Paralegal Studies

Associate of Applied Science


Division: Business, Social and Behavioral Science, and Professional/Public Service

Division Chair: Kristie deRuiter,

Department Chair: Patricia Szobonya,

Department Support Staff: Jeremy Cordock,

Department Office: Technology Center, Room 8320, Phone: 845-574-4418 or 845-574-4731

Why Study Paralegal Studies?

The American Bar Association defines a paralegal as “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.” Examples of some paralegal responsibilities include interviewing clients and witnesses, preparing legal documents, assisting at trials, and 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. This program provides students with the skills necessary to obtain entry-level positions as paralegals, working under the supervision of attorneys. To pursue a four-year degree, students will need to complete additional general education courses at the transferring institution.

The certificate is for students who already have an associate’s degree or higher.

Related disciplines include Criminal Justice.

Degrees Offered:

Occupational Objectives:

The U.S. Department of Labor website states that employment of paralegals and legal assistants is projected to grow 28 percent between 2008 and 2018, much faster than the average for all occupations, and the paralegal field is regularly ranked as one of the fastest growing in the nation. Paralegals work in many different areas of law, including: litigation, family law, real estate, criminal law, corporations and partnerships, bankruptcy, environmental law and intellectual property, among others.

Gainful Employment Disclosure

5 Top Reasons

To Study Paralegal Studies at RCC:

  1. VALUE: Affordable tuition, financial aid, scholarships.
  2. CAREER: Internships provide real-world experience in the legal field and individual job placement services are offered.
  3. FLEXIBILITY: Classes are offered days, nights, weekends and online to accommodate work, family or other time commitments. Childcare is available on campus.
  4. FACULTY: Learn from faculty who are licensed, practicing attorneys and practicing professional paralegals.
  5. APPROVED: The Paralegal Studies Program is approved by the American Bar Association.

Opportunities at Rockland Community College:

There are more than 40 student clubs, including several organizations of special interest for those in the paralegal program. RCC has a Political Science & Pre-Law Association, a Student Government Association and an honor society just for Paralegal students. Extracurricular events include a mock job interview session and networking events with area attorneys and paralegals.

Program Goals:

The program, which is approved by the American Bar Association, provides a dynamic and academically challenging course of study. Students will develop a critical understanding of the law in preparation for a career in the legal profession.

Program Learning Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of this program, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate up-to-date skills in law office technology, including using practice specific applications, electronic filing, and appropriate word-processing software
  • Apply principles of computerized and manual legal researching, and master the skills of legal writing
  • Apply strong written and oral communication skills
  • Produce various legal documents, such as motions, discovery papers, pleadings, forms as well as practice specific documents such as real estate contracts, wills, among others
  • Identify and use the principles of legal ethics and professional responsibility
  • Demonstrate knowledge of their profession, with insight as to the ever-changing role of the paralegal, licensing and certification issues, employment trends and options, paralegal networking organizations and professional development
  • Apply substantive knowledge of the law in the following areas: the court systems, jurisdiction, civil and criminal procedure, contracts, torts, wills and estates, real estate, family and matrimonial law
  • Employ effective people skills to promote positive client relationships, conduct client and witness interviews, and network within the paralegal community