By Sonya Herbold
On Saturday July 9 I had an important decision to make: spend three hours in SPC’s mock courtroom on the Clearwater Campus learning the responsibilities of a notary public OR spend my birthday on the beach. I can honestly say that at 9 a.m. on a Saturday morning the Clearwater campus is very quiet.
Although you might not think so, the decision to attend the seminar was actually an easy choice for me to make. I am concerned that I will be at a disadvantage in finding a job compared to my peers, who have also graduated from the paralegal program- an underdog so to speak. While many of my classmates have worked in law offices, the only knowledge I have about being a paralegal is what I learned from the classes in the program. I have no practical experience, nor do I have an inside connection to a law firm. But I do have the willingness to set myself apart from others, and taking the extra step to become a notary public adds another marketable professional skill to my resume.
In order to become a notary in the state of Florida, you have a choice: a three-hour live seminar or an interactive session online. Chapter 117 of the Florida Statutes covers the responsibilities of a notary in Florida. To me, attending a live three-hour seminar just makes more sense to explain all the nuances of Chapter 117. The seminar was led by Denise McCabe, who is very knowledgeable and has the added bonus of the ability to make three hours go by rather quickly. The nice thing about attending the seminar is that you are not alone; you are attending with other people who are also interested in becoming notaries, which means you have the advantage of hearing the answers to questions you might not have thought to ask. There is more to being a notary than just placing your stamp on a piece of paper or having the ability to perform the wedding ceremony for friends and family. There are important guidelines to know and to follow, and you must be aware of the consequences of not following proper procedure.
While I ended the day without a dose of Vitamin D, the knowledge I gained was a nice present to myself.
If you are interested in the Notary training, Mrs. McCabe will be offering it again in the future through the Paralegal Studies program. I recommend you contact Dr. Christy Powers.