Legal Assisting

Associate Degree

A.A. in Paralegal Studies

This degree prepares students to work in the legal field as an entry-level paralegal. It covers basic substantive and procedural areas including civil litigation, legal research and legal writing, contracts, and torts. This degree is in full compliance with California Business and Professions Code section 6450 regarding preparation for work in this field.

The American Bar Association (ABA) has specific requirements for 18 units of additional non-paralegal coursework (ABA Breadth). Students are encouraged to consult a counselor or the department chair for courses that satisfy the ABA Breadth requirements.

Degree Requirements

Course Code Course Title Units
LA 300 Introduction to Law and the American Legal System 3
LA 310 Civil Procedures and Litigation 3
LA 312 Torts and Personal Injury 3
LA 314 Contract Law 3
LA 320 Legal Research 3
LA 321 Legal Writing 3
LA 350 Law Office Management 3
A minimum of 9 units from the following: 9
LA 322 Advanced Legal Research and Writing (3)
LA 330 Family Law and Procedure (3)
LA 332 Administrative Law and Procedure (3)
LA 334 Criminal Law and Procedure (3)
LA 342 Evidence (3)
LA 360 Corporations Law (3)
LA 362 Estate Planning and Probate Procedure (3)
LA 364 Landlord Tenant Law (3)
LA 366 Basic Bankruptcy Law (3)
LA 368 Workers' Compensation Law (3)
LA 495 Independent Studies in Legal Assisting (1 - 3)
LA 498 Work Experience in Legal Assisting (1 - 4)
A minimum of 18 units from the following: 18
ABA Breadth: Courses from at least three different areas of Areas 1-5B of the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC), excluding performance courses, activity courses, administration of justice courses, and the lab component of science courses.
Total Units: 48

The Paralegal Studies Associate in Arts (A.A.) degree may be obtained by completion of the required program, plus general education requirements, plus sufficient electives to meet a 60-unit total. See ARC graduation requirements.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this program, the student will be able to:

  • incorporate basic legal theories in various substantive areas of law as required by supervising attorney.
  • define and use legal terminology accurately and appropriately.
  • differentiate between relevant and irrelevant information and evidence.
  • research relevant legal authority.
  • verify the currency of relevant legal authority.
  • draft correspondence to be sent to clients or opposing counsel and others.
  • prepare basic legal documents for signature and submission to court by the supervising attorney.
  • organize professional assignments efficiently.
  • support the supervising attorney in all phases of legal practice.
  • demonstrate ethical behavior in the legal setting.
  • recognize acts that may constitute the unlicensed practice of law.
  • express their thoughts effectively, both orally and in writing, with attorneys and clients.

Career Information

Career opportunities for paralegals have an excellent outlook. According to the US Department of Labor's Job Outlook, employment of paralegals is projected to grow 15 percent between 2016 and 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. Paralegals find employment in both the State and Federal government as well as private practice and corporate settings.

Certificates of Achievement

Law Office Clerical Assistant Certificate

This certificate provides the skills needed for entry-level clerical positions in law offices. The course work emphasizes workforce skills including an introduction to the use of terms particular to the legal field.

Completion of this certificate does not qualify the holder under California state law as a Legal Assistant or Paralegal.

Certificate Requirements

Course Code Course Title Units
BUS 312 Workplace Behavior and Ethics 3
BUSTEC 100.1 Keyboarding Skills: Beginning (1) 1
   or BUSTEC 300.1 Keyboarding/Applications: Beginning (1)
BUSTEC 100.2 Keyboarding Skills: Intermediate (1) 1
   or BUSTEC 300.2 Keyboarding/Applications: Document Formatting (1)
BUSTEC 305 Business Technology Essentials 1
BUSTEC 310 Introduction to Word/Information Processing 3
LA 300 Introduction to Law and the American Legal System 3
LA 350 Law Office Management 3
Total Units: 15

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this program, the student will be able to:

  • demonstrate keyboarding competence in the legal workplace.
  • solve common office problems using current business technology and software applications.
  • practice effective communication with law office personnel and clients.
  • apply appropriate ethical standards to the special situations encountered in a law office.
  • produce written documents in appropriate formats using typical legal office technology.

Career Information

Typical career opportunities are entry-level clerical positions in a law office. In order to earn an A.A. or a Certificate to become a Legal Assistant/Paralegal, see the Legal Assisting Program requirements in the Behavior and Social Sciences Division.


Paralegal Studies Certificate

Students must possess an A.A. degree or higher from a regionally accredited institution to be eligible for the certificate. The Paralegal Studies Certificate is a one-year course of study consisting of 30 units of legal specialty courses. Legal courses cover basic substantive and procedural areas including civil litigation, legal research and legal writing, contracts, and torts, in addition to electives within the program. This certificate is in full compliance with California Business and Professions Code section 6450 regarding preparation for work in this field.

Certificate Requirements

Course Code Course Title Units
LA 300 Introduction to Law and the American Legal System 3
LA 310 Civil Procedures and Litigation 3
LA 312 Torts and Personal Injury 3
LA 314 Contract Law 3
LA 320 Legal Research 3
LA 321 Legal Writing 3
LA 350 Law Office Management 3
A minimum of 9 units from the following: 9
LA 322 Advanced Legal Research and Writing (3)
LA 330 Family Law and Procedure (3)
LA 332 Administrative Law and Procedure (3)
LA 334 Criminal Law and Procedure (3)
LA 342 Evidence (3)
LA 360 Corporations Law (3)
LA 362 Estate Planning and Probate Procedure (3)
LA 364 Landlord Tenant Law (3)
LA 366 Basic Bankruptcy Law (3)
LA 368 Workers' Compensation Law (3)
LA 495 Independent Studies in Legal Assisting (1 - 3)
LA 498 Work Experience in Legal Assisting (1 - 4)
Total Units: 30

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this program, the student will be able to:

  • incorporate basic legal theories in various substantive areas of law as required by supervising attorney.
  • define and use legal terminology accurately and appropriately.
  • differentiate between relevant and irrelevant information and evidence.
  • research relevant legal authority.
  • verify the currency of relevant legal authority.
  • draft correspondence to be sent to clients or opposing counsel and others.
  • prepare basic legal documents for signature and submission to court by the supervising attorney.
  • organize professional assignments efficiently.
  • support the supervising attorney in all phases of legal practice.
  • demonstrate ethical behavior in the legal setting.
  • recognize acts that may constitute the unlicensed practice of law.
  • express their thoughts effectively, both orally and in writing, with attorneys and clients.

Career Information

Career opportunities for paralegals have an excellent outlook. According to the US Department of Labor's Job Outlook, employment of paralegals is projected to grow 15 percent between 2016 and 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. Paralegals find employment in both the State and Federal government as well as private practice and corporate settings.