Paralegal

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Overview

Program Description

The overall program goal of the Paralegal Associate in Applied Science Degree is to prepare students for careers as paralegals working under the supervision of lawyers.  In addition, it is the aim of the program to provide students with knowledge of legal concepts, procedures and essential skills required to serve the needs of a complex legal and business community by assessing existing courses and updating and/or developing new courses that meet the future needs of the profession. The Program emphasizes organizational, interpersonal, analytical and technological skills that support students in their professional pursuits and provides a broad range of skills for positions in a variety of legal settings such as private law firms, government agencies, community action agencies, corporate legal departments, insurance companies, estate and trust departments of large banks, or real estate and title companies.  The curriculum consists of a combination of legal practice concentration, law-related, and general education courses.  Students seeking a career as a paralegal must be able to write clearly, communicate effectively, be proficient with office computer systems, and possess a high degree of motivation and analytical reasoning capability.

The Paralegal Program promotes ethical awareness and professional responsibility, and encourages development of the Paralegal occupation. 

Career Opportunities   

The paralegal field continues as one of the fastest growing professions.  The American Bar Association and Washington State Bar Association recognize the benefit of two-year paralegal programs.  Job opportunities are continuing to increase and expand into new areas.  Paralegal positions open in private law firms, corporate legal departments, insurance companies, estate and trust departments of large banks, real estate and title insurance companies, nonprofit private and public organizations and professional trade associations.  Job opportunities in the public sector are available in community legal services programs, offices of public defenders, prosecutors, and attorney generals, government agencies and the court system. Earnings vary depending on the size of the community, geographic location, size, and business of the employing agency, and the paralegal’s education, background, and work experience. See Business » Business Administration for more career and employment information.

Program Outcomes

South Puget Sound Community College believes that all students need to develop a broad range of abilities that will make them more effective in their professional pursuits and enhance their capacity to relate well to others in their daily lives. 

At the completion of the Paralegal Program, the successful student will be able to:

  • Exhibit critical thinking skills in analyzing legal processes and problems
  • Analyze, synthesize and communicate information about legal issues and processes in writing and in oral presentations
  • Use technological applications to efficiently produce, manage, and submit accurate legal documents
  • Recognize and apply reason to ethical issues in business, including the legal implications of business practices
  • Develop and practice appropriate and relevant interaction skills across personal, academic and professional settings

In addition, students who complete the program will demonstrate the following skills standards:

  • Engaging in legal and factual investigation and research using traditional and technology-based tools
  • Briefing and analyzing legal issues in writing
  • Understanding the court system and the process of civil litigation from case inception through trial and post-trial matters
  • Using a variety of current computer applications to efficiently produce, manage, and analyze legal documents 
  • Demonstrating effective communication with attorneys, clients, court personnel, and co-workers, orally and in writing.
  • Effectively interviewing clients or witnesses

Program Requirements

An Associate in Applied Sciences degree will be awarded upon successful completion of a minimum of 94 credits in courses numbered 100 or above. All core and general education requirements must be met.  This degree includes a minimum of 27 general education credits.   Additional credits are selected as electives.

Program Information

Admission: The program begins each Fall quarter.

Legal core courses are offered in the evening.  It is recommended that ENGL& 101 and a computer course be taken prior to Fall quarter.

Length of Program: Because legal courses are offered only in the evening, program completion may require nine quarters.

Special Program Note: Only an attorney can counsel others as to their legal rights or responsibilities.  Non-lawyer assistants act under the supervision of a lawyer in compliance with Washington State Court Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC) 5.3, General Rule (GR) 24.

Additional Program Information

Educational Plan

Paralegal

Associate in Applied Science Degree
99-106 credits

Core Requirements

No course description for: OFTEC108
No course description for: OFTEC160
No course description for: LEGL151
No course description for: LEGL152
No course description for: LEGL153
No course description for: LEGL154
No course description for: LEGL155
No course description for: LEGL156
No course description for: LEGL157
No course description for: LEGL158
No course description for: LEGL201
No course description for: LEGL202
No course description for: LEGL251
No course description for: LEGL253
No course description for: LEGL259

Electives
Choose at least two (2) courses from the electives list below:

No course description for: BUS&201
No course description for: BUS202
No course description for: LEGL101
No course description for: LEGL102
No course description for: LEGL105
No course description for: OFTEC136
No course description for: OFTEC141
No course description for: LEGL252
No course description for: LEGL255
No course description for: LEGL256
No course description for: LEGL257

Associate in Arts General Education Electives
IF MATH& 107 is chosen to satisfy the Computation requirement it will apply as 5 of the 12 required credits for this category.  See general education requirements.  
Total General Education Electives 12-15

General Education Requirements
Communication: 

No course description for: ENGL&101

Additional Communication: 
Choose one of the following
No course description for: CMST&101
-OR-
No course description for: CMST105
-OR-
No course description for: CMST&220
-OR-
No course description for: CMST&230
-OR-
No course description for: CMST260
-OR-
No course description for: ENGL&235

Computation
Choose one of the following
No course description for: BUS104
-OR-
No course description for: MATH&107

Human Relations
Choose one of the following
No course description for: CMST&210
-OR-
No course description for: CMST240
-OR-
No course description for: HUM121
-OR-
No course description for: PSYC116

Effective Catalog Year 2017-2018, Revised June 16, 2015