Associate in Arts | Associate in Science | Certificate of Specialization
The paralegal and legal assistant area is one of the fastest-growing job fields in America. Here in Silicon Valley paralegals are in high demand and have the opportunity to earn above-average incomes while engaging in exciting work in the legal field. Get started today with the EVC Paralegal Studies Program, which offers Paralegal Certificates and Associate degrees that help prepare you for rewarding careers in law!
As law firms re-tool and restructure their business models in an effort to reduce expenses and offer better value to their clients they are looking to legal assistants and paralegals to fulfill duties previously conducted by secretaries and junior associates.
government agencies, banks, real estate and insurance companies, and a variety of other organizations are also increasing their in-house legal staff further enhancing the need for trained paralegals and legal assistants.
LA-010 - Introduction to Law, Legal Research, the Constitution, and Ethics
This course provides an introduction to law, legal research, constitutional law, and legal ethics while helping students build the foundational skills necessary to succeed in legal specialty courses and in professional careers. The course includes an overview of constitutional law and court systems, a survey of legal ethics, an introduction to legal research methods, and an examination of current careers for legal professionals. Course objectives include the development of a working knowledge of the legal system, acquisition of basic legal research skills, and an understanding of current ethical guidelines in the law.
Lecture Hours: 3 | Lab Hours: None | Repeatable: No | Grading: L
Advisory Level — Read: 3 | Write: 3 | Math:
Transfer Status: CSU | Degree Applicable: AA/AS
LA-011 - Overview of Contracts, Property, and Tort Law
This course provides an essential overview of the three main areas of civil law: contracts, property, and tort law. Students will learn the legal requirements of valid contracts and the functions of commonly used provisions as they gain experience drafting and customizing various contracts. Students will also receive an introduction to property law, including the basic concepts involved in the ownership and use of personal property and real property. The class will also cover the fundamentals of tort law, including intentional torts, negligence, strict liability torts, and the policies and procedures of a personal injury law office.
Advisory Level — Read: 3 | Write: 3 | Math: 0
LA-014 - Civil Litigation
This course provides students with an understanding of the fundamental principles and preparation of civil cases for trial. Students will learn how to access and utilize appropriate Judicial Council forms, draft pleadings and motions, conduct pre-trial discovery, prepare trial notebooks, and handle other responsibilities that are typical for paralegals in a litigation-oriented law office.
LA-016 - California Courts and Litigation Practice
This course serves as an introduction to courts of law in this state, including the California Supreme Court, Courts of Appeal, Superior Courts, and California-based federal District Courts. The course covers the structure, institutions, jurisdiction, and rules of the court system. In addition, students will gain practical knowledge of the various stages of litigation practice that involve the courts, including the filing of cases, preparation of court documents, proper use of discovery, and readiness for trial.
LA-020 - Legal Technology and Software
This course gives students a thorough overview of technology used in the law office. Students will learn how legal assistants/paralegals can use computer systems and legal software applications to make their jobs easier and improve their value to employers. Topics include word processing, spreadsheets, and databases for the law office; timekeeping and billing; case management/calendaring/docket control; litigation support; computer-assisted legal research; electronic court filing and service of process; courtroom presentation graphics; and specialized legal software. Students will complete online research assignments and use demonstration models of a variety of legal software applications.
Prerequisite: LA 010, with grade of C or better. And, BIS 091 or CIT 010, with grade of C or better, or concurrent enrollment in BIS 091 or CIT 010.
LA-033 - Tort and Personal Injury Law
This course prepares the student to assist attorneys and corporations in tort and personal injury law. Students gain substantive knowledge of tort law and will be trained in the use of specific forms and procedures utilized in personal injury work. Course content includes intentional torts, negligence, professional malpractice, causation, proximate cause, strict liabilities, employer’s liability, nuisance, misrepresentation, product liability, and complex litigation.
Advisory Level — Read: 3 | Write: 3 | Math: 1
LA-036 - Real Estate and Property Law
This course covers real property law, purchase and sales agreements, mortgages, leases, easements, deeds, closing and recordings of documents, and title searches. Emphasis will be placed upon interpreting the law, drafting and recording documents related to real property law.
