When Vera Long began working at the Gunster law firm’s Private Wealth Services practice in 1980, she had a solid background as a secretary, but she did not have a degree.
After five years as a legal secretary, when she was ready to advance to become a paralegal, she knew she’d need to go back to school.
“The firm had set specific standards for its paralegals,’’ she said. “One option was to get a degree. The other option was to become certified through the National Association of Legal Assistants.” Long did both.
She enrolled in Palm Beach Community College’s Paralegal program (then called Legal Assisting) to get her Associate in Science degree, and she has been committed to the profession and professional development for herself and thousands of others ever since.
She is highly respected in the paralegal community locally, statewide and nationally, having served as president of the Paralegal Association of Florida, Inc. from 2000-2001 and president of the organization’s Palm Beach County Chapter from 1996-1998. She is a paralegal member of The Florida Bar where she served on the Florida Registered Paralegal Program Standing Committee. She has been active in the National Association of Legal Assistants where she played a key role in developing advanced certification coursework in estate planning. She also has served on PBSC’s Paralegal Business Partnership Council since 1999.
“The degree from Palm Beach State College gave me a broad education in other areas of law. Having the opportunity to gain this background helped in my professional growth and made me a better paralegal in the area in which I practice.”
As Gunster’s paralegal manager, Long supervises and mentors paralegals and is experienced in all phases of sophisticated estate and trust administration. She is a Florida registered paralegal, an advanced certified paralegal in probate and estate administration, and a certified financial planner.