What is a paralegal?

Carr Hall in the spring

A paralegal* or legal assistant performs many aspects of legal work under the supervision of an attorney. Although prohibited from giving legal advice or setting fees, they are an integral part of the legal profession. Paralegals help lawyers prepare for closings, hearings, trials, and corporate meetings. Job responsibilities may include: investigating facts and relevant information to a case; identifying and researching appropriate laws, decisions, legal articles and other material relevant to a case; writing reports; interviewing individuals connected with a case; organizing and tracking a case; and assisting attorneys during trials. One of the fastest growing professions in America, paralegals can be found in a variety of settings including law firms, corporate legal department, and various government offices.

Approved by the American Bar Association, this two-year program prepares you for entry-level paralegal positions in a variety of settings. Students enrolled in the associate program are required to take three legal specialty electives. Legal specialty courses cover a specific area of law, procedure, or the legal process and emphasize legal assistant skills, forms, documents, procedures, and legal principles and theories. Your associate degree can also be applied to earning your bachelor's degree in this field at Bay Path.

*A Legal Studies graduate may work as a paralegal only under the supervision of an attorney and is not authorized to engage in the practice of law. The ABA defines a paralegal or legal assistant as "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"

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