Since a visit last December by an American Bar Association (ABA) Site Review Committee, Essex County College has been waiting to see if the Paralegal Studies (PLS) Program would receive approval from the national organization. The wait is over following the ABA granting program approval on August 9.
The term of approval is seven years, ending in August of 2023.
“The designation reaffirms that our Paralegal Program is a sound, highly regarded program. Perhaps most importantly, it also exemplifies an institutional commitment to enhancing the lives and advancing the careers of our students, permitting them to contribute to the economy of Essex County,” said Professor Linda Carter, director of the PLS Program.
“In addition to all the hard work performed by the College’s PLS ABA Core Team, which includes Professors Charles Reid and John Smith, faculty, students, and key department administrators and staff, I also want to thank the Essex County Bar Association (ECBA). The ECBA disseminated surveys to its members in order for the program to use results of those surveys to prepare PLS students to meet the expectations and requirements for paralegal positions,” she said.
“This is fantastic news,” Dean of Liberal Arts S. Aisha Steplight Johnson said in congratulating Professor Carter and her team. “You have all worked long and hard to make this recognition become a reality. What a wonderful honor for Essex County College.”
Acting President A. Zachary Yamba noted, “What an accomplishment! Congratulations to you and all those individuals who worked with you and stayed the course.”
“I congratulate Professors Carter and Reid on their tenacity and scholarship in completing the application to a standard that the ABA approved this program,” said Division of Social Sciences Chairperson Mamie Bridgeforth. “This gives our students the opportunity to pursue an ABA approved program at a centrally located, accessible and budget friendly institution.”
The Associate in Science degree program, in the Division of Social Sciences, was formerly the Legal Assistant Studies Program. In 2005, the College began the process of seeking ABA approval for the program, which required collecting seven years of employment and continuing education data on the program graduates.