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Paralegal Program

Students working in groups in paralegal classroom

State Supreme Court visits Clark College

Paralegals are a distinguishable group of professional persons who assist attorneys in the delivery of legal services.

Overview

Through formal education, training and experience, paralegals have knowledge and expertise regarding both the legal system and substantive and procedural laws which qualify them to do work of a legal nature under the supervision of an attorney.

A paralegal cannot give legal advice, represent a client in court, set a fee, or accept a case, functions generally considered the practice of law.

Working under the supervision of an attorney, the paralegal's work product becomes part of the attorney work product. In communications with clients and the public, the paralegal's nonlawyer status must be clear. Your role in the big picture is to help the attorney and the firm turn out the best work product for the client.

You may be eligible for credit toward your degree if you have taken a course or exam elsewhere or done some related work.

Read about our student interns or the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) experience to get a better idea of what you might expect to do in the paralegal field.



Paralegal and Academic Advising
prof.tech.edv@clark.edu
360-992-2345
Program Director
Layne Russell, Professor
360-992-2485
lrussell@clark.edu
Scarpelli Hall (SHL)
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Degree Options

Paralegal
Paralegals, or legal assistants, have come to occupy a recognized place of importance in the legal profession. Responsibilities are broad and may include interviewing clients and witnesses; conducting investigations; developing evidence, legal research, legal document preparation, legal case management; and providing general litigation assistance in various agencies and in the courts.

Paralegals and other non-lawyers may not practice law or provide any kind of advice, explanation, opinion, or recommendation to a person/entity about possible legal rights, remedies, defenses, options, selection of forms, or strategies. Furthermore, he/she may not represent a client in court, set a fee, or accept a case, functions generally considered the practice of law. Furthermore, paralegals and other non-lawyers shall not hold themselves out to the public to be a lawyer, expert, or give the impression in any way that they are authorized to practice law.

Students must complete all specifically listed courses and Major Area Requirements with a minimum grade of "C" or better in order to successfully complete the program and earn the award.

Refer to the Degree & Certificate Requirements Section of the Clark College Catalog to identify the courses needed to satisfy the General Education Requirements.
Paralegal (CP)
Designed for students with prior college and law office experience.
General Education Requirements
Communication Skills (3 credits required)
 
Computational Skills (3 credits required)
 
