Have you ever thought about a degree in paralegal studies?
The University of North Georgia’s Paralegal Studies program is seeing increased growth and success among its students and graduates.
This degree is for those who already hold an associate of applied science (A.A.S.) degree or career associate degree in paralegal studies from the University of North Georgia (UNG) or another institution. The bachelor of applied science (BAS) in paralegal studies program is currently offered on UNG’s Gainesville campus. UNG’s program is one of only seven programs in the state of Georgia that is approved by the American Bar Association.
“It’s one of the programs that’s very practically-oriented and is very well thought of among the legal community,” Dr. Marni Brown, assistant professor of law, said. “Many graduates get positions and many alumni come back to hire students.”
Though most graduates with this degree choose to work as a paralegal, some students also opt to continue their education in law school. A variety of career paths are available for paralegals, and the paralegal club on the Gainesville campus helps give students the opportunity to network with local paralegals and find connections with jobs all while building their own community within UNG. The club hosts a number of events throughout the year including round-tables and an annual Mock Trial.
“The Paralegal Club has given me the opportunity to take on leadership roles and to make a difference in furthering a very useful club to this school,” Sarah Knox, vice president of the Paralegal Club, said. “Additionally, it has given me the opportunity to learn more about what it is to be a practicing Paralegal at the round-tables and an experience of being in a mock courtroom in the Mock Trials.”
The typical paralegal student profile has changed from more non-traditional students to more traditional students over the years. Some students are already working as paralegals and want to advance and other students are joining the program right after finishing their associate degree.
A Certificate of Legal Studies is also offered through UNG’s paralegal studies program and provides additional courses outside of core curriculum for further education for those who already hold a degree.
“I think the ideal paralegal student needs to be organized, willing to work under supervision but also independently and possess superior critical thinking skills,” Brown said. “Also, the better writer you are, the better you’ll be.”
One’s level of education is an important asset in order to move-up and stand out in this profession, as paralegals perform the same duties as lawyers rather than appear in court or give legal advice. This field is becoming increasingly competitive, so it’s important that UNG offers this degree to serve students and professionals in the North Georgia region.
“The trend in education is now towards a bachelor’s degree for this field especially since it’s a relatively new profession, and lawyers like to have paralegals who know as much as possible coming in,” Brown said. “This degree sets our students up for further success.”