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Suzanne VanSligtenhorst (Steunenberg)

Suzanne VanSligtenhorst (Steunenberg)

Pilon School of Business

Degree: Office Administration - Legal

Year of graduation: 1993

Playing the Crucial Supporting Role

It’s hard to believe that many Sheridan students were using a typewriter to hone their skills as recently as the mid-1990s. One of those students, Suzanne VanSligtenhorst, remembers several job interviews that involved typing speed and grammar testing. Although these skills remain important in the modern office, today’s employers are looking for a wider range of abilities.

“I find that companies now are more interested in how candidates problem-solve, multi-task and fit into an organization,” says Suzanne, who has worked for both lawyers in private practice and in-house legal departments since graduation.

Program Coordinator, Chris Gigler, agrees. “Lawyers today require professional support staff that are well-rounded with good interpersonal, technical, communication and time management skills.”

In addition to Suzanne’s studies at Sheridan, she pursued her Law Clerk certification through the Institute of Law Clerks of Ontario, attending evening classes at Sheridan’s Brampton campus.

A Contracts Manager at Q9 Networks Inc. since 2008, Suzanne’s career includes a five-year stint at Goodmans LLP, first as a Legal Assistant and then as a Law Clerk in the Banking and Financial Services area. She has also worked at The TDL Group Ltd. (Tim Horton’s), IMAX Corporation and Cara Operations Ltd. / The Second Cup Ltd. as an Associate Law Clerk before joining Q9 Networks Inc.

The Toronto-based company provides outsourced data services to Canadian businesses, allowing Suzanne the opportunity to learn about a variety of areas of law through her work with in-house counsel.

Suzanne is confident that her skills will remain relevant in the years to come. “Law firms and companies always need people to fill supporting roles in the legal field, says Suzanne. “I could relocate anywhere and probably be hired relatively easily. That is a good position to be in.”

The demand for qualified legal administrators is very high, Chris concurs. Sheridan’s Office Administration Legal program is well known and highly regarded. “As a result of the needs of the legal community and the support of our Program Advisory Committee, we offer students the option to graduate from the program with a cooperative education component.” The high number of academic awards available for Office Administration - Legal students is another indication of the demand for qualified assistants, she adds.
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