WVNCC | West Virginia Northern Community College
Associate in Applied Science Degree
The Paralegal Option will provide students with practical office skills as well as the theory and practice in developing paralegal skills in the areas of civil/criminal proceedings, wills, estates, and trusts, family law, and legal research. The paralegal/legal assistant (terms are interchangeable) performs delegated work under the direct supervision of an attorney and assists the attorney in the delivery of legal services. Tasks may include preparation of legal documents, legal research, and client interviews. This profession requires individuals who possess skills in the following areas: communication, customer service, decision making, organization, office management, and computer applications.
Upon completion of this program, graduates will be able to:
- Perform the skills needed for a paralegal/legal assistant
- Exhibit knowledge of legal terminology
- Demonstrate knowledge of civil and criminal proceedings
- Demonstrate critical thinking skills
- Demonstrate both written and oral skills
- Utilize resources to locate legal research
- Demonstrate working knowledge of application software
- Demonstrate the ability to follow ethical standards and guidelines for the profession in areas such as confidentiality, attorney-client privilege, legal process, and courtroom procedures
- Draft various types of legal correspondence that communicate the results of legal research and analysis
Graduates of this program can expect to obtain employment in private law firms, state and federal government agencies, insurance companies, corporate legal departments, and banks. According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, the job outlook for paralegals and legal assistants is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2012. The duties of paralegals and legal assistants will vary based on the type of organization in which they are employed.
The course requirements are presented in sequence. Part-time students and others who cannot follow this sequence should check course descriptions in this catalog to determine prerequisites and, in addition, should consult their academic advisor regarding the order in which they take courses.
The Paralegal option is offered full-time on the Wheeling campus. Students from the Weirton campus selecting the Paralegal option will be required to travel to Wheeling for certain courses offered in both the Fall and Spring semesters. Students from the New Martinsville area will have to travel to either the Weirton or Wheeling campus for all Paralegal specific (PAL) courses.