Students enrolled in 2-year associate's degree programs in legal studies learn how to conduct legal research, provide assistance to licensed attorneys, prepare basic legal documents, write legal correspondence and organize legal assignments. They also study the basic concepts of U.S. law, civil litigation and legal procedures. Applicants must have a high school diploma. They must also have a keen interest in research and be strong writers with great attention to detail. These programs include general education courses in addition to legal studies courses.
Associate's Degree in Legal Studies
Associate's degree programs in legal studies include courses that provide an introduction to legal theory. Graduates will be able to demonstrate a knowledge of legal ethics and use correct legal terminology. Examples include:
- Introduction to the U.S. legal system
- Civil procedures
- Legal interview techniques
- Law office management
- Administrative law and contract law
- Family law and bankruptcy law
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
About 271,930 paralegals and legal assistants were working in the United States in 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). The majority of these individuals were employed by legal services agencies or local, federal and state government agencies. Those in the profession made a median annual salary of $48,810 at that time.
Certification for paralegals and legal assistants may not be a requirement, but it is recommended in the workforce. Organizations such as the National Association of Legal Assistants and the American Alliance of Paralegals offer credentials in the field. Individuals seeking certification are required to complete an educational program and pass a certifying examination.
Associate's programs in legal studies are designed to train individuals for entry-level careers as legal assistants and paralegals.