DOBSON — Hannah Nicholes, a staff attorney at Legal Aid of North Carolina, recently visited Surry Community College’s LEX 240: Family Law class to speak to students in the college’s Paralegal Technology program.
Nicholes is a graduate of Wake Forest University School of Law, and interned throughout her time in law school with Legal Aid, which is a statewide nonprofit law firm that provides free legal services in civil matters to low-income people in order to ensure equal access to justice and to remove legal barriers to economic opportunity.
After obtaining a Doctor of Law degree in 2015, Nicholes continued her work with Legal Aid in the organization’s Morganton office where she practiced general law before transitioning to Legal Aid’s Winston-Salem office where she primarily focuses on domestic violence law.
During Nicholes’ visit to Surry, she addressed many subjects pertinent to a paralegal student’s studies. Nicholes shared her expertise on landlord/tenant law, Medicaid/social security law and domestic violence law with the classroom. In addition, she provided a general overview of what Legal Aid does and shared insight into the roles and tasks paralegals often take on when working alongside herself or another attorney at the organization.
Surry’s Lead Paralegal Instructor Selina Dougherty arranged the visit as a means of exposing students to as many perspectives within the legal field as possible.
“Providing speakers from the legal community to our students helps show them the different areas of law and what they can expect in the job market after graduation, while also providing them with excellent networking opportunities,” Dougherty explained.
She elaborated by adding that Nicholes encouraged Surry Paralegal students to apply for internships with Legal Aid.
Surry Community College’s Paralegal Technology curriculum prepares individuals to work under the supervision of attorneys. The college is designated as a Qualified Paralegal Studies Program by the N.C. State Bar Board of Paralegal Certification and offers both a two-year degree and one-year certificate. Coursework includes substantive and procedural legal knowledge in the areas of civil litigation, legal research and writing, real estate, family law, wills, estates, trusts, and commercial law.
Graduates are trained to assist attorneys in probate work, investigations, public records search, drafting and filing legal documents, research and office management. Employment opportunities are available in private law firms, governmental agencies, banks, insurance agencies, and other related business organizations. The average annual salary for a paralegal is approximately $47,500, the college said.
Registration is open for spring 2018 classes. The deadline to register is Dec. 21. Spring classes will begin Jan. 8. For additional information contact Student Services at 336-386-3264 or Lead Paralegal Instructor Selina Dougherty at 336-386-3257 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow the program, and all other Business Technologies programs, on Facebook @surrybusiness.