State Senator Speaks at Charlotte Law Paralegal Certificate Program Graduation

North Carolina State Senator, Jeff Jackson, delivered the keynote address at the graduation ceremonies for the Paralegal Certificate Program on June 9th.

The Charlotte Law Paralegal Certificate Program offers a six-month curriculum that includes development of legal research and writing skills, access to the law school’s on-campus library, career counseling, internships and networking opportunities for students. The program was designated as a Qualified Paralegal Studies Program by the North Carolina State Bar in 2012.

One of the program graduates, Johnell A. Holman, noted, “It has always been a lifelong dream of mine, becoming a lawyer, and for me, this was a necessary first step. The learning environment and wonderful scheduling of class here has allowed me to begin a path that will be full of successful achievements. CSL has given me both hope and inspiration.”

The Fall 2015 session of the Paralegal Certificate Program will begin on July 27th.

ALR Student’s Corner: Department of Commerce: Minority Business Development Agency

The Commerce Department’s mission is to make American businesses more innovative at home and more competitive abroad. Responsible for everything from weather forecasts to patent protection, the following twelve departments of the Commerce Department impact the everyday lives of all Americans:

  • Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)
  • Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS)
  • U.S. Census Bureau
  • Economic Development Administration (EDA)
  • Economics and Statistics Administration (ESA)
  • International Trade Administration (ITA)
  • Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
  • National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
  • National Technical Information Service (NTIS)
  • U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)

The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) embodies the Commerce Department’s goal of maximizing job creation and global competitiveness by creating a new generation of minority-owned businesses that generate $100 million in annual revenues. The MBDA provides services in five major areas globally through its business center:

Global Business Development: Focus is on the importance of minority-owned businesses as a key component of U.S. international trade. Minority-owned firms have the most favorable export attributes of any sector of the U.S. economy and represent the future of export growth.

Access to Capital and Financial Management: MBDA’s business advisors offer extensive experience in commercial lending and banking, financial, credit and risk analysis and general finance counseling.

Access to Contracts: MBDA business development specialists provide procurement assistance to help minority-owned firms do business with the federal, state, and local governments as well as private corporations. These specialists provide identification of procurement opportunities, solicitation analysis, bid and proposal preparation, research contract award histories, post-award contract administration, and certifications assistance.

Access to Markets: MBDA services in this area include government procurement assistance, private sector contract identification, and specialized certification assistance, including 8(a), MBE, and Small Disadvantaged Business. Assistance with market research, market plan development, and marketing communications is provided, as well.

Strategic Business Consulting: This service area includes strategic and business planning, staffing, organization and structure, policies and procedures, and general business consulting.

Most recently, MBDA featured a segment on how minority manufacturing businesses have strengthened the “Made in America” brand. This year, MBDA recognized a couple of businesses for outstanding manufacturing impact and achieving significant success in employing new and innovative techniques that led to a significant increase in market share, job growth, and customer satisfaction. “Manufacturing creates good jobs and has the largest multiplier effect of any part of the economy,” said Alejandra Y. Castillo, MBDA National Director. “We are very proud of the tremendous achievements of minority businesses in the manufacturing industry that help grow the national economy through innovation, job and wealth creation.”

MBDA’s website is user friendly and provides an unlimited amount of information and resources, including a repository of publications for public research and review, dedicated to minority business developments.

Compliance Officer: A Career in Demand

Compliance has become one of the biggest buzzwords in corporate America and one of the hottest areas of the job market. In some sectors, new compliance jobs are growing at rates that are more than double the growth rate for non-compliance jobs. Many of those jobs command six figure salaries and there is a big demand at every experience level. Jack Kelly of Compliance Search Group said, “Hiring has gone up across the board … from senior level to junior level and everything in between.”[1]

WHAT THEY DO

Corporate compliance officers have a broad array of duties. The 2014 Compliance Trends Survey, conducted by Compliance Week and Deloitte, identified four core responsibilities that over 80% of survey respondents agreed were primary areas of focus[2]:

Compliance with domestic regulation
Compliance training
Code of conduct
Complaints and whistleblower hotlines
With these primary concerns in mind, it is easy to see that you don’t have to be a compliance specialist to benefit from increasing your compliance knowledge. Businesses expect many non-compliance professionals to be more knowledgeable in this area. Human resource professionals, accountants, paralegals, and many other professionals have a growing need to understand the complexities of compliance requirements that apply to their work and their organization. The big key in compliance today is being proactive in order to prevent problems.

WHERE THEY WORK

One of the biggest growth sectors for compliance professionals is financial services. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics figures for compliance officer jobs in finance and insurance show projected growth of 11.1%[3] through 2022. That’s more than double the projected growth rate for non-compliance jobs in this sector. Many other industries are also hiring a multitude of compliance professionals.

