Paralegal Studies (AS)

The Associate in Science (AS) in Paralegal Studies program offers a sequence of courses that provides coherent and rigorous content aligned with challenging academic standards and relevant technical knowledge and skills needed to prepare for further education and careers as paralegals, title examiners or abstractors, or to provide supplemental training for persons previously or currently employed in these occupations. The program also is approved by the American Bar Association.

The Associate in Science degree in Paralegal Studies is designed for students seeking a professional career in a law-related field. The program trains students in many diverse areas of law. Subjects include legal research and writing, real estate law, criminal law, family law, wills and trusts, torts, and litigation. Students are required to perform an internship in a local law office, prosecutor’s office, state attorney’s office, or similar.

Program graduates will be professionals who can manage law office operations, assume certain routine duties of attorneys, and directly assist attorneys in handling legal problems. Other roles may include performing legal research, developing new procedures, and drafting of legal documents. The program is designed for both full-time and part-time students.

Successful completion of this program qualifies students to sit for the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) Certified Legal Assistant/Certified Paralegal exam (CLA/CP). The program does not qualify students to practice law, sit for a state bar exam, nor act as or represent themselves as lawyers. Paralegals and legal assistants are advised to acknowledge the American Bar Association definition of a paralegal or legal assistant as “a person, qualified by education, training or work experience who is employed or retained by a lawyer, a law office, corporation, governmental agency or other entity and who performs specifically delegated substantive legal work for which a lawyer is responsible.”

Florida SouthWestern State College’s Paralegal Studies Associate in Science degree program is approved by the American Bar Association.

Continuing Toward a Baccalaureate Degree

There are many opportunities for more advanced education. For example, Graduates of the AS, Paralegal Studies Degree can matriculate into the BAS, Public Safety Administration Degree at Florida SouthWestern State College. Graduates of the AS, Paralegal Studies program can also pursue Bachelor’s Degrees in Property Management, Law, Business, and other related areas at many local colleges and universities as well as those located throughout the state and country.

The Florida Registered Paralegal Program

In the state of Florida, a paralegal is generally defined as a person with education, training, or work experience who works under the supervision of a member of the Florida Bar and who performs specifically delegated legal work for which a member of the Florida Bar is responsible. The Florida Registered Paralegal (FRP) is now recognized and approved by the Supreme Court of Florida. Refer to the Florida Bar Association website for more information on becoming a Florida Registered Paralegal.