The Paralegal Studies Program at Volunteer State Community College is designed to prepare students for a career as a paralegal or legal assistant, as well as to provide students a general understanding of substantive and procedural legal principles. The program is designed for the education of paralegals and teaches appropriate paralegal knowledge and skills.
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.
The Paralegal Studies 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.
The Paralegal Studies Program offers two (2) degree tracts and a technical certificate. The Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree is designed to prepare students for immediate entry or career growth in the paralegal field. The Associate of Science (A.S.) 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. The technical certificate program (post-degree certificate) provides mature students with the necessary paralegal skills to enter a legal field and perform legal research and writing, including legal document preparation. Admission to the technical certificate program requires the student to hold a bachelor’s degree granted from a college or university that holds Regional Accreditation from a Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) approved Commission.
The Paralegal Studies Program coursework is flexible. Full-time and part-time students are accepted. The time period necessary for completion varies according to the number of semester hours take. For full-time students, the A.A.S and the A.S. degree may be completed in two years and the technical certificate may be completed in one year. The program offers day and evening classes. Some courses may be offered in hybrid and/or on-line formats. Please consult each semester’s schedule of classes for locations and class times. Instruction for the A.A.S and A.S. degrees involves both paralegal and general education course work. The technical certificate program involves only paralegal course work. The number of such courses and their subjects may differ. Please refer to the catalog for additional information, as the information in the catalog is controlling.
Other Pertinent Information
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.