Paralegal Studies | NorthWest Arkansas Community College

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Paralegal Studies


Begin your career in the legal field! Earn an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Paralegal Studies in as little as two years and be ready to land a job in providing support to attorneys, law offices, government agencies and corporations.

NWACC’s Paralegal Studies program will provide you with the knowledge, training, skills and values you need to become a highly competent, ethical paralegal who makes a positive contribution to the paralegal profession.

The college's curriculum and hands-on training prepares you to be successful in the legal field. Courses include litigation, family law, will and trusts, real estate law, business organizations, legal research and writing, as well as computers in the law. Classes are conveniently offered during the day, evening and online. 

With an associate degree in paralegal studies, you'll be able to perform the following:

  • Describe the ethical responsibilities of members of the legal profession
  • Explain the basic concepts and procedures of various areas of law within the U.S. legal system, including the operation of the U.S. legal system
  • Perform effective legal research utilizing traditional and digital research methodologies
  • Communicate with attorneys, clients, court personnel, and coworkers utilizing effective writing and oral communication skills
  • Draft and interpret various legal documents
  • Utilize technologies currently associated with the modern practice of law
  • Describe the functions related to the operation and management of a modern law office
  • Apply critical thinking skills to identify, analyze, and interpret legal and factual issues

Paralegal employment opportunities include working in law firms, court systems and offices, government agencies, corporations, health care facilities, real estate companies, financial institutions and more. 

Please note: While NWACC's Paralegal Studies program provides training for paralegals who are authorized to perform substantive legal work under the supervision of a lawyer, paralegals may not provide legal services directly to the public, except as permitted by law.

View the courses required to earn an AAS in Paralegal Studies


Additional Information

View the information below to learn more about the paralegal studies program's ABA approval, transfer policy, faculty and more.

NWACC's Paralegal Studies program has been approved by the American Bar Association (ABA) since 2008. This approval signifies a high degree of quality in the college's curriculum and student resources. 

American Bar Association Logo

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the employment for paralegals to grow 10% from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. Employers, including law firms and corporate legal departments, are attempting to reduce costs and increase the availability and efficiency of legal services by hiring paralegals to perform tasks formerly performed by lawyers.

Visit the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics website for more information on the paralegal field on the national level.

General education courses fulfilling the paralegal degree plan requirements will be accepted for transfer at NWACC pursuant to the policies and procedures included in the college's transfer policy.

Transfer of paralegal courses designated as legal specialty courses follow the same transfer policies and procedures as all other courses and will be subject to the following additional program-specific policies and procedures.

  • Students may transfer legal specialty courses taken at prior institutions, based upon an evaluation by the paralegal program coordinator.
  • Courses will be accepted if they are either from an ABA-approved paralegal program or are from an accredited college or university in the United States, if they are substantially the same courses in content and learning outcomes as the legal specialty courses at NWACC.
  • The paralegal program coordinator will review each request for transfer and compare the prior course description to determine if the course meets this transfer criteria.
  • Students requesting transfer credit may be required to submit course syllabi, assignments, or other information to confirm course content equivalency.

The program does not grant course credit by portfolio or examination.

Transfer students must take a minimum of 12 semester hours of legal specialty courses at NWACC to earn a paralegal degree. In addition, paralegal studies majors must take a minimum of nine semester credits of paralegal specialty courses from the degree plan in a synchronous learning format. This includes traditional in-person instruction or Zoom or Microsoft Teams-like technology in which all students and instructors can interactive in real-time. No courses taken in an asynchronous online or web-based format can count towards this nine semester credit requirement. Transfer students may be asked to provide evidence that courses were taken in a synchronous format to qualify for transfer.

NWACC's paralegal studies faculty are local attorneys with experience in the area of law they teach.

Kim Flanery Coats, J.D. Program Coordinator.
Subjects: Introduction to Law, Legal Research and Legal Writing

Before joining NWACC in 2019, Kim practiced law for both large and small law firms, worked in-house for a corporate legal department, and was a law school associate professor, where she taught legal research and writing.

Kim Flanery

Ryan P. Blue, J.D.
Subject: Civil Litigation

Ryan is Of Counsel in the Rogers, Arkansas office of the national firm, Hall Booth Smith. His practice concentrates on business transactions, corporate and partnership matters, a wide range of complex business litigation, and government affairs. He also advises clients on wills, trusts, estate planning and administration. Before joining Hall Booth Smith, Ryan was a partner at a firm in historic downtown Rogers.

Ryan Blue

Michael Daily, J.D.
Subjects: Contracts and Real Estate Law

Michael is a member of the Fort Smith, Arkansas law firm Daily & Woods, PLLC. He practices in the areas of oil, gas and mineral law, estate planning, contract law, business law, real estate law and collection law.

Michael Daily

Jennifer E. Gray, J.D.
Subject: Wills, Trusts and Estates

Jennifer is a partner in the Rogers, Arkansas law firm Watkins, Boyer, Gray & Curry, PLLC. She practices in the areas of real estate law, lien law, estate planning, probate, commercial law, corporate law and general civil litigation.

Jennifer Gray

Sol Kim, J.D.
Subject: Immigration Law

Sol is a partner at the Fayetteville, Arkansas firm, Taylor Law Partners. His practice concentrates in the areas of immigration law, divorce/family law/domestic relations, criminal defense and personal injury.

Sol Kim

Mary Lowe, J.D., Ph.D.
Subject: Torts

After a career spanning over 20 years in paralegal education, Mary retired as NWACC’s program coordinator in 2020. She enjoys continuing to teach in the program.  

Mary Lowe

Mallory A. Sanders, J.D.
Subject: Family Law  

Mallory is an attorney with the Rogers, Arkansas law firm, Matthews, Campbell, Rhoads, McClure and Thompson, P.A. She concentrates her practice in the areas of domestic relations, civil litigation, juvenile law, criminal law, estate planning, and personal injury

Mallory Sanders

Lisa Marie Norris

Lisa is the director of academic assessment and accountability at the University of Arkansas–Fort Smith. She previously served as the program director for the ABA-approved paralegal program at University of Arkansas–Fort Smith

Mallory Sanders

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