Paralegals help lawyers prepare for legal hearings, trials and corporate meetings by interviewing clients, performing legal research, maintaining case files, and managing tasks. Additionally, experienced paralegals may manage highly complex projects as well as oversee other legal support staff.
However, paralegals are prohibited from providing legal advice, representing a client in court, or engaging in the unauthorized practice of law.
In order to succeed in the paralegal field, students will need to develop effective critical thinking, organizational and problem solving skills, as well as enjoy working with complex ideas and information.
The Paralegal Studies Program at Skyline College
Enroll in the Paralegal Studies Program at Skyline College for a rewarding and highly supportive academic experience that will help you develop the skills you need to excel as a legal professional. We offer a Certificate of Achievement which provides a head start on the road to employment and an Associate Degree for a clear path for transfer to a four-year institution.
The program’s key objectives are:
- To provide students with an overview of the legal system and law practice
- To provide students with in-depth knowledge and skills to work in one or more areas of legal practice.
- To prepare students to perform legal research and to draft a variety of legal documents.
- To teach students the rules and laws governing the conduct of paralegals and to help them internalize high ethical values and behavior.
Length and Cost of Program
Skyline College offers a 25-unit certificate program for those students who already have an associate or higher degree. For those who do not already have a degree, Skyline offers a 60-unit Associate of Science degree program in Paralegal. Students who earn the degree also qualify for the certificate.
The 25 units required to earn the certificate may be completed in as short a time as 18-24 months – 4 or 5 semesters – or students may choose to take as long as four years.
The total cost of the certificate program is approximately $1,150 for resident students, and $5,325 for non-resident and foreign students. The total cost of the degree program is approximately $2,760 for resident students, and $12,780 for non-resident and foreign students.
Paralegal work is intellectually challenging and offers a unique opportunity to help others while gaining respect as a legal professional. Demand for paralegals is growing as the population requires more legal services and paralegals take on more work formerly carried out by lawyers. The number of paralegal jobs in California is expected to increase by 20.1 percent, or 5,400 jobs, between 2010 and 2020 according to the Employment Development Department. Read more on the California Occupational Guide for Paralegals and the Detailed California Guide for Paralegals and Legal Assistants.
Accreditation and Affiliations
- American Association for Paralegal Education (AAFPE)
- San Francisco Paralegal Association (SFPA)
- Paralegal Association of Santa Clara County (PASCO)