Associate in Science in Paralegal Studies

Division of Social Sciences — Curriculum Code: 2015

Will Earn Upon Program Completion: Associate in Science (A.S.) Degree
Why major in Paralegal Studies?

The Paralegal Studies degree program is designed to prepare students to work in entry-level positions in a variety of legal settings such as law firms, corporations, government and other entities. A Paralegal typically performs a wide variety of tasks including, but not limited to, interviewing clients, investigating cases, preparing legal documents, performing legal research, writing legal memoranda, and assisting in trials and appeals. In addition to introducing students to the fundamental legal principles, this program develops students’ practical skills to prepare them to work effectively in any legal environment.

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

Yes. The associate’s degree in Paralegal Studies prepares you to transfer to four-year colleges and universities to complete your bachelor’s degree. ECC’s transfer/articulation agreements with area four-year institutions insure a smooth transfer for our A.S. Paralegal Studies graduates.

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

Based on your placement test scores, you may have to take developmental courses in reading, English, and/or mathematics before taking the core curriculum courses in your major.

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

If you do not need developmental coursework and you register for an average of 17 credits each semester, you can complete the degree in two years. You may shorten the amount of time required by taking courses in the summer sessions.

May I transfer college-level courses into the Paralegal Studies program?

Students may transfer college-level courses as per College Regulation 5:18: Transfer Credit and Evaluations (Section #5). If Enrollment Services Express is unable to evaluate a course for transferability, the student must provide a course description and/or course outline. The Social Sciences Division Chairperson (or the Paralegal Studies Program Coordinator) will determine if the course is comparable to an ECC offering and if credit may be awarded.

Only students transferring from ABA-approved institutions may transfer up to a maximum of 15 credits toward the Paralegal Studies program requirements. The Program Coordinator will evaluate legal specialty courses from ABA-approved institutions on a case-by-case basis. In addition, students who wish to apply credits to the Paralegal Studies Program must also have their course and credits evaluated by the Program Coordinator within six (6) months of entry into Essex County College. This time limitation is necessary for purposes of advisement and to avoid possible course duplication.

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.

GENERAL EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS (33 credits)

Written & Oral Communication (6 credits)
ENG 101 (3 credits)
ENG 102 (3 credits)

Quantitative Knowledge & Skills and Scientific Knowledge & Reasoning (12 credits)
Choose one mathematics course and a lab science sequence or two mathematics courses and one lab science course from the following:

Mathematics: MTH 100, MTH 101, MTH 103, MTH 113, MTH 119, MTH 120, MTH 121, MTH 122, MTH 127, MTH 221, or MTH 222 (one or two 4-credit courses)

Lab Science: BIO 101 – BIO 102, BIO 103 – BIO 104, BIO 121 – BIO 122; CHM 101 – CHM 102, CHM 103 – CHM 104; PHY 101 – PHY 102, PHY 103 – PHY 104, or PHY 113 – PHY 114 (one or two 4-credit courses)

Society & Human Behavior (6 credits)
POL 104 (3 credits)
AND
Choose one of the following courses: ANT 101, ANT 105; ECO 101, ECO 102; POL 101; PSY 101, PSY 102, PSY 219; SOC 101, SOC 108, or SOC 219 (one 3-credit course)

Humanistic Perspective (6 credits)
Choose one of the following literature courses: ENG 205, ENG 208, ENG 215, ENG 221, ENG 222, ENG 232, ENG 237, ENG 238, ENG 242, ENG 250, ENG 263, or ENG 264 (one 3-credit course)
AND
Choose one of the following art or music courses: ART 100, ART 101, ART 102; MUS 100, MUS 108, MUS 109, or MUS 117 (one 3-credit course)

Historical Perspective (3 credits)
Choose one of the following history courses: HST 101, HST 102, HST 111*, HST 112*, HST 121, HST 122, HST 131, HST 132, HST 134, HST 135, HST 136, HST 137, HST 161, or HST 162 (one 3-credit course)

Note: HST 111 and HST 112 are recommended.

MAJOR COURSE REQUIREMENTS (24 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 204 Business Organization and Government Regulation (3 credits)
PLS 205 Administrative Law (3 credits)
PLS 206 Litigation Procedures (3 credits)

ADDITIONAL COURSE REQUIREMENTS (6 to 9 credits)

ENG 105 (3 credits)

Choose two of the following Legal course electives: PLS 203 Wills and Estate Administration, PLS 210 Property Transactions, PLS 220 Family Law, and/or PLS 225 Law Office Management and Field Experience (two 3-credit courses)

RECOMMENDED SEQUENCE OF COURSES

Total Credits Required for Degree: 66

First Semester
ENG 101 College Composition I (3 credits)
PLS 101 Introduction to Law for Paralegals (3 credits)
PLS 105 Torts (3 credits)
POL 104 American Government (3 credits)
Humanistic Perspective art or music requirement (3 credits)

Second Semester
ENG 102 College Composition II (3 credits)
PLS 102 Legal Research and Writing (3 credits)
PLS 107 Contracts (3 credits)
Quantitative Knowledge & Skills or Scientific Knowledge & Reasoning mathematics or lab science requirement (4 credits)
Society & Human Behavior requirement (3 credits)

Summer Session
Humanistic Perspective literature requirement (3 credits)
Historical Perspective requirement (3 credits)

Third Semester
ENG 105 Technical Writing (3 credits)
PLS 202 Advanced Legal Research and Writing (3 credits)
PLS 206 Litigation Processes (3 credits)
Quantitative Knowledge & Skills or Scientific Knowledge & Reasoning mathematics or lab science requirement (4 credits)
Legal elective (3 credits)

Fourth Semester
PLS 204 Business Organization and Government Regulation (3 credits)
PLS 205 Administrative Law (3 credits)
Quantitative Knowledge & Skills or Scientific Knowledge & Reasoning mathematics or lab science requirement (4 credits)
Legal elective (3 credits)

Note: The Paralegal Studies 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.


 

NOTES:
(1) The two General Education Integrated Course Goals, Ethical Reasoning & Action and Information Literacy, are both addressed by the required curriculum described above, regardless of specific choices made by the individual student.
(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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