The Fund Certification

Legal Studies students who enroll in International College’s Real Estate Transaction course for the Winter 2004 term will now be eligible to sit for The FUND Certification Exam.

Orlando-based Attorneys’ Title Insurance Fund, which provides title insurance to member attorneys throughout Florida and several other states, has designated International College’s Real Estate Transaction course as a Paralegal Certification Program (PCAP).

James Hodge, International College Legal Studies Program Chair, said Fund-certified attorney Mark Oates, who teaches the existing course, was instrumental in getting the PCAP program to the College.

“The Fund certification fulfills International College’s mission of training qualified and quality students for work in the legal field. As a result, our students will be more marketable,” Hodge explained. “The certified paralegal market in the Southwestern region of Florida is huge. Every real estate attorney and property closer in this area is looking for Fund-certified paralegals because of their competency in real estate closings.”

Another bonus to students who take the course is that The Fund will offer them lifetime job placement with attorneys throughout the state of Florida. There are 6,000 Fund members statewide. International College joins only five other Florida colleges in receiving this designation. The other schools are: St. Petersburg College, Seminole Community College, Broward Community College, Manatee Community College, and Palm Beach Community College.

Legal Studies student Christine Lord, 20, of Naples, said she signed up for the course specifically to sit for the exam and earn The Fund certification. Lord currently works as a legal assistant for a family law attorney in Naples.

“The real estate market in Naples is booming and The Fund certification is something to fall back on. To have The Fund certification on your resume is extremely attractive to attorneys,” Lord said. “What’s also critical about The Fund course is that it provides hands-on learning that you can actually use in the real world.”

Students who take the course will receive highly concentrated instruction on: basic title examination skills, preparation of commitments, closing documents and final policies, DoubleTime closing software, Propel document retrieval software, and The Fund’s Automated Title Information Data System (ATIDS). The Fund will provide International College with books, software programs, and a Fund trainer who will teach the software programs, said Susan Hosier, Paralegal Certification and Placement Manager for The Fund.

“The Fund created a special program to expand the pool of trained, qualified real estate paralegals and legal assistants who can be productive from the day they are hired,” Hosier said. “Our goal also includes raising the skill and performance levels of those currently in the marketplace.”

Mark Price, attorney and city manager of the Roetzel & Andress Naples office, said he welcomes the program and the opportunity it will bring to potential students.

“We are certainly excited to hear about the efforts of International College to help meet the needs of the real estate community and believe The Fund’s program is an excellent source of valuable training for aspiring paralegals,” Price said.

Kathleen Passidomo, an attorney with Kelly, Passidomo & Alba, echoes Price’s enthusiasm.

“International College’s Fund designation will ensure that the paralegals and legal assistants graduating from the program will have a higher degree of skill when they enter the job market,” said Passidomo, also a member of the College’s President’s Council. “I’m thrilled this certification is available in the southwestern region of Florida. It confirms my confidence that International College is committed to providing a quality education for its students, who are then able to take that knowledge into the workplace.”
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