May 26, 2024  
Fall 2014 Catalog 
Fall 2014 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Paralegal, A.A.S.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Academic Degree & Certificate Programs

Degree: Associate in Applied Science
HEGIS Code: 5099
Curriculum Code: 0691
Campus Location: City
Business & Public Service Division

Pre-Admission Recommendations: 1 Math Course, 1 year Science
Career Opportunities/Further Education: Law, Banking, Real Estate, Insurance, Healthcare administration, Government


Program Description

Changing patterns within the American legal system, along with the increased demands that have been placed on the services of the legal community, have created a need for a trained corps of legal technicians and paraprofessionals. Openings for trained paralegals are not limited to the legal profession, as the need for their services now exists and will continue to expand within business, industry and the public service sector in the foreseeable future.

The objective of the Paralegal Program is to train students to assume responsible positions in law firms and in other institutions where knowledge of the law is essential. Armed with a broad knowledge of the law and business structures, graduates will be able to work effectively as paralegals under the supervision of an attorney.

Combining the fundamentals of a business education with a concentration in specific law and law-related subjects, the curriculum offers the broad base necessary to withstand the demands of a paralegal career. Accordingly, the paralegal courses have been selected to provide sufficient legal theory for a comprehensive understanding of the reasons for, as well as, the nature and function of the many duties required of the paralegal with the major emphasis on the practical rather than the theoretical.

The Paralegal Program prepares graduates for positions in several areas, including legal offices, insurance offices, bank and trust services, real estate management, credit investigation, title abstracting, healthcare administration, computer software licensing, corporate offices and public service.

Joint Admissions Agreement

A Joint Admissions Agreement is in place with SUNY at Buffalo (U.B.).  A student who graduates with an A.A.S. in Paralegal Studies from ECC will be allowed to transfer their credits with full junior status into the U.B. Legal Studies ProgramAgreements are also in place with Canisuis College (Professional and Technical Studies Program), Daemen College (Paralegal Program) and Hilbert College (Paralegal Program).

Program Competencies

Upon graduation with an Associate in Applied Science degree in Paralegal Studies, the graduate will be able to:

  • describe the functions and authority of the legislative, judicial and executive branches of government;
  • describe basic differences between large and small law firms, and know the paralegal’s functions in each type;
  • locate and apply rules of unauthorized practice such as code of professional responsibility, state and national bar opinions, formal and informal applicable case law;
  • locate relevant authority in any law library for use in drafting case notes, memoranda and briefs;
  • prepare a polished legal memorandum exploring both sides of a legal issue;
  • describe the differences between civil matters and criminal matter;
  • locate and describe the federal and New York State rules of civil procedure as well as the various court rules;
  • understand the theory of income taxation in both its revenue gathering and its progressive wealth distribution function;
  • understand estate and gift taxation principle;
  • understand the necessity of drafting all real property documents with accuracy and completeness;
  • closing a real estate transaction, including the preparation of real property taxes, the computation of conveyance taxes and closing costs, the drafting of escrow instructions and the necessity for and types of title insurance;
  • understand the principles and legal theories relating to modern day torts;
  • understand the substantive law of divorce and adoption;
  • interview and assist the client for probate information and assist attorneys in the administration of an estate;
  • understand how administrative hearings are conducted and the basic rules that apply to the administrative process;
  • describe the scope and enforcement of civil liberties, with particular emphasis on the Bill of Rights;
  • relate to the issues that concern criminal litigation, including the underlying principles of the adversary system, the legal representation of unpopular criminal defendants and the processes by which criminal cases are decided;
  • understand and apply basic rules of evidence in administrative and court proceedings;
  • draft pleadings and motions in civil and criminal litigation; and 
  • option to participate in an internship where the student will gain experience and first-hand knowledge of law in action.


Total Degree Credits: 65.0

First Year, Spring Semester

Second Year, Fall Semester

Second Year, Spring Semester


NOTE: This is a recommended sequence. Student should consult his/her academic adviser prior to registering.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Academic Degree & Certificate Programs