This program has been approved by the American Bar Association, Standing Committee on Legal Assistants (Committee Approval). Volunteer State Community College is a member of the American Association of Paralegal Education. The College offers the program of study to prepare students for a career as a paralegal or legal assistant. The ABA defines a legal assistant or a paralegal as "a person qualified by education, training, or work experience who is employed or retained by a lawyer, law office, corporation, governmental agency, or other entity and who performs specifically delegated substantive legal work for which a lawyer is responsible." Paralegal skills emphasized include: legal research, legal document preparation, and an understanding of basic substantive and procedural law. This program is rigorous and requires excellent communication skills. A student who wishes to transfer from this program to a baccalaureate program is responsible for information about transferability of course work.
Paralegals may not provide legal services directly to the public, except as permitted by law.
All Paralegal Studies students completing the A.A.S. degree program are required to take an exit exam for Paralegal Studies to assist in ABA review. Graduation applicants must schedule the exam through the College Counseling and Testing Office located in Student Services.
To be considered for entry into the Paralegal Studies program as a major, a student must:
- Meet admission requirements for the College based on the admission or readmission status the applicant is seeking and complete all Learning Support requirements, except Learning Support mathematics, which may be taken concurrently with LAW courses.
- Complete ENGL 1010, LAW 103*, and LAW 101* with a final grade of "C" or higher. (NOTE: The completion of these courses is required for enrollment in further law courses unless otherwise approved by paralegal faculty.)
- Complete an interview or attend a meeting with the teaching faculty concerning program entry.
Entry, retention, and graduation standards for this program include: completion of all Learning Support requirements (except Learning Support mathematics); completion of ENGL 1010, LAW 103, and LAW 101 with a final grade of "C" or higher as a requirement for enrollment in further law courses; completion of an interview with the Paralegal Studies Coordinator; and no grade below "C" in any LAW course.