Prior to opening his company, Jeff worked for attorney Patricia Campagna. He then served as a real estate legal assistant for attorney Victor I. Moses. Jeff also served as a collector and consumer loan processor for the Savings Bank of Manchester. He currently serves as the credit and collection manager for Plimpton & Hills Corporation, a successful wholesale company with eleven business centers in Connecticut and three in Massachusetts. Jeff has nine years' experience as a paralegal, and four of those years have been devoted to successfully running his business in the great state of Connecticut.
Jeff was born in Hartford and raised in Willington, CT. He graduated from Edwin O. Smith High School, which is located in Storrs, CT. Jeff attended Manchester Community College and received his degree in Paralegal Studies in 2005. He has been happily married to his wife for one year.
When asked about his hobbies, Jeff stated:
"I'm very involved in my church and enjoy being a part of the outreach ministries: convalescent home ministry, street evangelism and our Kid's Bible Jubilee youth outreach program. I also help as a Sunday school teacher, usher and band member (guitarist). I am very proud of my Sunday school class; they are the greatest young men and women around. I also love writing songs and singing them with my wife."Jeff served as a ministry worker for the Full Gospel Interdenominational Church in Manchester, CT. He is a Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers fan. Jeff's favorite author is Randy Singer, whose most recent novel is entitled Dead Lawyers Tell No Tales. He is a frequent visitor of 2 Hopewell, a very classy restaurant located in South Glastonbury, CT.
Jeff's Successful Business and Tips for Paralegals
Does Jeff have a most memorable educational experience? He claimed:
"I enrolled in a mock trial class at Manchester Community College in 2003. The class was divided into a defense team and a prosecutor team. My team was defending a young woman accused of murdering the managing partner of her firm. The prosecution had motive, means and opportunity, but they also had a string of unreliable witnesses. The final exam of the class was the actual trial, the judges were local practicing attorneys, and our imaginary client was fully acquitted."Why and when did Jeff decide to become a paralegal? "After really praying about my career path back in 1998, I took a couple paralegal courses and really fell in love with the study and application of the law."
When asked if he transitioned into law, Jeff said, "I was working at a packaging company loading trailers when I made my career decision. A friend [Patricia Campagna] of mine in the church I attend was an attorney and allowed me to work in her office one day a week to gain experience. I will always be grateful for that."
The businessman discussed the best part about his job. "I have argued twice against licensed attorneys in small claims court on behalf of the company I work for, and both times we won!"
Jeff also discussed why he appreciates working for himself as a virtual paralegal. "Mainly because I can determine how much I can take on and I can choose who I want to work for."
Does Jeff have a top attribute he appreciates about his boss at Plimpton & Hills Corporation? "My boss is one of the most approachable down to earth people I've ever met. You wouldn't think he was the president of a major corporation. He is very nice, respectful and understanding of people. He is the president, but is accessible to any employee within our 14 branches."
What is the paralegal known for professionally? Jeff explained, "Commercial collections is my strong suit, as I am determined to stay on a bad debt until it is paid in full. I have a hard time letting things go. From very seasoned collection attorneys I have learned the ins and outs of how to be most effective at my work. I know how to utilize post judgment procedures, the Uniform Commercial Code and good old fashioned skip tracing."
What is his opinion about the current assessment of the legal market? "It costs too much."
Jeff also gave his opinion about the legal field today. What would he change about it? "I believe that small claims court magistrates should undergo training on the rules of procedure for small claims."
Since Jeff has nine years' experience as a paralegal, many readers may want to know what his advice is to new and recent paralegals. He advised:
"Be honest and fair. As much as you can, be easy to talk to and get along with. Have fun. These are the attributes you should strive for. I worked shortly for a law firm several years ago. One day the managing partner I reported to came to me asking me to falsify some paperwork to be filed with the court. I refused. In a couple days the request came back to me, I refused again. Shortly thereafter I was fired for refusing to comply with his request. A couple years later this firm was in the news facing severe fines for what the article alleged was illegal activity. Be honest and fair, as we do reap whatever we sow."What advice would Jeff give to students who want to become a paralegal? "It's a great field to get into. I believe there are a lot of opportunities. Some people I went to school with thought the paralegal field wasn't for them after they graduated, but it opened the door to other opportunities."
