The Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC), Bryan U’s accrediting agency, recently recognized Bryan University’s Paralegal Studies program in their Spotlight on Excellence publication. This publication highlights the innovation and best practices implemented by ACCSC-accredited schools.
ACCSC recognized BU’s paralegal studies program for its innovative approach to paralegal instruction. Paralegal Studies Program Director Nola Wright, J.D., writes: “Students learn by doing – that is the overarching educational philosophy of our paralegal program – the ‘doing’ part is done best when it replicates as close as possible to a real-world working environment.” This philosophy is behind using “Bryan & Associates – An Unreal Law Firm.” Newly enrolled paralegal students are considered new hires in the firm and given the title of Paralegal, while they work with Attorneys (faculty members) during each course in the program. Throughout the program, students are given access to clients’ files and delegated responsibilities typical of a working paralegal. Students also attend “all-staff meetings” hosted by the Senior Firm Partner (paralegal program director). These meetings allow faculty and students to discuss cases and clients, as well as current legal issues, which simulates a real law firm staff meeting.
It was through these meetings that the idea of a student association originated. As a result, the Bryan University Student Paralegal Association (BUSPA) formed. BUSPA meets once a month and sponsors guest speakers, presentations, and other workshops related to the legal field. Last year BUSPA traveled to Washington D.C. where the group was able to attend a Supreme Court oral argument and meet with one of the Justices.
Bryan University’s mission statement underscores a commitment to ensuring that “students receive an educational experience that transforms their lives.” The results for students of this innovative instructional approach in paralegal studies are increased confidence in their abilities, a more immersive and relevant learning experience, and a strong commitment to the legal field. It also gives paralegal students a deeper sense of inclusion in the practice of law and better employment opportunities and outcomes.
For a look at the original article featured on ACCSC’s website click here.