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Paralegal Studies Associate Degree and Certificate

The Paralegal Profession continues to be one of the fastest growing professions in the United States. COC's Paralegal Studies curriculum prepares students for positions as paralegals in order to improve the accessibility, quality, and affordability of legal services.

Check out the Program Mapper and the recommended course sequence documents:

Program goals:
  1. Provide students with an understanding of the American legal system and the role of the paralegal in that legal system.
  2. Give students the legal theoretical background needed to perform paralegal tasks in substantive areas of law and legal specialties.
  3. Educate and train students in areas of procedural law emphasizing the paralegal's role in litigation, mediation, and arbitration.
  4. Help students obtain critical paralegal skills in areas including investigation, legal research, conducting an interview, and written and oral communications.
  5. Motivate students to ethically serve the public and the legal system.
  6. Provide students with the tools needed to become contributing members of the legal profession.
  7. Completion of the program with an associate degree in Paralegal Studies.

Student Learning Outcome: 

  • Prepare legal documents and written communications applicable to various areas of law.
  • Apply law and principles to hypothetical fact patterns.
  • Prioritize competing deadlines and schedules to complete assignments timely

Major Course Requirements for AA and Certificate
Units Required: 31

Introduction to Law | 3 units
Contract Law | 3 units
Tort Law | 3 units
Legal Analysis & Writing* | 3 units
PARLGL-107 (Fall & Winter Only)
Legal Ethics | 1 unit
Legal Research and Computerized Legal Research* | 3 units
Legal Technology | 3 units
Civil Litigation I* | 3 units
Civil Litigation II* | 3 units
Family Law | 3 units
PARLGL-200 (Spring Only unless sufficient demand for Fall)
Paralegal Seminar** | 1 unit
WEPLGL-186 (internship)
Work Experience Education | 1-4 units
Total (31) units

The associate in arts degree in Paralegal Studies requires a minimum of 21 semester units of general education; 31 units of legal specialty course work; and 9 units of additional course work.

Additional Course Work - To meet the 9 unit requirement, students may take 9 units of any of the following:

  • 9 units of ABA approved general education;
  • 9 units of the paralegal studies electives: Bankruptcy - PARLGL-140, Estate Planning - PARLGL 180, Workers' Compensation - PARLGL 160, Business Organizations - PARLGL 170; Or any combination of the above.
* Recommended Sequence of Courses:
These courses may be taken in any order, but due to the complexity of the following courses, it is recommended that students take these following courses during their second year in the program:

PARLGL-106 Legal Analysis & Writing | 3 units
PARLGL-108 Legal Research and Computerized Legal Research | 3 units
PARLGL-111 Civil Litigation I | 3 units
PARLGL-112 Civil Litigation II | 3 units
PARLGL-200** Paralegal Seminar | 1 units

**NOTE: This course requires the completion of ALL paralegal studies courses prior to enrollment OR being concurrently enrolled in the remaining.

Paralegal student working and studying.

Paralegal instructor working with students.


(not required for degree or certificate)
140 - Bankruptcy (summer)
180 - Estate Planning (spring)
160 - Workers' Compensation in California (fall)
170 - Law for Business Organizations (winter)

Course sequence to complete in 1 year:

Fall or Spring 
101 - Intro to Law (at least two sections to choose from)
104 - Contract Law (online)
105 - Tort Law (Thursday evening)
111 - Civil Lit I (Wednesday evening)
109 - Legal Technology (alternating Tuesday evenings)
150 - Family Law (Monday evening)

Spring or Fall
106 - Legal Analysis and Writing (Thursday evenings)
108 - Legal Research (Tuesday evenings)
112 - Civil Litigation II (Wednesday evenings)
200 - Paralegal Seminar (1 unit course, one Saturday morning a month)
WE 188 or 186 (internship)

107 - Legal Ethics (1 unit course, 5 weeks, meets 2 Tuesday evenings in January)


The ABA stresses that paralegals may not provide legal services directly to the public except as permitted by law.