Are you fascinated by the law and legal decisions? Do you enjoy juggling multiple deadlines and priorities? Do you have good computer skills and a detail-oriented personality? If so, becoming a legal assistant or paralegal may be for you. Allegany College of Maryland's Paralegal program can prepare you for a successful career as a legal support professional.
Today's legal assistant and paralegal is an office professional with specialized legal training. As a legal assistant or paralegal, you'll work for multiple attorneys and perform assigned legal duties. As lawyers continue to delegate more legal tasks to legal support professionals, career opportunities for legal assistants and paralegals continue to increase in the for-profit, non-profit, and government sectors.
As a legal assistant or paralegal, you'll perform a variety of everyday tasks, including:
- Drafting and preparing legal documents and correspondence;
- Analyzing legal documents;
- Maintaining and organizing files to interviewing clients and witnesses;
- Performing legal research;
- Assisting attorneys at hearings and trials;
- Communicating effectively with attorneys, clients, and other individuals;
- Using computer applications to complete various office tasks; and
- Performing and supervising a variety office responsibilities.
Our program instructs you in legal terminology, procedures, document preparation, transcription, and research and writing. You'll gain first-hand experience in how the legal system works by attending trials, touring courthouses, and visiting law offices.
Whether you choose to enroll as a full or part-time student, we offer day and evening classroom courses that fit into your schedule. Additionally, you'll have the opportunity to take online courses, particularly those that cover legal specialty topics.
As a program student, you are eligible to join Allegany College of Maryland's Paralegal Club. The Club, which meets monthly, allows students a chance outside of the traditional classroom setting to interact with their instructors and one another on matters relating to the paralegal profession, including ethics, professionalism, and job searching/interviewing skills.
Upon completion of the program, you'll earn an Associate of Applied Science degree in the Paralegal program.
As a Paralegal program student, you'll expand your knowledge and gain career training through instruction in:
- Legal terminology
- Document processing
- Information management
- Verbal skills including answering a business office's telephone in a professional manner
- Computer applications
- Legal research and writing
- General legal and office skills
- Contract law
- Real property and title examination
- Business Law
- Family and Estate Law
- Constitutional Law
Students enrolled in the Paralegal Program complete a 60-hour internship/practicum.
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Paralegal program graduates enjoy enriching and rewarding careers in the following industries:
- Community legal service programs
- Corporate legal departments
- Court systems
- Federal, state, and local governments
- Financial institutions
- Insurance companies
- Publicly funded legal service centers
- Real estate development companies
- Small and large law firms
- Temporary agencies
*Many legal assistants/paralegals specialize, with additional training and experience, in particular areas of the law.
Legal assistants/paralegals may acquire voluntary certifications from the two major national associations in the United States, The National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) and the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA). If you meet the established standards for certification, you may take the Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) Exam and/or the Paralegal Advanced Competency Examination (PACE) which gives him/her the title of Registered Paralegal (RP). In addition to these two national organizations, legal assistants/paralegals may join state and local organizations.
For more information check out the following links:
View Salary Information from the U.S. Dept. of Labor
A.A., Allegany College of Maryland
B.S., Shepherd University
M.Ed., Frostburg State University
Brandon Hoover, Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator
B.S., Frostburg State University
J.D., Ohio Northern University
A.A. Allegany College of Maryland
B.S., M.Ed., Frostburg State University
Lowell Markey, Part-time (adjunct) Faculty
B.A., Lycoming College
M.S., University of Louisville
J.D., West Virginia University
Additional study at Wright State University
B.S., J.D., West Virginia University