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VGCC Paralegal program receives State Bar recognition, will hold information session

The Paralegal Technology program at Vance-Granville Community College was recently designated as a “Qualified Paralegal Studies Program” by the North Carolina State Bar.

The State Bar’s Board of Paralegal Certification approved the VGCC program for this recognition at a meeting in February, but the status is considered to be retroactively effective from Dec. 18, 2014. The qualification lasts for five years, according to Joy C. Belk, the board’s assistant director.

The State Bar is the agency responsible for regulating the practice of law, including the proper utilization of paralegals, throughout North Carolina. Being placed on the Bar’s approved list of paralegal training programs is significant for multiple reasons, according to Antoinette C. Dickens, the Paralegal Technology program head/instructor for VGCC.

“This designation allows students who successfully complete our program to sit for the paralegal certification exam administered by the N.C. State Bar,” Dickens said. “Upon passing the certification exam, students will be designated as N.C. Certified Paralegals (NCCP), which will put them in a premier position when applying and competing for professional positions.”

She added that most states recognize certifications from accredited certification agencies and organizations and extend reciprocity, meaning that VGCC students are equipped for career opportunities in our state and beyond. “The designation as a N.C. Certified Paralegal will help our graduates achieve personal and professional success,” Dickens said.

“This statewide recognition is certainly an outstanding achievement for our dedicated Paralegal program faculty, who have set and maintained high standards for instructional quality,” said Dr. Angela Ballentine, VGCC’s vice president of academic and student affairs. “Most importantly, it gives the graduates of our program greater career opportunities in the communities they will serve, while providing the employers of our region with well-prepared, certified paralegals.”

The two-year VGCC Paralegal degree program , based at the college’s Franklin County Campus , began in the fall of 2013 and will produce its first graduates in May.

An information session for anyone interested in the program will be held on Thursday, March 26, from 4 until 6:30 p.m. in Building 4 on VGCC’s Franklin Campus (8100 Highway 56, Louisburg). Attendees will hear from students currently enrolled in the program, as well as local attorneys, who will discuss the expectations and the vital role of a paralegal in the law office. Light refreshments will be served.

For more information, call Antoinette Dickens at (252) 738-3609 or (919) 496-1567, ext. 3609.


Above:  VGCC Paralegal Technology student Kristy Hope of Henderson gets help from program head/instructor Antoinette Dickens in a classroom at the college’s Franklin County Campus. (VGCC photo)