Paralegal Studies (Legal Assisting)

Associate in Science

Paralegal Studies

Legal research and writing, litigation, criminal law and technology in law

The Associate in Science (A.S.) in Paralegal Studies (Legal Assisting) degree prepares students for careers in the legal profession. The courses provide students with both the knowledge of the substantive areas of law studies (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), which are necessary to succeed as a paralegal or legal assistant. The program culminates in a professional internship during the student’s last term in the program consisting of a minimum 180 intern hours at a law-related office. For those students who are unable to complete a traditional internship, the program offers a simulated law office class.

The A.S. in Paralegal Studies (Legal Assisting) degree at FSCJ has been approved by the American Bar Association (ABA) since 1997. In fact, it is the only ABA-approved program in North Florida.

This program cannot be completed entirely online.  Due to ABA requirements, students must complete a minimum number of credit hours through traditional classroom instruction. Transfer of legal specialty courses from other institutions may be limited by the program's ABA approval.

Industry Associations

Program Code: 2299

64 Credits

School of Business, Professional Studies and Public Safety
Financial Aid Eligibility

Financial aid is available, if qualified.

Phone

(904) 646-2300

Catalog

View current catalog year program information.

Program Fact Sheet
Academic Degree Plan
Alternative ways to earn credit

You may be eligible to receive credit toward this degree through Prior Learning Assessment. Examples include industry certifications, certain PSAV programs, credit by examination, or creating a portfolio of learning experiences. For more information, contact an academic advisor or learn more about Accelerated College.

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Degree Options

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

Students who want to pursue a bachelor’s degree for transfer must meet course and test requirements for that college or university.

Career Opportunities

The American Bar Association (ABA) 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.”

This A.S. degree program supports ethical guidelines against the unauthorized practice of law by non-attorneys. 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. 

Employment opportunities may include private law firms, courthouses, governmental or administrative agencies, non-profit organizations, corporations and other legal environments.

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