**Program Approved by the American Bar Association**
The Legal Assistant or Paralegal profession is one of the fastest growing profession in the country, according to statistics provided by the United States Department of Labor. Gainesville State College has been a leader and innovator in the field of paralegal education since 1979. The Program is taken for academic credit and is offered through the Business Division of the college. Students completing our program receive either an Associate of Applied Science degree or a Certificate.
The goal of our Paralegal Program is not only to train students in the practical application of legal theory, but to fine tune their analytical, communication and organizational skills, while always being aware of the unauthorized practice of law prohibition.
Is a paralegal career right for you?
Do you have an interest in the law and pursuing a career in the legal profession?
- Do you want to acquire marketable skills that will enable you to obtain a good job?
- Do you need additional training to help you change careers or perform your present job more effectively?
- Are you returning to the job market?
Whether you are just graduating from high school, wanting to acquire marketable skills to complement your bachelors degree, seeking a route to law school, returning to the job market after an absence, enhancing or changing careers, paralegal training can help prepare you for the career you want. Our graduates represent almost every academic discipline.
What does a Paralegal do?
A paralegal, also known as a legal assistant, is trained to assist an attorney in providing legal services. Paralegal responsibilities can include:
- Interviewing clients and witnesses
- Drafting legal documents
- Conducting legal research
- Assisting attorneys in court and before administrative agencies
- Searching public real estate records
- Preparing court documents such as pleadings, motions and briefs.
- Helping to form corporations
- Preparing deposition summaries
- Conducting preliminary factual investigations and much more.
The professional services and expertise that trained legal assistants provide to lawyers and their clients make the paralegal profession a respected addition to the legal staffs of corporations, social agencies, financial institutions, real estate agencies, insurance companies, hospitals, and governmental agencies as well as the traditional law firm.
ABA Definition of a Legal Assistant
The ABA House of Delegates adopted an amendment to their Bylaws, as proposed by the Standing Committee on Legal Assistants, that incorporates an ABA definition of a legal assistant, which reads as follows:
A LEGAL ASSISTANT OR PARALEGAL IS A PERSON, QUALIFIED BY EDUCATION, TRAINING OR WORK EXPERIENCE WHO IS EMPLOYED OR RETAINED BY A LAWYER, LAW OFFICE, CORPORATION, GOVERNMENTAL AGENCY OR OTHER ENTITY AND WHO PERFORMS SPECIFICALLY DELEGATED SUBSTANTIVE LEGAL WORK FOR WHICH A LAWYER IS RESPONSIBLE.
All of the specific paralegal courses are taught by local attorneys actively practicing in the area. Also, experienced paralegals are often in the classroom to provide first hand information and instruction in paralegal skills.
Admission to the paralegal program
Applicants must (1) complete an application for admission and send an applicable fee; (2) have an official high school and/or college transcripts mailed; (3) send official SAT or ACT scores; (4) provide a social security number; and (5) provide a certificate of immunization.
Students should contact the Admissions office at (678) 717-3641 for current admission requirements, application deadlines, tuition costs and other fees.
Interested students are also encouraged to contact the Program Director, Dr. Joan H. Marler, at (678) 717-3760 for further details regarding the program.
Financial Aid Scholarships
Financial assistance is available for eligible, degree-seeking students through both government sponsored student loans and private lenders. The Gainesville NE Circuit Bar Association helps sponsor Paralegal Scholarships which are awarded periodically to students in the program. Students may also apply for Gainesville State College Foundation Scholarships. Eligible students, as determined by the Financial Aid Office, may receive tuition and/or book assistance based on certain criteria and availability.