Calhoun’s Paralegal Program Gets Approval from American Bar Association

October 8, 2020

Calhoun Becomes the First Two-Year College in the Tennessee Valley to Offer ABA Approved Paralegal Education

The Calhoun Community College Paralegal Studies Program has been approved by the American Bar Association (ABA) making it the only community college-based program in the Tennessee Valley to be approved by the national association.

The program, which has been offering associate degrees for over 30 years, exposes students 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. “In law school you have one professor who teaches all of your courses, so we try to mimic that concept which is the secret to our success,” commented Brian Oakes, Calhoun Paralegal Instructor. “We have had the former United States attorney, Alabama Circuit Judges, Federal Bankruptcy Trustees, Family Law Judges, criminal attorneys and other prominent members of the North Alabama legal community to teach our classes,” he added.

According to Oakes, a spring internship opportunity is available to students in the program where they receive hands-on training at various law firms, clerk offices and courts within the College’s service area. “Holding a law degree and practicing law for over 25 years in North Alabama, I have many close connections with lawyers in our region who call me often requesting our graduates,” said Oakes. The program boasts a high job placement rate as many of the interns are hired before the internships are over. The curriculum is well known for providing first-hand training from experts in the field who work in the law industry on a day-to-day basis.

“This is a great achievement for the College and our Business and Computer Information Systems (CIS) division,” commented Dr. James Payne, Calhoun’s Dean of Business and CIS. “Brian began working on this initiative over 10 years ago, and to witness this milestone is a huge win for our team,” added Payne.

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. As the industry demand for more affordable legal services increases, so too will the need for paralegals.

To learn more about Calhoun’s Paralegal Studies Program, visit or call 256-306-2676.

All media inquiries should be directed to the College’s Public Relations team at 256-306-2560 or 256-306-2965.