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Vol State paralegal grads in demand

Staff Reports • Updated Oct 6, 2016 at 7:00 PM

The legal world relies heavily on skilled professionals assisting attorneys in everything from research to client meetings. 

Job opportunities for paralegals are growing. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an 8 percent increase in openings in the next few years. It’s a popular field for people interested in making a career change. 

Volunteer State Community College has more than 20 years of experience with its American Bar Association-approved paralegal studies degree program. It’s a flexible education designed for working adults.

 “We are able to meet the varying needs of different types of students with our day, night and online courses,” said paralegal studies program director Amy Smith. “Students appreciate the meeting time for our night classes. Many are able to come from their Nashville offices.”

Paralegals assist attorneys with legal work for law offices, corporations and government agencies. Paralegal skills emphasize legal research, legal document preparation and understanding basic substantive and procedural law.

“I continually receive calls from judges, state offices, law firms and corporations as they are looking for paralegals going through our program or who have graduated from our program,” said Smith. “It demonstrates to me that the job market for our paralegals in this area, including Nashville, is strong.”

“I’m 36 years old. Going back to school is really important to me,” said Kelly Sloat, of Nashville. “The Vol State program is accredited by the American Bar Association and that was important to me. It also had the best reviews. I eventually want to work for a litigator. I had an interview just last week. The guy doing the interview was a Vol State graduate.”

 “I have friends who are paralegals. They told me about the interaction with clients and the research you get to do,” said Katie Wilburn, of Franklin, Ky. “You get to learn something new every day.” 

Wilburn now works as a paralegal at a Hendersonville law firm. Vol State paralegal graduates can be found across Tennessee in a variety of settings, including large and small private practice law firms, legal departments in large and small corporations, legal services offices, government agencies and insurance companies.

Vol State offers associate of applied science and associate of science degrees in paralegal studies in addition to a one-year technical certificate. For more information, visit volstate.edu/paralegal.

Volunteer State Community College has more than 90 programs of study and offers two-year degrees, certificates and paths to university transfer. Continuing education and workforce development extend the college mission to the entire community. For more information, visit volstate.edu.

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