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The Life and Career of Janice Favreau: Paralegal, Enfield, CT

published January 29, 2007

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( 39 votes, average: 5 out of 5)
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Not surprisingly, this experience had a powerful influence on Favreau's decision to become a paralegal. Faced with the reality of her son's injury and his need for the most inclusive education possible, Favreau first had to determine what the law said. Approximately one year before her son was injured, a federal law was passed guaranteeing every child a free and appropriate education in his or her community.

Favreau said, "I found that the school district [my son attended] was not going to be very forthcoming in letting me know what my rights or my son's rights were, and I had to try to find organizations that could provide me with that information. So that really began the basis of my paralegal career, because that's exactly what a paralegal does—attempt to find a solution or a resolution or to find prior case law on an issue that's before him or her."

"Since I had so many years to practice that, I began to think, 'I'm pretty good at this.' How can I take something that I have learned through life experience and turn it into a paying job?" Favreau continued. "I always wanted to get a college degree, [but] I was not able to go to school when I was younger. So as I was still waiting to figure out what I was going to be when I grew up, I went to the community college and worked with their career counseling department. I took one of those Myers-Briggs tests, and that [paralegal training] was one of the things that came up as a career path to follow, and since they offered a program that was relatively low cost and could be done in the evening, I said, 'Okay, this is the way to go.'"

Presently, Favreau lives in South Windsor, CT, and works in the city of Enfield for LEGO Systems, Inc., the maker of those interlocking toys with which most of us grew up. Her job title is "legal analyst."

"The reason they give me that title, probably, is because I am [in] an exempt position," said Favreau. "There was a change in the federal laws regarding the definition of what is exempt and what is non-exempt, and there was kind of a split in Connecticut between paralegals [who] were classified as exempt or non-exempt because it depended on how much supervision you needed or how much supervision you may provide to others. After this public law was passed, across the board, paralegals—at least in Connecticut—became non-exempt, so rather than giving me the title 'paralegal,' they gave me 'legal analyst.'"

Primarily, Favreau works as an expeditor between the licensing department and the legal department. In this newly created position, she is responsible for some of the pre-attorney-type tasks such as drafting amendments to existing agreements, drafting purchase and sale agreements, and going over licensing agreements.

"I kind of know which are the kinds of terms that we will accept, that we will not, that we are negotiable [on], and those that we are non-negotiable on, and so I save the attorney time by being the middle-man, if you will, between licensing and them […]. I also do a lot of cease and desist letters because it's amazing how much our trademarks are being infringed all the time," Favreau said.

"People tend to think that the word 'Lego' is a generic word for public-domain use, and it's not. It's a protected trademark, and so we have the responsibility to protect our trademark, and that means policing that mark, so that often falls to me," she added. "If you don't police your mark, it can become genericized, just like Xerox. People say, 'I'm going to Xerox a document,' instead of 'photocopy it.' You want to guard against that happening, so you want to police your trademark in order to enforce the rights that you have." According to Favreau, this aspect of her job alone could become a full-time position.

Favreau also serves as PR/Legislative Chair for the Central Connecticut Paralegal Association, which means she works to spread the word about the organization. She recently met with a paralegal who works at one of the leading insurance companies in Hartford; she is a member of the association but is concerned that her company doesn't know much about it and its benefits. That's exactly where Favreau comes in.

"I'm in the process of developing a brochure that I plan to send out to managing partners of all the local law firms in Hartford County and to the various companies that have in-house legal departments in order to make people aware of our organization and the benefits—if they have paralegals on board—to those paralegals and […] the company. One of the things we do every single month is we have a luncheon in which we have a speaker with some topic that's pertinent to a specific area of law. So, for example, we have a speaker this month on the Family Leave Act and what does that mean and how is that enforced and how that pertains not only to the individual but how that might pertain to the company or corporation or the firm, for that matter."

Another unusual entry on Favreau's resume mentions that she serves as a Justice of the Peace. Because Justices of the Peace are selected by political appointment, Favreau said interested parties need to be politically active. Each party—Democrat and Republican—is allotted a certain number of slots based on the population of the town. There are also unaffiliated-voter positions, as well. The state provides a book with information outlining duties and responsibilities.

"Most people who become Justices of the Peace are doing so for the primary purpose of performing marriage ceremonies. That may be personal—because they have someone in their family that they want to marry, and they want that honor to be the officiant. Or it may be, as it is in my case, to be able to perform these ceremonies as a way of gaining a little extra money, not to mention the fact that I thoroughly enjoy working and meeting all the people that I do perform marriage ceremonies and civil unions for. My term is going to be good for another two years."

According to Favreau, regulation of paralegals on both the national and state fronts is one of the most important issues facing the law community today. "As paralegals assume more duties that were normally given to attorneys, short of the practice of law, those paralegals that earn their education and experience should take the next step, which is certification, which is much like the bar exam for paralegals. All too often, legal secretaries are called 'legal assistants,' but they are performing primarily administrative duties. There should be a distinct level which recognizes the achievements of those persons who have obtained the education and prerequisite experience to earn the title 'paralegal,'" said Favreau.

Favreau's advice for students who are preparing to become paralegals is that they should join their student paralegal associations. If your school does not have one, she suggested, start one! "I belonged to student paralegal associations both at the community college and university. The university program was in its infancy when I joined, and it now has a regular agenda of annual programs, including round-table discussions with practicing paralegals, which gives the students insight into the real world," Favreau said.

On a personal level, Favreau is divorced and has two grown children. "My older son, Chris, has traumatic brain injury (TBI). When he was first injured, I started a support group for families in my local town, and then I became involved on a state level and was named to then-governor O'Neill's study committee on traumatic brain injury because the disability was so new then," said Favreau. She has a younger son who lives in Chicago and is a senior account executive for a public relations agency.

She is very interested in politics on the state and national levels and participates on the Democratic town committee in South Windsor. Gardening, bike riding, and traveling are some of her hobbies. Said Favreau, "At the current time, my Justice of the Peace activities take up a large portion of my time, but I thoroughly enjoy being involved with people during such a happy time in their lives."



South Windsor is a town in Hartford County, CT. The population as of the 2000 Census was 24,412.

Famous people born in South Windsor include:

Brett Burnham (Minor League Baseball player)

Gary Burnham (Minor League Baseball player)

Harry F. Farnham (Politician - 1879)

Oliver Wolcott (Signer of the Declaration of Independence)
Jonathan Edwards (Theologian - 1703)
So now you know...

published January 29, 2007

( 39 votes, average: 5 out of 5)
What do you think about this article? Rate it using the stars above and let us know what you think in the comments below.