April 5, 2023

Alumni Spotlight: Meet Jennifer Fish '05

By B&SC Blog Team

Alumni Spotlight: Meet Jennifer Fish '05

“Being taught by individuals in the field and gaining hands-on experience at Bryant & Stratton College confirmed that paralegal studies was the perfect choice for me.” – Jennifer Fish ’05

The Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies program at Bryant & Stratton College provides students with the ability to develop the skills necessary to assist lawyers in case preparation, client interaction, and more. The program affords the career-building experience legal assistants need in order to work in law, from preparing legal documents and correspondence to conducting legal research, along with covering key aspects of the legal process.

Paralegals and legal assistants often work for law firms or government agencies, but all sorts of organizations need professionals to conduct and organize research on legal issues. Bryant & Stratton College Henrietta campus alumna Jennifer Fish shares her journey through college and to her dream career as a legal secretary.

What inspired you to pursue a paralegal degree at Bryant & Stratton College?

I worked in the retail and restaurant business for years, but I always knew I was interested in law. I was a server in downtown Rochester, at a restaurant called Barrister’s that happened to be owned by Thomas D. Cook, a local defense attorney, which was extremely inspiring. Bryant & Stratton College and Barrister’s both gave me the flexibility I needed to be able to work and earn my degree. I would work during the day, then head to the library on-campus to study before attending class, making it the perfect fit for me.

What is your current position, and what was your journey to getting there?

I am currently a legal secretary at the Monroe County public defender’s office, where I oversee the needs of around 40 public defenders. One day, while I was still in school, I was at Barrister’s, waiting tables. I had the pleasure of serving the late William E. Easton, who owned an estate law practice. Mr. Easton was eating lunch with his daughter and having a conversation about his granddaughter getting her first tattoo and making sure it was safe.

It just so happened that I had just written a paper for my creative writing class titled “How to Get a Safe Tattoo,” so I gave him a copy. My college and personal information were on the paper, and a few short months later, Mr. Easton needed a paralegal for his practice. I was offered the job, and I accepted. I worked for his practice until he retired; then I accepted a full-time job in my current position. I have been in this position for nine years.

How did Bryant & Stratton College prepare you for your role?

The hands-on learning and teaching by attorneys currently in the field helped me organize my time and gave me the experience I needed to earn my degree. I was given the information I needed to make decisions and be successful in my current role. My criminal class instructor, Judge Brett Granville, made a huge impact on my success and led me to finding my niche in the legal world.

What would you say to someone considering attending Bryant & Stratton College?

If you are looking for a college that offers the flexibility to continue working and have a family, this is the college for you. I was exposed to so many individuals who work or worked in the field and gave [me] insights into what the “day to day” is like in the role. I was the first person in my family to go to college, and I couldn’t have done it without Bryant & Stratton College.

What are your future goals for your career?

I am so proud to work at one of the best public defenders’ offices in the country. My goal was always to give back, and I have been able to do that in my dream job. I plan to stay at the Monroe County public defender’s office until I retire.

You can learn more about earning a paralegal degree at Bryant & Stratton College here!

Related News