You may not practice law, but you work under the direction of a licensed attorney, performing similar duties with the exception of dispensing legal advice. You prepare legal documents, gather facts, prepare witnesses and evidence for legal proceedings, and occasionally represent clients at administrative hearings.
Please refer to the catalog for curriculum requirements.
FCC’s Paralegal Program is nationally recognized by the American Association for Paralegal Education (AAfPE) and has a chapter of Lambda Epsilon Chi – the Paralegal Honor Society. Please visit their website at www.aafpe.org to learn more information about this prestigious recognition.
FCC offers students two alternatives:
- Certificate, Paralegal Studies
A more condensed curriculum consisting of 33 credits of law-related courses.
- A.A.S. Degree, Paralegal Studies
Combines general education courses with specialized law courses to provide you with a wide variety of knowledge and skills. You’ll receive your associate in applied science degree, and while the primary goal of this program is to prepare you for employment in the legal field, you may choose to transfer course credits to a four-year institution to pursue your bachelor’s degree.
On The Job
Depending on the particular area of law, a paralegal’s responsibilities may include:
- Investigating and gathering facts
- Conducting client interviews
- Preparing witnesses and evidence for presentation at legal proceedings
- Performing book-based and computerized legal research
- Preparing a variety of legal documents
- Utilizing manual or computerized timekeeping and docketing systems
Skills You Need
- Excellent oral and written communication skills
- Technical knowledge and computer application skills
- Organization and time management skills
- Ability to prioritize, work under pressure and meet deadlines
- Comprehend and apply basic legal concepts and fundamental principles of law
- Recognize a legal dispute, gather facts and perform legal analysis
- Conduct client interviews and prepare witnesses and evidence for presentation at legal proceedings
- Perform legal research and utilize legal writing in preparing legal documents
- Comprehend the responsibilities and ethical obligations of the legal profession
- Utilize manual or computerized timekeeping and docketing systems
Growth Potential & Estimated Salaries
As attorneys delegate more and more responsibilities to paralegal's, job prospects for qualified paralegals will continue to increase. Salaries vary widely depending on employment setting, education, experience, and geographic location.
Take it from an FCC Paralegal Studies Graduate
"The Paralegal Program has changed my life. I was able to develop the skills needed to become an integral part of the law office. Dr. Parker and students in the program have been a great network for support while taking classes as well as after graduation."
- Miranda Lewis, Class of 2005
Financial AssistanceFCC provides a tuition payment plan. Scholarship and loan assistance is available for eligible students. In addition to general scholarships, the following are available to paralegal students:
- Loats Foundation Scholarship
You’ll learn from instructors who have a wealth of experience working in the field of law. All take a personal interest in helping students achieve their career goals. Start today on your future paralegal career by contacting Dr. Tracy Parker for more information about our Paralegal program.
Paralegal Student Association
As a student enrolled in the Paralegal Program, you are invited to join one of the fastest growing student clubs on FCC Campus. The Paralegal Student Association currently has over 70 members. The purpose of the association is to encourage students to obtain a degree/certificate in the legal field and to foster relationships between students and the legal community. Additionally, the association participates in one community event per semester. In the past, the association has worked with the Frederick County Bar Association by ringing bells for the Salvation Army and participating in Law Week.
FCC has an articulation agreement with the following institution for students graduating with an A.A.S. in Paralegal and who are looking for transfer opportunities. For more information, contact the Counseling & Advising Office at 301.846.2471.
• University of Maryland University College – B.S. Legal Studies