Cerro Coso Community College

Paralegal Studies Certificate

Paralegal Studies Certificate

The Paralegal Studies Certificate

  • Prepares students for work in the legal environment as either professional paralegals or legal assistants.
  • Trains students in all aspects of the legal system, including the court system, legal research, client interviews, legal briefs, and court procedures
  • Prepares students for career opportunities with private attorneys, local court jurisdictions, corporate law offices, and self-employment as an independent paralegal or document preparer.

You can use this to:

  • Enhance career opportunities in:
    • Paralegal
    • Legal Assistant
    • Legal Document Preparer
    • Certified Paralegal in Specialty Areas*
    • Real Estate, Social Security, Criminal Law, Constitutional Law, etc.
*Requires continuing education

Most paralegals and legal assistants have an associate's degree or a certificate in paralegal studies. Employment of paralegals and legal assistants is expected to grow by 18 percent from 2010 to 2020.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Paralegals and Legal Assistants

  • To analyze data and information to assist attorneys with client's case throughout the legal process.
  • To locate and analyze relevant primary and secondary legal sources in electronic and print media.
  • To apply investigative functions and techniques to gather information from witnesses and other sources.
  • To process legal documents and maintain legal schedules.
  • To draft and organize legal documents and records including pretrial preparation.

You must recognize the important role you play in the law office or independent certified paralegal role. None of your assignments will be glamorous, but your efforts are essential to the legal process.

—Charles E. Quinlan, Paralegal


Note: Some courses within the major may have a required prerequisite. If you feel you have equivalent knowledge and skills to those included in the prerequisite course through professional experience, licensure, or certification, you have the opportunity to submit a Prerequisite Challenge to be reviewed by the faculty chair. For the Prerequisite Challenge to be considered, you must submit documentation/verification to substantiate the basis for the challenge. Please consult a counselor for more information regarding Prerequisite Challenge.

Complete all of the following courses:

Advisory: ENGL C070.

This course covers the fundamental legal principles pertaining to business transactions and is an introduction to the legal process. Topics include sources of law and ethics, contracts, torts, agency, criminal law, business organizations, and judicial and administrative processes. 54 hours lecture.

Advisory: ENGL C070.

This course introduces students to the field of paralegal studies and examines the role of the paralegal in the legal profession. Students complete practical exercises designed to acquaint them with the varied procedures carried out by paralegals in a typical law practice. Research and case analysis are used to familiarize the student with the various types of law and legal documents. 54 hours lecture.

Advisory: ENGL C070, LIBR C100.

This course provides students with the knowledge and tools to properly complete legal research. The class examines both primary and secondary sources. Students learn to use correct citation form and complete several research assignments. There is also emphasis on researching Federal and state law using both Internet sources and electronic databases. 54 hours lecture.

Prerequisite: PARA C112. Advisory: ENGL C070

This course focuses on the principles of drafting legal documents and the fundamentals of legal analysis. Students practice writing legal memorandums, court briefs, and correspondence. Students also learn the tools and elements of legal analysis including statutory analysis, case law briefs, issue identification, and counteranalysis. 54 hours lecture.

Prerequisite: PARA C112

This course prepares the paralegal student for the litigation process and the rules that guide that process. Students learn the steps involved in bringing a civil suit to trial and the development of the case to the appellate process. They also examine the process of discovery and the preparation of a pleading. 54 hours lecture.

Prerequisite: PARA C130

This course continues the preparation of the paralegal student for the litigation process and the rules that guide that process. Advanced topics to be covered include motions alternative dispute resolution, appeals, and judgments. Additionally, students learn the procedures of a civil case in the state of California. 54 hours lecture.

Prerequisite: PARA C101

This course in legal ethics prepares students to understand complex concepts of legal careers because all legal professionals are required to act with the same professional care as attorneys. Legal ethics provides a thorough and substantive analysis of the major principles that affect how the practice of law is regulated. 54 hours lecture.

Advisory: PARA C130 or PARA C140.

This is a dynamic introduction to legal forms used to initiate California and Federal Civil actions. The course introduces and follows the latest legal form formats of California and the Federal District Courts that are available through the publisher's legal form text book, legal form software CD, or online court form websites. 54 hours lecture.

Select at least 8 units from the following courses:

Prerequisite: PARA C101. Advisory: ENGL C070

This course prepares students to manage and operate a professional law office. Students practice skills used in managing clients, the calendar, the filing system, and the law library. Other topics include ethics, marketing billing, and office layout. 54 hours lecture.

Prerequisite: PARA C112

This course examines the field of bankruptcy law and prepares the student to assist in the bankruptcy process. Students will learn the origins of bankruptcy, types of bankruptcy, common forms used, bankruptcy court procedures and how to research bankruptcy laws. 54 hours lecture.

Prerequisite: PARA C112

This course examines the field of probate law and prepares the student to assist in the administration of an estate. Topics to be covered include wills, conservatorships, guardianships, trusts, estate planning and taxation of estates. 54 hours lecture.

Prerequisite: PARA C112

This course examines the field of criminal law and procedure that prepares the student to assist in preparation of defense or prosecution of criminal defendants while adhering to U.S. Constitutional safeguards for a defendant. Students learn all aspects of a trial from the development of the case to the appellate process and the procedures of the criminal justice system. 54 hours lecture.

Prerequisite: PARA C112

This course examines the field of family law. Students examine the legal principles that define relationships, rights and duties within family. The course includes the history of family law and how it has evolved over the last several decades. 54 hours lecture.

Prerequisite: PARA C112

This course reviews the practice of tort law. Students are introduced to tort liability issues such as assault and battery, negligence, malpractice, product liability, and defamation. The class provides practice with common documents and procedures used in personal injury and other tort cases. 54 hours lecture.

Prerequisite: PARA C112

This course examines the field of real property law and prepares the student to assist in real estate transactions. Topics to be covered include ownership rules, determination of title, acquisition and transfer of property, financing, and taxation. 36 hours lecture.

Prerequisite: PARA C112

This course examines the field of workers' compensation law and prepares the student to assist in torts resulting from work injuries. Topics to be covered include compensation principles, employer-employee relationship, work injuries and accidents and the workers' compensation system. 36 hours lecture.

Campuses

All classes needed for this certificate are available at the following campuses: CC Online

Pathway to Completion

Additionally, some of the general education courses needed to complete this major are available at all our locations.

See Counseling for specific help with enrolling and completing this major.

This certificate requires 32.0 units and will likely take 3 semesters.

Approximate Total Costs

CA Residents

32.0 units

at $46 per unit

Equals $1,472 in tuition and fees

Plus approximately $1,920* for books and supplies

Total cost $3,392 for 3 semesters

Non-residents

32.0 units

at $258 per unit

Equals $8,256 in tuition and fees

Plus approximately $1,920* for books and supplies

Total cost $10,176 for 3 semesters

*This is an estimate. Actual costs will vary.

Need help? Financial Aid can help with fee waivers and scholarships and other aid. Make sure to fill out your FAFSA every January.

For general questions, contact:

Karen O'Connor
Business and Information Technology
Phone: (760) 384-6172
Email: koconnor@cerrocoso.edu

Counseling can provide specific help with enrolling and completing this major.

Kern Community College District