To develop in students the knowledge, skills and ethical understandings needed to begin a paralegal career and to perform competently and ethically in their chosen area of specialization; to assist them in obtaining positions in which they have opportunities to utilize their training; to provide them with a foundation of knowledge and skills in their legal research, writing, and analytical thinking that can serve as the basis for further career development, law school or graduate school; to serve program graduates and the local legal community with continuing paralegal education courses; and to promote public awareness of the role of paralegals in the efficient delivery of quality legal services.
Student Learning Outcomes
- Outcome 1: Students will develop critical thinking skills to perform paralegal tasks.
- Outcome 2: Students will develop organizational skills that allow them to sort through and manage information
- Outcome 3: Students will develop written and oral communication skills to communicate well with employers, peers, clients, and other entities in the legal community
- Outcome 4: Students will develop a knowledge of legal ethics and develop their own statement of principles to guide their career
- Outcome 5: Students will develop the skills to obtain employment and to work effectively and positively beginning on the first day of a new job
- Outcome 6: The Paralegal Program curriculum will stay current in its curriculum offerings and develop in its graduates the necessary paralegal skills to meet the needs of the legal community.
- Outcome 7: The Paralegal Program will increase awareness in the general public and enhance paralegal utilization in the legal community
Instructors who teach in the Paralegal Program are working attorneys and paralegals committed to the legal profession and advancing the role of paralegals in the legal profession.
Unauthorized Practice of Law
In North Carolina, a paralegal cannot independently give legal advice to clients, represent clients in court, accept a case or set a fee. The American Bar Association has defined a paralegal 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 perform specifically delegated substantive legal work for which a lawyer is responsible.”
Students will complete a professional portfolio. Working paralegals will meet with each student prior to graduation to review each portfolio and conduct exit interviews.
Outstanding Student Award
The Outstanding Student Award was created for the faculty to recognize one student each year who exemplifies the following qualities:
- Mastery of the class materials
- Sensibility regarding ethical issues
- Attention to detail
- Professional attitude
- Problem-solving ability
This award is given at graduation and has no cash value. A plaque outside of the Paralegal Program Office lists the annual winners of this award from 2005 to the present.
Pro Bono Student Award
The Pro Bono Student Award is given at graduation to the student who most exemplifies the spirit of public service in the pro bono clinic. The student is nominated by the Pro Bono Clinic Supervising Attorney. The award will be based upon number of clients served, professional attitude and quality of work.