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 who performs specifically designated substantive legal work for which a lawyer is responsible. (American Bar Association Standing Committee on Legal Assistants.)
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. Admission to this program will require students to meet the minimum course standards for other two-year technical degree programs.
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 objectives of the Paralegal Studies program are to educate and make students proficient in the following areas: legal ethics, procedural law, substantive law, and working in a legal environment.
These objectives are met by requiring students to complete (1) legal introductory courses; (2) legal specialty courses; and (3) a required internship and by exposing them to (4) quality instruction in each of these areas that promotes mastery of the procedural aspects of legal work. Upon completion of the Paralegal Studies program, students will be able to: recognize, evaluate, and appropriately respond to ethical dilemmas; perform legal research tasks; perform legal writing tasks (including pleading, briefs, correspondence, real property documents, bankruptcy documents, business organization documents, and internal memoranda); interview clients and witnesses; investigate legal matters; work closely with supervising attorneys in a wide variety of substantive legal matters; and quickly familiarize themselves with and work well in a variety of legal office settings.
After successful completion of coursework within the major, all students will be required to take a final comprehensive exam to measure program competency achievement. The exam is designed to determine to what degree students have achieved program objectives and competencies. Students should demonstrate a minimal level of competence to satisfy the requirements to graduate. Graduates of this program will be eligible to sit for the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) certified legal assistant exam.
|First Year||Hours||Term Taken||Grade|
|LAW||101||Intro to the Legal Profession & Legal Ethics||3|
|LAW||102||Survey of American Law||3|
|SPCH||1010||Fundamentals of Speech Communication||3|
|Natural Science/Math Elective1||4/3|
|First Year Total||30|
|INFS||1010||Computer Applications OR|
|LAW||221||Civil Trial & Appellate Practice||3|
|LAW||231||Estates & Trusts||3|
|LAW||235||Legal Environment for Business||3|
|LAW||240||Legal Internship (offered only in Summer)||3|
|LAW||212||Law Office Technology||3|
|SOCI||1010||Intro to Sociology or|
|Second Year Total||30|
1 Students must complete all Math Learning Support requirements before degree will be awarded.
Students pursuing this option will be advised by the Social Science, Business and Education Division.
The maximum number of credit hours of legal specialty courses a student may transfer to the Associate of Applied Science degree in Paralegal Studies is fifteen (15) credit hours. The legal specialty credit hours to be transferred must have been earned from a fully accredited institution of higher learning and must be approved by the program director to ensure that the credit can be classified as legal specialty and is comparable to course work offered within the program. The Paralegal Studies program does not award legal specialty credit by examination.
Graduates of the paralegal program are encouraged to continue their education, and transfer agreements are in place enabling A.A.S. Paralegal Studies graduates to continue their education at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, Middle Tennessee State University and Tusculum College. For more information concerning transfer of courses, please contact the program director.
With the exceptions noted above, this program is designed for students who plan to enter the field upon graduation. Students intending to transfer to a baccalaureate program are advised that they should check with their academic advisor and the four-year institution regarding specific transfer of courses.