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Tennessee Paralegal Schools

In 2014, Tennessee employed 4,300 paralegals, the majority of those in the Nashville, Memphis, and Chattanooga metropolitan areas.1 There are a number of Tennessee paralegal schools that provide the education needed to get a paralegal degree and enter one of the fastest growing fields without the seven years of education needed to become a lawyer. With an average salary in the mid five figures and experience that translates to work in more than just law firms, becoming a paralegal in Tennessee can open up doors in a down economy.

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How to Become a Paralegal in Tennessee

There are no state-regulated standards pertaining to the education or the training of a paralegal in Tennessee. Lawyers are required by the state to directly supervise the work of their paralegals and they are required to take the responsibility for their paralegals’ professional conduct and actions. The paralegals in Tennessee are opting to complete certification through accredited educational programs by getting degrees or certifications by accredited programs.

Paralegal Quote: “Always be organized – even when the unexpected happens. Keeping your composure in difficult and stressful situations is beneficial to you, your attorney, and your client. Let people know that you can be professional in any situation by the way you represent yourself at all times.” -Barbara A. Miller, 2nd Vice President of the Smoky Mountain Paralegal Association

Tennessee Paralegal Salary and Job Outlook

Becoming a Tennessee paralegal can open up career options with job options in the government, the finance departments of medium and large businesses, as well as law firms of all sizes. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Tennessee paralegals earned an average salary of $49,070 in 2014, which is a bit higher than the national average of $48,350.1 Even more impressive is that the profession in the state is expected to almost double in the next several years, with a whopping 48.7% increase in paralegals expected by 2022.2 Understanding these facts makes it evident that Tennessee is a good place to become a paralegal.

ABA-Approved Paralegal Schools in Tennessee

There are several Tennessee paralegal schools that have an American Bar Association certification. They include:

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Profiles of Well-Known Schools in Tennessee

University of Memphis: The University College at the University of Memphis has an American Bar Association-approved Bachelor of Professional Studies in paralegal studies. This is a 120-credit hour, four-year program with 39 hours dedicated to major courses. Required paralegal courses include Introduction to Law, Legal Ethics, Legal Research and Writing (I and II), and Contracts and Commercial Law. The available electives are not limited to just paralegal studies, but include criminal justice, political science and communications courses that are designated related subjects.

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga: The Department of Criminal Justice and Legal Assistant Studies at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga offers an American Bar Association-approved Bachelor of Science in legal assistant studies. This 120-credit hour program has two distinct concentrations, one concentrated with business courses and the other with social sciences courses. Legal assistant studies core courses include Law and the Legal Assistant, Legal Research and Writing, Litigation I, and Law Office Management and Computer Applications. Legal assistant studies majors must complete six credit hours, or 275 work hours to fulfill the internship requirement before graduation.

Top Law Firms for Paralegal Graduates in Tennessee

Bass, Berry & Sims PLC, with offices in Nashville, Knoxville, and Memphis, has been recognized by the in-house counsel of Fortune 1000 for its exceptional client service. Bass, Berry & Sims counts a number of publicly traded and Fortune 500 companies on its client roster. The benefits offered to staff are competitive compared to other companies’ offerings, and include options for health, retirement, and insurance benefits. Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel, P.C. has a long history in Tennessee, stretching back over 100 years. Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel recognizes the contributions of its employees, and its staff regularly participates in monthly and quarterly luncheons. Woolf, McClane, Bright, Allen & Carpenter PLLC is one of the top full service law firms in Tennessee, with offices in Knoxville and Sevierville. It welcomes inquiries from recent paralegal graduates regarding career opportunities.

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Online and Tennessee Paralegal Schools

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Paralegal Schools and Programs in Tennessee

Chattanooga State Community College (Chattanooga, TN)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal

Daymar Institute (Clarksville, TN; Murfreesboro, TN; Nashville, TN)
Associate of Science | Paralegal

Miller-Motte Technical College (Chattanooga, TN; Clarksville, TN)
Associate Degree | Paralegal Studies

Pellissippi State Community College (Knoxville, TN)
Associate Degree | Paralegal Studies

Roane State Community College (Harriman, TN)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal

South College (Knoxville, TN)
Associate of Science | Paralegal

Southwest Tennessee Community College (Memphis, TN)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies

Thompson Institute-Philadelphia (Nashville, TN)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies

Volunteer State Community College (Gallatin, TN)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies

Additional Resources:

Tennessee Paralegal Association – The TPA is a non-profit dedicated to educate, motivate and inspire its members–paralegals, paralegal students, and others associated with the profession.

References:
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes232011.htm#ind
2. Projections Central: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm