If you are interested in the opportunity to learn substantive aspects of the law and to gain the practical skills necessary to successfully enter the exciting paralegal profession, then this degree is for you. The paralegal profession has grown tremendously since it first appeared in the mid-1960s. There are now more than 120,000 paralegals in the United States. Presently, paralegals are involved in sophisticated legal work in traditional law office settings and in the corporate, government, and public arenas. The occupation has achieved great recognition and has moved rapidly to professional stature.
Paralegal Studies (Associate of Arts)
The Paralegal Studies Associate degree provides the first two years of study for students preparing for a career as a paralegal. The program provides a general education background while focusing on developing an understanding of the legal system. Students completing the degree will meet the requirements for admission to a Paralegal Certificate Program or to continue their studies toward a Bachelor’s Degree in Paralegal Studies.
Required Courses & Learning Outcomes
See a list of required courses and learning outcomes for this program in the college catalog.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a paralegal?
A paralegal is a person qualified by education, training or work experience who is employed or retained by a lawyer, law office, corporation, government agency, or other entity, who performs specifically delegated substantive legal work for which a lawyer is responsible. Paralegals work under the supervision of an attorney and adhere to recognized ethical standards and rules of professional responsibility.
What duties does a paralegal perform?
A properly supervised paralegal participates in many substantive and procedural aspects of legal work. Responsibilities will vary depending upon the particular area of legal practice and may include:
- interviewing clients
- drafting pleadings and other legal documents
- drafting correspondence
- conducting factual and legal research
- maintaining client files
- locating and interviewing witnesses
- assisting in discovery
What skills are required to be a good paralegal?
Excellent verbal and written communication skills are essential. Correct grammar usage, sentence structure, and proper spelling are also essential. A good paralegal is highly organized, able to work well under pressure, and has critical thinking skills.
What will a degree in paralegal studies allow me to do?
The education acquired by the Associate of Arts in Paralegal Studies from Cecil College allows the graduate to directly enter the workforce. The paralegal may work in areas such as litigation, real estate, banking, corporate practice, bankruptcy, probate, family law, or government agencies. In addition, the graduate can transfer credits earned in the Paralegal Studies Program to a four-year college and continue on to earn a bachelor's degree. With a bachelor's degree a graduate could choose to apply to law school.
Admissions & Advising
Whether transferring coursework to Cecil College or transferring your completed degree or certificate to a four-year institution, transfer is a viable option to help meet your educational goals.
Transfer information for Maryland colleges and universities is available through the Articulation System of Maryland (ARTSYS) website at www.artsys.usmd.edu. Additional transfer information can be found on the Transfer Agreements page.
Jack D. Cohen
Department Chair, Social Sciences
M.Div., Palmer Theological Seminary (Eastern Baptist)
Assistant Professor of Social Sciences
M.A., Washington College
Meredith Lutz Stehl
Professor of Sociology and Psychology
Ph.D., Drexel University
Residency, Alfred I. DuPont Hospital for Children
Fellowship, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Cecil College's adjunct paralegal studies faculty are highly credentialed in their discipline and have years of professional experience.