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Paralegal Studies Program
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Paralegal Studies Program

Paralegal Studies Program


A legal assistant or paralegal is 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. (American Bar Association)

Successful completion of the two-year Paralegal Studies Program results in an Associate of Applied Science degree. Paralegals, also known as legal assistants, work under the direct supervision of attorneys and assist them in virtually every facet of the practice of law. The paralegal studies program is designed to prepare students to be proficient in paralegal duties and responsibilities. Students who complete this curriculum will be able to apply basic legal concepts and become familiar with Tennessee’s court system and its substantive and procedural laws. Competency objectives include skills in legal ethics, research, writing, problem-solving, and communication. Students will participate in an internship for practical experience.

Roane State’s Paralegal Studies program supports the general principles of ethical legal practice, professional responsibility, and the prohibition against the unauthorized practice of law by non-lawyers (including paralegals).


The program is based at the main campus in Harriman. However, paralegal studies courses are taught at most RSCC campuses via the Interactive Distance Education classrooms, where students in different locations can take the same course through live video.


The A.A.S. Paralegal Studies Program is Approved by the American Bar Association.

Work Settings and Salaries

Many paralegals work in private law firms, including small, rural law offices, as well as large, metropolitan law firms. Paralegals are also employed in title offices, courthouses, governmental agencies and corporations. Wherever attorneys are employed, paralegals are often employed.

The U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts above average growth for paralegal jobs. In a recent survey,, a career website, ranked paralegal assistant among the top 50 jobs in the country based on physical demands, work environment, income, stress and hiring outlook.

Salaries for paralegals may vary depending on where and for whom they work. Many paralegals in small law offices earn an hourly wage, while most paralegals in larger law offices, government and other offices earn a salary. The mean salary for paralegals in the Roane State service area is around $32,500. With experience, many paralegals in East Tennessee have an earning potential of $40,000 or more.

Credentialing Requirements

Paralegals are not licensed in the State of Tennessee.  Certification is available through professional organizations such as the National Association for Legal Assistants (NALA) and the National Federation of Paralegal Associations. Graduates of this program will be eligible to sit for the National Association of Legal Assistants certified legal assistant exam.

Program Goals

The primary goal is to educate students to become career paralegals that can perform effectively in a variety of legal settings and can adapt to changes in the legal environment and law practice.

The overall program goal is to prepare student for careers as paralegals working under the supervision of lawyers in the public and private sector.

The program is designed to provide students with the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes they need to become competent and ethical professional paralegals working in the delivery of legal services.

Program Objectives

Upon completion of the program, graduates should be able to:

  1. Enter the profession as an effective paralegal
  2. Prepare legal documents
  3. Perform legal research
  4. Apply principles of legal ethics
  5. Work as a successful  member of a team
  6. Satisfactory Completion of exit exam

Professional Organizations

American Association for Paralegal Educators

The National Association of Legal Assistants

The National Federation of Paralegal Associations, Inc.

Tennessee Paralegal Association

Smoky Mountain Paralegal Association

Advisory Committee

Angela Anderson Clerk and Master, 9th Judicial District
Ashley Perkins Private Sector Paralegal
Bob Cresswell General Public
Carol Duncan Private Sector Paralegal
Christy Perkins Private Sector Paralegal
Connie Shadwell Manager of Paralegals
Cynthia Miller Legal Aid of East TN
J. Polk Cooley, Esq. Cooley, Cooley & Agee
Karen Bruner Roane State Administrator
Hon. Frank Williams III Chancellor, 9th Judicial District
Hon. William Paul Phillips, Esq. District Attorney General (Ret.)
Sammie Reed Roane State
Susan Hyder, Esq. Bean & Smith
Tracey Vought Williams, Esq. Mostoller, Stulberg, Whitfield & Allen
Faculty Member - Vacant  


Tracey V Williams • (865) 354-3000 ext. 4987 •

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