TSC aralegal Advisory Committee

The Texas Southmost College Paralegal Studies Program was named an American Bar Association (ABA) Approved program on August 8, at the annual ABA meeting, becoming one of only 11 Texas institutions of higher education to hold the prestigious designation.  

Dr. Kevin C. O’Malley, who serves as Paralegal Studies Program Coordinator and Paralegal Studies professor, believes that this lengthy process was worth every bit of the work because of the quality of students who come through the program.   

“These are classic students working their way up the ladder of the American system and we owe them everything,” Dr. O’Malley, a longtime practicing attorney, said. “This is the ideal group that we should be devoting ourselves to and make sure they are getting every bit of the system. They are getting the best program in the United States period. There is no better way to get yourself a paralegal education than having a program that’s been approved by the American Bar Association.”  

To earn ABA Approved Paralegal Studies Program status, TSC faculty, students, alumni, administrators, staff and advisory committee members took part in a rigorous self-study and site visit. The evaluation was conducted by the ABA Standing Committee on Paralegals, which has led the development and promotion of policies relating to the education, employment, training and effective use of paralegals for more than 45 years.  

“This is a monumental step for Texas Southmost College,” TSC Board Chair Adela G. Garza said. “This distinction puts us ahead of any college in the Rio Grande Valley and puts our students in a position to excel in this field. The most important mission here at TSC is student success and the ability for graduates to enter high-paying careers. Because of the hard work of the advisory committee and an incredible effort from our dedicated faculty and staff we have put our students in a great position by earning an ABA Paralegal accreditation which is something only one school in the Rio Grande Valley can proudly boast and that’s Texas Southmost College. Congratulations to everyone involved, we cannot wait to see students benefiting in this prestigious program.”  

The college met or exceeded all standards for educating paralegals, representing a comprehensive review of the program, including its organization and administration, faculty, curriculum, facilities and available student services. 

“Earning the designation as ABA Approved for our Paralegal Studies Program affirms our program meets industry standards for legal education,” said TSC President Jesús Roberto Rodríguez. “I extend my thanks to our TSC Board of Trustees, advisory committee members, and dedicated faculty and staff, who work relentlessly to ensureTexas Southmost College continues to provide a high-quality education for the communities we serve.” 

Paralegals support the justice system through a variety of duties, including interviewing clients and witnesses, conducting research, and preparing court documents. While the demand for paralegals and legal assistants is projected to increase by 12% nationwide, in Texas, the demand is projected to increase by 25%, according to the Texas Paralegal Career and Salary Guide. 

“ABA Approved paralegal studies programs are known as the gold standard in the industry, and employers often compete for graduates of these programs,” said Dr. O’Malley. “Our students can feel confident that they will learn the skills needed to succeed as a paralegal in a variety of settings including law firms, federal and state governments and numerous financial, insurance and nonprofit corporations.”  

Judge Felix Recio served as a part of the TSC Paralegal Studies Advisory Committee and was excited to see his vision realized with the hard work of Dr. O’Malley and team.  

“A lot of people worked really hard to get this done,” Judge Recio, who served as a federal judge said. “As lawyers, we have an obligation to improve the quality of the law. One of the things that we can do is help our teaching institutions to achieve that goal. One of the most important things we can teach our students besides the technicalities and rules of law but it’s also the ethics that are involved. This will give us an opportunity to help prove our teaching experiences but also help improve the quality of students we are producing at TSC—well-trained, well-educated and ethical.”

There is still time to register for the fall semester, which begins August 22. For more information about the Paralegal Studies program you can contact program coordinator Dr. O’Malley at 956-295-3541 or [email protected]. You can also reach Humanities Department administrative assistant Erika Moreno at 956.295.3382 or via e-mail [email protected].