Degree &/or Program of Study Information: Associate of Science (A.S.) - The Associate of Science degree is designed to prepare students for work in a legal environment as a paralegal. It also prepares students wishing to transfer to a four-year institution after completion of their coursework at Volunteer State, including, but not limited to, those students seeking a major or minor in Paralegal Studies and/or for those seeking a four-year degree in other disciplines but wish a general background in legal knowledge and the skills important to a pre-law education.
Accreditation &/or Associations: This program has been approved by the American Bar Association, Standing Committee on Paralegals (Approval Commission). The program is a member of the American Association for Paralegal Education.
Description: The American Bar Association defines a legal assistant or 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. Note: Paralegals may not provide legal services directly to the public, except as permitted by law.
Program Entry, Retention & Graduation Standards, and Other Pertinent Information:
- Meet admission and graduation requirements for the College based on the admission or readmission status the applicant is seeking.
- Complete all Learning Support requirements, except Learning Support mathematics, which may be taken concurrently with LEGL courses.
- Complete ENGL 1010 and LEGL 1300 with a final grade of "C" or higher. (NOTE: The completion of these courses is required for enrollment in further Paralegal Studies courses unless otherwise approved by paralegal faculty.)
- Complete an interview or attend a meeting with the teaching faculty concerning program entry.
- Maintain a GPA of at least 2.0 and receive no grade below "C" in any LEGL course and ENGL 1010.
- Take an exit exam for Paralegal Studies to assist in ABA review. Contact the Social Science & Education Division to schedule a review session and then contact the Office of Testing or firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule the exam.
- Follow all requirements of the College, including the planned curriculum.
The LEGL courses are not universally transferable. A student who wishes to transfer from this program to another program is responsible for information about transferability of course work to another institution. Further, this program should be planned only with the assistance of this College's, as well as the receiving institution's faculty.
Students seeking a paralegal credential may only transfer a maximum of nine (9) hours to meet the requirement for legal specialty courses. Hours from external sources of credit used to meet the legal specialty requirement must be approved by the paralegal program director. A minimum of twelve (12) hours, including both external sources of credit and hours taken in-residence, used to meet the legal specialty requirement must be taken in an on-ground, face-to-face format. In conjunction with the above limitations, students seeking a paralegal credential must still meet the overall residency requirement for the conferral of the credential.
All students graduating with a Paralegal degree from VSCC are required to take the Educational Testing Service Proficiency Profile (ETSP) and Paralegal Exit Exam. More information can be found at http://www.volstate.edu/Testing/Services.php.