The Paralegal Studies Program prepares students for entry-level employment in a variety of settings. A paralegal is qualified by education, training, or work experience to work for a law office, corporation, governmental agency, or other organizations such as insurance companies, real estate and title insurance firms and banks, performing specifically delegated substantive legal work for which a lawyer is responsible. Paralegals are also referred to as Legal Assistants in some legal settings.
Under the supervision of a lawyer, a paralegal may analyze legal issues; investigate and evaluate facts; prepare pleadings, contracts, forms, legal memoranda, and other documents; interview clients; assist in case management; and perform other duties to assist the lawyer in the delivery of legal services to clients.
Except as specifically authorized by the Supreme Court of Arizona, a person may not practice law within Arizona unless they have been admitted to the State Bar of Arizona.
Knowledge and Skills
Emphasis is placed on the development of effective written and oral communication skills, team work, critical thinking skills, computer proficiency, and legal research techniques. Skills and knowledge gained in the program include the ability to:
- Prepare a brief identifying the procedural history, facts, issues, holdings, dicta, and rationale of any case.
- Prepare and review contracts incorporating the essential clauses necessary to execute the contract.
- Conduct legal research using manual and electronic sources; summarize results in a brief memorandum with correct citation form.
- Identify causes of actions, defenses, and potential damages in tort cases and identify the legal issues surrounding the imposition of tort liability.
- Prepare the following for a typical tort claim: a case intake memorandum summarizing the factual and legal issues, pleadings, and a proposed settlement document.
- Apply litigation technology skills to accomplish tasks commonly performed by paralegals.
Paralegal Studies AAS Degree and Certificate of Completion
The Paralegal Studies Program at Phoenix College is approved by the American Bar Association (ABA) Standing Committee on Paralegals.
Those students with no prior law-related experience are strongly encouraged to participate in the internship program to enhance their chances of securing employment upon graduation.
Career and Employment Outlook
Areas of practice include litigation, business/corporate, real estate, trusts and estates, family law, criminal law, tax, bankruptcy, immigration, environmental law, collection, employee benefits, computer law, intellectual property, securities, entertainment law, and workers compensation.
For information about careers in your area of study, visit O*NET OnLine for detailed job descriptions, education requirements, wage and employment trend information.