Paralegal Legal Assistant
Paralegals, or legal assistants, are assuming a growing range of tasks in the nation’s legal offices. Wallace State’s Paralegal program provides a sound educational foundation students will utilize to provide assistance to attorneys and employers with confidence.
About the Program
Paralegals—also called legal assistants—are assuming a growing range of tasks in the
nation’s legal offices.
One of a paralegal’s most important tasks is helping lawyers prepare for closings, hearings, trials, and corporate meetings. Paralegals may investigate the facts of cases and ensure that all relevant information is considered. They may also identify appropriate laws, judicial decisions, legal articles, and other materials that are relevant to assigned cases. Paralegals may prepare written reports, draft pleadings and motions to be filed with the court, obtain affidavits, and assist attorneys during trials. Paralegals also organize and track files of all important case documents and make them available and easily accessible to attorneys.
Additionally, paralegals perform a number of other vital functions including drafting contracts, mortgages, separation agreements, and instruments of trust. Some paralegals coordinate the activities of other law office employees and maintain financial office records. Paralegals may not provide legal services directly to the public except as permitted by law.
Paralegals are found in all types of organizations, but most are employed by law firms, corporate legal departments, and various government offices. In these organizations, they can work in many different areas of the law, including litigation, personal injury, corporate law, criminal law, employee benefits, intellectual property, labor law, bankruptcy, immigration, family law, and real estate.
Member of American Association for Paralegal Education
AAfPE's membership includes hundreds of universities, colleges, and other institutions of higher learning throughout the United States and in Canada. Since 1981, AAfPE's member schools have trained thousands of paralegal students each year to help increase, improve, and support access to the legal system in their communities. In its Statement of Academic Quality, AAfPE acknowledges that the education of a paralegal requires a unique curriculum that covers both substantive legal knowledge and practical skills. This intellectually demanding course of study should be designed to provide instruction in the competencies that paralegals need as professionals. AAfPE recognizes seven essential components of a quality paralegal education program: curriculum development, facilities, faculty, marketing and promotion, paralegal instruction, student services and related competencies.
American Bar Association Approved Paralegal Program
Wallace State Community College's Paralegal Program is approved by the American Bar Association.
Legal specialty courses transferred from regionally-accredited programs must be evaluated by the program director to ensure that the content of the courses is comparable to the Wallace State courses before a student is accepted into the Paralegal Program. Further criteria for transfer includes the following:
- Legal specialty courses taken at ABA-approved schools will automatically transfer to equivalent Wallace State courses if the student has a grade of C or above in the course.
- No more than two legal specialty courses from programs that are not approved by the American Bar Association will be accepted for transfer.
- Legal studies courses from non-ABA out-of-state programs will not be considered for transfer credit.
- Transfer credit for Paralegal Studies courses will be limited to six semester credit hours.
- A student must take at least nine semester credit hours in the legal specialty courses through synchronous instruction.
Please contact Program Director Rita Nicholas at 256-352-7877 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Paralegal Legal Assistant