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DCE Magazine

Instructor Q&A: Virginia Suveiu

Contract Management Instructor

Summer 2020

Virginia A. Suveiu, Esq., is Of Counsel at Volkov Law Group. She is currently editing a handbook on Risk Management and the Law for Routledge and a member of ComplianceNet at UCI Law. Virginia also is a mediator and arbitrator and board member of OC NCMA. She received the Distinguished Instructor Award from DCE in 2016.

“The in-class exercises are a great way for me to put this lesson into practice and assess the students’ understanding of the concepts.”

Q. Why did you decide to become an instructor?

A. Education is a fundamental way to positively change a person's life. Being an instructor affords me with the opportunity to meet students from all walks of life, learn what they want to get out of the course, and help them along their own journey. It is not just about lecturing and I truly appreciate that DCE fosters such a welcoming environment to learn for life. Providing the theory and legal principles along with real-world examples gives students the knowledge they need to succeed. For example, I recently had one former student tell me that he used a case we analyzed in class in a job interview and he was complimented by the interviewer for his knowledge. He also got the job! I love hearing back from my students about their successes: they got into law school, they passed a professional certification exam, etc., that is what I mean when I state changing someone's life.

Q. What's your favorite lesson to teach and why?

A. My favorite lesson to teach students is how to analyze a case provided in class and then support their argument. The in-class exercises are a great way for me to put this lesson into practice and assess the students’ understanding of the concepts. For example, there is one case I cover in my Contracts class where the lawsuit hinged on the interpretation of ONE word. I relish in hearing how the students arrive at their conclusions and see what an in-depth review they did of the case. Even some of the students who were timid or hesitant at the beginning of the course often blossom and become the best at argumentation by the end of the course!

Q. What's unique about your teaching style?

A. I listen. I need to understand the other person's perspective first so that I then know how to adjust my teaching methods accordingly. Some students learn better by examples; others, by reading first, then discussing the course concepts. Whatever the method, I can customize the material so that it makes the most sense for that student. This tailoring goes a long way in the student's overall success, and mine, as an educator.

Q. What do you find most rewarding about being an instructor?

A. It is often the “little things” which, actually are not. For instance, I'll have a student ask a question like “why did the court rule that way?” or “why does intent matter in contracts” and what was at first confusing for the students, after further exploration becomes an “Aha!” moment for them. That then builds up their self-confidence that “yes, although I'm learning complex subjects, I can not only understand but then apply these lessons to real-world problems!” I actually had one student tell me after class that although she fundamentally disagreed with the court's ruling in the case, she learned the importance of careful reading to help with her legal analysis and synthesis, and that lesson would remain with her forever and would definitely help her at work. That is a great illustration of the fundamental impact we are having on our students.