Cerro Coso Community College

Paralegal Studies Certificate

Paralegal Studies Certificate

What can I do with this?

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

What will I learn?

  • 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.

Program Learning Outcome Assessments


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


What courses do I take?

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 C101

54 hours lecture. 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.

Advisory: ENGL C101

54 hours lecture. This course is an introduction to the field of paralegal studies and examines the role of the paralegal in the legal profession. The course includes practical exercises designed to introduce the varied procedures carried out by paralegals including research and preparation of legal documents.

Advisory: ENGL C101, LIBR C100

54 hours lecture. This course focuses on legal research and examines both primary and secondary sources. Topics include research and writing skills including correct citation form by completing research assignments. There is also emphasis on researching federal and state law using both internet sources and electronic databases.

Prerequisite: PARA C112. Advisory: ENGL C101

54 hours lecture. 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 counter-analysis.

Prerequisite: PARA C112. Advisory: ENGL C101

54 hours lecture. This course prepares the paralegal student for the civil litigation process and focuses upon the federal and applicable state rules of civil procedure which guide that process. Topics include the steps involved in a civil lawsuit including investigation, filing the complaint, responsive pleadings, discovery, alternative dispute resolution, trial, and various motions. A hypothetical case is used to understand the litigation process.

Prerequisite: PARA C130. Advisory: ENGL C101

54 hours lecture. This course continues the preparation of the paralegal student for the civil litigation process and focuses upon the federal and state rules of civil procedure which guide that process. Topics include discovery techniques and processes, trial preparation and procedures, and post-trial procedures including appeals. The hypothetical case from PARA C130 will continue to be used to understand the litigation process.

Advisory: PARA C101

54 hours lecture. This course provides students with an understanding of complex concepts of ethics and professional responsibility that govern the legal profession, as well as a substantive analysis of the major principles that affect how the practice of law is regulated.

Advisory: PARA C112, PARA C130, PARA C140

54 hours lecture. This course prepares the paralegal student for the California civil litigation process and focuses on the California Code of Civil Procedure which guides that process. Topics include the steps involved in beginning a civil lawsuit including investigation, filing the complaint, responsive pleadings, various motions, discovery techniques and processes, trial preparation and procedures, post-trial procedures, and judgments. The course will focus on the use of the latest California legal forms available through legal form software CD or online California court websites and drafting legal documents when forms are not mandatory.

Select at least 8 units from the following courses:

Prerequisite: PARA C101

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

Prerequisite: PARA C112

54 hours lecture. This course examines the field of bankruptcy law and prepares the student to assist in the bankruptcy process as a paralegal or bankruptcy petition preparer. Topics focus on the origins of bankruptcy, the Bankruptcy Code and requirements for filing, bankruptcy court procedures, and how to research bankruptcy laws.

Advisory: PARA C112

54 hours lecture. This course examines the field of criminal law and procedure that prepares students 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.

Prerequisite: PARA C112

54 hours lecture. This course examines the field of family law including the legal principles that define relationships, rights, and duties within family units. Topics include general family law concepts, practical application of California family law procedures, and the history of family law.

Prerequisite: PARA C112

54 hours lecture. This course reviews the practice of tort law. Topics include tort liability issues such as intentional torts, negligence, malpractice, product liability, and defamation. Procedural issues are also addressed through practical application and preparation of documents in personal injury and other tort cases.

Program Pathways

Official Catalog Copy

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

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

How can I afford it?

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 $329 per unit

Equals $10,528 in tuition and fees

Plus approximately $1,920* for books and supplies

Total cost $12,448 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.

Kern Community College District