Paralegals are trained specialists who, under the supervision of an attorney, perform a wide variety of legal tasks. These tasks may include legalresearch, law office management and preparation of legal documents. Only an attorney may provide legal services directly to the public. Students canearn the Associate in Applied Science which prepares graduates for employment in law offices, corporate legal departments, legal services corporations,state government offices, title companies and federal and state courts. Students who have already earned an A.A., A.S., A.A.S., B.A. or B.S. degree canearn the certificate. Students with one of these degrees plus three years of full-time paralegal work experience can earn the Certificate of Achievement.
Can students who major in Paralegal Studies transfer to a four-year college or university? Many colleges and universities will apply the courses taken toward a bachelor’s degree.
Are there any requirements that must be satisfied before taking courses in the major? Students must either have a high school diploma or have passed an equivalency examination. Algebra I is a prerequisite for all majors. Algebra I competency must be verified with a passing score on the College’s placement test.
How long will it take to complete this degree? Students who do not need developmental coursework can complete the degree in two years or the certificate in three semesters. They can shorten the amount of time by taking courses in the summer and winter sessions.
What are the objectives of this program? 1. Provide a strong, flexible program for the quality education of the occupationally competent paralegal.
2. Provide a paralegal education program that leads to the opportunity for employment of its graduates by a wide range of employers.
3. Provide paralegals with a well-rounded, balanced education founded on a beneficial mix of general education, theory, and practical courses, stressing understanding and reasoning rather than rote learning of facts.
4. Support the general principle of ethical legal practice, professional responsibility and the prohibitions against the unauthorized practice of law by non-lawyers.
5. Provide an educational program that is responsive to the needs of the State of New Jersey and contributes to the advancement of legal professionals.
6. Provide a program that instills respect for the legal profession and its foundations, institutions, and quest for justice.
7. Maintain equality of opportunity in the educational program without discrimination or segregation on the grounds of race, color, religion, national origin or sex. The program’s overall objective is to provide quality education for paralegals so that they might assist the legal profession in rendering more personal, economical services to a greater number of persons.
How are these objectives met? 1. Through flexible curriculum planning which stresses a balance among general education courses, law related courses, legal specialty courses, and electives.
2. Through continual assessment of the need for the program as evidenced by the legal profession’s response to regular surveys and the ability of the program to place graduates.
3. By keeping the enrollment of the program to a size that will ensure a good student-teacher ratio and give graduates a good chance for paralegal employment. This is determined in the same method as number 2 above.
4. By providing the program with a well qualified full-time director with the necessary time to devote to the extensive administrative duties of the position.
When students complete the program, what skills will they have?
1. Use the law library, including encyclopedias, reporter systems, digests, and practice manuals, including updating sources; utilize computer-assisted research including WESTLAW, reporter systems, statutes, administrative codes, updating sources and extended databases.
2. Understand and use rules governing courts and basic litigation procedures including telephone technique, client interviews, complaints, interrogatories, and motions.
3. Use forms and filing procedures relevant to typical legal proceedings.
4. Use forms and filing procedures in real and personal property transactions, including Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act.
NOTE: For students matriculating in this program, degree credit will not ordinarily be given for any course designated PLS which was completed more than six years prior to completion of the degree program.