As defined by the American Bar Association, “A paralegal is a person qualified by education, training or work experience who is employed or retained by a lawyer, law office, corporation, governmental agency or other entity and who performs specifically delegated substantive legal work for which a lawyer is responsible.”
The paralegal studies program at Union College is designed to prepare graduates for a variety of paralegal job opportunities. The utilization of paralegals improves the efficiency, economy and availability of legal services. A paralegal performs substantive legal work under the direct supervision of an attorney.
Paralegals may not provide legal services directly to the public, except as permitted by law.
The Associate in Applied Science Degree Option will prepare students to enter the paralegal work force with the requisite skills or to transfer to a four-year institution to complete their baccalaureate degree.
The specific objectives of this program are that the student will be able to:
- Examine the roles played by paralegals in the American legal system, particularly the ethical regulations concerning the practice of law;
- Demonstrate critical thinking and problem solving skills;
- Effectively communicate with others in a diverse society, maintaining a professional manner and client confidence;
- Conduct legal research and other fact-gathering activities including client interviews and investigations using current and emerging technologies;
- Demonstrate the ability to write clearly and accurately according to the standards of the legal profession;
- Recognize the similarities and differences among the general areas of law;
- Discuss the basic tenets of the diverse subjects of law, define the legal terms related to these areas, and prepare the documents related to these specialties;
- Analyze and evaluate the relevant legal issues presented in various fact patterns;
- Prepare various documents in preparation for litigation and post-trial practice;
- Incorporate computer technology in law office management and data compilation systems.
Transfer Policy: Prospective students may transfer no more than 30 credits, and no more than 12 credits of legal specialty courses, into Associates in Applied Science degree program, and only with the approval of the Program Director.