The Paralegal program at Palm Beach State College can be your entry to a fascinating career where opportunities are plentiful. Educated and well-trained legal assistants are in demand at law firms, corporations, banks, real estate agencies, insurance companies and governmental agencies. As a paralegal you will help attorneys deliver a variety of legal services including:
- Conducting legal research
- Locating and interviewing witnesses
- Gathering evidence
- Preparing legal documents
- Assisting the attorney during the litigation process
The paralegal career and job designation is expected to continue its rapid employment with typically the best opportunities going to those with experience and formally trained paralegals. According to the United States Department of Labor, employment of paralegals and legal assistants is projected to grow 8 percent between 2014 and 2024, as fast as average for all occupations.
Salaries for persons employed in the paralegal field vary by many factors such as region, experience, and size of firm. The NALA 2015 National Utilization and Compensation Survey Report indicates the average salary across the country is $55,188 plus about $4,581 in bonuses.
Palm Beach State has a comprehensive Law Library located on the Eissey campus in Palm Beach Gardens. The resources of this library include an extensive collection of state and federal materials along with the electronic research services of Lexis-Nexis and Westlaw to assure students have the needed resources for research in many of the classes. The primary use of these resources occurs when students take Legal Research and Writing I and II as required courses.
Business Partnership Council
The program has an active advisory council that is composed of local attorneys, law office managers, program graduates, representatives of local paralegal organizations and current students. This council provides valuable input and direction to the program as it continues to evolve and meet the needs of the students and the legal community.
Palm Beach State College, formerly known as Palm Beach Community College and Palm Beach Junior College first offered classes in “legal assisting" in 1977. Apparently, the Palm Beach County Bar Association saw a need for this degree and approached PBJC administration regarding the development of a legal assisting Associate of Science degree. At that time, the courses were all taught by local attorneys who served as adjunct faculty. In 1982, the first full-time faculty member was employed at the Lake Worth campus to teach business law. Shortly thereafter, this professor transferred to the recently opened North campus on PGA Boulevard (now the Eissey campus). Thereafter, the legal assisting program was officially located at this campus with some classes offered at the Lake Worth location, as well.
In 1987, another full-time faculty member was hired at the Eissey campus and a day-time component was added. Then in 1989, one more full-time faculty was employed at the Lake Worth location to teach Business Law and selected subjects in the legal assisting program which has permitted the program to offer courses at both the Palm Beach Gardens and the Lake Worth location. At the present time, there are two full-time professors associated with the program.
In addition to the full-time faculty, the college has continually relied upon local
actively practicing attorneys and judges to serve as adjunct professors. One of these
adjuncts has served from the beginning of the program without a break in teaching
and a good number of adjuncts have been returning from year-to-year which creates
stability in the teaching and the program.
Community Involvement of Program Faculty
In addition to responsibility for teaching, the paralegal faculty have taken on visible roles in volunteering for the Certified Legal Assisting (CLA) exam review courses. The CLA designation is a registered trademark of The National Association of Legal Assistants for persons who have met the requirements of this organization’s voluntary certification program which includes educational and character requirements as well as demonstration of competency based on a two day intensive examination process. The largest number of CLAs are found in Florida which also has local and statewide associations (Palm Beach County Chapter) of persons who have chosen the paralegal (legal assisting) profession. Most of the graduates of the Palm Beach State program go on to attain the designation.
It is noted, however, that Palm Beach State has no formal affiliation with the National
Association of Legal Assistants. Palm Beach State is, however, a member of the American Association for Paralegal Educators.
Nature of the Profession
The designation of “legal assistant" recently went through an evolution which saw the title change to “paralegal." These two terms have been used interchangeably from the beginning of the use of such para-professionals in the legal field. The actual roots of this career choice appear to be from the 1960’s when professional journals advocated the use of lay personnel in law firms and the creation of a sub-professional class comparable to medical technicians, according to T.E. Eimermann in the textbook Fundamentals of Paralegalism.
This survey has been created by Palm Beach State's Institutional Effectiveness (IE) in Lake Worth.
We request your assistance in evaluating the Paralegal Program. An evaluation of the program by graduating students and their employers is required by the ABA in order to gain and sustain "Approval" status for the program.
Your responses are confidential; only summary results will be released by the IE office.
Graduates are kindly asked to take just a few minutes of their time and take the Palm Beach State Graduates survey. We appreciate your input and we are confident that your time will help us to maintain a quality program.
Paralegal Graduate Survey
Attorneys, Firms and the like who employ Palm Beach State graduate paralegals are asked to take just a few minutes of their time and take the Employer survey. We know how busy your office is and only ask that this survey be taken once for multiple grads in an academic year (August - July). If you employ another Palm Beach State graduate within the academic year, we kindly ask for your valuable input once again by completing another Employer survey. Thank you for your time in partnershipping with us to provide a quality program.
Employers of Palm Beach State Grads Survey