AWARD OFFERED Associate in Applied Science Degree
The Paralegal or “legal assistant” profession is slated by the Federal Department of Labor to be one of only a few professions in the United States with a positive growth rate for the foreseeable future. The Alabama Department of Labor lists Paralegal as one of Alabama’s Hot 40 and Top Growth Job professions. This growth is linked, in large part, to the Legal and Business communities’ reliance on paralegals for increased services formerly performed exclusively by attorneys. Paralegals, under the supervision of licensed attorneys, can provide clients (legal and corporate) with valuable legal services cost effectively.
Paralegals are typically the backbone of law firms providing attorneys and clients with quality drafted legal documents and assistance in the trial process. Paralegals are often called upon to meet with clients, interview witnesses, review critical documents and provide many more essential functions relative to client representation at all levels. As the profession has grown, so has the variety of jobs in which paralegals are placed. Many corporate employers including banks, insurance companies, defense contractors and other large businesses often employ “in-house” paralegals to prepare many of the documents necessary to business. Paralegals can be employed in all fields of law including litigation, personal injury, corporate law, criminal law, employee benefits, intellectual property, labor law, bankruptcy, immigration, family law, and real estate. As the need for more affordable legal services increases, so too will the need for paralegals.
Calhoun Community College offers an Associate Degree in Paralegal Studies. Calhoun Paralegal Studies students are exposed to a wide range of classes designed to provide the future paralegal with a working knowledge base of both procedural and substantive law. Courses include Domestic, Business and Criminal Law as well as specialty classes on Bankruptcy and Real Estate Law. Calhoun students learn from accomplished faculty including current Alabama Circuit Judges, Federal Bankruptcy Trustees and other prominent members of the North Alabama legal community.
Visit the current catalog for specific degree requirements/information.
Experienced, formally-trained paralegals should have the best employment opportunities. Salaries of paralegals vary greatly and depend on education, training, experience, the type and size of employer, and the geographic location of the job. In May 2009, the mean annual salary for full-time, experienced paralegals and legal assistants in Alabama, including bonuses, was $43,640.00 (Source: U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics).
Brian Austin Oakes
Paralegal Studies Director
Calhoun Community College
P.O. Box 2216
Decatur, AL 35609-2216