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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.
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, CareerCast.com, 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.
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.
Roane State Community College is a TBR and AA/EEO employer and does not discriminate against students, employees, or applicants for admission or employment on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, disability, age, status as a protected veteran, genetic information, or any other legally protected class with respect to all employment, programs and activities sponsored by Roane State. View full non-discrimination policy.