Cerro Coso Community College

Paralegal Studies Degree

Paralegal Studies AS

What can I do with this?

The Paralegal Studies AS Degree

  • Prepares students for work in the legal environment as professional paralegals.
  • Trains students in all aspects of the legal system, including the court system, legal research, client interviews and communication, legal ethics, preparation of legal documents, memoranda, and correspondence, and federal and state civil procedures.
  • Prepares students for various areas of legal employment including law firms, local court jurisdictions, government offices, corporate law offices, private and public sector positions, and selfemployment as a contract paralegal or California Legal Document Assistant (LDA).

You can use this to:

  • Earn a two-year Associates degree
  • Enhance career opportunities in:
    • Paralegal
    • California Legal Document Assistant (LDA)

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 understand and apply the fundamentals of the legal process to assist the attorney in representation of the client.
  • To conduct ethical legal research and use other investigative functions to gather relevant information.
  • To process and draft legal documents, written correspondence, records, and court forms including tracking and maintaining case and court deadlines.
  • To apply ethical principles and rules when performing duties within the legal field.
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 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.

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.

 

Complete a minimum of 9 units from the following:

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.

 

Advisory: PARA C112 and PARA C130, or PARA C210

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.

Prerequisite: PARA C210

54 hours lecture. This course provides students an overview of the requirements for working as a legal document assistant (LDA) in the State of California. Students will study California Code rules and regulations related to registering and working as an LDA and will complete California legal forms. The course is specific to California state law; therefore, students may not be able to work as an LDA in another U.S. state. Previously PARA C090.

Complete one of the following general education patterns:

 
 

 

 

The awarding of an Associate Degree at Cerro Coso Community College is intended to represent more than an accumulation of units. It is intended to lead students through patterns of learning experiences designed to develop certain capabilities and insights.

Please consult the Transfer Center or Counseling for more information regarding which classes will transfer to a four-year institution.

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

Students desiring transfer to the California State University system may conform to either (1) the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) or (2) CSU General Education Certification.

Please consult the Transfer Center or Counseling for more information regarding which classes will transfer to a four-year institution.

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

IGETC is a series of courses that community college students can use to satisfy lower division general education requirements at any CSU or UC campus.

Please consult the Transfer Center or Counseling for more information regarding which classes will transfer to a four-year institution.

 

 

 

Program Pathways

Official Catalog Copy

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

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.

How can I afford it?

This degree requires 60.0 units and will likely take 4 semesters.

Approximate Total Costs

CA Residents

60.0 units

at $46 per unit

Equals $2,760 in tuition and fees

Plus approximately $3,600* for books and supplies

Total cost $6,360 for 4 semesters

Non-residents

60.0 units

at $329 per unit

Equals $19,740 in tuition and fees

Plus approximately $3,600* for books and supplies

Total cost $23,340 for 4 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.