This curriculum, which is approved by the American Bar Association, is designed to prepare students for careers as legal assistants in law offices, corporations and public agencies. The legal assistant is a para-professional who, under the supervision of an attorney, performs specifically delegated, substantive, legal work that may ethically be performed by a non-lawyer.
Legal assistants, or paralegals (the terms are interchangeable), are in heavy demand in the Northeast and throughout the United States. Students are provided a general background in the major fields of law that is practiced in legal offices.
Unauthorized Practice of Law
Paralegals many not provide legal services directly to the public, except as permitted by law.
Upon successful completion of the degree or certificate program requirements, graduates will be able to:
1. Demonstrate reasoning and analytical skills in the application of legal concepts to the issues faced in a law office;
2. Understand the ethical issues involved in working as a paraprofessional in the legal field;
3. Apply basic knowledge from social sciences, arts, literature, science and mathematics to understand and create solutions to problems encountered in the legal field;
4. Acquire, organize and present information effectively orally and in writing;
5. Research legal issues, identifying applicable statutes, regulations and case law;
6. Demonstrate the writing skills necessary to work in a law office;
7. Gather information and interview clients and witnesses in support of the particular casework involved;
8. Prepare real estate closing documents such as deeds, mortgages, settlement statements and title insurance binders;
9. Gather information and prepare estate inventories, inheritance tax forms or court documents in family law proceedings;
10. Understand the trial process and draft and answer complaints and other pleadings and discovery documents such as interrogatories and requests for production;
11. Understand the administrative process and how to interface with administrative agencies and respond to information requests by agencies and to prepare and file administrative claims;
12. Understand the different business organizations and how to prepare the documents to establish, incorporate or organize them;
13. Know and understand the functions and benefits of membership in local and national paralegal associations;
14. Possess the eligibility requirements for taking the Certified Legal Assistant Examination (CLA), a private, non-mandatory certification offered by the National Association of Legal Assistants; and
15. Display the ability to work in a law office and the traits and attitudes necessary for a successful career as a paralegal.
Students wishing to enter NCC's Legal Assistant Program must have strong verbal and English writing skills. Students must be eligible for ENG 101 to register for Legal Assistant courses. Students who successfully complete this program will be awarded an Associate in Science Degree.Link to Legal Assistant Degree Program Checksheet
NCC's Legal Assistant Certificate Program is designed for students who already have Associate Degrees or higher (with a minimum of 18 liberal arts credits). The program requires 30 credit hours of study and leads to a certificate for those who successfully complete their studies.Link to Legal Assistant Certificate Program Checksheet
Transfer credits are subject to the general transfer policies of Norwalk Community College.
Further, only 3 Legal Speciality courses beyond LGL 101 may be accepted for transfer. All legal speciality transfer credits must be from an ABA approved program and approved for transfer by the Legal Assistant Program Coordinator. Exceptions may be made at the discretion of the Legal Assistant Program Coordinator.
For additional information, visit the Business Department offices, located on the west campus, room W207.