In the early seventies, Shelley Widoff began her career with a Boston law firm as a practicing paralegal generalist. With a college degree and certificate in hand, she began her career before the term "paralegal" was familiar, even to lawyers. Within four years Shelley recognized a critical need for qualified ad hoc professionals in the legal field. She pioneered the Freelancing and Paralegal Temp concepts responding to the needs of members of the Massachusetts Bar while spending time educating them regarding this "new profit center".
Shelley's independent philosophy influenced the evolution of her professional career in the areas of paralegal services, education and management consulting, including temporary and permanent placement of paralegal/attorney teams. Upon founding the Paralegal Resource Center in 1976, Shelley proved herself to be a key player in the shaping and modeling of the paralegal field.
Her most significant contribution was in the area of education. While evaluating and placing paralegals with law firms and corporate legal departments, Shelley quickly realized that the certificate credential for paralegal graduates was not addressing the practical skills and knowledge that her clients were seeking.
By designing, implementing and teaching relevant curriculum, Shelley became the founder and director of innovative certificate programs at two major universities in Boston (Northeastern University in 1979 and Boston University in 1981). Her passion to teach brought a unique perspective to the curriculum--it included paralegal specialists as lecturers to focus on the "nuts and bolts" application of the law, alongside substantive law lectures by attorneys. In addition, Shelley published the Lincoln & Darrow Workbook for Paralegal Training and a Teacher's Manual. For two decades Shelley was the Director of Paralegal Programs at Boston University. She is credited with designing the first bachelor's degree in Paralegal Studies in the Greater Boston area.
During this time, Shelley consulted for a prestigious law firm where she conceptualized and defined her newly created role as Paralegal Manager. She developed guidelines for the effective recruiting, training and performance evaluation of a growing paralegal staff. In addition, Shelley designed a system addressing attorney delegation matters.
Since establishing her Boston office in 1985 at Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Shelley continues to consult with law firms, corporations, financial institutions, paralegal educators and career paralegal candidates.
Shelley Widoff received her undergraduate education from Skidmore College, a Certificate from the Paralegal Institute in New York City and a Master's degree from Boston University. She has held Board and Chair positions on many paralegal organizations: MPA, NFPA, MBA and an Honorary Emeritus membership in AAfPE.