VGCC names head of new Paralegal degree program

VGCC Paralegal Technology program head/instructor Antoinette Dickens (VGCC photo)

VGCC Paralegal Technology program head/instructor Antoinette Dickens (VGCC photo)

Vance-Granville Community College has appointed Antoinette C. Dickens of Raleigh to lead the college’s new Paralegal Technology degree program. The two-year program officially gets underway when the fall semester begins Aug. 19, and will be based at VGCC’s Franklin County Campus near Louisburg.

Dickens brings to her new role experience as both a practicing paralegal and an educator. She has held a variety of positions in the justice system, as a deputy Clerk of Superior Court in Vance County, a legal assistant in the District Attorney’s office in Oxford, a juvenile court counselor, and a paralegal working for law firms in Louisburg, Warrenton and Raleigh. Dickens was also an instructor for VGCC’s Criminal Justice Technology program from 2004 through 2010. She started her higher education at VGCC, earned a Paralegal Certificate from the American Institute of Paralegal Studies, and later completed a bachelor’s degree in Justice Studies at North Carolina Wesleyan College. Dickens is a member of the North Carolina Paralegal Association.

“I like to call paralegals the real ‘power of attorneys,’” Dickens said, because of their essential roles making law offices and the court system work. Paralegals may interview clients, investigate facts, draft documents and perform legal research for attorneys, although they cannot independently give legal advice or represent clients in court. “The paralegal field is expected to experience approximately an 18% growth increase in the next five to seven years due to economic changes and the reorganization of services in the legal arena,” Dickens noted. She said paralegals can find job opportunities in many different organizations, including medical facilities and corporate legal departments, or they can work as freelancers, on projects outsourced by law firms.

“The paralegal curriculum at Vance-Granville will cover various areas of law and procedure that are pertinent to our service area,” Dickens said. “Our program will offer both theory and application — tried and true techniques that are currently in use. The student who takes advantage of our program will truly prove to be a valuable asset to his or her employer!”

Orientation and advising of new students will take place throughout the summer. For more information, call Antoinette Dickens at (252) 738-3609 or (919) 496-1567, ext. 3609.