The Tulsa Community College ("TCC") Paralegal Studies Program is part of the School of Business and Information Technology. The Program is approved by the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Paralegals, is an institutional member of the American Association for Paralegal Education, and is the only regionally accredited, degree granting paralegal studies program in Green Country. A TCC degree in Paralegal Studies is a step toward a rewarding career in the law. With either the University Transfer Degree (AA), or the Workforce Development Degree (AAS) the Program graduate will be prepared to enter the workforce and become a certified paralegal. The AA degree also prepares Program graduates for the last two (2) years at a four (4) year institution.
Paralegals fill an important role in many legal teams as well as businesses or government institutions. These paraprofessionals perform legal work under the supervision of an attorney in the service of the needs of clients. Tulsa Community College's Paralegal Studies Program offers students the means to begin a rewarding and challenging career as a paralegal by earning either an Associate of Arts (AA)(a.k.a. the University Transfer Degree) in Paralegal Studies or an Associates in Applied Science (AAS)(a.k.a. the Workforce Development Degree). To learn more about the Paralegal Studies Program watch this YouTube video of a conversation between the Program Coordinator, Michael Speck, the Metro Campus Provost, Dr. Greg Stone, and TCC's President, Dr. Leigh Goodson. See also the Program Descriptions linked above, as well as the Program Requirements (AA and AAS), and Degree Paths (AA and AAS) for each of the degrees.
This Paralegal Studies Program prepares graduates to work as professional assistants under the supervision of attorneys. All Paralegal Studies students receive training in civil procedure, contracts, real property, legal research and writing, drafting of documents, litigation support, law office systems and management, and use of computers in the legal environment. Program students will take at least ten semester credits or the equivalent of legal specialty courses through traditional classroom instruction.
AAS degree candidates will also take courses in subjects such as:
- Family Law
- Criminal Law
- Employment and Labor Law
- Native American Law
What Does a Paralegal Do?
The paralegal may be asked to accomplish a variety of duties as part of his or her job. In addition to routine office duties, paralegals:
- Conduct research and draft documents
- Interview clients
- Locate and interview witnesses
- Perform investigations
- Compile statistical documentary research
- Draft correspondence and pleadings
- Summarize depositions, interrogatories and testimonies
- Assist attorneys in preparing for trial
- Collect and analyze evidence
However, paralegals are prohibited from offering legal advice and arguing cases in court and Paralegals may not provide legal services directly to the public except as permitted by law. Paralegals either work with attorneys who assume professional responsibility for the final work product or in areas where lay individuals are explicitly authorized by statute or regulation to assume certain law related responsibilities.
Graduates of TCC's Paralegal Studies program are qualified to find employment in a variety of private and public businesses including:
- Corporate legal departments
- Law firms
- Title insurance companies
- Real estate offices
- Various areas of the criminal justice and court system
- State and federal government offices
- Legal service projects
According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the paralegal occupation is expected to grow faster than average as paralegals take on more responsibilities under a lawyer’s supervision. Starting salaries vary depending on the employer and region. However, TCC counselors or the Paralegal program director can provide more information on current salary trends.
All classes are taught by practicing lawyers and certified paralegals who bring years of relevant experience to the classroom.
After a student satisfactorily completes the Paralegal program, he or she is eligible to take the examination given by the National Association of Legal Assistants to become a Certified Paralegal (CP) or that given by the National Association of Legal Professionals to become a certified Professional Paralegal (PP).
For any questions about Admission to the Program and/or a copy of the Legal Specialty Course Transfer Policy please contact the Program Coordinator, Michael Speck firstname.lastname@example.org.