Certificate of Achievement in Paralegal

Division of Social Sciences — Curriculum Code: 3208

Will Earn Upon Program Completion: Certificate of Achievement
Why major in Paralegal?

Law firms, corporations, government agencies, title companies, insurance companies, state and federal courts, and other entities are increasingly seeking qualified paralegals to assist with a wide variety of legal tasks. Duties of paralegals typically include conducting interviews, investigations, and legal research; preparing legal documents and memoranda; assisting with clients; and being involved in the daily operations of the law office.

If I major in Paralegal, can I transfer to an upper-division college or university?

The Paralegal certificate program is career oriented and not designed for transfer to a bachelor’s degree program, but courses completed in certificate programs may be applied to an associate’s degree program at ECC. Most or all credits earned in certificate programs that are applied to associate’s degree programs transfer to four-year institutions. See a Social Sciences Division academic advisor (faculty member) for more information.

Are there any requirements I must satisfy before I start taking courses in my major?

This certificate program is only open to individuals who have already earned an A.A., A.S., B.A., B.S., or graduate degree in any discipline from a regionally-accredited institution and have completed 18 or more general education credits in the following areas: 1) Written & Oral Communications; 2) Society & Human Behavior; 3) Quantitative Knowledge & Skills; 4) Scientific Knowledge & Reasoning; 5)Humanistic Perspective; and 6) Historical Perspective*  as required by Essex County College.

May I transfer paralegal courses from another college into the Paralegal Certificate Program?

Pursuant to College Regulation 5:18: Transfer Credit and Evaluations (Section #5), students may transfer up to 9 legal specialty courses from an ABA-approved institution into the Paralegal Studies Certificate Program. Upon matriculating to Essex County College, students seeking to transfer paralegal courses must submit all academic transcripts to Enrollment Services Express to determine whether they have successfully completed (with a minimum grade of “C” or better) the 18 or more general education credits required by Essex County College. Subsequently, Enrollment Services Express will forward the transcripts to the Paralegal Program Coordinator to review the legal specialty courses to determine whether students earned (at a minimum) a grade of “C” or better and to determine the modality of the courses considered for transfer. In addition, students desiring to apply legal specialty course credits to the Paralegal Studies Certificate Program must also have their legal specialty course credits evaluated by the Paralegal Program Coordinator during the semester in which they matriculate to the College.

If Enrollment Services Express determines that my transcript reflects any deficiencies in the required General Education credits, how can I address this issue?

In case Enrollment Services Express determines that the student’s transcript is deficient in the required 18 General Education credits, the student must complete all required 18 General Education credits (with a minimum grade of “C” or better) in the following areas: 1) Written & Oral Communications; 2) Society & Human Behavior; 3) Quantitative Knowledge & Skills; 4) Scientific Knowledge & Reasoning; 5)Humanistic Perspective; and 6) Historical Perspective. Enrollment Services Express will not certify a student for enrollment in the Certificate of Achievement in Paralegal until all required General Education credits are successfully completed.

How long will it take for me to complete this program?

Depending upon when you matriculate to Essex County College, you can complete the Certificate of Achievement in Paralegal in one year by taking three to four courses.

Where should I direct specific questions about this program?

Call the Division at (973) 877-3250.

Upon completion of this program, graduates will be able to:
  • Explain the role of a paralegal in today’s legal system;
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the American legal system, fundamental legal principles, and the litigation process;
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the principles of legal ethics and of the Model Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility and Guidelines for Enforcement of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations, Inc.;
  • Proficiently access, locate, and research the law by both traditional and electronic methods;
  • Demonstrate problem-solving and critical, analytical thinking skills within the context of evaluating legal issues; and
  • Communicate effectively with accurate legal terminology in written and/or oral form, with a demonstrated proficiency in the use of technology.

NOTE: To enter this certificate of achievement program, you must possess at least an associate’s degree (in any discipline) and be able to demonstrate that you have met the general education requirements of Essex County College by completing 18 or more general education credits.

MAJOR COURSE REQUIREMENTS (21 credits)

PLS 101 Introduction to Law for Paralegals (3 credits)
PLS 102 Legal Research and Writing (3 credits)
PLS 105 Torts (3 credits)
PLS 107 Contracts (3 credits)
PLS 202 Advanced Legal Research and Writing (3 credits)
PLS 205 Administrative Law (3 credits)
PLS 206 Litigation Procedures (3 credits)

RECOMMENDED SEQUENCE OF COURSES:

Total Credits Required for Certificate of Achievement: 21

First Semester
PLS 101 Introduction to Law for Paralegals (3 credits)
PLS 102 Legal Research and Writing (3 credits)
PLS 105 Torts (3 credits)

Second Semester
PLS 107 Contracts (3 credits)
PLS 206 Litigation Procedures (3 credits)

Third Semester
PLS 202 Advanced Legal Research and Writing (3 credits)
PLS 205 Administrative Law (3 credits)


 

NOTE:
(1) The Paralegal Certificate of Completion program prepares students to work under the supervision of an attorney. A paralegal shall not engage in the unauthorized practice of law. Only attorneys can provide legal services directly to the public.
(2) This plan assumes the completion of all required developmental courses in reading, English, and mathematics as well as other pre-requisites and co-requisites for some of the courses, as listed in the Course Descriptions section.

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