Where does Jeff see himself in five years? "Doing my best with whatever opportunities I have."
If the businessman weren't a legal staff member, what would he be doing? "I would be a cartoonist."
What motivates Jeff to be a paralegal every day? He jokingly said, "Coffee." Jeff continued to say, "I believe it's a good way to make a difference in individuals' lives."
Jeff's Mentors, Nonprofit Mentors, Volunteer Activities and Public Service
Who are Jeff's mentors? He noted:
"I have a number of mentors, such as my pastors, Rev. Eleanor Kalinsky of the Full Gospel Interdenominational Church in Manchester, CT, Rev. Salvatore Mancini, Rev. Melvin Sanchez and Rev. John Lautenbach of the same church. Rev. Daniel Bossidy at the Full Gospel Lighthouse Church in Torrington, CT, is another one of my mentors. In addition, attorney Louis A. Spadaccini of Black & Spadaccini of Manchester, CT, and attorney Randall J. Carreira of Bridgewater, CT, are my mentors. Really there are many, many more that have played a role of mentor to me, including my wonderfully supportive wife who is my business partner and best friend. I hope to be a mentor to anyone I can as much as I can."Does the paralegal have any nonprofit mentors or organizations he admires? Why?
"All the people I mentioned as mentors and many whom I did not, are the most selfless individuals in history. They, along with my family, are the reasons for every personal and professional success I have ever known. If you're familiar with the story of the man who sees the footprints in the sand, the man questions God at the times of his life when only one set of prints is evident, believing that God left him during his life's struggles. Then God tells the man that it was in those times that God was carrying the man and that's why he only saw one set of prints. How does God carry us in our hard times? I believe it is on the shoulders of people full of His love and compassion. These mentors, friends and family have carried me on their shoulders many, many times."Is Jeff involved in any volunteer activities? He served a two-year term on Manchester CT Board of Directors (Town Council). During his term, he oversaw town operations with the General Manager and other Board Members. Jeff instituted a senior citizen tax credit program and established paralegal internships for high school students. In 2007, he served on the Manchester Elderly Tax Relief Committee. From 2006 to 2007, Jeff was an active member of the Manchester Commission on Aging. From 2010 to 2011, he served as a commissioner on the Manchester Workforce Development Commission. Jeff currently serves on the National Association of Credit Management (NACM) as part of the CT Board of Directors.
What is Impossible for Jeff to Give Up, a Rewarding Position, and His Final Thought
What would be impossible for Jeff to give up? "Grilled salmon."
Why does Jeff find his position rewarding? "Anytime you help someone out, it's a rewarding feeling. It makes me feel like I have substance in my life."
Is there a downside to his position? Jeff acknowledged that it's hard to establish a freelance paralegal business in Connecticut. He said there are only two successful freelance paralegal businesses in the state that he is aware of. One specializes in title insurance for real estate closing and the other focuses on real estate closing packages. Jeff pointed out that it takes time for paralegals to gain a network of contacts. "You have to have at least ten years of experience before you go out on your own."
Is there anything else you care to share professionally or personally? "I love the law. I have a passion for it. Although our legal system has its flaws, we have a great legal system. Ever since my late teen years, when I made the decision to pursue a career in the legal field, I have wanted to be a part of that system. I believe in helping those who might be less fortunate, and this profession is one of the avenues through which I can do that." Jeff added, "I know that Jesus loves each and every individual and can change any person's life for the better if we just allow Him access to our hearts, the good parts and the bad."
*** Jeffery Beckman is not an attorney and cannot give legal advice. ***