This program is designed to prepare students to work in the legal field for law firms, banks, corporations, and government agencies in the performance of delegated, substantive legal services under the supervision of a licensed attorney. Students receive instruction in the substantive and procedural law necessary to function in the legal environment under the direction and supervision of attorneys in areas such as civil litigation, real property, legal research and writing, business organizations, and legal technology. Students will understand the ethical framework within which they will work and will be able to analyze and communicate effectively in these areas. Instruction stresses practical applications.
The services paralegals provide include assisting in trial preparation, drafting court pleadings and related documents, performing legal research and informal investigations, preparing real estate documents and assisting in real estate closings, drafting contracts, and maintaining corporate books. Paralegals cannot give legal advice, accept a case, set a fee, or present a case in court and may not provide legal services directly to the public, except as permitted by law.
This program is designed for students who seek immediate employment in the legal environment and who may also decide to transfer as a junior to complete a four-year Bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies at one of the two Florida public universities to which this degree will transfer. Students may transfer through a statewide agreement to Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) or through a specific program agreement to the University of Central Florida (UCF). Additional general education and legal specialty courses will be required in the university program.
Students are strongly encouraged to consult a Career Program Advisor in the department office for assistance in determining the best education plan for their career goals.
In addition to credits included in the State of Florida’s common course numbering system, Valencia may accept up to nine legal specialty credits from a non-American Bar Association-approved paralegal studies program as credit toward PLA course requirements in the Paralegal Studies A.S. degree. All legal specialty courses transferred into the program must be reviewed and approved by the Paralegal Studies Program Director, in addition to the standard college award of credit process.
Students will select either a Transactional or Litigation specialization. The Transactional specialization provides additional course work relating to real estate and probate matters, while the Litigation specialization provides additional course work relating to civil court and bankruptcy proceedings.
Although scheduling may not always provide for the following progression of courses, students should use the foundation, intermediate and specialization course sequence as a guide in program planning. This is found at http://valenciacollege.edu/asdegrees/criminal-justice/ps.cfm
All degree-seeking students must satisfy entry testing requirements and satisfactorily complete all mandatory courses in reading, student success, mathematics, English, and English for Academic Purposes in which the student is placed.