A.S.Degree Curriculum

Legal Assistant/Paralegal Associate in Science
Type: AS
Major Code : LEGAL-AS
CIP: 1722030200
Educational Plan: LEGAL-AS

Program Description

This American Bar Association (ABA) approved program is designed to prepare qualified persons to work under the supervision of attorneys.  Our goal is to help students play essential roles as valuable members of legal teams in various settings including law firms, courts, corporations, financial institutions, non-profit organizations, and various government offices.  Students receive academic instruction in a variety of legal areas and hands-on applications in a technology-enhanced environment.  A variety of educational experiences which promote critical thinking and the development of specialized skills and professional ethical behavior are integrated throughout the curriculum.  This diverse educational foundation prepares our graduates to meet the current and future requirements of the legal community we serve.

Many courses in this program are now offered in an online format in addition to traditional face-to-face classroom instruction. Please note that The American Bar Association (ABA) requires students to take a minimum of ten (10) credits of legal specialty courses in the traditional, face-to-face class format in order to successfully complete the program. The legal specialty courses include: PLA 1104, PLA 2114, PLA 2203, PLA 2273, PLA 2600, PLA 2610, PLA 2800, PLA 2949, PLA 2303, PLA 2730 and PLA 2930.

The required internship program provides students the opportunity to gain actual work experience in a legal setting.  Students are encouraged to sit for one of the national certification exams, and are aided in their preparation through the curriculum, training, and experiences offered by the program.  Specific courses may provide transfer opportunities to four-year institutions.

 

Note: Paralegals  may not provide legal services directly to the public except as provided by law.

Profession

Paralegals and legal assistants provide critical support in law firms, courts, corporations, banks and government offices. Astute at managing multiple deadlines and intricate details, these professionals conduct research, prepare reports and assist lawyers with legal proceedings and business meetings.

Career Opportunities

Graduates of this program are employed in:

  • Banks/trusts departments
  • Corporations and businesses
  • Courts
  • Federal, state and local government offices
  • Insurance companies 

For career information related to this program, please visit O*Net OnLine.

Job Outlook

Employment in this field is expected to grow by 22 percent (faster than average) through 2018 (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Certifications

The Accredited Legal Professional (DOE code TAFLP001) certification serves as the entry-level examination for those joining the legal support profession.

Degree Transfer

DirectConnect to UCF: The A.S. degree in Legal Assistant/Paralegal will transfer to the University of Central Florida’s Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies if the following courses have also been completed:

  • Principles of Economics (MICRO) or Principles of Economics (MACRO), 
  • One humanities General Education course (ARH 2050, ARH 2051, LIT 2120, PHI 2010, REL 2300 or THE 1020), and
  • One mathematics General Education course (MAC 1105, MAC 1114, MAC 2233, MAC 2311, MAC 2312, MAC 2313 or MGF 1106).

Other options: Some A.S. degree courses also are transferrable to other four-year institutions

