A legal assistant or paralegal is a person, qualified by education, training
or work experience who is employed or retained by a lawyer, law office, corporation,
governmental/public agency, bank, industry or other entity and who performs specifically
delegated substantive legal work for which a lawyer is responsible. The paralegal
program is designed neither for attorneys nor law office administrators. The Suffolk
County Community College Paralegal Studies A.A.S. and Certificate Programs are offered
for paralegal education. Paralegals may not provide legal services directly to the
public, except as permitted by law.
The curriculum, which is approved by the American Bar Association, provides
students with a background in law as practiced in legal offices and trains them to
prepare documents such as probate forms, title searches and closing statements, pleadings
and discovery proceedings, legal memoranda, and corporate minutes and filings. Skilled
use of the English language is essential, and a high level of verbal competence is
required for completion of the curriculum. Knowledge of word processing software packages
is strongly recommended.
The certificate program is designed to serve students with either an associates
or bachelor's degree seeking a career-oriented education which upon satisfactory completion
will enable them to enter the job market.
Although a bachelor's degree is desirable, the minimum requirement for admission
to the program is an associates degree with a minimum of 18 liberal arts credits.
The program coordinator may make exceptions to the degree requirement for those students
who do not hold a bachelor's or an associates degree but who have demonstrated no
less than five years of satisfactory paraprofessional experience in law firms, corporate
legal departments or city/town corporation counsel offices, and provide letters of
recommendation from employers who are members of the Bar attesting to the applicant's
suitability. Applicants may be given an interview and additional courses may be required
to meet the requirement of 18 liberal arts credits. Full-time students may complete
the program in two semesters. Completion on a part-time basis is at the pace chosen
by the student. Suggested sequence of courses follows.
Students need to have completed a B.A., B.S., A.A. or A.S. degree, or have the
above-referenced significant law-related experience and 18 liberal arts credits. Students
are admitted on a rolling basis, fall and spring, with most students meeting minimum
standards admitted. Students must demonstrate strong reading and writing skills.