Careers in Paralegal Studies
Paralegals help attorneys in private law offices, government agencies, corporations and community legal service organizations. Working under the supervision of attorneys, paralegals perform legal and factual research, draft legal documents and correspondence, interview clients and witnesses, help the attorney at trial and other hearings, maintain and organize files, and coordinate the use of technology in law practice settings.
Paralegal work can be demanding, requiring overtime and managing multiple deadlines, but it is often rewarding with great compensation and benefits. Furthermore, opportunities in paralegal work are expected to increase at an above-average rate in the next few years, making it an attractive career opportunity.
The California Employment Development Department (EDD) collects data about the state’s workforce. These data include information about the number of people employed in the field, job outlook, and wage information. The California EDD predicts for the period 2008-2018 the number of openings for paralegals and legal assistants to increase by over 17%. For more detailed information about positions in the legal support field, check the California Occupational Guide for the occupations listed below: http://www.labormarketinfo.edd.ca.gov/occguides/Search.aspx.
Necessary Education and Skills for Career Success
The Paralegal Studies Program at De Anza College is approved by the American Bar Association.
Success as a paralegal requires excellent research, logic and reasoning, and writing and speaking skills. Computers are playing an increasingly important role in the practice of law, and paralegals need to be comfortable using electronic databases and research tools. California law also demands that paralegals complete specified educational requirements.*
The primary goal of the program is to educate students for positions as paralegals where they can demonstrate the competency and ethical standards demanded of the profession. The program’s specific objectives are:
Paralegal graduates cannot give legal advice, appear in court, or otherwise engage in the unauthorized practice of law. The practice of law by non-attorneys is strictly prohibited by law.
General Info About the Program
De Anza College offers both a certificate and a degree program to help individuals prepare for employment as paralegals. These programs offer courses in various types of law, relevant paralegal topics, legal writing and research, and civil litigation procedure. Both programs satisfy the educational requirements of California law.
Paralegal Certificate and Degree Program
The following links open in .pdf.
Certificate of Achievement-Advanced:
Associate Degree (A.A.):
* The Paralegal Studies Program at De Anza College is approved by the American Bar Association. The primary goal of the program is to educate students for positions as paralegals where they can demonstrate the competency and ethical standards demanded of the profession. Paralegal graduates cannot give legal advice, appear in court, or otherwise engage in the unauthorized practice of law. The practice of law by non-attorneys is strictly prohibited by law.
Substitution Policy for Legal Specialty Courses
A student may substitute up to 18 quarter units in legal specialty courses from another institution only if the coursework completed at the other institution
A student must submit the following documentation to the Director of Paralegal Studies for the director’s review to determine whether the course meets our standards:
This material is kept on file for review by the ABA. Every three years the program must report what substitutions have been allowed. To maintain approval, we must prove that any substitutions are for courses from other programs that meet (or exceed) the ABA's standards for paralegal education.
Director: Terry Ellis