LA-038 - Family Law
This course covers the substantive law in the area of family law and domestic relations. Subjects covered will include dissolution of marriage, adoptions, guardianship, child/spousal/family support, child custody, and paternity. The class will train the student in the skills necessary to work as a paralegal in the area of family law. Content will include the use of Judicial Council forms, the preparation of pleadings, drafting of declaration, preparation of Income and Expense Declaration Form, the drafting of property settlement agreements, and the use of interviewing checklists.
LA-040 - Criminal Law
This course provides the student with a comprehensive understanding of the provisions of criminal law and procedure. Content includes the criminal court system and how it functions, the criminal justice system from arrest to trial and sentencing, elements of and defenses to all major crimes, and an overview of criminal procedure from the arrest through the appeal.
LA-042 - Corporate and Partnership Law
This course provides students with a general understanding of the various legal structures of businesses and the laws governing business transactions. Students learn the basic laws of corporations, partnerships, sole proprietorships, and modern limited liability entities. The course will emphasize finding and utilizing proper business forms and drafting appropriate documents related to the creation and operation of the various business organizations.
LA-044 - Intellectual Property Law
This course introduces students to the expanding field of patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets. Course content will include patents, trade protection, semiconductor chip protection, Section 43(a) false advertising, unfair competition, publicity rights, and idea submission. For each major specialty area, coverage will also include: The nature of the protected right, what is protected, the requirements for protection, who may be protected, the duration of protection ownership, transfer of ownership, infringement, and remedies.
LA-046 - Immigration Law
Students will study basic immigration law for paralegals. This is a hands-on approach to identification of people eligible to immigrate, types of visas, citizenship eligibility and application, and special conditions. Course topics include United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) structure, procedures, and filings; factual, country, and legal research; and immigration case management and technology.
LA-050 - Constitutional Law
This course is designed to present a basic understanding of the U. S. Constitution, from its development to present-day applications. Topics covered include: the formation of the 3 branches of government, state's rights and responsibilities, and the rights afforded individual citizens such as freedom of speech, religion, assembly, and the right to privacy. The course also covers the rights of persons accused of a crime, which are guaranteed by the Constitution and subsequent statutes.
LA-071 - Legal Research
This course provides the student with a working knowledge of the essential techniques used to research legal issues. Students will learn to find, select, and begin utilizing appropriate sources of law in the library and in the online LEXIS and WESTLAW databases. The course covers primary sources of law such as federal and state constitutions, statutes, cases, and regulations, as well as secondary sources that include legal dictionaries, encyclopedias, digests, summaries, and articles. Students will learn how to update statute and case law using the Shepard's and KeyCite citators. The course will include basic legal analysis and writing assignments which draw upon research results.
Prerequisite: LA 010, with grade of C or better.
LA-072 - Legal Analysis and Writing
This course provides students with advanced skills training in legal analysis, legal writing, and the use of electronic legal research using databases like WESTLAW and LEXIS. Students will be presented with complex legal problems and will learn how to analyze them using the IRAC method (Issue, Rule, Analysis, Conclusion). Students will learn to present their legal analyses in professional quality written documents, including trial court pleadings, research memoranda, motions, client opinion letters, demand letters, and more.
Prerequisite: LA 010, with C or better
LA-138 - Work Experience
Occupational Work Experience is designed for students who work or volunteer in a field related to their career major. Students are required to provide evidence that they are enrolled in a career program (e.g., education plan or coursework in a career/occupational subject area). Students can earn one unit of credit for each 60 hours of unpaid volunteer time or 75 hours of paid work during the semester. Students can repeat Career/Occupational Work Experience, combined with General Work Experience, or alone, up to a maximum of 16 units. Internship/job placement is not guaranteed.
Units: 1 - 8
Lecture Hours: None | Lab Hours: 1.81 | Repeatable: 15 | Grading: O
Corequisite: Be employed or a volunteer at an approved work-site for the minimum number of hours per unit as stipulated for paid and unpaid status.
Wages for paralegals and legal assistants in Silicon Valley and San Francisco are among the highest in the nation. The median hourly pay rate in Santa Clara County is over $29, equating to annual rate of $60,500. In San Francisco comparable figures are even higher with a yearly average of $68,500 translating to an hourly base of $33.
The U.S. government projects future growth at 17 percent through the year 2022, much faster than average for other occupations.