Mary Conwell, J.D., is the Department Chair of the Paralegal, Architecture, Construction, and Engineering Programs at Florida SouthWestern State College (FSW) in Fort Myers, Florida. She is also the Learning Assessment Coordinator of those programs. She has been a full-time professor at FSW for the past 20 ½ years. She founded the FSW chapter of Lambda Epsilon Chi (LEX), the national paralegal honor society, and coordinates its yearly induction ceremony. She is active in the American Association for Paralegal Education (AAfPE) and has attended a combined 32 national and regional AAfPE conferences since 2000. She has been a presenter on paralegal education topics at four AAfPE conferences and was on the Planning Committee for the 2016 AAfPE National Conference. Her article, Effectively Teaching Case Briefing, was published in the Fall/Winter 2018 edition of The Legal Educator. She graduated with a B.A. from Indiana University-Bloomington and a J.D. from Indiana University School of Law-Bloomington. She holds an active license to practice law in Indiana. Her hobbies are golf and butterfly gardening.
I became interested in the work of the ABA Approval Commission through the initial approval and two subsequent re-approval site visits to the paralegal program I direct at Florida SouthWestern State College (FSW) in Florida. Preparing for and then hosting the visits were eye-opening and provided opportunities to reflect on the strengths of my program and to improve any areas of weakness. The ABA site team visitors offered invaluable suggestions and insight on how to make a paralegal program the very best it could be. The positive site visits to my college resulted in wanting to become a site visit team member examining paralegal programs at other institutions. I have now participated in three ABA site visits as a junior team member, and they have been incredibly rewarding professional experiences. I look forward to continuing to contribute my experience as a seasoned paralegal educator on the ABA Approval Commission.