Government, Public & Nonprofit Administration Pathway


Associate in Applied Science

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.

Program Description

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.

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 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.

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.

Other Notes

A cumulative college-level 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.

Quarter Plan

Search Schedule

Quarter 1

Students have several options for their starting point. Some students may start in our Transition Studies programs: Adult Basic Education, ESL, High School+, and Basic Computer Skills.

Quarter 2

MATH092 5cr Mathematical Reasoning
Introduces operations with rational numbers, applications, problem solving skills, expressions, solving linear equations, and graphing linear relationships.
Choose One:

ENGL090 5cr Integrated Reading and Writing I
Introduces students to college-level reading and writing. Focuses on reading strategies, critical thinking, and writing unified paragraphs. ENGL 090 classes are combined with ENGL 095 classes, and students who demonstrate ENGL 095 proficiency may earn ENGL 095 credit. Prerequisite: Appropriate placement or an �S� in ABE 054, ABE 055, ESL 065, ESL 066, IE 065, or IE 066.
ENGL095 5cr Integrated Reading and Writing II
Prepares students for entry into college-level writing courses. Focuses on reading analytically, thinking critically, and writing coherent, well-supported texts. Prerequisite: Appropriate placement based on Reading & English CPT scores or transition test.

CCS101 3cr Pathways to Success
Cultivates the mind-set and skills necessary for students to become confident, reflective, self-directing, and successful learners.

Quarter 3

OFTEC108 3cr Introduction to Microsoft Office
Introduces the software components of Microsoft Office: Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Access. Prerequisite: None. Fees: $12.00 Applied Tech Course Fee
Choose One:

ENGL&101 5cr English Composition I
Develops strategies and techniques writers use to convey ideas and participate in multiple discourse communities. Focuses on both the process and product of composing. Fees: $12.00 Humanities/Communications Course Fee

MATH&107 5cr Math In Society
Explores a variety of mathematical topics presenting mathematics as a form of art and as a tool for understanding the world around us. Designed for non-science majors. Specific topics may be drawn from geometry, number theory, set theory, and the history of mathematics. Fees: $12.00 Natural Applied Science Course Fee

Quarter 4

POLS&200 5cr Introduction to Law: Diversity
Introduces an overview of the American legal system and how our legal system has shaped modern society. This course was formerly known as LEGL 151. Fees: $12.00 Social Science/Business Course Fee

LEGL111 5cr Criminal Law
Covers substantive and procedural aspects of criminal law in Washington. Emphasis is on criminal law practice including principles underlying the definition of crime, culpability requirements, legal defenses, principles of justification and excuse and theories of criminal law and the relationship between doctrines and the various justifications for imposition of punishment. This course was formerly known as LEGL 157. Prerequisite: None. Fees: $50.00 Paralegal Course Fee

LEGL112 3cr Law Office Procedures
Introduces legal terminology, ethics, and law office procedures in regards to traditional, corporate and government law offices. This course was formerly known as LEGL 101. Prerequisite: None. Fees: $50.00 Paralegal Course Fee

Quarter 5

LEGL120 3cr Contracts
Introduces the legal environment of contract law with topics including contract formation, breach, remedies, and other issues related to contract enforcement. This course was formerly known as LEGL 201. Prerequisite: None Fees: $50.00 Paralegal Course Fee

LEGL121 5cr Civil Procedure
Introduces federal and state court Rules of Civil Procedure. Prerequisite: None. Fees: $50.00 Paralegal Course Fee

LEGL124 5cr Legal Research Writing I
Introduces the fundamentals of legal research, writing, and citations. Fees: $50.00 Paralegal Course Fee

Quarter 6

LEGL131 3cr Tort Law
Introduces concepts associated with harm to persons or property, consisting of intentional torts, negligence, or strict liability. This course was formerly known as LEGL 154. Prerequisite: None Fees: $50.00 Paralegal Course Fee

LEGL134 5cr Legal Research & Writing II
Expands on the fundamentals of legal research, writing, and citations explored in LEGL 124 Legal Research & Writing I. Prerequisite: LEGL 124, or instructor's permission. Fees: $50.00 Paralegal Course Fee

CMST&220 5cr Public Speaking
Introduces oral communication theory and public speaking/listening practice as applied to a variety of settings and audiences. Students will learn to verbally inform and persuade an audience using a variety of speech types. Prerequisite: None. Fees: $12.00 Humanities/Communications Course Fee

