A Great Place to Start

Dr. Erma Hart, program director of WCJC's Paralegal Studies program, is pictured in front of the Fort Bend County Courthouse in Richmond. The Paralegal Studies program, based at WCJC's Richmond campus, prepares students for a job as a paralegal or for going on to law school. (WCJC photo)

A Great Place to Start

WCJC’s Paralegal Studies program prepares students for law school

 

WHARTON, TEXAS – From criminal cases to torts to immigration law, Wharton County Junior College’s Paralegal Studies program is the perfect starting place for students interested in careers in the legal field.

Offering a two-year associate of applied science degree, the program – housed at WCJC’s Richmond campus – prepares graduates for jobs as paralegals and legal assistants. Dr. Erma Hart, Program Director of WCJC’s Paralegal Studies program, said employment opportunities in the field are projected to grow by 15 percent over the next decade.

“Paralegals are considered a high-skilled, high-demand occupation,” she said.

Paralegals frequently work for title companies, county offices, district attorneys and law firms, with job responsibilities including assisting in the preparation of legal documents, client interviews, trial preparation and research. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the median annual salary for paralegals is $50,940.

WCJC’s program is one of only 11 in the state to be American Bar Association approved, Hart noted. The curriculum is designed to provide students with the skills needed to assist attorneys in a host of legal-related services and includes coursework in legal writing, civil litigation, contracts, wills, criminal law and law office management.

Two new courses are also being added, with Torts/Personal Injury Law offered this fall and Immigration Law offered in Spring 2020.

“There is an influx of work available in these areas,” Hart said.

Classes are currently offered at WCJC’s Richmond campus and on-line. Hart said a “hybrid” course is also offered once a month at WCJC’s Sugar Land campus. Many of the program’s graduates find employment with attorney’s offices in Fort Bend County, while other graduates go on to pursue law degrees at four-year institutions.

“The courses we offer are the same courses we took in law school,” Hart said. “If you want to go to law school, this is a great place to start.”

For more information on the program, visit the college’s website at www.wcjc.edu or contact Hart at harte@wcjc.edu or via telephone at 281-239-1555. Registration for the fall semester is now under way, with classes beginning on Aug. 26.

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