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Paralegal Studies

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WHY STUDY PARALEGAL STUDIES AT NC?

Navarro College offers two programs designed to prepare individuals to perform and assist in performing duties requiring knowledge of substantive and procedural law under the direct supervision of an attorney or to perform duties for corporations and other employers that benefit from the Paralegal’s ability to gather, analyze and organize information and to understand legal issues.

 

The A.A.S. degrees prepares a student for immediate employment as a paralegal. These are two-year programs which allow the student to complete the basic core college requirements along with 10 paralegal courses providing the student with a knowledge of substantive and procedural law and the technical skills necessary to be a proficient paralegal. These programs also enable the student to transition seamlessly to bachelor’s degree programs at numerous 4-year institutions including Tarleton, UNT, UTA, and Texas A&M University-Commerce.

 

Navarro College offers a one-year certificate. This program works best for those students already employed as a Paralegal or those seeking the credential in addition to a previously earned degree.

Additional Information About the Paralegal Profession

What is a Paralegal? There are probably as many definitions of the term “paralegal” or its equivalent “legal assistant” as there are attorneys, corporations, government agencies and other entities that employ them. According to the American Bar Association, a legal assistant or paralegal is a person, qualified by education, training or work experience who is employed by a lawyer, law office, corporation, government agency or other entity and who performs specifically delegated substantive legal work for which the lawyer is responsible.

 

What do Paralegals do? Paralegals perform many of the legal functions traditionally undertaken by an attorney. The paralegal performs these tasks under the direct supervision of a licensed attorney. Attorneys assume ultimate responsibility for the work, but are increasingly delegating many of their duties to paralegals. While the Paralegal job description will no doubt vary depending upon the employer, some common tasks a paralegal may be expected to perform are listed below:

 

  1. Conduct client interviews and maintain general contact with clients
  2. Locate and interview witnesses
  3. Conduct legal investigations
  4. Calendar and track important deadlines
  5. Organize and maintain client files
  6. Draft legal documents and forms
  7. Conduct legal research
  8. Assist attorneys at depositions, hearings and trials
  9. Organize information in preparation for trial
  10. Manage law office procedures

 

Paralegals may not provide legal services directly to the public and are expressly forbidden by law from carrying out duties that are considered the practice of law such as giving legal advice, setting legal fees, and appearing in court on behalf of a client.

 

Where do Paralegals work? Paralegals work in a variety of settings including private law firms, government offices and courts, corporate legal departments, and other business such as banks, title companies, and insurance companies. Paralegals deal with all areas of the law including litigation, personal injury, real estate, family law, criminal law, bankruptcy, environmental law, employment law, corporate law, and elder law, among others. The duties of paralegals vary widely depending upon the employer. A paralegal may work in an office that specializes in a particular area of the law or for an attorney with a general practice encompassing many specialty areas.

 

Employment Outlook and Salary Expectations

 

Outlook: Increasing demand for qualified paralegals is expected to continue for years to come. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Paralegal field is the 6th fastest growing occupation in the United States with demand for paralegals expected to rise in law offices, government agencies, corporations and other entities through the year at least through the year 2018.  There are opportunities for employment in Navarro, Ellis, Kaufman and Limestone Counties as well as Dallas, Waco, Fort Worth and other major cities. In short, wherever there are lawyers, there is a demand for qualified paralegals!

 

Salaries: Students considering the Paralegal profession will be happy to learn that salaries continue to increase as well as demand. Salaries vary greatly in the profession depending upon various factors. Education, experience, geographic area, size and type of employer play a part in the salary a paralegal can expect to earn. According to a 2007 survey conducted by Legal Assistant Today, a respected paralegal publication, the national median annual salary for paralegals was $52,000. A similar survey conducted by the Paralegal Division of the State Bar of Texas in 2010 concluded that the median base salary for paralegals working in Texas law firms is $48,641, government agencies is $45,751 and corporate legal department paralegals made an average of $66,852 annually.

 

Paralegal Credentials:There are currently no requirements for Paralegals in Texas to be licensed or credentialed. However, The National Association of Legal Assistants, a respected national paralegal organization provides a voluntary certification procedure for graduates of paralegal programs meeting certain criteria. Navarro graduates are eligible to take the CLA exam, which is offered several times a year in the Dallas area. By passing the exam and meeting other requirements set by NALA, a graduate can earn the recognized “Certified Legal Assistant” or “CLA” distinction. For more information – go to www.nala.org.

 

About Becoming a Lawyer

Many paralegals take the next step and go on to become lawyers. If this is your goal, the Paralegal Studies Program at Navarro College can put you well on your way to achieving your dream.

 

The process of becoming a lawyer: After achieving your Associate’s Degree, you must go to school an additional two years to obtain a Bachelor’s degree. The Bachelor’s Degree can be in any subject. In other words, you do not have to major in pre-law or anything else. There are no prerequisite courses for law school other than the Bachelor’s Degree itself. After getting your Bachelor’s, you must apply and be accepted to an accredited law school. Law School is a three-year program. Graduates must then take and pass the Bar Exam and undergo a criminal background check in order to receive a license to practice law from the state. It takes 7 years of post high-school education to become a lawyer.