View program admission, career opportunities and more.......
Available Courses
Required Courses
37
This course is a study of law as it relates to the sources of law, courts and court procedures, torts, crimes and contracts.
This is an introductory course in computer applications that focuses on the effective use of word processing, spreadsheet, database and presentation software programs. Students will gain a fundamental knowledge of Microsoft Office 365 and learn skills that have practical applications in real world business situations. This course utilizes lectures and hands-on computer exercises. Lab fee required.
This course will provide an understanding of the rationale of the laws that affect the student every day. This is a survey course in which the student will study a variety of substantive areas of the law and legal principles, utilizing critical thinking and examining challenging issues.
The student who successfully completes this course should have a knowledge of law sources and experience with their use. The student will learn the basics of legal research and perform research in the principle sources of law, including cases, statutes, constitutions, court rules and administrative regulations. The student will also accomplish research in secondary authorities, execute proper legal citations and participate in the high technology of legal research. Lab fee required.
This course provides students with the methods, techniques and procedures for the research and preparation of legal memoranda, trial and appellate briefs and other forms of legal documents. The student who successfully completes this course should have the ability to render argument in forceful, lucid prose and to understand the values of adversarial and objective writing. The student will understand the basics of the American legal system, appreciate that judicial decision-making is not always to be emulated and distinguish between legal traditions which are both valued links and hindrances to writing. Lab fee required.
This course is a study of the principles of litigation and the rules of procedure for federal and Florida courts, including pleadings and practice. The student who successfully completes this course will understand the organization and structure of the civil litigation system and appreciate the different judicial forums. The student will develop an understanding of the litigation process, its goals, the rules of procedure and the constitutional provisions which influence the litigation process. Lab fee required.
3
Credits
This course is a study of the various classifications and functions of tort law, including intentional and negligent torts, causation, proximate cause and defenses. The student who successfully completes this course will develop an understanding of the elements of tort causes of action and the legal defenses to such causes of action. The student will examine the practical aspects and issues involved in personal injury law, understand the asserting of legal claims, recognize appropriate remedies and draft related documents.
This course includes a detailed study of testacy and intestacy, preparation of wills and codicils, fundamentals of execution and probate administration. The student who successfully completes this course will understand and apply the legal requirements for the proper preparation, execution and probate of wills and trust instruments. Students will understand the types of estates under Florida Law/the Uniform Probate Code and how to complete the necessary forms to accomplish the probate goal of marshalling assets, identifying legal creditors and paying legal claims and distributing probate assets.
This course includes an overview of property law in general and Florida law in particular. Students who complete this course will demonstrate a knowledge of real property law and its application to real property transactions. Students will understand the mechanics of various commercial and private property transactions and mortgage foreclosures. Students will appreciate the theories/concepts of legal descriptions, ownership, title searches, acquiring and transferring, appraising, financing, closing, leasing, condominiums and cooperatives, environmental law, taxation, ethics and drafting appropriate legal documents.
This course will prepare the student for responsibilities associated with the management of a law office. The student will examine the structure of a law office, time and records management, billing methods, technology and computers, administrative procedures, client relations, office operating procedures and professionalism in the workplace. The student who successfully completes this course will understand the practical and ethical issues of law office organization and functions through the visitation to a law firm/agency, interviewing of employees and preparation of oral and written reports.
This course includes an examination of general and Florida laws of marriage, divorce, annulment, separation, adoption, custody, legitimacy, support, guardianship and the juvenile. The student who successfully completes this course will have a basic knowledge of what family law is and the skills to use that knowledge to apply legal standards and draft documents used in the practice of family law.
Choose 3 credits of Cooperative Education in Legal Studies from the following list:
3
This course is designed to provide students the opportunity to apply classroom theory to practical, work-related applications. Seminars may be a component of this course and regular contact with the assigned faculty advisor is required. Students may earn cooperative education credits based on the completion of the required work experience and satisfactory completion of assignments including, but not limited to, seminars and a project. This course may be repeated based upon the student’s academic program.
This course is designed to provide students the opportunity to apply classroom theory to practical, work-related applications. Seminars may be a component of this course and regular contact with the assigned faculty advisor is required. Students may earn cooperative education credits based on the completion of the required work experience and satisfactory completion of assignments including, but not limited to, seminars and a project. This course may be repeated based upon the student’s academic program.
This course is designed to provide students the opportunity to apply classroom theory to practical, work-related applications. Seminars may be a component of this course and regular contact with the assigned faculty advisor is required. Students may earn cooperative education credits based on the completion of the required work experience and satisfactory completion of assignments including, but not limited to, seminars and a project. This course may be repeated based upon the student’s academic program.
Elective Courses
9

Choose 9 credits from the following list:

