Upon successful completion of the Paralegal/Legal Assistant Certificate of Achievement program, the student will be prepared to work as a Paralegal (Legal Assistant) and legal support professional in a variety of settings, including in administrative agencies, corporations, government, insurance companies, nonprofit organizations, private law firms, and other legal environments. This certificate program is specifically designed to provide students with the analytical abilities, oral and written communication skills, technological proficiency, and legal competency necessary to assist attorneys in the practice of law. Please note: Paralegals (Legal Assistants) may not provide legal services directly to the public, except as permitted by law—a Paralegal (Legal Assistant) may not engage in, encourage, or contribute to any act which could constitute the unauthorized practice of law. The student will take academic courses to complete the requirements to become a paralegal according to California law. The student will receive a breadth of training in litigation and transactional practices, as well as administrative, civil, and criminal law and procedures in a variety of legal specialties. Topics embedded in most courses in the program include Paralegal (Legal Assistant) skills and practices, technology use, research, writing, oral communication, legal document production, ethics, and professional responsibility and development. Students must have previously earned a baccalaureate degree or an associate of arts or science degree from an accredited postsecondary institution to be eligible for the certificate. If a student has not previously earned a baccalaureate degree or an associate of arts or science degree from an accredited postsecondary institution, the student should complete the requirements for the associate of science degree in Paralegal/Legal Assistant Studies instead. Students who do not already have a bachelor’s degree are strongly encouraged to plan on earning one. In compliance with California Business and Professions Code section 6450 regarding preparation for work in this field, this certificate consists of a minimum of 31 units of law-related legal specialty courses that can be completed in one year.
Program Learning Outcomes
- Program completers will demonstrate writing proficiency at the college level and the ability to produce legal documents as a paralegal/legal assistant.
- Program completers will demonstrate competency in oral communication and interpersonal skills necessary to succeed as a paralegal/legal assistant.
- Program completers will demonstrate appropriate technology skills to succeed as a paralegal/legal assistant.
- Program completers will demonstrate skills at the end of the program to secure employment in a paralegal/legal assistant position and/or to transfer to a college to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree.
- Program completers will demonstrate the ability to describe the practice of law and the paralegal’s role in the legal profession.
- Program completers will demonstrate the skills and knowledge needed to do legal research and analysis.
- Program completers will demonstrate the ability to apply the ethical rules and regulations applicable to paralegals and other legal professionals to given situations.
- Program completers will demonstrate skills needed to function in those areas of practice offered as electives by the program.
- Program completers will demonstrate knowledge and abilities to succeed as a paralegal/legal assistant based on the balanced education they receive from the integration of general education, legal theory, and practical legal course work.
- Program completers will be prepared with substantive legal knowledge and practical skills for positions as paralegals/legal assistants as a means of improving their own quality of life and the accessibility, quality and affordability of legal services for the people of the State of California.
- Program completers will demonstrate strong written and oral communication skills to produce legal documents, to ethically and effectively interact with others, and to complete tasks performed by paralegal/legal assistants.
- Program completers will demonstrate technology skills appropriate to work successfully as a paralegal/legal assistant.
Complete 28 units
Complete 3 units selected from:
Students must earn a “C” grade in each course requirement, as well as an overall certificate applicable GPA of 2.0 plus be in “good standing” at Delta College in order to earn the Paralegal/Legal Assistant Studies certificate. Students must complete at least ten semester credits or the equivalent of legal specialty courses through traditional classroom instruction, and the remaining units may be completed online or in hybrid format. Students must complete the program within 5 years or repeat any legal specialty courses which were completed more than 5 years prior to graduation. Any potential award of credit through transfer, examination or portfolio must be approved by the program director or a qualified faculty member to ensure that the credit can be classified as legal specialty, meets the course objectives and practical skills to be developed for the course for which credit is being awarded, meets the needs of the legal community the program serves, and is comparable to course work offered within the program. The following additional limitations apply to courses accepted for credit by transfer, examination, or portfolio: 1. No more than 6 semester units may be used toward legal specialty (LAW) courses; 2. Only traditional, in-person courses in which the student earned a “C” or better may be used (no online courses will be accepted); and 3. Only courses from ABA-approved paralegal programs may be used.
Minimum Units Required: 31
Complete all courses with a grade of “C” or better.