Paralegal - Associate in Applied Science
Government, Public & Nonprofit Administration Pathway
97-101 Credits | 9 Quarters
Be one of the people changing the world at the highest level—advocate for the under-privileged, participate in political bodies and movements, develop policy, or prepare for law school. Begin by choosing our Government, Public, and Nonprofit Administration Pathway.
The overall program goal of the Paralegal Associate in Applied Science Degree is to prepare students for careers as paralegals or legal assistants 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. 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 and LLLT occupations.
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 and Limited License Legal Technician (LLLT) 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 Paralegal subject page for more career and employment information.
Transition Studies Students have several options for their starting point. Some students may start in our Transition Studies programs: Adult Basic Education, English as a Second Language, Digital Literacy, and High School+.
Distribution: AA, AAS, AS, DTA, COMMUNICATION, GER-CIS, AA-AAS-T-COMMUNICATION, AAS-COMMUNICATION: Reading/Writing, AAS-READING-WRITING
Distribution: AA, AS, DTA, NATURAL SCIENCE, QUANTITATIVE, AA-AAS-T-QUANTITATIVE, AA-AAS-T-NATURAL SCIENCE
Distribution: AA-AAS-T-SOCIAL SCIENCE, DIVERSITY
Distribution: AA, AAS, AS, DTA, AAS-SPEAKING-LISTENING, AA-AAS-T-COMMUNICATION, AAS-ADDITIONAL COMMUNICATION, FPA-Elective-HUM-Qtr 3-4, FPA-Elective-Qtr 5
ENGLISH OR HISTORY (5cr)
Any English Course (other than ENGL& 101) or History Course on the AA Distribution List
Choose One 5 credit course Paralegal-Human Relation/Diversity:
Choose One 5 credit course Paralegal-Human Relation/Diversity:
Distribution: AA, AAS, AS, DTA, DIVERSITY, AAS-SPEAKING-LISTENING, AA-AAS-T-HUMANITIES, AAS-ADDITIONAL COMMUNICATION, AAS-HUMAN RELATIONS
Distribution: AA, AAS, AS, DTA, AAS-SPEAKING-LISTENING, AAS-HUMAN RELATIONS, GER-CIS, AA-AAS-T-HUMANITIES, AAS-ADDITIONAL COMMUNICATION, DIVERSITY
Distribution: AA, AAS, AS, DTA, DIVERSITY, SOCIAL SCIENCE, NURSING SOCIAL SCIENCE, AAS-HUMAN RELATIONS, AA-AAS-T-SOCIAL SCIENCE, SOC-SCIENCE-CULTURAL, FPA-SocSci-Qtr 5-6-8
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
Special Program Note
Only an attorney or Limited License Legal Technician (LLLT) pursuant to Admission and Practice Rule (APR) 28, 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. See also, APR 28 and LLLT RPC.
A cumulative GPA of 2.0 is required in order to earn a degree and a “C” or better is required in all LEGL courses. A “C” or better must also be earned in all prerequisite LEGL courses.
Students are required to participate in the Paralegal Skills Application course which places them in the Paralegal Community Justice Clinic. With approval of the Paralegal Program Lead, this requirement may be waived in lieu of a relevant substantive internship or current relevant substantive work experience. (*The Paralegal Skills Application courses are currently under review due to the COVID 19 pandemic and not being offered. With approval by the Paralegal Program lead, this requirement can be satisfied by an internship, simulated work experience, or current and relevant legal work experience.)