9
This course introduces the student to the theory and practice of financial accounting. Topics include the accounting cycle, analysis of financial statement transactions, financial statement preparation, accounting for assets, liabilities, equities, revenues and expenses. Accounting for entities, including partnerships and corporations is introduced.
This course provides instruction and practice in the fundamentals of accounting. Selected topics include accounts payable and receivable, cash control systems, worksheets, financial statements, adjusting and closing entries, purchases and cash payments, sales and cash receipts and payroll. This course may be used to provide a foundation for financial accounting. Activities are recorded manually and in an accounting software program. Lab fee required.
This course is a study of law as it pertains to agency, partnerships, corporations, real and personal property, wills and estates, insurance and negotiable instruments.
This is an introductory course covering the nature, scope and methods of economics, economic concepts and economic institutions. Emphasis is placed upon production, consumption, determination of prices, distribution of income, fiscal policy, national income determinants, money and banking and comparative economic systems. This course partially satisfies the writing requirement of S.B.E. 6A-10.030. This class satisfies the General Education State Core Social Science/History requirement for AA degree seeking students.
This course deals primarily with economic problems. Emphasis is given to markets, production functions, economic role of government, agricultural problems, labor-management relations, imperfect competition, interest and capital, economic security, international trade and finance and economic development. This course partially satisfies the writing requirement of S.B.E. 6A-10.030.
This course includes a study of the definition and classification of criminal offenses, the principles of criminal responsibility and the legal procedures in a criminal prosecution. The student who successfully completes this course will have an understanding of the elements of crimes, have performed hands-on research, have drafted documents and have participated in oral trial presentations regarding a hypothetical criminal case.
Intellectual property, often known as IP, allows people to own their creativity and innovation in the same way that they can own physical property. The course is divided into the four areas of intellectual property law which include trademark, copyright, patent and trade secrets. For each area, the course will aim to cover the statutory bases, as well as discuss key doctrines and cases. Finally, the course will expose each student to the practical considerations faced by those working in related legal fields. The student will explain the filing process, filing systems, and the typical life cycle of a case for each area of intellectual property. Common litigation causes of action and remedies will also be discussed.
This course includes an overview of intermediate real estate law topics with a specific emphasis on real property transactions in Florida. Students who complete this course will understand the fundamental concepts underlying a real estate closing, including the issuance of title insurance commitments, policies and endorsements and various federal and state regulations that affect real estate closings. Students will appreciate the concepts of title examination, encumbrances and adverse matters, title insurance, water rights, the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act (FIRPTA), Florida homestead and the Marketable Record Title Act.
This course is largely transaction and problem-oriented. This course will discuss problems involving real estate transactions under Florida law, including real estate contracts, parties to Florida transactions, financing, property descriptions and settlement statements. This course trains students in the use of the Attorneys' Title Insurance Database System for completing title examinations and updates and the DoubleTime, closing software program, including DoubleTime Escrow Accounting.
This course prepare students to conduct online research using a variety of full-service, low-cost and free modalities and databases including, but not limited to, Lexis, Westlaw, Bloomberg Law, LoisLaw, Fastcase, Versuslaw, Casemaker, Casetext, Ravel, Google and Bing. Students should develop competencies with respect to natural language and searches using terms and connectors. Students who successfully complete this course will be able to search effectively using key numbers and headnotes, Shepherds and Keycite and their various equivalents. Students will learn to narrow and focus searches using subject matter and procedural terms, specific dates and time-frames, courts, attorneys and parties. In addition, students will learn to perform non-legal research (using business and academic databases) to support legal claims, defenses and typical law office activities. With frequent guests from the local legal community, this entry-level class offers hands-on experience working through basic real-world legal research challenges.
This course deals with the law of immigration within the United States. The course will focus on immigrants and the different categories of non-immigrants and the various laws that must be followed to visit the U.S. from abroad or gain permanent resident status. Immigration law is a form-based area of law. As such, we will identify and complete the various forms that are used in the immigration process. Students will identify the vocabulary often used in immigration cases, practice preparing various types of immigration forms and develop an understanding of how to deal with the immigration client.
In this course topics of current interest and other areas of law are presented in group instruction. This course may be taken four times for credit.
Students will perform duties for various real estate attorneys engaged in transactional practices. Typical duties will include providing legal and administrative support to the assigned attorney, coordinating communications and activities between the assigned attorney and clients, working with clients, the assigned attorney, title examiners, and underwriting counsel to coordinate, track, and follow-up on orders, assist with legal research, preparation of documents and other paralegal related activities required to support clients. Other duties may include preparing closing documents, ancillary documents, title-related affidavits, and policies and endorsements, attending to title curative matters and identifying requirements of survey exceptions. Additional duties may include preparing and issuing title policies, e-recordings, disbursements; providing reports as needed, providing specialized services and support to clients, tracking and maintaining client lists and overseeing and creating invoices.
This course is designed to provide students the opportunity to apply classroom theory to practical, work-related applications. Seminars may be a component of this course and regular contact with the assigned faculty advisor is required. Students may earn cooperative education credits based on the completion of the required work experience and satisfactory completion of assignments including, but not limited to, seminars and a project. This course may be repeated based upon the student’s academic program.
MAR
####
Any MAR prefix course
ISM
####
Any ISM prefix course
This course prepares students for the NALA Certified Paralegal examination by providing a comprehensive review of the material included on the exam with emphasis on the areas currently tested. The course will include practice examinations designed to prepare students for the actual exam. The course is open to anyone preparing to take the Certified Paralegal Exam or interested in obtaining a general overview of various legal disciplines.
OST
####
Any OST prefix course
This course will expose the student to various policies and environmental regulations concerning air quality and dependence on foreign energy sources. Discussion will include enactment of policies, laws, regulations and programs with regard to conventional and alternative energy sources. Assessment of concerns over future depletion of global oil supplies and the impact to the U.S. economy will be discussed. The federal, state or local governmental response to issues concerning pollution and its impact on the number of environmental laws, the effectiveness of any proposed initiative and the extent of implementation and enforcement will be explored.
SLS
####
Any SLS prefix course
MAN
####
Any MAN prefix course