Accounting, technology and healthcare companies have a huge and growing need for compliance professionals. Industry leaders like PWC, Deloitte, Oracle Corporation, and Healthcare Corporation of America (HCA) are just a few that top the list of companies with major hiring initiatives.

HOW MUCH THEY MAKE

Salaries for compliance professionals are strong and growing. According to the staffing firm Robert Half, even without a law degree, salaries for compliance analysts at midsized companies are between $67,500 and $89,000.[4] According to CareerBuilder, within accounting and finance, the median salary for regulatory compliance professionals is $93,550[5].

While a law degree is not required, there is huge demand for attorneys with compliance knowledge. “Compliance has opened up a whole new area for law school grads,” says Jason Wachtel, Managing Partner of executive search firm JW Michaels & Co. Chief Compliance Officers at large companies earn annual salaries in the range of $141,750 to $197,000[6]. At large multinational companies, the salaries are even higher.

HOW TO PREPARE YOURSELF

Whether you want to become a compliance professional or you want to enhance your compliance knowledge to be more effective and marketable in another profession, the best way to gain that knowledge is through a compliance program like the one offered though the Charlotte School of Law. This will ensure that you get the right information about the most relevant compliance issues that are up-to-date, which is extremely important in the rapidly changing environment businesses operate in today.

Charlotte School of Law: Unlocking Human Potential

Recently, we had one of our student workers scan through previous blog content and choose a few of the ones she found most helpful as a current Charlotte Law student. We’ll be re-posting this content throughout the summer so it’s readily available to all of our incoming and returning students for Fall of 2015. This post originally ran in March of 2015.

The Charlotte School of Law has an overriding purpose: to unlock human potential. Our immediate task is to educate students, in particular so that they can succeed in law school, on the bar examination, and in their chosen careers. But we carry out our educational activities with an eye toward the larger purpose. We identify students who have the potential to learn and succeed more broadly and we tailor comprehensive programs to build on that potential. Thus, we have a growing Honors Program; a large Student Success department; wellness counselors; programs to engender grit, self-awareness, and professionalism; and so much more.

I came to Charlotte as Dean two years ago, in large part because of the commitment to unlocking human potential. (This is a very fundamental commitment; we are also committed to unlocking the potential of our faculty and staff.) I also came for our commitment to the unceasing improvement of our programs, services, and outcomes. No person is or ever will be perfect, but every person can become better and better in personal and professional ways. In the same way, no organization is or ever will be perfect. But the more the organization understands the need for constant improvement, the better it can be in providing value, satisfaction, and success for the persons it serves.

Continuous improvement in law schools is more important today than it was even ten years ago. It is also more difficult. Legal education has long been premised on assumptions about what colleges teach and assess in the areas of writing, critical reading, and personal management; on what students teach themselves; on the nature of jobs in the legal services field; on what employers look for in graduates; and on what bar examiners test. Many of these assumptions are no longer wholly valid. Other changes in the environment are equally dramatic. Nationally, the number of applicants to law school has been declining for five years. Nationally, first-time bar passage rates have been declining (for reasons that are not clear). And both law and legal education are becoming increasingly internationalized, with respect to students, programs, and services. For law schools, adaptation and improvement is essential.

The Charlotte School of Law is continually addressing these challenges and is ever alert to opportunities. For example, we systematically concern ourselves with writing skills. We are currently developing methods for rigorously assessing writing competency and potential for improvement in applicants; expanding our introductory writing program; increasing the ongoing assessment of writing in doctrinal courses; and proving added support for student who need enrichment. Similarly, we are in the midst of a comprehensive project to strengthen the development of competencies required for success on the bar examination. This project reaches from the beginning of the first year through the day of the bar examination itself. We are expanding our opportunities for pro bono service, both in Charlotte and around the world. For example, this month we are launching a new project of pro bono service for our students in Haiti. We are also alert to changes in the legal services field. For example, this summer we are starting a new program in corporate compliance that will provide both knowledge and competitive advantage in this rapidly growing field. And there is much, much more.

I have been Dean of three law schools. One of my greatest sources of satisfaction is improving the school and its services, and enabling faculty and staff to make contributions that are both valuable to students and meaningful to the faculty and staff members themselves. The Charlotte School of Law is an extraordinary place for students to learn and grow, and to position themselves to navigate change. What makes it such an extraordinary place is not only the deep and pervasive commitment to unlocking potential, but also the deep and pervasive commitment to doing a continually better job of providing programs, services, and resources that enable that potential to be unlocked.