The Paralegal Studies Certificate program was approved by the American Bar Association (ABA) in February 2004. This program prepares graduates for entry level employment as paralegals. The entry level paralegal works under the supervision of a lawyer researching the law, investigating facts, preparing drafts of legal documents, and working with clients. They are employed in almost all areas where law related work is performed, i.e., private law firms, government agencies, insurance companies and corporations, but, in all areas of law, paralegals are prohibited from establishing attorney-client relationships, from setting legal fees, from giving legal opinions or advice, and from representing clients in court. Paralegals may not provide legal services directly to the public, except as provided by law.
Monroe Community College's curriculum was prepared in partnership with the Monroe County Bar Association and the Paralegal Associates of Rochester. Course work emphasizes New York law, ethics and professional responsibility, procedural applications of the law, computer application in the law, and client satisfaction through legal teamwork.
Admission to the program has specific educational requirements that include either a bachelor's degree, or an associate's degree with 18 credit hours in broadly based liberal arts courses and significant experience in banking, finance, government, insurance, or other law-related environments (a degree in Criminal Justice is deemed to meet this requirement). As a condition of acceptance into the Paralegal Studies Certificate Program, those with minimal computer experience may be advised to register for CRC 101 Practical Computer Literacy either prior to or concurrently with matriculation in the Paralegal Studies Certificate Program. The Paralegal Advisory Board approved MCC's selective admissions criteria.
The Paralegal Studies Certificate program commences every Fall Semester. Classes are held on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings at the Damon City Campus. The curriculum consists of 17 courses varying from one credit hour to three credit hours, and the program takes 15 months to complete. Each course must be taken in the sequence indicated.
Program Learning Outcomes
1) Identify legal concepts and their practical applications
2) Deliver an effective oral presentation
3) Write effectively in a variety of legal contexts
4) Use legal technology for legal research
5) Apply analytical thinking skills in legal contexts.
6) Apply knowledge of ethical obligations and reasoning to situations in the law
Requirements for Program Entrance
Students seeking admission to Paralegal Studies must possess an Associate degree; Bachelor’s degree preferred. For students without a Bachelor’s degree, a departmental interview/recommendation is required.
FALL SEMESTER: 7 Credit Hours
PLS 250 Paralegal Communications Skills
PLS 260 Introduction to Paralegal Studies
PLS 266 Legal Research and Writing
PLS 264 Administrative Law
INTERSESSION AND SPRING SEMESTER: 12 Credit Hours
PLS 263 Contract Law for Paralegals
PLS 267 Litigation and the Federal and New York State Procedural Laws
PLS 268 Personal Injury Law
PLS 269 Domestic Relations and Family Law
PLS 272 Real Estate Law
PLS 273 Computer Support Systems
SUMMER SEMESTER: 6 Credit Hours
PLS 270 Debtor-Creditor Law
PLS 271 Corporate Law and Business Organizations
PLS 275 Law Practice Management
FINAL FALL SEMESTER: 8 Credit Hours
PLS 265 Fact-finding Research
PLS 274 Estate Planning, Estate and Trust Administration
PLS 276 Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility