Mississippi College

American Bar Association Re-approves MC Paralegal Studies

March 4, 2008

American Bar Association leaders gave their approval for a third time to Mississippi College's Paralegal Studies Program.

The association's House of Delegates recently made the endorsement. It's a sure sign that MC's program meets ABA guidelines as to curriculum, faculty, training in legal ethics, the composition of the paralegal advisory board, library materials and evaluations by graduates, students, employers and the legal community.

The Mississippi College program was first approved by the ABA in 1994 and again in 2001. MC joins two others in Mississippi with ABA-approved programs: the University of Southern Mississippi and Mississippi University for Women.

Students can utilize the Mississippi College School of Law library in downtown Jackson and the main campus in Clinton to advance their skills. The MC program graduated its first students in 1988. Today, there are about 23 MC undergraduates and seven others in a 30-hour paralegal studies certificate program.

MC "has a strong program with graduates and students working in large and small law firms, government agencies and corporations," such as Verizon, Entergy, First Tower Financial, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield, said Director Anna Puckett.

Getting the ABA's endorsement puts MC in good company nationwide. Of the 1,000 educational institutions nationwide offering paralegal training, about 260 are ABA-approved. Others include Tulane University in New Orleans, New York University, Samford University in Birmingham and Texas A&M in Commerce.

With more than 400,000 members, the ABA provides law school accreditation, continuing legal education, plus programs to assist lawyers and judges and a host of initiatives to improve America's legal system.

The MC paralegal program is convenient for students who work part-time and need evening classes. It is attractive to people who desire a career change, Puckett said. "They come from everywhere, from legal secretary to teaching to business, you name it."

Grant Brabham, an insurance executive with the Fox-Everett Insurance Company in Jackson, minored in paralegal studies at MC. His studies in that field "helped me a tremendous amount in my day-to-day tasks in that area of insurance law and compliance with federal regulations," he said.

Minoring in paralegal studies at MC "provided me with first-rate preparation for my law school studies and legal practice," said Jackson lawyer Joseph Gill. "I use the skills and theory I learned at Mississippi College in my practice each and every day."

The job outlook for paralegal graduates looks good. Employment should increase 22 percent between 2006 and 2016 or faster growth than most professions, says the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The paralegal studies program is housed in the MC Department of History and Political Science.

For additional details on MC paralegal studies, contact Anna Puckett at 601-925-3812 or APuckett@mc.edu

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