Human Relations (3 credits required)
CMST&210
INTERPERSONAL COMMUNICATION
5 cr.
or CMST&230
SMALL GROUP COMMUNICATION
5 cr.
Major Area Requirements
BTEC 120
INTRODUCTION TO WORD
3 cr.
or BTEC 122
WORD FOR BUSINESS
5 cr.
PRLE 101
INTRODUCTION TO LEGAL THEORY
3 cr.
PRLE 102
LEGAL ETHICS
3 cr.
PRLE 103
LEGAL RESEARCH
3 cr.
PRLE 106
LEGAL WRITING I
3 cr.
PRLE 109
CIVIL LITIGATION AND PROCEDURES
3 cr.
or PRLE 110
CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURES
3 cr.
PRLE 150
INTERVIEWING, INVESTIGATION AND EVIDENCE
3 cr.
PRLE 151
CIVIL LITIGATION I: LEGAL DOCUMENT PREPARATION
3 cr.
PRLE 203
COMPUTER RESEARCH IN LAW
3 cr.
PRLE 209
CIVIL LITIGATION: INSURANCE CLAIMS
3 cr.
Minimum of 2 credits is required from one or both of the courses below:
PRLE 295
CASA SPECIAL PROJECT
1-5 cr.
or PRLE 299
PARALEGAL INTERNSHIP
1-3 cr.
Additional Major Area Requirements
Select a minimum of 15 credits:
PRLE 109
CIVIL LITIGATION AND PROCEDURES
3 cr.
or PRLE 110
CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURES
3 cr.
PRLE 115
LAW OFFICE PROCEDURES AND COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY
3 cr.
PRLE 204
FAMILY LAW
3 cr.
PRLE 205
ESTATE PLANNING AND PROBATE LAW
3 cr.
PRLE 206
REAL ESTATE AND PROPERTY LAW
3 cr.
PRLE 207
BUSINESS ORGANIZATIONS
3 cr.
PRLE 208
BANKRUPTCY LAW
3 cr.
PRLE 210
LEGAL WRITING II
3 cr.
PRLE 211
TORT LAW AND PROCEDURES
3 cr.
PRLE 212
LAW AND ECONOMICS
3 cr.
PRLE 290
SPECIAL PROJECTS
1-5 cr.
PRLE 295
CASA SPECIAL PROJECT
1-5 cr.
BUS& 201
BUSINESS LAW
5 cr.
Recommended Electives (Not Required)
Typing skills with at least 40 wpm.
BTEC 147
PROFESSIONAL SELF-DEVELOPMENT
2 cr.
BTEC 165
POWERPOINT PRESENTATION
3 cr.
BTEC 169
INTRODUCTION TO EXCEL
3 cr.
Total Required Credits: 58-63
To learn more about this program's employment outlook, approximate cost and potential careers, please visit the Gainful Employment Program Information page.
Program Outcomes
Program outcomes are overarching skills that are emphasized and reinforced throughout several courses in a specific program; they are measurable statements that define what students should know or be able to do by the end of a certificate or degree at Clark College. After successful completion of this program, students will be able to:
  • Understand and use terminology common to the legal industry.
  • Outline the basic principles of the American legal system, including the sources of law, jurisdiction, civil case procedure (including Local, State and Federal Rules), the structure of state and federal court systems, and the lawyers' role in the American legal system.
  • Understand the business environment of a law firm and distinguish the duties performed by the attorney, the paralegal, and the legal management team.
  • List the duties and define the skills of paralegals in various specialized areas of law.
  • Possess the ability to read and comprehend legal documents, court documents and client letters, and to assist the attorney with the drafting of such documents through editing and proofreading.
  • Demonstrate the ability to communicate effectively with attorneys, clients, court personnel, and co-workers, both orally and in writing.
  • Describe the ethical rules and standards of practice pertaining to the paralegal.
  • Identify and analyze legal ethical issues, including conflicts of interest, client confidentiality, and unauthorized practice of law.
  • Select an appropriate framework for resolving ethical dilemmas around sound professionalism.
  • Learn how to conduct effective factual and legal research, using primary sources (such as Federal, State and Local Rules of Procedure) and secondary sources.
  • Prepare legal correspondence, memoranda, documents, and exhibits, and in that content properly interpret legal citation.
  • Demonstrate analytical reasoning capability in making decisions and solving legal problems.
  • Describe government regulation and the legal environment in which businesses organizations operate.
  • Demonstrate competent legal writing skills, including the mechanics of grammar, punctuation, large-scale organization and small-scale organization of content.
  • Demonstrate good quality organizational skills, time management skills, and effective interpersonal skills, including working calmly under pressure.
  • Demonstrate a working knowledge of microcomputers, specialized legal office software, and other technological applications.
  • Communications: Communicate with various audiences using a variety of methods as appropriate for a career and technical education program.
  • Human Relations: Demonstrate interpersonal/human relations skills as appropriate for a career and technical education program.
  • Computational Skills: Solve quantitative problems and interpret the solutions as appropriate for a career and technical education program.
Paralegal (AAS)
Designed for students with no prior college and law office experience.
General Education Requirements
Communication Skills (6 credits required)
ENGL&101
ENGLISH COMPOSITION I
5 cr.
ENGL 212
BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS
3 cr.
Health & Physical Education (3 credits required)
3 cr.
Computational Skills (3 credits required)
BUS 102
BUSINESS MATH APPLICATIONS
5 cr.
Human Relations (3 credits required)
CMST&210
INTERPERSONAL COMMUNICATION
5 cr.
or CMST&230
SMALL GROUP COMMUNICATION
5 cr.
Humanities (3 credits required)
 
Social Sciences (3 credits required)
PSYC&100
GENERAL PSYCHOLOGY
5 cr.
Natural Sciences (3 credits required)
 
