Paralegal Studies (AS)
What is A Paralegal Studies (AS) Degree?
All people involved with the practice of Law are part of the Criminal Justice system. Attorneys argue cases in court and give clients legal advice, prepare court documents, negotiate disputes, and argue law cases before a judge or a jury. Wherever a lawyer can work—legal office, business, government agency—paralegals can work, too, under the supervision of the lawyers. Paralegals evaluate facts and data for cases, draft responses and various legal documents, and communicate with clients in person or in writing. They do really important legal work; they just can’t do it in their own practice—a lawyer has to be there to supervise.
An AS degree in Paralegal Studies will qualify you for entry-level paralegal jobs; in a larger firm, with the AS, you may only do tasks like organizing files, preparing routine documents, and writing routine reports while leaving more complex tasks like conducting research to BS level Paralegals or to more specialized staff. In a small firm, it’s possible that the AS paralegal will perform the whole range of duties. Your coursework will include fundamentals in general education, the law, legal research and writing, criminal law, civil litigation, and torts. You may decide to go further at some point to complete the BS degree since more and more law firms are requiring it.
The videos below discuss “typical” programs, so they should help regardless of which school you are considering.