The Legal Assistant, sometimes called a “paralegal,” provides a variety of invaluable services in private law firms, banks, insurance companies, corporations, governmental agencies, and offices. Job duties often include conducting legal research, writing correspondence, drafting legal documents, and managing a law office. Legal assistants may also investigate cases, interview clients and witnesses, and generally aid attorneys in preparing for trials and hearings.
BCCC offers an AAS degree program. Some legal assistants advance their education beyond the associate or bachelor’s degree by entering law school.
In the first-level courses, students study principles of law, legal research, writing, ethics, and office procedures. At the advanced level, students take specialty courses such as litigation, criminal procedure, real estate, business organization, and family law. Further specialization is available in courses such as estates and trusts, communications law, and environmental law. To gain experience, students are required to complete a minimum of 90 hours of work under the supervision of an attorney.
Students must complete the following courses with a grade of “B” or better to continue in the program: ENG 101 (or its equivalent) and PLA 101 and/or with the permission of the Coordinator.
A legal assistant works in a variety of settings that include law offices, government agencies, insurance companies, and other businesses that have legal departments. The paralegal often works in close contact with a practicing attorney drafting documents and completing legal research.
Career Options and Occupation Outlook
The outlook for paralegals is strong. Over the period from 2012 to 2022 an increase of 17% is expected according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Follow this link for additional information: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/legal/paralegals-and-legal-assistants.htm
Autumn T. Wallace, Esq. – Assistant Professor
Coordinator of Legal Assistant Program (Law/Legal Studies)
Department of Education, Social and Behavioral Science
Liberty Campus, Main Building, Room 253
Legal Assistants should have critical thinking skills and the ability to read and analyze complex legal cases. They should also have excellent writing skills to assist in drafting documents.