Major Area Requirements
BTEC 120
INTRODUCTION TO WORD
3 cr.
or BTEC 122
WORD FOR BUSINESS
5 cr.
BTEC 165
POWERPOINT PRESENTATION
3 cr.
BTEC 169
INTRODUCTION TO EXCEL
3 cr.
BTEC 170
EXCEL FOR BUSINESS
3 cr.
or BTEC 180
ACCESS FOR BUSINESS
3 cr.
BUS 028
BASIC ACCOUNTING PROCEDURES
3 cr.
BUS& 201
BUSINESS LAW
5 cr.
POLS 111
AMERICAN NATIONAL GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
5 cr.
or POLS 131
STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT
5 cr.
or POLS 141
SURVEY OF STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT
3 cr.
or POLS 171
SURVEY OF THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION
3 cr.
PRLE 101
INTRODUCTION TO LEGAL THEORY
3 cr.
PRLE 102
LEGAL ETHICS
3 cr.
PRLE 103
LEGAL RESEARCH
3 cr.
PRLE 106
LEGAL WRITING I
3 cr.
PRLE 109
CIVIL LITIGATION AND PROCEDURES
3 cr.
or PRLE 110
CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURES
3 cr.
PRLE 150
INTERVIEWING, INVESTIGATION AND EVIDENCE
3 cr.
PRLE 151
CIVIL LITIGATION I: LEGAL DOCUMENT PREPARATION
3 cr.
PRLE 203
COMPUTER RESEARCH IN LAW
3 cr.
PRLE 209
CIVIL LITIGATION: INSURANCE CLAIMS
3 cr.
Minimum of 2 credits is required from one or both of the courses below:
PRLE 295
CASA SPECIAL PROJECT
1-5 cr.
or PRLE 299
PARALEGAL INTERNSHIP
1-3 cr.
Additional Major Area Requirements
Select a minimum of 15 credits:
PRLE 109
CIVIL LITIGATION AND PROCEDURES
3 cr.
or PRLE 110
CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURES
3 cr.
PRLE 115
LAW OFFICE PROCEDURES AND COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY
3 cr.
PRLE 204
FAMILY LAW
3 cr.
PRLE 205
ESTATE PLANNING AND PROBATE LAW
3 cr.
PRLE 206
REAL ESTATE AND PROPERTY LAW
3 cr.
PRLE 207
BUSINESS ORGANIZATIONS
3 cr.
PRLE 208
BANKRUPTCY LAW
3 cr.
PRLE 210
LEGAL WRITING II
3 cr.
PRLE 211
TORT LAW AND PROCEDURES
3 cr.
PRLE 212
LAW AND ECONOMICS
3 cr.
PRLE 290
SPECIAL PROJECTS
1-5 cr.
PRLE 295
CASA SPECIAL PROJECT
1-5 cr.
Recommended Elective (Not required)
Typing skills with at least 40 wpm.
BTEC 147
PROFESSIONAL SELF-DEVELOPMENT
2 cr.
Total Required Credits: 96-103
* CMST courses may not count for more than two distribution areas of general education requirements.
Program Outcomes
Program outcomes are overarching skills that are emphasized and reinforced throughout several courses in a specific program; they are measurable statements that define what students should know or be able to do by the end of a certificate or degree at Clark College. After successful completion of this program, students will be able to:
  • Understand and use terminology common to the legal industry.
  • Outline the basic principles of the American legal system, including the sources of law, jurisdiction, civil case procedure (including Local, State and Federal Rules), the structure of state and federal court systems, and the lawyers' role in the American legal system.
  • Understand the business environment of a law firm and distinguish the duties performed by the attorney, the paralegal, and the legal management team.
  • List the duties and define the skills of paralegals in various specialized areas of law.
  • Possess the ability to read and comprehend legal documents, court documents and client letters, and to assist the attorney with the drafting of such documents through editing and proofreading.
  • Demonstrate the ability to communicate effectively with attorneys, clients, court personnel, and co-workers, both orally and in writing.
  • Describe the ethical rules and standards of practice pertaining to the paralegal.
  • Identify and analyze legal ethical issues, including conflicts of interest, client confidentiality, and unauthorized practice of law.
  • Select an appropriate framework for resolving ethical dilemmas around sound professionalism.
  • Learn how to conduct effective factual and legal research, using primary sources (such as Federal, State and Local Rules of Procedure) and secondary sources.
  • Prepare legal correspondence, memoranda, documents, and exhibits, and in that content properly interpret legal citation.
  • Demonstrate analytical reasoning capability in making decisions and solving legal problems.
  • Describe government regulation and the legal environment in which businesses organizations operate.
  • Demonstrate competent legal writing skills, including the mechanics of grammar, punctuation, large-scale organization and small-scale organization of content.
  • Demonstrate good quality organizational skills, time management skills, and effective interpersonal skills, including working calmly under pressure.
  • Demonstrate a working knowledge of microcomputers, specialized legal office software, and other technological applications.
  • Communications: Communicate with various audiences using a variety of methods as appropriate for a career and technical education program.
  • Human Relations: Demonstrate interpersonal/human relations skills as appropriate for a career and technical education program.
  • Computational Skills: Solve quantitative problems and interpret the solutions as appropriate for a career and technical education program.
  • Health and PE: Demonstrate progress toward healthier behaviors as appropriate for a career and technical education program.
  • Humanities: Analyze, interpret, and evaluate works and ideas in the Humanities within appropriate global and historical contexts as appropriate for a career and technical education program.
  • Social Science: Evaluate, analyze, and explain events, behaviors, and institutions using perspectives and methods in the Social Sciences as appropriate for a career and technical education program.
  • Science: Apply fundamental principles and relationships from the Natural Sciences to solve problems as appropriate for a career and technical education program.

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