Paralegal Plus Post-Bachelor Certificate
Credits: 41-43 | Length of Program: 4-6 quarters
Paralegal Plus Post-Bachelor Certificate
The overall program goal of the Paralegal Plus Post-Bachelor Certificate is to prepare students who have already obtained either a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree from an accredited four (4) year institution, but otherwise do not have any legal experience, and are interested in 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 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 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.
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
- Communicate effectively
- Think logically and critically
- Evaluate and process quantitative data
- Understand themselves in relation to others in a multicultural world
- Understand ethical responsibilities and consequences
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
Because legal courses are offered only in the evening, program completion may require 4 – 6 quarters.
Students must have completed a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution recognized by SPSCC prior to entry into the certificate program.
*Requires completion of a Bachelors of Arts or Science degree from an accredited higher education four (4) year institution as recognized by SPSCC
A cumulative GPA of 2.0 is required in order to earn a certificate or 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.
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.