West Virginia Northern Community College

Programs of Study

Paralegal Studies C.A.S.

Paralegal Studies
Certificate in Applied Science
Students selecting the Paralegal option will receive training in legal documents and terminology, civil litigation proceedings, computer applications, legal research, legal ethics, and office procedures. 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
  • 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

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. Students who desire to continue their education in this field can easily elect to complete the Business Studies, A.A.S., Paralegal option.

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.

Fall Semester Cr. Hrs.
CIT 117 Microsoft Applications - 3
PAL 100 Drafting Legal Documents - 3
PAL 101 Introduction to Paralegal - 3
PAL 110 Legal Ethics - 3
PAL 160 Legal Research and Writing I - 3

Spring Semester Cr. Hrs.
ENG 101 College Composition I - 3
MATH 109 Math of Business & Finance - 3
PAL 150 Civil Litigation - 3
PAL 155 Law Office Administration - 3
PAL 201 Legal Research & Writing II - 3


Total Hours in Program—30

Gainful Employment Information

Awards and Accreditations