Quarter 7

LEGL210 5cr Real Estate, Property Law and Estate Planning
Advances skills and knowledge in legal issues related to property, real estate and estate planning. The course will explore relevant issues including possessory interest in lands, laws of succession in a testate or intestate will, the administration of an estate. This course was formerly known as LEGL 255. Fees: $50.00 Paralegal Course Fee

LEGL190 5cr Cooperative Work Experience
Fees: $15.00 Co-op Instruction Course Fee
Choose any English Course (other than ENGL&101 and ENGL&235), or choose a Humanities Course, or choose a History Course on the AA Distribution List (5cr)

ENGL&102 5cr Composition II
Develops reading, writing and critical thinking skills at the advanced level. Teaches how to write academic papers by conducting research; analyzing, evaluating and constructing arguments; documenting sources and using appropriate writing conventions. Fees: $12.00 Humanities/Communications Course Fee
HIST&146 5cr US History I
Briefly covers pre-European contact America through the Mexican American War. Prerequisite: None. Fees: $12.00 Social Science/Business Course Fee
HIST&147 5cr US History II
Covers the political, social, and cultural history of the United States from the Texas Revolution through World War I and the rise of the U.S. as a world power. Prerequisite: None. Fees: $12.00 Social Science/Business Course Fee
HIST&148 5cr US History III
Covers the political, social and cultural history of the United States from 1920 to the present. Prerequisite: None. Fees: $12.00 Social Science/Business Course Fee
Choose One

CMST&210 5cr Interpersonal Communication: Diversity
Focuses on understanding and developing interpersonal communication skills needed to build and maintain healthy one-on-one relationships in both personal and professional contexts. Examines how diverse communication styles can impact relationships. Prerequisite: None. Fees: $12.00 Humanities/Communications Course Fee
CMST&230 5cr Small Group Communication: Diversity
Introduces small group communication theories and concepts with applications. Explores the communication processes used when people enter diverse organizational contexts or interact in professional and everyday life small groups. Prerequisite: None. Fees: $12.00 Humanities/Communications Course Fee
PSYC116 5cr Psychology of Human Relations: Diversity
Introduces students to the psychology of human relationships. Examines how thoughts, feelings, and behaviors impact communication in a multicultural world. Fees: $12.00 Social Science/Business Course Fee

Note: The internship can be taken any time after completing 45 credits. Contact Program Lead one quarter in advance of taking your internship to ensure you are properly enrolled.

Quarter 8

BUS&201 5cr Business Law
Introduces the American legal system from the business perspective. Examines system structure, concepts, procedures, terminology, and ethics with an emphasis on principles and procedures applicable in the context of business. Fees: $12.00 Social Science & Business Course Fee

LEGL221 5cr Technology in the Law Office
Introduces law office technology. Students will gain experience retrieving, organizing, and maintaining documents; docketing and tickling, methods to ensure timeliness of pleadings and other actions; use of database and full-text retrieval systems; and time-keeping for proper billing of clients. This course was formerly known as LEGL 153. Fees: $50.00 Paralegal Course Fee

LEGL220 5cr Professional Mediation (Retired)
Introduces the philosophy, process, and practice of a neutral facilitator. Students will learn the concepts, principles, and practices of mediations. The course material is presented through lecture, demonstration, group activities, and participant role-plays with instructor and peer feedback. Fees: $50.00 Paralegal Course Fee

Quarter 9

LEGL230 5cr Legal Ethics
Explores the Washington State Rules of Professional Conduct, American Bar Association Model Rules, Washington State Bar Association Ethics Opinions, and Washington Supreme Court Decisions and their practical applications for the paralegal. This course was formerly known as LEGL 202. Fees: $50.00 Paralegal Course Fee

LEGL231 3cr Electronic Discovery
Overview of the technology used in e-discovery throughout the litigation process. Through the lens of the rules of procedure, this course covers discovery identification and preservation to collection, processing, review, production, and trial presentation. Fees: $50.00 Paralegal Course Fee

LEGL232 3cr Family Law
Covers family law issues, including premarital agreements, dissolution of marriage and legal separation actions, child support, and parenting plans. Fees: $50.00 Paralegal Course Fee

Revision Date: 

Tuesday, May 02, 2023