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Paralegal Studies

Description:

The Paralegal Studies curriculum leads to the Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree, which is approved by the American Bar Association. This curriculum provides students with a varied and general grounding in the practical skills necessary to be a paralegal along with a strong liberal arts background. The program is suitable for students seeking either to transfer to a four-year institution in a law-related program or to enter the work force as a paralegal, particularly in small to mid-sized law firms, businesses, government, and public and private agencies.

Community College of Philadelphia trains paralegals who must operate under the supervision of a licensed attorney and are prohibited from practicing law. This program has been approved by the American Bar Association.

Student Learning Outcomes:

Upon completion of this program graduates will be able to:

  • Work successfully as entry-level paralegals.
  • Apply ethical concepts to hypothetical examples and real-life situations.
  • Draft legal documents, conduct legal research both manually and through computer-assisted research and undertake the full scope of tasks assumed by entry-level paralegals.
  • Demonstrate legal analytical skills and legal writing skills.
  • Cultivate a supportive professional network and learn how to remain current in the legal profession.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of legal terminology in civil litigation and a variety of practice areas.
  • Demonstrate practical skills in a variety of practice areas.
  • Understand the role of technology in the modern law office and have practical experience using legal technology programs.

Program Entry Requirements:

New students are required to take the College’s placement tests at their time of entry.  Students who are identified as needing developmental course work must satisfactorily complete the appropriate English and mathematics courses as a part of their degree program.

Students transferring into the Paralegal Studies Program may transfer in up to thirty credits (one half of the credits required for an A.A.S. in Paralegal Studies) from other accredited institutions in accordance with the College’s general transfer policies. Of those thirty credits, the Paralegal Studies Program at Community College of Philadelphia will accept up to fifteen credits of Paralegal Studies courses in transfer from an ABA approved institution with the following conditions:

  1. PLS 111 and PLS 211 will not be accepted in transfer.
  2. Upon request, students who seek transfer credit for Paralegal courses must provide evidence indicating whether the Paralegal courses to be transferred were taken in a distance, hybrid or traditional classroom format in order to ensure that the ABA policy regarding limits on distance courses is met by all graduates.

Program of Study and Graduation Requirements:

A minimum of 60 credits, a grade of "C" or better in all Paralegal Studies courses and a grade point average of 2.0 are required for graduation. Certain courses required for graduation may be substituted with the approval of the program coordinator and the dean of Liberal Studies. Students whose behavior is viewed as inconsistent with professional standards may be dropped from the curriculum pending the results of a departmental hearing. All students are required to sign an integrity statement in all Paralegal Studies courses agreeing to abide by standards of ethics and integrity in all assignments and undertakings.

All students seeking the A.A.S degree are advised that they must complete 10 credit hours of legal specialty classes in a traditional classroom format. Courses in traditional format include those meeting entirely in the classroom and classroom hours of hybrid sections. Legal specialty classes are those designed by PLS. Students are urged to meet with a paralegal advisor prior to registering for courses and are cautioned that a degree will not be awarded until this requirement is met. 

Students in the Paralegal Studies Program are advised that it is important to have current knowledge in order to successfully compete in today’s legal environment and are urged to complete all Paralegal Studies courses within five years of graduation. To ensure that graduates possess current knowledge and skills, the following requirements apply:

  • Because of the need to possess current knowledge of technology, PLS 115 (Legal Technology) must be taken within five years of graduation.

  • Any student who has taken Introduction to Paralegal Studies, (PLS 101), Civil Litigation, (PLS 121), Legal Research and Writing I, (PLS 111) and / or Legal Research and Writing II, (PLS 211) more than five academic years before his / her proposed graduation date must demonstrate current knowledge.  The student should meet with the Program Coordinator and develop a plan to demonstrate current knowledge and skills.

Course Sequence:

Semester 1

Course Number and Name Prerequisites and Corequisites Credits Gen Ed Req.
ENGL 101 - English Composition I   3 credits ENGL 101
FNMT 118 - Intermediate Algebra or
MATH 121 - Computer Mathematics and Logic or
MATH 137 - Geometry for Design or
MATH 150 - Introductory Data Analysis
Student must be FNMT 118 ready 3 credits Mathematics
PLS 101 - Introduction to Paralegal Studies   3 credits  
CIS 103 - Applied Computer Technology   3 credits Tech Comp
ANTH 112 - Cultural Anthropology or
HIST 103 - History: the 20th Century
  3 credits Social Sciences, Writing Intensive, Interpretive Studies, American/Global Diversity

