For a handful of paralegal students at Surry Community College, a recent classroom exercise gave them a feel for what it would be like to argue a case in a U.S. Appellant court.
Students in Surry Community College’s Paralegal program performed oral appellate trial arguments as a part of their final exams in LEX-121 Legal Research Writing II.
Lead Paralegal Instructor Selina Dougherty and Paralegal Instructor Robert Payne served as judges, even dressing in black robes for the class to give the exercise the feel of what facing judges might be like.
“The students had to write a memorandum of law to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and then had to present their oral arguments against each other as if they were attorneys in the case,” Dougherty said.
Students took the assignment seriously, seeing it as more than a simple test.
“The class got a little heated at times as the students were passionate about their positions,” Dougherty said. “They all did an excellent job.”
LEX 121 covers advanced topics in legal research and writing. Topics include more complex legal issues and assignments involving preparation of legal memos, briefs, and other documents and the advanced use of electronic research methods.
The Paralegal Technology curriculum at Surry is designed to prepare individuals to work under the supervision of attorneys by performing routine legal tasks and assisting with substantive legal work. Graduates are trained to assist attorneys in probate work, investigations, public records search, and drafting and filing legal documents. The program is approved by the NC State Bar Board of Paralegal Certification.
“We have a superior paralegal program at Surry Community College,” Dougherty said. “For those outside of the legal profession, they can think of a paralegal as one who assists attorneys as a nurse assists a doctor. When our students graduate, they can hit the ground running and support their attorneys with researching and writing legal documents.”
Students enrolled in Surry’s Paralegal Technology program can earn an Associate in Applied Science Degree or a Paralegal Certificate. Employment opportunities are available in private law firms, governmental agencies, banks, insurance agencies and other business organizations.
And, they might just get the chance to argue their own cases before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
Well, at least the Surry Community College version of the court.
To learn more about the paralegal technology program at SCC, visit www.surry.edu. Those interested can also follow the Paralegal program and Surry’s other business programs on Facebook @surrybusiness. Registration is open for the fall 2017 classes. Students must register for fall classes before Aug. 1. Those classes start Aug. 15. For additional information contact Student Services at (336) 386-3264.