Paralegal Studies Department
Paralegal Studies Department
Business and Information Technology Division
Program Chairperson: Deborah Vinecour
Telephone: (845) 574-4169
Full-Time Faculty: Deborah Vinecour
Adjunct Faculty: Fina Delprincipio, Jerrold M. Fleisher, Mary Lynn Nicolas-Brewster, Janice Starr, Patricia E. Szobonya, Diane Trabocchi
The Paralegal Studies program at Rockland Community College offers students a wonderful educational experience in the highly employable paralegal profession.
The Paralegal program was developed as a result of the demand for professional paralegals in the metropolitan area. The Business department offers a two-year Paralegal Studies (A.A.S.) degree, and for those students who have already earned an associate of arts or associate of science degree, or higher, there is a one-year Paralegal Studies certificate. The goal of both the degree and certificate programs is to prepare students to become entry-level paralegals.
What is a paralegal?
Paralegals are employed by law firms, governmental agencies, corporations, and nonprofit organizations. Paralegals perform legal tasks and are supervised by attorneys. Paralegals are not permitted to practice law which means that they cannot give legal advice, represent clients in court, set a legal fee or accept a case. Paralegals are supervised by attorneys. The job market for paralegals is excellent.
What's the difference between a paralegal and an attorney?
Attorneys have a license and are able to provide legal services directly to the public. Paralegals are not licensed and always work under the supervision of an attorney. The educational requirements for attorneys and paralegals are different. To become an attorney, one must first possess a four-year college degree, and then complete three years of law school study. Upon graduating law school, a bar examination must be passed to become a licensed attorney. Some people become paralegals through work experience, however, a sure way to properly prepare for the paralegal career is by obtaining a degree or certificate in paralegal studies.
What do paralegals do?
Paralegals do a great variety of tasks since they work in so many different areas of law. Areas of law include litigation, family law, real estate, criminal law, corporations and partnerships, bankruptcy, environmental law, intellectual property, among many others. Examples of some paralegal responsibilities include interviewing clients and witnesses, preparing legal documents, assisting at trials, investigation and performing legal research.
What are the goals and objectives of the Paralegal program?
The program is designed to prepare students for careers in the legal industry working under the
supervision of attorneys. Students obtain technical skills, substantive legal knowledge, and
communication abilities necessary to be successful as entry-level or advancing paralegals.
The graduates are trained to satisfy the legal community’s need for paralegals that can work
independently under the supervision of an attorney. Additionally, this training aids in satisfying
society’s need for more efficient and available legal services.
Upon completion of this program, students will have earned 63 credits. Completion of liberal arts courses will allow students to concentrate on completing upper-level major courses in baccalaureate programs.
In addition, students will have successfully fulfilled the following learning outcomes:
- Demonstrate up-to-date skills in law office technology, including using practice specific applications, electronic filing, and appropriate word-processing software.
- Apply principles of computerized and manual legal researching, and will master the skills of legal writing.
- Apply strong written and oral communication skills.
- Produce various legal documents, such as motions, discovery papers, pleadings, forms as well as practice specific documents such as real estate contracts, wills, among others.
- Identify and use the principles of legal ethics and professional responsibility.
- Demonstrate knowledge of their profession, with insight as to the ever-changing role of the paralegal, licensing and certification issues, employment trends and options, paralegal networking organizations and professional development.
- Apply substantive knowledge of the law in the following areas: the court systems, jurisdiction, civil and criminal procedure, contracts, torts, wills and estates, real estate, family and matrimonial law, and business organizations and corporations.
- Employ effective people skills to promote positive client relationships, conduct client and witness interviews, and network within the paralegal community.
Why choose the Rockland Community College Paralegal program?
There are many reasons to choose Rockland Community for your paralegal education, including:
* Courses are offered during the day, evening and weekends.
* Get hands-on experience doing internships with law firms in the private sector or in government offices.
* Learn to conduct computerized legal research.
* Receive academic and career counseling from trained faculty members.
* Financial aid and scholarships are available.
The following degree is offered by this program:
Paralegal Studies A.A.S.
Paralegal Studies Certificate