Linda McDonald Carter currently serves as an Associate Professor and Director of the Paralegal Studies Program at Essex County College, Newark, New Jersey. Her humble beginnings started over five decades ago during the tumultuous 1950’s and the Civil Rights era that evolved into the Black Power Movement. Linda blossomed early as an active citizen. She vividly recalls seeing the world through the eyes of the media and TV show about attorney Perry Mason rather than the realities she witnessed daily growing up in a Public Housing Project located in Newark New Jersey, after the Newark Rebellion of 1967.
Linda become an attorney, not necessarily to practice law and make money, but, rather to help make a difference in her community assisting with interpreting the language of law and providing direction on how to navigate and negotiate the U.S. Justice System. She studied Political Science at Rutgers University, completing her studies in law at Rutgers University.
Linda’s first professional position was a resident manager. She later became a Section 8 Manager at the Newark Housing Authority (NHA). While in law school, she worked for United States Senator Bill Bradley, before moving to Southern California where she became heavily involved with various grassroots and political initiatives such as registering voters.
After living in Southern California, Linda returned New Jersey. Again, working in the area of voter registration; particulary, working with the New York/New Jersey Motor Voter Project. Later In 1989, she began her current career providing instruction as an adjunct at Essex County College. Simultaneously, in 1990 she held the position of Assistant Corporation Counsel in East Orange, New Jersey. In 1992, she opened her own law firm, before joining with Lisa Hendricks-Richardson, Rhonda Pope Stephenson and Vanessa Williams Powell, to form one of the first and largest African American women law firms in New Jersey ( if not the U.S.) Richardson, Stephenson, Powell and Carter, LLC in 1996.
Linda is a member of the Association of Black Women Lawyers of New Jersey (ABWL-NJ), Garden State Bar Association (GSBA), New Jersey State Bar Association, and New Jersey Bar Association Committee on Paralegals, American Association for Paralegal Education (AAfPE), Essex County Bar Association (ECBA) Paralegal Association of New Jersey (PANJ) and the American Bar Association (ABA) Standing Committee on Paralegals. She also serves on the New Jersey Office of Attorney Ethics Fee Arbitration Committee for Essex County.
Linda completed a Fellowship through the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Bridging Historias through Latino History and Culture Program, at the Graduate Center, CUNY, Presentation, titled, “The Evolution of Latino Politics in the U.S.” Additionally, in March 2016 Linda was sworn-in to practice law before the United States Supreme Court and later in November 2016 she was elected to the position of American Association for Paralegal Educators (AAfPE) representing the AAfPE on the ABA Standing Committee on Paralegals. She recently co-wrote an article titled, The Culturally Collective Community of the City of Newark’s Central Ward and Memories in E.W. Scudder Public Housing Pre-1967, for the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Diversity Committee's Newsletter, which is distributed to 18,000 attorneys throughout the State of New Jersey.
Linda’s community service activities are also extensive. Linda is sought after to facilitate political forums and debates throughout the State of New Jersey. Linda is the eldest of 6 brothers, 2 sisters; aunt of 19 nieces and nephews and also grandaunt of 17. She is also the wife of a real cool husband, Aaron.
I unexpectedly became involved in the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Paralegals Approval Commission over two years ago. I was invited by Patricia Lyons, former president of the American Association for Paralegal Education and Judith Mathers Maloney, Director North Region, to run for the elected position of AAfPE as a representative to the Approval Commission. I had never run for any elected position in my entire life. I believe that my comment about being shy and a statement about Baby Boomers combined with the reaction I received really got me elected to the position. Since serving on the Commission my experiences have been surprisingly and extremely rewarding. It has been the best first elected position one could ever experience.