2008-2009 Florida Community College at Jacksonville Catalog
Paralegal Studies (Legal Assisting) (A.S. or A.A.S.) (2299)
Associate in Science or Associate in Applied Science
The Paralegal Studies (Legal Assisting) program is for students who wish to seek employment in the legal or criminal justice field as paralegals or for individuals presently employed who wish to advance in their careers. Florida Community College’s program is structured to meet the needs of the legal profession in the state of Florida, as developed in response to a survey of local attorneys, which showed a great need for trained paraprofessional specialists in the field. Courses are taught by practicing attorneys or other legal professionals. An advisory committee composed of attorneys and other professionals meets regularly to make suggestions and recommendations for the program. The program culminates in a professional internship (PLA 1943 Internship). All other professional core courses must be completed prior to enrollment in the internship. In this course, students will work not less than 180 hours in a law or law-related office. In addition, students will meet to share work experiences and receive final preparation for paraprofessional practice.
Students who want to pursue a baccalaureate degree should consult the program director.
The final responsibility for meeting graduation requirements stated in your Degree Audit Report rests with the student.
Transfer of Legal Specialty Courses from other institutions must be approved by the program director.
Educational Goals of the Legal Assisting Program
An A.S. degree prepares graduates to assist attorneys as legal assistants in administrative agencies, insurance companies, private law firms, state agencies, corporations, government, and other legal environments. The technical curriculum has been designed to provide students with knowledge and skills in the areas of the role of a legal assistant, ethical requirements, legal research, analysis, the preparation of legal documents, litigation practice and procedure, real estate transactions, family law, administrative law, tort law, criminal law and probate law and practice. Emphasis is on training students in both civil and criminal matters.
This program is approved by the American Bar Association. In fact, FCCJ has the only paralegal program in North Florida approved by the ABA. In accordance with stringent guidelines, all FCCJ legal program faculty members are ABA approved and the program has an active advisory committee of 24 area lawyers, judges, court administrators and business leaders.
The program culminates in a professional internship program. All other professional core courses must be completed prior to enrollment in the internship. In this course, students will work not less than 180 hours in a law-related office. In addition, students will meet weekly to share work experiences and receive final preparation for paraprofessional practice.
Career Opportunities, Rapid Placement
Florida Community College’s Career Development Centers handle job placement for the majority of paralegals in Jacksonville and the surrounding five-county area. Lawyers benefit by shifting certain responsibilities to certified legal assistants and paralegals whose hours are billable.
Salaries and bonuses for paralegals average about $39,000 and range as high as $61,400 with advancement and experience.
You can learn more about a career in legal assisting and how we can help you achieve that goal at the FCCJ Legal Studies Institute Web page. You’ll also find information on continuing education for legal professionals, internship information and links to other legal professional associations.
The Certified Legal Assistant/Certified Paralegal credential is recognized in the legal community as representing the highest standard of excellence and professionalism, especially for those who have taken the additional step to attain the Specialty designation in one or more fields of practice. FCCJ and the Northeast Florida Paralegal Association cosponsor a five-week review course to help you prepare for the rigorous two-day certification exam.
Students desiring to enter the Paralegal Studies (Legal Assisting) program must attend an informational orientation prior to enrollment. Please call 904.381.3589 to schedule your orientation date.
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Total Credit Hours: 64