Tennessee Paralegal Schools

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As of 2018, there were about 4,100 paralegals in Tennessee, with the majority employed 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 begin a career in a fast-growing field. With a competitive average salary and skills that translate to work in more than just law firms, becoming a paralegal in Tennessee can open many doors.

How to Become a Paralegal in Tennessee

There are no state laws requiring specific education or training for paralegals in Tennessee. However, lawyers are required by the state to directly supervise the work of their paralegals and must take responsibility for the professional conduct and actions of the paralegals they employ. Due to this responsibility, most lawyers prefer to employ paralegals who have completed at least some formal training. Many paralegals in Tennessee opt to complete voluntary certification after earning a degree from an accredited education program.

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 in government; finance and legal departments in businesses and corporations; and law firms of all sizes. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Tennessee paralegals earned an average salary of $49,050 in 2018.1 Jobs growth for paralegals and legal assistants in Tennessee will be faster than average, with an 18.9% increase in paralegal employment expected by 2026.2 510 average annual openings for paralegals are expected during this time.2 Given these statistics, Tennessee is a good place to become a paralegal.

Profiles of Well-Known Schools in Tennessee

University of Memphis: The University College at the University of Memphis has a Bachelor of Professional Studies in paralegal studies. This 120-credit hour, four-year program includes 39 credit 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. Available electives are not limited to paralegal studies and include courses in criminal justice, political science, and communications.

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 emphasizing business courses and the other emphasizing 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 275 work hours (totaling six credit 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, PC 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.

Paralegal Schools and Programs in Tennessee

An asterisk indicates that one or more of the school’s programs have been approved by the American Bar Association (ABA).

Chattanooga State Community College (Chattanooga)*
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies
Technical Certificate | Paralegal Studies

Nashville State Community College (Nashville)
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies

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

Roane State Community College (Harriman)*
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies

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

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (Chattanooga)*
Bachelor of Science | Legal Assistant Studies
Bachelor of Science | Legal Assistant Studies: Social Science

Volunteer State Community College (Gallatin)*
Associate of Applied Science | Paralegal Studies
Associate of Science | Paralegal Studies
Technical Certificate | Paralegal Studies

Walters State Community College (Memphis)*
Associate of Applied Science | Business Paralegal Studies

*Approved by the American Bar Association (ABA)

Additional Resources

  • Tennessee Paralegal Association – The TPA is a non-profit dedicated to educating, motivating, and inspiring its members-paralegals, paralegal students, and others associated with the profession.
  • Smoky Mountain Paralegal Association – A paralegal association affiliated with NALA that welcomes paralegals from across Tennessee and neighboring states.

References:
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics May 2018 Occupational Employment and Wages, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes232011.htm
2. Projections Central Long Term Occupational Projections: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm

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