Every month NYCPA features a member who has demonstrated outstanding achievement in the workplace, or in their paralegal studies. NYCPA seeks candidates who show leadership, creativity, a dedication to community service, and/or outstanding academic performance. We invite colleagues, supervisors, professors, and yourselves to nominate a paralegal, or paralegal student, who exhibits exceptional practice in the workplace, or classroom, for this special honor. Please fill out our nomination form.
(This picture was taking after I ran the Atlantic City Half Marathon on October 20, 2019)
1. How long have you been a paralegal? I started my first paralegal job was in New York City at a small tax lien and foreclosure law firm in February 2020. Unfortunately, because of COVID-19, I got laid-off two month later.
2. What is your official title and what areas of law do you primarily handle? My current job position is a Paralegal/Administrative Assistant to a few associates at Avelino Law, LLP. The area of law I mostly focus on is Trusts and Estates. My firm’s other practice areas include corporate law, land use and zoning and litigation.
3. Do you have a college education, and if so, what type of degrees or certificates do you have? I do! I graduated from a four-year public college named Salisbury University located at Salisbury, Maryland in May 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology. Then, I attended Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Paralegal Studies Certificate Program (ABA Approved) and received my Paralegal Certificate in October 2019. It was the best decision I ever made!
4. Do you think that a formal college education or paralegal certification is important or beneficial to those in the paralegal field? I feel the most beneficial in the paralegal field is more so the experience then the education. I learn best with being hands on then reading from a book. I also believe companies and firms prefer to hire people who have a lot of experience under their belt. If you do have paralegal experience, I believe obtaining a paralegal certificate will also help elevate your career.
5. What skills are most valuable for a paralegal? The top valuable skills for a paralegal to have is attention to detail, organization, and good listening. Your attorneys rely on you so its important to have those skills.
6. How competitive is the paralegal job market? From my experience, I believe a lot of companies and law firms are not looking for entry level paralegals but more so with someone who has 5+ experience. I think it is because no one has the time to sit down and teach you step by step with projects.
7. What benefits do you feel you gain from being a member of paralegal associations and what advice would you give others about joining? I have met amazing and nice people through the association, members and board members alike. It is a place where paralegals come together or those who want to be a paralegal, to discuss their experiences and provide an advice to one another. We offer a bunch of virtual events, have a book/movie club, job bank and much more!
8. What suggestions would you give someone new who is trying to enter the paralegal profession? My suggestions are if you are unsure about being a paralegal, do your research first by going online or reaching out to experience paralegals to hear their thoughts and advice. If you are still interested in being a paralegal, find an entry level paralegal job or internship. If you want to further your paralegal career, you can apply to an ABA-approved paralegal program at a university to receive your paralegal certificate.
9. What suggestions do you have for someone who is trying to advance their career or remain marketable? If you believe you want to advance your career, write down the tasks and responsibilities you have done at your current job. Once you have your list, reach out to your manager, and schedule a meeting regarding your interest in advancing in your career. Discuss and explain to your manager as to why you believe you want to advance your career.
10. What area of law would you like to learn more about? I would say Litigation. I believe it is very complicated type of law but it allows tremendous personal and career advancement and professional respect because of how complex it is. Whatever law firm you work for, people will be impressed with what you know about litigation.
11. Tell us a Fun Fact about yourself. (Do you sing? Do you dance? What do you do for fun?) have run three half marathons – my goal is to eventually run a full marathon, especially the NYC Marathon. I love being outside, spending time with family and friends and staying active.
12. If you would like to invite readers to connect with you on social media, feel free to include Links to your LinkedIn Profile. My LinkedIn is linkedin.com/in/svitone. I am also the Social Media Coordinator of the NYCPA so you can contact me at email@example.com. Please feel free to message me at any time if you need any career advice or just want to say hi!
Eleanor Osmanoff is a senior paralegal in Corporate & Securities Group at Dechert LLP, New York. As many other immigrants from the former Soviet Union, her first years in America during 1990s was a “struggle to survive and to adapt to the customs and requirements in a new system and land.” Having a background in musical theory, history, and piano performance, she started her American experience from giving private music lessons and also several piano recitals in community centers. Thereafter, while working in medical and dental offices as a manager, she acquired computer, organization and communication skills and, together with her research and writing abilities from musicology, decided to transform and develop all these skills into a professional career in legal field.
It was not a traditional typical approach - studying full-time, receiving a degree, and finding a job. She did not have an opportunity to concentrate only on studies; she needed to work as well. Ms. Osmanoff started her journey working as a legal secretary in medical malpractice field at Gordon & Silber and simultaneously studied 5 days a week, taking several courses of Business English and Introduction to Business Law as a part of requirement for Legal Executive Assistant Certificate at Katharine Gibbs, New York – a 1,5 year program which Eleanor graduated with a 4.0 GPA in 2002. She progressed in her career from legal secretary to a paralegal, assisting attorneys in areas of commercial litigation, bankruptcy litigation and corporate law. As a case manager in Sills Cummis, she supported a managing partner and staff attorneys in complex commercial and integrated ERISA class action suits in Federal and state jurisdictions. Currently, she supports Corporate & Securities group at Dechert, LLP in corporate finance, securities, and private equity with formation, amendment, and maintenance; she assists attorneys in all stages of deal closings, including due diligence, closing checklist, closing and post-closing, index and closing binders; prepares and files UCC financing statements and electronic filings on EDGAR.
While progressing at work and during her full-time schedule as a paralegal, Ms. Osmanoff received her Bachelors of Science in Legal Studies from Kaplan University in 2008. Among her academic accomplishments during her study in Kaplan are research on Securities Regulations in Capstone, a paper on the life and achievements of J.P. Morgan in American Business History, a project on Adulthood and Analysis of Lifespan Development in Developmental Psychology, an evaluation of the contribution to legal philosophy of John Stuart Mill in Legal Philosophy, an essay on “Harrison Bergeron” by K. Vonnegut in Law and Society.
Eleanor is an active member of New York City Paralegal Association and a mentor of junior paralegals. In addition, she actively participates in pro bono, including monitoring voting poles in Brooklyn on Election Day a mobile legal volunteer for Election Protection during last election and also helping legal immigrants with preparation of forms for citizenship during Citizenship Day.