College Catalog

Legal Assistant-Paralegal (LA)

(Effective Fall 2013)

The American Bar Association-approved Legal Assistant/Paralegal curriculum prepares students to assist attorneys, either in private practice or in public service, in the performance of their professional duties. Paralegals operate under the supervision of a licensed attorney and are prohibited from practicing law. The curriculum provides students with a core of paralegal courses, a variety of courses in specialized areas of law, and a series of related courses. A professional internship gives students on-the-job paralegal experience. This in-depth coverage of the paralegal's role in the field of law provides the background necessary for successful employment in this rapidly growing field.

Career Opportunities

Positions in law firms, court systems and offices, government agencies, corporate and business legal departments, insurance companies, financial institutions, real estate companies, health care facilities, community service agencies, and consumer organizations. Opportunities also exist for graduates to continue their education.

Recommended High School Subjects

Students should have English and mathematics courses (including algebra).

Special Admissions Requirements

Acceptance into the major is contingent upon a personal meeting with a representative of the School of Science, Humanities & Visual Communications.

Remediation Strategies

All students entering the major are tested for English, reading, and mathematics deficiencies. Students are expected to remediate any deficiencies during their first semester. Deficiencies in English and/or reading must be remediated prior to beginning LAS courses.

Transfer Procedures

This major is subject to the transfer standards established by the College (see http://pct.edu/catalog/TransferringCredits.htm ). Exceptions must be approved by the school dean. A maximum of 15 legal specialty credits may be transferred into the associate-degree major (LA).

Program Goals

A graduate of this major should be able to:

  • define and use terminology common to the legal industry.
  • learn the basic principles of the American legal system, including the sources of law, jurisdiction, civil case procedure, and the structure of state and federal court systems.
  • understand the nature of a law firm and the duties performed by an attorney.
  • possess the knowledge to perform the duties of a paralegal in various specialized areas of law.
  • possess the ability to read and understand legal documents and to assist the attorney with the drafting of such documents.
  • demonstrate the ability to communicate effectively with attorneys and clients, court personnel, and co-workers, both orally and in writing.
  • learn the ethical rules and standards of practice pertaining to the paralegal and develop a framework for resolving ethical dilemmas.
  • identify and respond appropriately to legal ethical issues, including conflicts of interest, client confidentiality, and unauthorized practice of law.
  • learn how to conduct effective factual and legal research and prepare legal correspondence, memoranda, documents, and exhibits.
  • demonstrate analytical reasoning capability.
  • demonstrate competent writing skills, including the mechanics of grammar, punctuation, etc.
  • demonstrate good organizational and time management skills.
  • demonstrate a working knowledge of microcomputers.

Performance Standards

Students must maintain a 'C' or greater in all Legal Assistant-Paralegal courses. The major uses an A, B, C, and F grading scale in all LAS courses. Failure to achieve a grade of 'C' or higher after the maximum number of attempts allowed by College policy results in withdrawal from the major. Students should work closely with their advisers and with the program faculty to ensure they are meeting all criteria for satisfactory progress in the major.

Curriculum

First SemesterCredits
FYE101First Year Experience 1 
LAS100Introduction to Paralegal Studies 3 
LAS125Legal Ethics 3 
CSC124Information, Technology, and Society 3 
ENL111English Composition I 3 
MTH151Structures of Mathematics 3 
TOTAL CREDITS 16
Second SemesterCredits
LAS150Legal Research and Writing 3 
LAS160Civil Practice and Procedures 3 
LAS170Real Property Law 3 
ENL121English Composition II 3 
SPC101Fundamentals of Speech 3 
FITFitness and Lifetime Sports Elective 1 
TOTAL CREDITS 16
Third SemesterCredits
LAS210Civil Litigation 3 
LAS220Family Law 3 
LAS230Estate and Trust Administration 3 
ACC113Introduction to Financial Accounting 3 
SCIScience Elective 3 
HUMHumanities Elective 3 
or
SSESocial Science Elective 3 
or
ARTArt Elective 3 
or
FORForeign Language Elective 3 
or
AAEApplied Arts Elective 3 
or
IFEInternational Field Experience Elective 3 
TOTAL CREDITS 18
Fourth SemesterCredits
LAS250Criminal Law and Procedures 3 
LAS291Legal Assistant Internship 3 
LAS360Advanced Legal Research, Writing, and Analysis 3 Writing Enriched Requirement
BLSSpecified Legal Assistant Elective 3 
TOTAL CREDITS 12

A maximum of 15 legal specialty credits may be applied toward the associate’s degree (LA) through credit by examination or credit for work/life experience.

Additional Information

Students who begin the major in January will require at least five semesters to complete the major. Approved by the American Bar Association (ABA).

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