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GCCC/BSC Announces Continuing Education "Certificate of Completion" Program for Legal Office Assisting

The Greenbrier Community College Center of Bluefield State College has announced the establishment of a continuing education "certificate of completion" program for Legal Office Assisting. This program addresses the educational needs of two groups of students--secretarial/administrative support personnel who currently work in legal offices, and students wishing to prepare specifically to work in a legal office. Flexibility in the ways students can demonstrate required knowledge and skills make it possible to serve each group. The new program consists of three categories of courses. In the first, courses concentrate on secretarial and office procedure skills, and on general office knowledge. A group of such general education skills courses as writing, general math, and human relations comprise the second category. The third category of courses teaches knowledge and skills related specifically to work in the legal office. These include classes like business law, legal research, criminal justice writing and communication, and civil litigation. The legal office assisting continuing education certificate program is shorter than a legal assisting degree program, but provides more depth than the typical legal secretarial program. It is innovative in that a working legal secretary may receive a waiver of the secretarial courses if his or her employer affirms that the student's knowledge and skills in identified areas of study are satisfactory. Students not receiving such waivers must take the corresponding course or courses. David Perkins, GCCC Director, observed, "The legal office assisting program represents a unique opportunity for area employees in law offices to upgrade their knowledge and skills, and for secretarial students to prepare specifically for legal office work." Perkins also added, "Many of the courses in the continuing education certificate program are required in Bluefield State College's Legal Assisting associate degree program, and may be transferred into it." A panel of attorneys, legal assistants, and a paralegal assisted GCCC in developing the legal office assistant continuing education program. Courses offered in the Fall Semester 1997 include "Legal Assisting," "Business Law," "English Composition," "Criminal Justice Writing & Communication," "Human Relations," "General Mathematics," and a number of secretarial courses required as prerequisite skills for awarding the certificate. One course costs $257, excluding books. Classes begin August 18. Registration at GCCC will be conducted August 14-15. Students or employers may receive additional information by calling the GCCC Student Services Office at 645-3303.