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Reviews for Profile--Susan-Ippoliti--Litigation-Paralegal--Harter--Secrest---Emery-LLP--and-National-F
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Date Created: 12/21/15
PROFILE 1.800.973.1177 Profile: Susan Ippoliti, Litigation Paralegal, Harter, Secrest & Emery LLP, and National Federation of Para- legal Associations (NFPA) Vice President and Director of Membership [by Regan Morris] Network, network, network! LawCrossing talks with NFPA Vice President and Director of Membership Susan Ippoliti about the art of networking in the legal profession and the importance of ﬁnding a mentor. Susan Ippoliti says she gets bored easily. So including construction, asbestos, personal “I have two pieces of advice: the first is find she gets involved--a lot. injury, and medical malpractice, teaches yourself a mentor, a mentor who is a senior courses on leadership through the NFPA. paralegal. Someone who can help you and The litigation paralegal with Harter, Secrest While she credits the organization with guide you,” she said. She met her mentor & Emery is the Vice President and Director developing her leadership skills, she was a through PAR, and then the woman mentioned of Membership of the National Federation of born leader. an opening at the law firm. Paralegal Associations. As a paralegal for just eight years, Ms. Ippoliti has been on the “I’ve always been this way. I’ve always been “I think it’s a little intimidating at first, but board of both local and national legal asso- very active,” she said. “I sort of take the then all of a sudden you realize you’re in a ciations and advises people who want to get bull by the horns and I run. I get bored very really good place full of really good people ahead: ‘join the club.’ quickly, so I like a constant challenge. I enjoy that can offer you so much in terms of advice the challenges.” and knowledge, and you really have to latch Not just any club, but The National Fed- on to that,” she said of asking for a mentor. eration of Paralegal Associations or a local Ms. Ippoliti became a paralegal the old “She actually said to me in passing one day association. Part of Ms. Ippoliti’s current fashioned way--through on-the-job training. that there was an opening. She just dropped NFPA role is to recruit new members to While studying at St. John Fisher College in a little carrot, you know, and dangled it and the association, which she says is a perfect Rochester, Ms. Ippoliti had a local internship said ‘you know, you really ought to check this haven to learn new skills and meet peers and with the District Attorney’s office. out.’ And so I did, and that’s how I made it possible mentors. here.” “It was great,” she said. “I just wasn’t re- The day Ms. Ippoliti joined the Paralegal ally sure that I wanted to be a lawyer, but I Before taking on a national role in an orga- Association of Rochester, or PAR, in 1999, wanted to be in the profession.” n ization, Ms. Ippoliti notes it is important to she became a member of the group’s board. consult your employer and make sure you And now at just 29, Ms. Ippoliti holds a senior When she graduated from college with a can count on their support. leadership position on the NFPA. bachelor’s degree in political science, Ms. Ippoliti answered an ad in the newspaper for “It’s really been a whirlwind. I do travel more “Networking is really a big part of this pro- an entry-level clerical position in a law firm. than I anticipated,” she said. “Before you do fession. The day I became a member of the It wasn’t her dream job, but she knew it was something like this, you really do have to sit Paralegal Association of Rochester, I became the right profession. She started applying to down and literally have a conversation with a member of the board of directors. So it re- law schools, but realized she didn’t want to your employer and make sure they’re behind ally happened overnight,” she said. become an attorney. She was learning on the you and will support you. In my position, you job how to become a litigation paralegal, a have to travel a bit more, because I have to Through PAR, Ms. Ippoliti said she found out fast-paced area in which she excels. go out and recruit people, and I get asked to about her current job with Harter, Secrest & visit various associations quite often.” Emery, found a mentor, and learned crucial Ms. Ippoliti has now been with Harter, Se- leadership skills. crest for five years. She got that job through Ms. Ippoliti’s other crucial piece of advice is her mentor--something she feels every to ask questions. Or as she puts it: “You re- Ms. Ippoliti, who has experience with plaintiff young professional should have. a lly have to know what you don’t know.” and defense litigation in various areas, PAGE 1 continued on back PROFILE 1.800.973.1177 “It’s something that I say a lot to people and they look at me and go ‘huh?’ But it’s really important to understand that it’s okay to not have all the knowledge early on. And even later on, there are some paralegals who are 25-year paralegals who are asking questions,” she said. “You have to remember that you’re acting on behalf of the client. You don’t want to find out when it’s all completed that it’s done incorrectly. You really have to know what you don’t know.” PAGE 2
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