representative to the Alliance for 6 years. I have also been a proud member of NALA for about 15 years! I served on NALA's Professional Development Committee for several years.
5. How has your membership benefited you? Wow! I could write a novel on how many ways membership in LAPA and NALA have benefited me both personally and professionally. Quickly though, networking, leadership opportunities, continuing education, lifelong friendships, job leads and the list goes on and on!
6. Do you have any professional certifications? I am a Pennsylvania Certified Paralegal (Pa.C.P.) through the Keystone Alliance of Paralegal Associations and an Advanced Certified Paralegal (ACP) through NALA.
7. What has been the highlight of your career? Bringing the Wills for Heroes program to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and being the first Paralegal to serve as the Wills for Heroes Certified Coordinator ... a position that was previously held only by attorneys.
8. What do you see as hot trends in the paralegal industry? Certification without a doubt! I think we will see more and more certification programs initiated at the state level in the next couple of years.
9. Have you dipped your toes in the social media waters? I am definitely a FaceBook Groupie! I love FaceBook! In addition to having my own personal FaceBook page, I manage the FaceBook page for LAPA.
10. If someone contemplating a paralegal career asked you for career advice, what would your answer be? I would encourage them to do several things:
11. Is there a quote that inspires you? "A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove...but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child." ~Unknown
#1 Speak to multiple paralegals in the profession in multiple areas of law
#2 Look very, very carefully at the programs offered by the colleges in their areas to make sure they are high quality programs
#3 Obtain the highest level of degree in paralegal studies that they can financially afford and have the time to pursue and
#4 Look very carefully at the job market for paralegals in your area
12. You've enjoyed a successful paralegal career. To what single event or person do you attribute that success? There have been so many paralegals, attorneys and events that have brought me to the place where I am today. I have met so many inspiring paralegals along the way in NALA and LAPA and many who are very dear friends of mine to this day. It's been an incredible journey and it's not over yet!
13. What is the most important step a paralegal can take to keep his or her career interesting? Participate in as many continuing legal education opportunities as possible. Even it they are not in the particular area of law you are working in or are interested in, go! You just never know who you might meet or what area of law you might end up working in. Trust me -- YOU NEVER KNOW! CLE events are great places for networking!
Bonus...just for fun question: What sports team are you passionate about? Take me out to the Ballpark! I am a huge fan of the Lancaster Barnstormers, a professional minor league baseball team in the Atlantic League. We've been a host family for 6 years and we have players living with us for 6 to 8 months out of the year. Sometimes we even have 2 players at the same time. We've hosted several famous MLB players too! It's been a great experience for our family! My picture is me at my "Happy Place" ... The Lancaster Barnstormers stadium.