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    Florida State College at Jacksonville
   
 
  May 22, 2022
 
2015-2016 Catalog [Aug. 2015-Aug. 2016] 
    
2015-2016 Catalog [Aug. 2015-Aug. 2016] [Archived Catalog]

Paralegal Studies (Legal Assisting) (2299) (A.S.)


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Associate in Science

Mission/Purpose

The mission of the Paralegal Studies (Legal Assisting) program is to educate, train, and develop students for careers as paralegals and legal assistants. The program is intended primarily for students who desire an associate in science degree and then directly enter the workforce. The curriculum focuses on the study of legal theory and substantive areas of the law, and incorporates the practical application of law to develop the skills necessary to succeed in the profession. The program emphasizes legal research, writing, law related technology, communication, ethics, and critical thinking skills so that students enter the legal profession well prepared. 

The Program

The Paralegal Studies (Legal Assisting) program at Florida State College at Jacksonville has been approved by the American Bar Association (ABA) since 1997. In fact, we are the only ABA-approved program in North Florida. 

The Paralegal Studies (Legal Assisting) program prepares students for careers in the legal profession. The courses, taught by attorneys, provide students with both the knowledge of the substantive areas of law (such as tort law, family law, real estate law, criminal law, probate, and estate planning) and the practical skills (such as, conducting legal research, preparing legal documents, investigating, and communicating) needed to succeed as a paralegal or legal assistant. Employment opportunities may include private law firms, courthouses, governmental or administrative agencies, non-profit organizations, corporations and other legal environments. 

The program may provide a solid foundation for those considering law school in the future as well.

Transfer of Legal Specialty courses from other institutions must be approved by the Program Manager and may be limited by the program’s ABA approval.

This program cannot be completed entirely online.  The Paralegal Studies courses that are not offered online are held at Kent Campus. 

One advanced technical certificate is available within this degree program: Paralegal Studies (4104) (A.T.C.) .  Students may pursue the A.S. degree and earn technical certificates while completing the requirements for the degree, or pursue one or more certificates to develop or upgrade their skills in a particular field. Contact an advisor or counselor to determine the career education path that is best for you.

A minimum grade of “C” or better must be achieved in all professional core and paralegal studies courses.

The Profession

The American Bar Association defines a paralegal/legal assistant as “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.”

Paralegals and legal assistants are not permitted by law to give legal advice, represent clients in court, or set legal fees.  Doing so is considered the unauthorized practice of law (UPL) and can result in civil and criminal liability. The Paralegal Studies (Legal Assisting) program supports these ethical guidelines against the unauthorized practice of law by non-attorneys. The students in the program have extensive training in legal ethics.

Internship

The program culminates in a professional internship during the student’s last semester in the program. With approval from the Instructional Program Manager, a student may enroll in the Internship course, which will consist of classroom activities and an internship of a minimum 180 hours at a law-related office. For those students who are unable to complete an internship due to circumstances, the program has developed an alternative course, Simulated Law Office Experience: The Paralegal Studies Capstone. The alternative course is not ideally suited for everyone and cannot fully replace the valuable experience of an Internship. Students are encouraged to participate in the Internship when feasible.

Certification

At this time, certification of paralegals/legal assistants remains voluntary in Florida. The Certified Legal Assistant/Certified Paralegal (CLA/CP) credential, is recognized in the legal community as representing the highest standard of excellence and professionalism.  Students who successfully graduate from the Paralegal Studies (Legal Assisting) program at Florida State College at Jacksonville meet the educational requirements to sit for the CLA/CP exam. The exam is administered locally by the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA).  For more information regarding the CLA/CP exam, eligibility and fees, please see the NALA website

Paralegal Studies (Legal Assisting) Program Orientation

Students interested in the Paralegal Studies (Legal Assisting) program must attend an informational orientation prior to enrollment in paralegal courses. Please call (904) 381-3506 to schedule your orientation date.

Need More Information? Contact:

Nancy Sutton, J.D., Kent Campus, (904) 381-3506 or nancy.m.sutton@fscj.edu

More Information Online:

Recommended Roadmap for this Program  

Curriculum


General Education

Credit Hours: 18

Professional Courses

Credit Hours: 6
A minimum grade of “C” or better is required in all Professional Core courses.

Paralegal Studies Courses

Credit Hours: 31
A minimum grade of “C” or better is required in all Paralegal Studies courses.

Professional Electives

Minimum Credit Hours: 3

Professional Law-Related Elective Courses

Minimum Credit Hours: 6

Total Credit Hours: 64

Record of Conviction of a Crime


Most governmental agencies, including the Public Defender’s Office and State Attorney’s Office, as well as some law firms, require students to undergo drug screening and criminal background checks prior to internships or employment.  Students whose drug screening and criminal background checks are deemed unsatisfactory may be denied access to opportunities at these locations.  Students should be aware that some of the professional paralegal organizations may deny membership due to certain criminal convictions.  Membership in such organizations is strictly voluntary.

Graduation Requirements


In order to be awarded the Associate in Science degree, students must have met the following requirements:

  1. Students must fulfill all academic requirements for the chosen program of study as outlined in the Florida State College at Jacksonville catalog and curriculum.
  2. Earned a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 (“C”) at Florida State College at Jacksonville in courses eligible toward the Associate in Science degree programs, excluding developmental education courses. (A.S. Florida State College at Jacksonville GPA).
  3. Earned an all-college cumulative grade point average of 2.0 (“C”) on a 4.0 scale on all courses attempted. This includes Florida State College at Jacksonville college-credit semester hours and transferred credits (excluding developmental education) in lower division courses. (All college cumulative.)
  4. Complete a minimum of 25 percent of the total hours required for the program in residence at Florida State College at Jacksonville. Credit by examination and credit by portfolio development do not count toward this residency requirement.
  5. Complete the required semester hours, as specified by the degree, of which a minimum of 15 semester hours must be General Education requirements.
  6. Earned a grade of a C or better in each course used to satisfy the General Education Requirements and any other area designated with a C or better requirement.
  7. Students must have fulfilled all obligations, financial or otherwise, to the College before they may graduate.

 Note: Students are cautioned to pay particular attention to the following statements.

  1. A student’s graduation date will be the date of the end of the College term in which the student has fulfilled all academic requirements. (The removal of an incomplete grade does not affect students’ graduation dates, since the grade change is effective at the end of the term in which the incomplete grade was assigned rather than the term in which the incomplete work was made up.)
  2. Students who enter under the (2015/2016) catalog will be assigned to the degree or certificate requirements in effect during the 2015/2016 academic year.  The student’s assigned catalog year will remain in effect as long as the student maintains continuous enrollment. Changes to requirements as mandated by law or by rule of the District Board of Trustees may supersede this provision.
  3. Many courses in this catalog have prerequisite and/or co-requisite courses which are listed in the course descriptions. Students are advised to be guided by these requirements.
  4. Students who place into developmental education courses are required to complete designated developmental education courses with a grade of “C” or better regardless of program of study.

Articulation


This A.S. degree program articulates into a bachelor’s degree program. For more information, please visit the Transfer Services Web page and look for your A.S. program of study.

University Transfer


This Associate in Science and Associate in Applied Science degree programs are intended primarily for students who desire to complete an Associate in Science degree or an Associate in Applied Science degree and become employed. Students who decide to pursue university transfer study must meet certain course and test requirements. For details refer to the University Transfer Guide.

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