Semester 2

 

Course Number and Name Prerequisites and Corequisites Credits Gen Ed Req.
ENGL 102 - The Research Paper ENGL 101 with a grade of "C" or better 3 credits ENGL 102, Info Lit
PLS 111 - Legal Research and Writing I PLS 101 3 credits Writing Intensive, Interpretive Studies
PLS 115 - Legal Technology CIS 103 & PLS 101 3 credits  
EASC 111 - Environmental Conservation or
BIOL 106 - General Biology I or
BIOL 104 - Forensic Biology
  3 or 4 credits Natural Sciences
PLS 121 - Civil Litigation I PLS 101 3  credits  

Semester 3

 

Course Number and Name Prerequisites and Corequisites Credits Gen Ed Req.
JUS 171 - Juvenile Justice or
POLS 111 - American Government
  3 credits  
ENGL 116 - Interpersonal Communication or
ENGL 117 - Group and Team Communication or
ENGL 118 - Intercultural Communication or
Foreign Language
  3 credits Humanities
PLS 211 - Legal Research and Writing II PLS 111ENGL 102 3 credits  
Concentration Course – Select one from the list below **   3 credits  
Concentration Course – Select one from the list below **   3 credits  

Semester 4

 

Course Number and Name Prerequisites and Corequisites Credits Gen Ed Req.
Choose two:

DF 101 - Introduction to Digital Forensics (for students interested in e-discovery proficiency certificate); or
PSYC 101 - Introduction to Psychology or
SOC 101 - Introduction to Sociology or
ENGL 190 - Introduction to Literature or
ENGL 205 - Introduction to Creative Writing 

  6 credits  Directed Elective
Concentration Elective – Select one from the list below **   3 credits  
Concentration Elective – Select one from the list below **   3 credits  
Concentration Elective – Select one from the list below **   3 credits  

Minimum Credits Needed to Graduate:

60

* See a Paralegal Studies academic advisor.
** The curriculum has been designed so that any five of the following 13 courses will provide a coherent course of study in preparation for employment as a paralegal.

Concentration Courses

Course Number and Name Prerequisites and Corequisites

PLS 215 - Electronic Discovery

PLS 121
PLS 221 - Civil Litigation II PLS 121
PLS 231 - Family Law PLS 111PLS 121
PLS 241 - Tort Law PLS 121
PLS 251 - Real Estate Law for Paralegals PLS 111
PLS 255 - Business Organizations for Paralegals PLS 111ENGL 101
PLS 261 - Wills, Trusts and Estate Administration PLS 111
PLS 265 - Intellectual Property PLS 111
PLS 271 - Bankruptcy Law PLS 121
PLS 275 - Employment Law PLS 111
PLS 281 - Environmental Law PLS 111
PLS 285 - Immigration Law PLS 121
PLS 295 - Legal Internship PLS 111PLS 121, completion of 36 credits and GPA of 2.5 or better
JUS 241 - Criminal Law JUS 101 or PLS 101

Accelerated Program/ Post Degree Program

For students who have all or most of their general education requirements, the Paralegal Studies Program offers courses in evening, accelerated, weekend and online formats.

Internship

A legal internship is offered to students enrolled in the program who have completed at least 36 credits toward the degree and who have attained a grade point average of at least 2.5 at that time. The internship is a 3-credit course requiring the student to perform without pay at least 120 hours of paralegal tasks in a legal employment setting approved by the Program Coordinator. Students who receive a grade of less than "C" are ineligible to retake this course. Those students who are ineligible for or who do not select the internship will be required to take another course from the concentration courses selections.

Law Library And Computers

The College Library maintains a complete law library which exceeds American Bar Association guidelines. Students are also exposed in class to computer-assisted legal research sources, such as online databases, the Internet and legal materials available on CD-ROM and are introduced to discipline-specific legal software in all advanced courses.

General Education Requirements:

All general education requirements necessary for graduation are met through the courses in the program as indicated above. Students who wish to take courses that differ from the general education courses indicated above must complete a course substitution request form. To access the form, login to the MyCCP portal, and in the Student tab, under Electronic Forms, click on the Records and Registration Forms link, then choose Request For Course Substitution Of Graduation Requirement link. A more detailed explanation of the College’s general education requirements is also available.

For More Information, Contact:

The Division of Liberal Studies, Room BR-21, 1700 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, PA 19130, Telephone (215) 751-8450; or the College Information Center (215) 751-8010.