Friday, April 24, 2015

Peirce Student Innovation Series: Innovation in the Legal Field

This post is part of our new Innovative Student Series. Over the coming weeks we profile stories of Peirce students and alumni and how innovation is impacting the industries they’re studying and working in. Stay tuned to the blog for more stories highlighting the crossroads of innovation, higher education, and workforce trends.

The legal field may not be the most obvious thing people think of when they hear the word innovation. However, those working in the field, and more importantly, those who benefit from the work of legal professionals, can clearly see how innovation is revolutionizing the field.

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Peirce student, Sharon DiSipio, who is seeing firsthand how innovation is advancing the legal field in her role as a corporate paralegal for Buzzi Unicem USA Inc.

In the interview she explains her current responsibilities, how innovation is impacting the legal field, and how she sees the future role of innovation.

What was your degree at Peirce? What was your experience like?
My degree at Peirce  will be a Bachelor’s Degree in Paralegal Studies. The Peirce experience was
Sharon DiSipio
very challenging yet rewarding and allowed for tremendous growth academically, personally, and professionally. I had many opportunities to grow as an individual and build leadership skills through the continual encouragement I received from Peirce faculty, which significantly helped my growth process.

Where are you currently employed and what are some of your roles and responsibilities?
Presently, I am employed full-time as a corporate paralegal for a private U.S. cement manufacturing company, Buzzi Unicem USA, Inc. In addition, I’m also completing my Co-Op with them which is providing new growth and development opportunities.

Through my role as a corporate paralegal, I’m exposed to a wide variety of responsibilities. I am involved with maintaining the corporate reporting and entity management, overseeing the document retention and off-site storage of company files and records, managing the processing and coding of the legal department’s vendor invoices from outside firms, maintaining and updating the company’s trademarks, and a wide variety of other legal tasks.

How has technology impacted your career?
Technology plays a much bigger role in the legal field than it has in the past.  Today, technology is essential when conducting legal research. In years past, to conduct legal research (i.e. researching case law, statutes, regulations, etc.) paralegals had to physically go to the local courthouse or legal library which often times required hours upon hours to locate exactly what was necessary to support the legal argument.

Today, the process has been simplified through online web-based subscription services such as WestLaw and LexisNexis. Now, paralegals can research and locate pertinent information through a few key strokes and within a matter of minutes. Besides legal research, technology has become central to connecting with any number of other non-paid services readily available online. For instance, many of the corporate filings, reports, tax documents, unclaimed property filings, entity histories, trademark research, etc. can be carried out through online websites without the need to produce and mail paper documents

Why do you think innovation and technology is important in the legal field?
Today’s world is constantly changing. Technological developments, advancements, and innovations are the breeding ground for that change. They have created an environment in which competition runs rampant across many realms, including in the legal field.

Different industries will continuously need to reshape themselves to adapt to the continuing innovations. For the legal field, it will be important to quickly adapt and seek out new avenues for delivering legal services quickly, while still using the vast amount of information and resources now available. Such adaptation will assist in keeping the legal field well equipped to deal with the ever changing landscape of the industry.  

Sharon will walk the stage at Peirce’s 150th commencement in June.  Congratulations, Sharon, and thanks for sharing your story with us!