Why Study Legal Studies?
The Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in Legal Studies program will prepare students for careers in the legal industry, working under the supervision of attorneys. According to the American Bar Association, “a legal assistant, or paralegal, is a person, qualified by education, training or work experience, who is employed or retained by a lawyer, law office, corporation, governmental agency or other entity and who performs specifically delegated substantive legal work for which the lawyer is responsible.” Paralegals are not licensed and always work under the supervision of an attorney. Paralegals may not provide legal services directly to the public except as permitted by law. The goal of both the Legal Studies degree and Paralegal Studies certificate program is to prepare students to become entry-level paralegals.
Examples of some paralegal responsibilities include interviewing clients and witnesses, preparing legal documents, assisting at trials, investigating and performing legal research. Paralegals are not permitted to practice law, which means that they cannot give legal advice, represent clients in court, set a legal fee or accept a case.
Students who decide to further their education at the baccalaureate level will need to complete additional general education courses at the transferring institution. The certificate is for students who already have an associate of arts, associate of science degree, or higher.
The Legal Studies Program and Paralegal Studies certificate are approved by the American Bar Association, Standing Committee on Paralegals, 321 N. Clark Street, Mail Stop 19.1, Chicago, IL 6065-7598. Phone: 312-988-5618.
NOTE: At least nine semester credits of legal specialty courses through traditional classroom or synchronous instruction are required. (21 of the 30 Legal Studies/Paralegal Studies credits must be taken at RCC)