 

The Paralegal Studies Degree is a step in the right direction: A paralegal education will give you a firm foundation for courses you will be required to take in law school. It will also give you a practical understanding of the general concepts about which you will learn. Additionally, you will be qualified to work as a paralegal which will enable you to gain experience and money before or during law school.

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Course Descriptions

LGLA 1301 Legal Research & Writing

This course provides a working knowledge of fundamentals of effective legal research and writing. Topics include law library techniques computer-assisted legal research briefs and legal memoranda.

 

LGLA 1311 Intro to Law

This course provides an overview of the law and legal system. Topics include elementary legal concepts of various areas of the law procedures terminology ethical obligations of the paralegal current issues in law and the function jurisdiction practices and principles of trial and appellate courts at state and federal levels. 

 

LGLA 1313 Intro to Paralegal Studies

This course provides an overview of the paralegal profession including ethical obligations regulation professional trends and issues and the paralegal’s role in assisting in the delivery of legal services. This course must be taken during the first year of enrollment in the paralegal program.

 

LGLA 1345 Civil Litigation

This course presents fundamental concepts and procedures of civil litigation with emphasis on the paralegal’s role. Topics include pretrial trial and post-trial phases of litigation.

 

LGLA 1353 Wills, Trusts, and Probate Admin

This course presents fundamental concepts of the law of wills trusts and probate administration with emphasis on the paralegal’s role.

 

LGLA 1355 Family Law

This course presents fundamental concepts of family law with emphasis on the paralegal’s role. Topics include formal and informal marriages divorce annulment marital property and the parent-child relationship.

 

LGLA 2188 Internship – Paralegal/Legal Assistant

An experience external to the college for an advanced student in a specialized field involving a written agreement between the educational institution and a business or industry. Mentored and supervised by a workplace employee the student achieves objectives that are developed and documented by the college and that are directly related to specific occupational outcomes. This may be a paid or unpaid experience. Requires approval of the instructor. Requires 48 hours in the workplace.

 

LGLA 2288 Practicum

An experience external to the college for an advanced student in a specialized field involving a written agreement between the educational institution and a business or industry. Mentored and supervised by a workplace employee the student achieves objectives that are developed and documented by the college and that are directly related to specific occupational outcomes. This may be a paid or unpaid experience. Requires approval of the instructor. Requires 120 hours in the workplace.

 

LGLA 2303 Torts & Personal Injury Law

Fundamental concepts of tort and personal injury law including intentional torts, negligence, and strict liability with emphasis on the paralegal’s role.

 

LGLA 2307 Law Office Management

This course presents the fundamentals of law office management and organization including basic principles and structure of management administrative and substantive systems in the law office and law practice technology.

 

LGLA 2309 Real Property

This course presents fundamental concepts of real property law with emphasis on the paralegal’s role. Topics include the nature of real property rights and duties of ownership land use voluntary and involuntary conveyances and the recording of and searching for real estate documents.

 

LGLA 2313 Criminal Law & Procedure

This course introduces the criminal justice system including procedures from arrest to final disposition principles of federal and state law and the preparation of pleadings and motions.

 

LGLA 2331 Advanced Legal Research & Writing

This course builds upon skills acquired in prior legal research and writing courses including computerized research techniques and preparation of complex legal documents such as briefs legal office memoranda and citation forms. Prerequisite: LGLA 1301 Legal Research & Writing.

 

LGLA 2335 Advanced Civil Litigation

This course provides opportunities to implement advanced civil litigation techniques and builds upon skills acquired in prior civil litigation courses with emphasis on the paralegal’s roles. Common law and statutory civil litigation concepts ethical obligations of the paralegal assisting in civil litigation work and alternative dispute resolution processes are reviewed. Prerequisites: LGLA 1313 LGLA 1311 LGLA 1345 ENGL 1301.

 

LGLA 2388 Practicum

An experience external to the college for an advanced student in a specialized field involving a written agreement between the educational institution and a business or industry. Mentored and supervised by a workplace employee the student achieves objectives that are developed and documented by the college and that are directly related to specific occupational outcomes. This may be a paid or unpaid experience. Requires approval of the instructor. Requires 120 hours in the workplace.

OFFERED ON CAMPUS

Corsicana  |  Waxahachie  |  Online

DEGREE PLANS OFFERED
Paralegal Studies (AAS)60 credit hours
Paralegal Studies with Criminal Justice Emphasis (AAS)60 credit hours
Paralegal Studies Certificate36 credit hours

NEXT TERM: SPRING 16-WEEK & 1st 8-WEEK

November 6 - January 10Registration
Payment due by January 10 at 5 p.m.
COLLEGE CLOSED FOR WINTER HOLIDAYS: DECEMBER 21 - JANUARY 1
January 16 - 17Late Registration
Payment due by January 17 at 5 p.m.
January 16Classes start
DEGREE & TRANSFER OPTIONS
Complete your degree and begin your career or transfer to a 4-year college to continue your studies.

 

Have transfer credits from another college or university? Send your official transcript(s) to the Office of Admissions & Records at 3200 W. 7th Avenue, Corsicana, TX 75110

ACCREDITATION
Navarro College is accredited by the Southern Association of College and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate degrees; approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board; and is a member of the Texas Association of Community Colleges and the American Association of Community Colleges.
PROGRAM CONTACT INFORMATION

Dean’s Office, Corsicana Campus | 903.875.7573

OFFICE HOURS

Monday – Friday
8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.