Programs

Paralegal Studies (Degree)

Program Description

The Paralegal Studies program is a sequence of courses that prepares students for positions in the paralegal profession. Learning opportunities develop academic, technical, and professional knowledge and skills required for job acquisition, retention, and advancement. The knowledge and skills emphasized in this program include ethical obligations; research in state and federal law; legal correspondence preparation; family law matters; basic concepts of real property law; criminal law and procedure; civil litigation; tort law; substantive contract law; and wills, trusts, and probate. The program of study emphasizes opportunities that provide students with specialized legal knowledge and skills required to aid lawyers in the delivery of legal services. Program graduates receive a Paralegal Studies Associate of Applied Technology degree.

Program Details

  • Major Code: PS13
  • Award Level: Associate of Applied Science Degree
  • Location: Griffin Campus
  • Program Entrance Term: Fall, Spring, Summer
  • Minimum Length of Program: 5 Terms
  • Minimum Credit Hours for Graduation: 69

Admission Requirements

  • Submit completed application and application fee
  • Be at least 16 years of age
  • Submit official high school transcript or GED transcript with test scores and ALL post-secondary transcripts in an official sealed envelope
  • Meet assessment requirements

The following is a suggested path to complete this program in a timely manner. An individual’s path to completion may be different based on institutional and personal factors affecting his/her academic progress.

Note: While all courses are offered, they may vary by term and campus. See the program advisor for any questions.

CourseTitleTitle
First Term
ENGL 1101Composition and Rhetoric I3
Choose one:
COLL 1500College Success and Career Exploration, or3
COMP 1000Introduction to Computers

PARA 1100Introduction to Law and Ethics3
Social/Behavioral Sciences elective - Choose one:3
ECON 1101/PSYC 1101/SOCI 1101/POLS 1101, or HIST 2111
Natural Sciences/Mathematics elective - Choose one:3
MATH 1111, MATH 1100*, MATH 1101*, MATH 1103
Second Term
SPCH 1101Public Speaking3
ENGL 1102Literature and Composition3
PARA 1115Family Law3
PARA 1105Legal Research and Writing I3
Specific Occupational elective (See section below)3
Third Term
PARA 1110Legal Research and Writing II3
PARA 1125Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure3
PARA 1140Tort Law3
Humanities/Fine Arts elective - Choose one:
HUMN 1101/MUSC 1101/ARTS 1101/ENGL 2130, or THEA 11013
Specific Occupational elective (See section below)3
Fourth Term
PARA 1150Contracts, Commercial Law, and Business Orgs3
PARA 1120Real Estate Law3
PARA 1130Civil Litigation3
Specific Occupational elective (See section below)3
Fifth Term
PARA 1135Wills, Trusts, Probate and Administration3
PARA 1145Law Office Management3
PARA 2210Paralegal Internship I6

Specific Occupational Electives:
PARA 2215Paralegal Internship II6
PARA 1205Constitutional Law3
PARA 1210Legal and Policy Issues in Healthcare3
PARA 2205Advanced Legal Research and Writing3
PARA 1215Administrative Law3
ENGL 1105Technical Communications3
PARA 1200Bankruptcy/Debtor-Creditor Relations3
Occupational Guided electives**9

* Course will be accepted when transferred in from another institution with a grade of C or better but may not be offered at this institutional.

** Occupational Guided electives include any degree-level course in Accounting, Business Management, Business Administrative Technology, Criminal Justice, or Forensic Science.  Any degree-level course outside of these programs is subject to advisor approval.

Paralegals and legal assistants do a variety of tasks to support lawyers, including maintaining and organizing files, conducting legal research, and drafting documents.

Duties

Paralegals and legal assistants typically do the following:

  • Investigate the facts of a case
  • Conduct research on relevant laws, regulations, and legal articles
  • Organize and maintain documents in a paper or electronic filing systems
  • Gather and arrange evidence and other legal documents for attorney review and case preparation
  • Write reports to help lawyers prepare for trials
  • Draft correspondence and legal documents, such as contracts and mortgages
  • Get affidavits and other formal statements that may be used as evidence in court
  • Help lawyers during trials by handling exhibits, taking notes, or reviewing trial transcripts
  • File exhibits, briefs, appeals and other legal documents with the court or opposing counsel
  • Call clients, witnesses, lawyers, and outside vendors to schedule interviews, meetings, and depositions

Paralegals and legal assistants help lawyers prepare for hearings, trials, and corporate meetings. However, their specific duties may vary depending on the size of the firm and the area of law in which the paralegal works.

In small firms, paralegals duties tend to vary more. In addition to reviewing and organizing documents, paralegals may prepare written reports that help lawyers determine how to handle their cases. If lawyers decide to file lawsuits on behalf of clients, paralegals may help prepare the legal arguments and draft documents to be filed with the court.

In large organizations, paralegals may work on a particular phase of a case, rather than handling a case from beginning to end. For example, a litigation paralegal may only review legal material for internal use, maintain reference files, conduct research for lawyers, or collect and organize evidence for hearings.

Litigation paralegals may assist attorneys in preparing for trial by organizing document binders, creating exhibit lists, or drafting settlement agreements. Some litigation paralegals may also help coordinate the logistics of attending the trial, including reserving office space, transporting exhibits and documents to the courtroom, and setting up computers and other equipment.

Paralegals use technology and computer software for managing and organizing the increasing amount of documents and data collected during a case. Many paralegals use computer software to catalog documents, and to review documents for specific keywords or subjects. Because of these responsibilities, paralegals must be familiar with electronic database management and be up to date on the latest software used for electronic discovery. Electronic discovery refers to all electronic materials that are related to a trial, such as emails, data, documents, accounting databases, and websites.

Paralegals may specialize in areas such as litigation, personal injury, corporate law, criminal law, employee benefits, intellectual property, bankruptcy, immigration, family law, and real estate. In addition, experienced paralegals may assume supervisory responsibilities, such as overseeing team projects or delegating work to other paralegals.

Paralegals and legal assistants often work in teams with attorneys, fellow paralegals, and other legal support staff. They may also have frequent interactions with clients and third-party vendors.

Information on Paralegals from the U.S. Department of Labor website at  http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Legal/Paralegals-and-legal-assistants.htm#tab-2.

paralegal studies

Faculty Advisors
Alaina Granade
Program Coordinator/Instructor
agranade@sctech.edu
770-412-5750
Griffin Campus
300 Hall Faculty Offices

Career and Academic Planning
CAP Center
Career Advisor
@sctech.edu
770-229-3048
Griffin Campus
Room 107