Paralegal Studies at Westchester Community College
Approved By The American Bar Association
The Paralegal Program:
The Westchester Community College Paralegal Program offers comprehensive, intensive, and hands-on training for Paralegals/Legal Assistants. Within the curriculum, the five mandatory courses (Introduction to Paralegal Studies, Litigation, Legal Research and Writing, Computer Applications for the Law Office, and Paralegal Internship) provide students with the core knowledge needed in the legal environment. The Paralegal Studies students then pick five other electives within the program to round out their legal assistant education.
Graduating paralegals have the skills needed to be immediately employable. This is because the courses in the program are designed to provide hands-on experience which is required of legal assistants and paralegals.
The U.S. Department of Labor predicts that employment opportunities for paralegals/legal assistants are “projected to grow 28 percent between 2008 and 2018, much faster than the average for all occupations.” In 1996, the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor statistics estimated number of paralegals employed were 113,000 and by 2008, that number would grow to 220,000 (a 95% increase in the number of positions). The estimate turned out to be low. According to the Occupation Handbook distributed by the Labor Department, the number of paralegals employed was 263,800, hence, a 133% increase in jobs.
Under the supervision of attorneys, job opportunities exist in law offices, government agencies, court systems, banks, insurance and title companies, and corporations. The Department of Labor predicts that demand for paralegals is expected to grow as an increasing population requires additional legal services, especially in areas such as intellectual property, healthcare, international, elder, sexual harassment, and environmental law. Entrepreneurs with paralegal degrees have become their own bosses by becoming freelance legal assistants.
Thinking about Law School:
Although the program is specifically designed to train paralegals and legal assistants, it provides an excellent pre-law education. Many graduates of the program have enrolled in law schools throughout the state. Graduates have been accepted into law schools at Columbia University, New York University, and Pace University. Of those entering law school, the majority of them have maintained academic honors.
Diversity in the Program:
The Paralegal Studies Program is rich in cultural, educational, and age diversity. Students from around the world have enrolled in the Program. Some of these students enrolled right out of high school energized to enter into the world of law. Others are changing careers and have already graduated from four-year colleges. Still other students have used the Paralegal Program as their stepping stone to law school. The Program has had graduates from Cambridge University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and other fine institutions. The age range of the legal assistant students is also extremely diverse. Students as young as 17 years old and as old 75 years old have been enrolled in the program. This range of cultural, educational, and age diversity creates a unique educational setting.
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