(BA, Political Science, '93)
Q & A:
- What was your favorite class, who was your favorite professor, or what is your fondest memory of Hofstra?
I enjoyed all of my classes and professors at Hofstra and have many fond memories of my time there. The funny thing is that some treasured memories come from unexpected places. I thoroughly enjoyed two geology courses I took while at Hofstra, which had nothing to do with my major but left a lasting impression on me. I still use what I learned in those classes while walking the beach and collecting rocks with my children and showing them things I learned from my geology professor. I also enjoyed many courses that were more related to my political science major. I had Professor Landis for quite a few classes and always looked forward to his lectures.
- What was your first job after graduating from Hofstra, and what was the most valuable thing learned in that position?
After Hofstra, I went on to attend law school. From law school, I worked at a small firm in Smithtown in their Litigation Department. It was there that I learned about real estate and I specialized in foreclosures. While representing the lender in the foreclosure action, one thing struck me as important – learning to be sympathetic and empathetic to the other side. Many people who were being foreclosed upon, even during that time where foreclosures were low because the economy was good, had very sad stories. At a time when most firms wanted to move cases through and were uninterested in working with defendants, I was able to assist many defendants in getting agreements to help get their payments back on track – something that the defendants appreciated and my client liked as well, because then they were not burdened with property upkeep that was costly.
- What is your field of specialty, and how did you come to work in the industry?
I consider real estate my field of specialty, as I learned so much from my two years at the law firm, and even more in my soon-to-be 20 years at Nationwide Court Services Inc. I know all aspects of the foreclosure action, am familiar with residential and commercial real estate, and know about process service, title insurance, and other relevant legal aspects as they relate to property ownership.
- What advice would you give Hofstra students?
I have a sign in my office that reads, “Cultivate kindness.” It sends a good and strong message because sometimes in business I meet people who feel the need to be aggressive or adversarial. I find that is rarely the best way to proceed. In my opinion, showing kindness, empathy, and civility is a powerful way to motivate people, build loyalty and trust, foster respect and inclusivity, and ultimately drive success. Kindness does not equal weakness, but rather is a way to build and establish relationships, which is important in every facet of life.
- In one word, how would you describe Hofstra?
The word I would use to describe Hofstra is illuminating.
- With over 20 years of experience within the real estate and title industry, how do you think the field has changed over time?
he field has changed and continues to change. When I first began, abstractors worked in every county. With the advent of technology, now many counties can be searched online, in the office. Advances in technology have changed the way we search land records, record land documents, the way we conduct auctions, the way we handle service of process, and the way we conduct business, in general. While change can be daunting, it is best to embrace it and all of the advances as it can lead to growth opportunities in unexpected ways.
- What is a typical day like for the director of operations at Nationwide Court Services?
Each day is different, and that is something that I really enjoy. A day can range from creating training sessions to delivering a presentation to a client to working with a colleague on a new or challenging question or ways to increase business. One of the constants, though, throughout my day, is checking in with the teams to determine their progress and address any difficulties or concerns they may have with their work. Creating strategies is important, and setting priorities and goals to meet are ongoing efforts. In our business, flexibility is key, as something that is discussed on Monday might be totally different because of workflow, client directive, etc. come the end of the week.
- What is the hardest part of your job?
More recently, the most difficult part of my job has been to find employees who have the relevant experience in our field or who are interested in training and learning about our industry and the careers and opportunities that are available as a legal service provider.
- Out of all of your accomplishments in your career thus far, which one was the most rewarding?
In the ever-changing industry that we are a part of, the ability to continue to adapt and grow with market fluctuations, volume changes, and technological advances is a great achievement. Also, the ability to mentor and assist people in attaining their career goals and adjust to industry challenges is rewarding on so many levels.
Paula Parrino has over 20 years of experience in the real estate and title industry, and is currently the chief administrative officer and vice president of operations for Nationwide Court Services Inc. A former foreclosure attorney for several large lenders, Ms. Parrino has a great deal of experience in analyzing complex commercial and residential title issues and collaborating with underwriters and clients on solutions to challenging title problems. She was a contributor to the New Jersey Real Estate Journal’s 2017 year in review, as her real estate experience and knowledge of foreclosure laws span several states, including New Jersey, Connecticut, Maine, and Vermont. Further, Ms. Parrino is an expert on process serving in the states of New York, Florida, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland and taught a continuing legal education course titled “Challenges and Solutions to the Successful Service of Process in New York State.” Ms. Parrino was also featured in Long Island Business News’ Who’s Who December 2019 edition.
Ms. Parrino holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Hofstra University, with minors in economics and international affairs; a master’s degree in education from Dowling College; and a Juris Doctor from Touro Law School. Licensed by the New York State Department of Financial Services as a title insurance agent, Ms. Parrino also has a New Jersey title license. A recipient of Long Island Business News’ 40 Under 40 award, she has also been a recurring guest speaker at Stony Brook University Center for Corporate Education’s Executive Round Table Graduation Ceremony for Project Management and is an award-winning grant writer through the New York State Regional Economic Development Council. In 2019, Ms. Parrino was honored as one of Long Island’s Top 50 Women in Business and received The Herald News’ Real Estate Award for Achievement and Leadership. She is also a dedicated trainer, having presented two courses with the New York State Land Title Association’s Education Committee and delivering a CLE class titled “The Impact of Death on Real Property Ownership and the Use of Affidavits of Heirship and Due Diligence” at the Suffolk County Bar Association. In 2019, Ms. Parrino co-founded The Training Institute, an organization designed to provide training in many different fields.
Ms. Parrino serves as the recording secretary on the PTA Executive Committee for her local school district. She is a member of the board of directors for the New York State Professional Process Servers Association, as well as a member of the Commack-Kings Park Rotary Association. In addition, she volunteers at her local church by teaching multiple religious education courses on the weekend.