Any General Education course

3
Credits
GEB
####
Any GEB prefix course
BUL
2###
Any 2000 level BUL prefix course
General Education Courses
18
This is a course in the process of expository writing. Students will read essays and compose papers that are unified, organized, logically developed and supported, clearly stated and well-focused. Research techniques are introduced and incorporated into at least one composition. This course partially satisfies the writing requirement of S.B.E. 6A-10.030. Students must pass the core assignments with a grade of "C" or higher. This class satisfies the General Education State Core Communications requirement for A.A. degree seeking students.
In this course, students develop the ability to read literary texts critically, to think logically and creatively and to write and research effectively. Students must pass the core assignments with a grade of "C" or higher. This course partially satisfies the writing requirement of S.B.E. 6A-10.030.
The purpose of this course is to improve the basic skills of speaking and listening. Class exercises emphasize preparing and delivering public speeches, speaking with clarity and variety and listening with literal and critical comprehension.

Humanities General Education course

3
Credits

Mathematics or Science General Education course

3
Credits

Social Science General Education course

3
Credits
Total Credits:
64
Note:

If you choose a Science General Education course, due to state law, you must also complete any college developmental mathematics course(s) if you are non-exempt and if any were required by your entry-level test scores, before you can be awarded an associate degree.

Note:

Associate in Science (A.S.) degrees are designed to prepare graduates for immediate entry into their chosen career field. A.S. degree graduates may transfer into certain baccalaureate programs. Students planning to transfer to baccalaureate programs should consult with Student Affairs counselors, advisors or specialists to make sure required courses are taken and entry requirements are met for the college/university program of their choice.

Note:

Transfer of Legal Specialty Courses

Generally, legal specialty courses are those courses that cover a specific area of law or procedure. It is the policy of the Legal Studies Program to accept no more than the equivalent of fifty-percent of legal specialty courses. Legal specialty transfer credits may be considered from regionally accredited institutions provided the student completes the following procedure:

  1. The student must meet with the Legal Studies Program Manager and provide the Program Manager with a copy of the transcript listing the particular legal specialty course with a grade of "C" or better, the date the course was taken, and the number of credits earned for the course.
  2. The student must also provide a course syllabus or other acceptable documentation (course assignments, student work product) and be able to discuss specific paralegal skills acquired throughout the course. The Legal Studies Program Manager may accept transfer credit for the course if it is determined that the course in question is sufficiently similar to one offered as part of the ABA-approved Seminole State College Legal Studies curriculum.

Strong preference is given to those courses taken from an ABA-approved paralegal program. The Seminole State College Legal Studies Program does not accept professional work experience, CLEP credit, paralegal or legal assistant certifications, CEUs, or the 131 equivalent as transfer credit for legal specialty courses. Additionally, all Legal Studies students must complete a minimum of 10 semester hours of legal specialty course work in the traditional classroom environment; therefore, the number of on-line legal specialty courses subject to transfer may be limited in order to satisfy this requirement. This transfer policy includes any and all legal specialty courses taken at any institution including any Seminole State College campus offering a non-ABA approved program.

Note:

Students with a baccalaureate degree or an associate of arts degree from a regionally accredited institution will be considered to have met general education requirements for this degree program.

Textbook information will be available online for each term's courses 45 days prior to the first day of classes for the term.

Each course offered by Seminole State is listed alphabetically and organized by the course prefix, catalog number and description. The courses in this catalog are identified by prefixes and numbers that were assigned by Florida's Statewide Course Numbering System, a system used by all public postsecondary institutions in Florida and 32 non-public institutions. Seminole State controls the description, credit and content of its own courses.

Contact

Maritza Mendez
407.708.2348
Fax: 407.708.2198
Office: J-0011B