Associate in Applied Science (AAS)

Coffindaffer, Susan

Program Coordinator & Advisor
Assistant Professor of Paralegal/Landwork Studies
304-333-3668
144 Education Building
Locust Avenue Campus, Fairmont
Program Purpose: 
The Paralegal degree program at Pierpont prepares graduates to work as highly skilled professionals under the supervision of a licensed attorney in private practice, government service, corporations, or legal aid.
 
Paralegals must possess a basic knowledge of law and legal procedures and develop exceptional interviewing, investigating, critical analysis, computer, legal research, and legal righting skills. Paralegals must be dependable, persistent, well-organized, detail orientated, cooperative, adaptable, and energetic. Successful paralegals must be competent and confident enough to work independently, often with little or no direction, and trust worthy enough to take responsibility for their actions.
Student Learning Outcomes: 

Upon successful completion of the A.A.S. in Paralegal Studies, graduates will be able to do the following:

  • Describe the proper role of a paralegal in the delivery of legal services by an attorney, identify the ethical rules that govern the responsibilities of the legal profession to clients and the public in general, and recognize ethical dilemmas.
  • Demonstrate effective critical thinking, reasoning, and analytical skills in applying knowledge of applicable law and procedural rules to facts in both civil and criminal cases.
  • Identify legal issues, conduct factual research using proper interviewing and investigative techniques, and locate pertinent primary and secondary legal sources in print and electronic forms for legal analysis.
  • Write clearly and concisely, utilizing appropriate legal terminology, correct citation and style, and proper grammar and format, in drafting intra-office memoranda, client correspondence, and other basic legal documents.
  • Complete routine legal tasks proficiently and produce a draft of standard legal documents competently, using software applications and technology commonly used in legal employment.
  • Consistently model effective personal, interpersonal, time management, and project management skills, as required of those working in the legal profession.
Opportunities: 

Graduates of the Paralegal program can enter the field into a variety of paralegal and related jobs, including the following job titles: Paralegal (private and public); Director and or Coordinator for law office; Preparer of legal documents (including briefs, pleadings, appeals, wills); Contract and Estate Closing Officer; Real and Personal Property Appraiser (may require some additional training); Assistant Real Estate Closing Processor; Legal Investigator; Data Collection/Analyzer; Legal Writing Assistant (statutes, decisions and legal articles, codes and documents); Private investigator; and Legal Aid Assistant.

Notice to Students: 
  • It is to the responsibility of the student to meet with the faculty advisor to schedule all courses for the completion of this degree. Failure to seek assistance from the advisor may delay graduation.
  • A “C” or better is required for graduation in ENGL 1104 and ENGL 1109.
  • A “C” or better is required for graduation in PARA 1101, PARA 1102, PARA 1103, PARA 2201 and PARA 2202.
  • A cumulative 2.00 overall GPA is required for graduation in Paralegal Studies.
  • Permission is required to carry over 18 hours per semester. To be eligible, the student must be graduating or have a semester or cumulative 3.00 GPA.  Hours may not exceed 25 in any semester.
  • The semester before graduation, the student should schedule a Senior Evaluation through the Registrar's Office and must also apply for graduation. There is no graduation fee.
  • PARA 2994, PARA 2995 and PARA 2996, comprise the Paralegal Studies capstone experience.
  • Students are reminded to review campus policies and procedures posted in the college catalog and student handbook.
Program Total Credit Hours: 
60 CHs
Support Coursework: 
21 CHs

COM 2200

Introduction to Communication
3
CH(s)

ENGL 1104

Written English I
3|4
CH(s)

ENGL 1109

Technical Report Writing
3
CH(s)

OFAD 1150

Computer Concepts and Applications
3
CH(s)

MTH 1207

Fundamental Concepts of Mathematics
3|5
CH(s)

POL 1101

American Government
3
CH(s)

COMM 2201 or 2202 may be substituted for COMM 2200.
ENGL 1104 & 1109 must be completed with a grade of "C" or better.
PSYC 1101 or SOCY 1110 may be substituted for POLI 1103.

Program Specific Required Coursework: 
39 CHs

CRJU 2240

Adjudication Process
3
CH(s)

PARA 1101

Introduction to Paralegal Studies
3
CH(s)

PARA 1102

Introduction to the Fundamentals of Law
3
CH(s)

PARA 1103

Introduction to Legal Practice Areas
3
CH(s)

PARA 1104

Interviewing and Investigating
3
CH(s)

PARA 2201

Legal Research and Writing I
3
CH(s)

PARA 2202

Legal Research and Writing II
3
CH(s)

PARA 2203

Computer Applications for Legal Professionals
3
CH(s)

PARA 2204

Civil Litigation and Procedure
3
CH(s)

PARA 2213

Property & Probate
3
CH(s)

PARA 2241

Title Examinations and Abstracting
3
CH(s)

PARA 2242

Negotiating Essentials
3
CH(s)

PARA 2994

Ethics and Professional Responsibility
2
CH(s)

PARA 2995

Paralegal Professional Practicum
3
CH(s)

PARA 2996

Paralegal Professional Development
1
CH(s)

The following courses require prerequisites or instructor permission:  PARA 2203, 2204 and 2995.

Model Schedule
First Semester

ENGL 1104

Written English I
3|4
CH(s)

OFAD 1150

Computer Concepts and Applications
3
CH(s)

PARA 1101

Introduction to Paralegal Studies
3
CH(s)

PARA 1102

Introduction to the Fundamentals of Law
3
CH(s)

POL 1101

American Government
3
CH(s)
Total Credit Hours: 
15 CHs

ENGL 1104 Prerequisite(s): 18 or higher on the English portion of ACT; 450 or higher on Critical Reading of SAT; A scaled score of 38 or higher on Writing Skills Set of ASSET; 88 or higher on Sentence Skills of ACCUPLACER. Students falling below the listed scores will be required to take a four(4) credit hour ENGL 1104.

Second Semester

PARA 1103

Introduction to Legal Practice Areas
3
CH(s)

PARA 1104

Interviewing and Investigating
3
CH(s)

PARA 2201

Legal Research and Writing I
3
CH(s)

PARA 2204

Civil Litigation and Procedure
3
CH(s)

PARA 2213

Property & Probate
3
CH(s)
Total Credit Hours: 
15 CHs

PARA 2201 Prerequisites: ENGL 1104

Third Semester

COM 2200

Introduction to Communication
3
CH(s)

PARA 2202

Legal Research and Writing II
3
CH(s)

PARA 2203

Computer Applications for Legal Professionals
3
CH(s)

PARA 2241

Title Examinations and Abstracting
3
CH(s)

PARA 2242

Negotiating Essentials
3
CH(s)
Total Credit Hours: 
15 CHs

PARA 2202 Prerequisite: PARA 2201
PARA 2203 Prerequisite: OFAD 1150
PARA 2241 Prerequisite: PARA 2213
COMM 2201 or 2202 may be substituted for COMM 2200

Fourth Semester

CRJU 2240

Adjudication Process
3
CH(s)

ENGL 1109

Technical Report Writing
3
CH(s)

MTH 1207

Fundamental Concepts of Mathematics
3|5
CH(s)

PARA 2994

Ethics and Professional Responsibility
2
CH(s)

PARA 2995

Paralegal Professional Practicum
3
CH(s)

PARA 2996

Paralegal Professional Development
1
CH(s)
Total Credit Hours: 
15 CHs

Instructor/Advisor Approval Required for PARA 2995 and 2996.
PARA 2995:  Must be taken in last semester of program.
ENGL 1109 Prerequisite: ENGL 1104

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