Caitlin Lastinger was an enthusiastic part-time student at NSU Law, and earned her law degree in 3.5 years while working full time with the firm of Marc R. Goldstein, P.A. in Wellington, FL. She started as a receptionist over 10 years ago and her effective organization and positive work ethic opened the door to a paralegal position within the firm. “Mr. Goldstein’s mentorship, and the breadth of experience he has within the field, has put me in a unique position to hit the ground running in any area of the law I wish to pursue after graduation.”
“A healthy combination of time management, discipline, focus, understanding/patient friends and family, and a supportive relationship with classmates is what can make law school a great experience. After 4 hours of class on a Tuesday evening, I have more energy and more enthusiasm for my career choice than I experience all day. I get almost too excited when I explain to my husband the effect of a particular hearsay exception, and he is a good sport about listening. That is how I know I am doing what I was meant to do.”
While working full-time and attending school part-time, Caitlin joined the Evening Law Student Association (ELSA) and was the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 President and a representative for the NSU Law Student Bar Association (SBA). Through ELSA, Caitlin created a Mental Wellness Committee and a Big/Little mentor program specifically designed to help first year law students, and insuring the first year students have a student guide through their legal education in addition to the faculty and staff. This was especially important during NSU’s transition to a BlendFlex education in the midst of a pandemic. “The students need these types of strong relationships with their peers more than ever.”
In 2021, Caitlin, through SBA and with the assistance of the Broward County Women Lawyers’ Association, spearheaded a law school event where students were invited to observe live hearings and trials over Zoom, and got an opportunity to have a discussion with the presiding judges and practicing attorneys about advocating over Zoom. “Zoom hearings aren’t going anywhere, and this experience gives students a behind-the-scenes look at how to advocate for their clients in a virtual setting; a skill that will be invaluable when they enter the workforce.”
The COVID-19 pandemic may have shifted the learning experience in 2020 and 2021, but the enthusiasm she has for her career and the success of her classmates is unchanged.