Belline Manopla graduated in May 2016 from New York City College of Technology, where she earned her Bachelor’s in Legal Studies (Summa Cum Laude). She began working as a paralegal that same week at a firm specializing in employment and family based immigration.
Belline was the winner of the 2015 New York City Paralegal Association’s Scholarship award, and is a research volunteer for the organization. She regularly scours the internet for free or low-cost legal training and events as well as for pro bono and career opportunities which she presents on the NYCPA’s Facebook and LinkedIn pages as well as in their calendar.
Why did you choose a paralegal career? I love writing, research and advocacy; I love helping people
What is your favorite part of your job? Meeting and doing intake with clients.
What has been the highlight of your career? So far, getting a job in the area of law of my choosing – one week before I graduated with my degree.
What do you see as hot trends in the paralegal industry? Cyber-security and e-discovery will be even bigger than they are now.
What professional associations do you belong to? New York City Paralegal Association; National Federation of Paralegal Associations
How has your membership benefited you? My membership Introduced me to the importance of Pro bono and actually inspired me to get involved; belonging to an organization shows that I am serious about my career and that it is not merely a ‘job’. It has allowed me to meet others in the profession and gain insight into different areas of law, and the different types of work paralegals do.
If someone contemplating a paralegal career asked you for career advice, what would your answer be? Try to attend an ABA approved program, make an effort to learn what kind of law you like, prepare to do volunteer work/an internship/pro bono before you finish so that you will be better equipped for employment opportunities and can practice. From what I have seen and heard, most paralegal schools and programs do not ‘prepare future paralegals for the office
What is the most important step a paralegal can take to keep his or her career interesting? It is important to attend professional networking events, start learning about different areas of law, and donate your time to ‘access to justice’ initiatives.
If you could not be a paralegal, what would be your dream job? A United Nations Interpreter.
What unusual item do you own? An Ultra-violet short wave light for viewing fluorescent minerals
What is the best live concert you’ve ever attended? Andrea Bocelli
What’s your favorite food? Gnocchi ala Bolognese
What’s your favorite vacation getaway? Anywhere in Italy
What is the one thing you wish you were better at? Typing
What makes you lose your patience? When my computer is running slow, when technology doesn’t work the way they should or break down just when you need them.
What is your favorite Web site? I love Amazon
What college classes did you love? I loved my Legal Research classes; my Document Prep class, and my Immigration Class
What’s your favorite thing to cook? Arroz con Pollo
What is your guilty pleasure food? Hazelnut gelato