2022-2023 San Joaquin Delta College Catalog 
    Jun 14, 2024  
2022-2023 San Joaquin Delta College Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Program Pathway

Paralegal/Legal Assistant Studies, AS

Upon successful completion of the Paralegal/Legal Assistant Studies Associate in Science degree, 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 degree 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, including general education and legal specialty courses, to complete the requirements to become a paralegal according to California law. General education courses develop critical reasoning and writing skills that enhance a student’s professional knowledge, skills, and aptitude. Through legal specialty courses, 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 fields of law. Topics embedded in most legal specialty 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. Prior to entering the Paralegal/Legal Assistant Studies degree program and its introductory course, LAW 2, students are strongly encouraged to complete the 21-unit Pre-Law Studies Certificate of Achievement at San Joaquin Delta College in order to develop and demonstrate competency in oral communication, writing proficiency at the college level, and appropriate technology skills to succeed in the program. The Pre-Law Studies certificate can be completed within a one year period in person and/or online. Completion of the Pre-Law Studies certificate secures the benefits of the statewide Pathway to Law program and usually best prepares students for success in the Paralegal/Legal Assistant Studies program. If the Pre-Law Studies certificate is not completed prior to entry into the Paralegal/Legal Assistant Studies degree program, then students should consider completing the certificate and degree concurrently. Students who already possess an Associate in Arts or Science Degree or a Bachelor of Arts or Science Degree from any accredited college or university should seek to earn the Paralegal/Legal Assistant Studies Certificate of Achievement rather than the A.S. degree because adequate general education will have already been completed through the prior degree program. In compliance with California Business and Professions Code section 6450 regarding preparation for work in this field, this degree consists of 31 units of law-related legal specialty courses that can be completed in one year, as well as any courses required to complete the San Joaquin Delta College Associate Degree General Education pattern, IGETC, or the CSU General Education pattern. Whereas general education courses in this degree program are typically fully transferable, legal specialty courses in this degree program will not likely help fulfill requirements for a bachelor’s degree upon transfer. When completing general education requirements, it is strongly recommended that students select courses that also fulfill the requirements of the 21-unit Pre-Law Studies Certificate at San Joaquin Delta College. Further, while completing the Paralegal/Legal Assistant Studies degree, a student should choose general education requirements which apply both toward college graduation requirements and toward the bachelor’s degree requirements at the four-year institution in which he/she plans to transfer, if any. Students are encouraged to transfer to a four-year institution to complete a bachelor’s degree in any field of interest upon completion of the Paralegal/Legal Assistant Studies program.

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this program, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Demonstrate technology skills appropriate to work successfully as a paralegal/legal assistant.

Minimum Major Units Required: 31

Complete all courses with a grade of “C” or better.

General Education

Complete one of the following general education patterns:

Students are advised to double-count courses in the major to also satisfy general education when possible. Course subject credit will be awarded in satisfaction of major and lower division general education requirements, but the units will only be counted once in computing the total number of units for the degree.

Minimum Degree Units Required: 60

For more information:

Contact the Business and Law Transfer and Career Pathway (TrAC)