Nicole Ballenger will become the new Director of the Legal Education Institute
as of July 1st, 2010. Formerly the Assistant Director of the LEI program, Ballenger takes over for former Director Eileen Grena-Piretti
, who will be taking the position of Executive Director of Institutes as of July 1st.
A past LEI student herself, Ballenger earned her paralegal certificate in 1994 and then graduated from Widener Law with her J.D. in 2001. While she intends to maintain LEI’s successful paralegal
, legal nurse consulting
, and court interpreter programs
, she hopes to expand LEI’s offerings and “offer new opportunities to the students.” The court interpreter program in particular has room to expand, with Director Ballenger noting, “There will be a lot of opportunities to offer new workshops.”
“We are certainly very proud of the fact that we are maintaining our graduate placement rates,” says Ballenger proudly of the success that LEI graduates have had in finding jobs. Part of preparing LEI students for success after graduation comes from the heavy emphasis placed on practical experience. “There is definitely a need for paralegals right now. The paralegal is the frontline and is providing substantive work,” she states.
Networking opportunities provide an important opportunity for LEI to continue to grow and prosper. “We’re always looking to expand our network of alumni – especially as pertains to internship placement opportunities,” says Nicole. She also emphasizes the importance of reaching out to local paralegal associations and utilizing the connections that LEI has with the larger Widener Law Center.
“I look forward to the opportunity,” says Nicole of her new role, adding, “I’ve been teaching here since 2004, and I welcome the challenges and excitement that the new position will bring.” She concludes by praising those who have helped make LEI successful “Our office truly functions as a team, and we really have a nice environment in place.”