Paralegals are educated and/or experienced support staff who work under the supervision and direction of attorneys. They draft correspondence, memoranda, and legal and other documents. They research laws and assist the lawyers in their work through interviewing clients and witnesses, conducting investigations to collect evidence, assisting at court hearings and trials, and managing case files.
Paralegals have skills to do book-based and computerized legal research, to create and manage documents and records, and to function in, or even manage, a legal office. They also have studied procedural and substantive law to have a firm understanding of the lawyers’ work. They are also trained in legal office procedures and have had some experience through co-ops and internships in working with office clients.
Upon completion of the Paralegal AAS degree, students will be able to think critically, demonstrate organizational skills, work effectively with a variety of legal office professionals and clients, understand and apply legal ethics as required by law, demonstrate in-depth understanding of the legal system and its various agencies, demonstrate solid interviewing and investigation skills, draft legal documents and memoranda pertinent to specific areas of law, demonstrate excellent writing, listening, and speaking skills, demonstrate knowldge in legal research and writing skills, demonstrate knowledge and understanding of a variety of computer programs, maintain confidentiality.
Paralegals are trained in the ethics of the legal profession and know that their work, while of assistance to the lawyers, is supportive in nature only and that they do not practice law, give legal advice, or engage in any activities that violate the Rules of Professional Conduct.
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