School and Ranking Information
Students looking for paralegal and legal assistant programs in New York, NY, can choose from among 11 public and private schools located within a 15-mile radius of the city's downtown. Based upon location, program offerings, number of paralegal degrees awarded and overall graduation rates, the top three public and private (not-for-profit) schools are the New York City College of Technology, LaGuardia Community College and Bronx Community College. All three are part of the City University of New York (CUNY) system, and their undergraduate legal assistant programs have been approved by the American Bar Association.
- Winner: The New York City College of Technology is the only school on the list to offer legal support programs at both the 2- and 4-year levels. It awarded more than 80 paralegal degrees during the 2011-2012 school year.
- Runner-Up #1: LaGuardia Community College awarded more than 75 associate's paralegal degrees in the same year, and it had the highest graduation rate of these three schools. LaGuardia has academic transfer agreements with approximately 70 schools in the area.
- Runner-Up #2: Bronx Community College offers both a certificate and a degree program in paralegal studies, with the former targeted towards students who already have prior college experience.
School Comparison Chart
|Category||CUNY New York City College of Technology||CUNY LaGuardia Community College||CUNY Bronx Community College|
|Location||Brooklyn, NY (1.6 miles from downtown New York, NY)||Long Island City (4.3 miles from downtown New York, NY)||Bronx (10.8 miles from downtown New York, NY)|
|School Type||4-year, public||2-year, public||2-year, public|
|Tuition & Fees (2012-2013)|| $5,769 (in-state, undergraduate);
$11,979 (out-of-state, undergraduate)*
|$4,242 (in-state, undergraduate);
$6,582 (out-of-state, undergraduate)*
|$4,254 (in-state, undergraduate);
$6,594 (out-of-state, undergraduate)*
|Legal Assistant/Paralegal Degree Levels Offered||Associate and bachelor's degrees||Associate degree||Certificate and associate degree|
|Legal Assistant/Paralegal Degrees Awarded (All Levels) in 2011-2012||82*||76*||21*|
|Most Popular Legal Assistant/Paralegal Degree Program in 2011-2012||Bachelor's degree (50 awarded)*||Associate degree (76 awarded)*||Associate degree (21 awarded)*|
|Undergraduate Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal program time)||14% (2006 entering class)*||17% (2009 entering class)*||10% (2009 entering class)*|
|Noteworthy||Department of Law and Legal Studies has an in-house law library**||Law information available through the Library Media Resources Center***||Paralegal Society Club offers networking with alumni and law professionals****|
Sources: *NCES College Navigator, **CUNY New York City College of Technology, ***CUNY LaGuardia Community College, ****CUNY Bronx Community College.
Winner: CUNY New York City College of Technology
- City Tech is located within walking distance of state and federal courts
- Department of Law and Legal Studies includes a computer lab equipped with up-to-date software programs
- Departmental pro bono activities include divorce, elder and immigration law clinics
- Paralegal courses offered during the day, in the evening and on weekends
- 84% of first-time, full-time freshmen received grant or scholarship packages averaging $7,295 during the 2011-2012 school year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
The New York City College of Technology in Brooklyn is a senior-level CUNY college that offers an Associate of Science and a Bachelor of Science in Legal Assistant Studies. The 60-credit associate degree program includes a general education core, as well as major coursework in civil and family law, legal research and documentation, estate settlements and real estate. Students also participate in a mandatory internship and take an elective in commercial, criminal or insurance law.
Undergraduates who continue their studies at the 4-year level complete an additional 24 credits of major coursework, which includes the study of legal technology and electives in forensic science, law office management and trial preparation, among other areas. Students can also participate in an internship or pursue advanced legal research. Additional courses include topics in constitutional law and writing.
Runner-Up #1: CUNY LaGuardia Community College
- 54% of faculty members hold doctoral degrees, as reported by the college
- Offers one of the lowest tuition rates in New York City, according to the school
- Experienced attorneys teach specialized paralegal courses
- 81% of first-time, full-time students received an average grant or scholarship package of $5,665 in the 2011-2012 school year, as reported by NCES
Located in the New York City borough of Queens, LaGuardia Community College offers a 60-credit Associate in Applied Science in Paralegal Studies program. The 2-year curriculum is similar to that found at the New York City College of Technology and includes 10 credits of business and technology courses. In particular, students learn how to prepare legal documents, perform research in a law library and assist attorneys with court cases. In addition to a 3-credit course in career development, the program features one required and one optional internship (minimum of 180 hours each).
Runner-Up #2: CUNY Bronx Community College
- Lay Advocate Option prepares students to work with the disabled, elderly or poor
- College offers evening and weekend courses
- 93% of new, full-time students received grant or scholarship aid averaging $6,156, according to NCES figures for the 2011-2012 school year
CUNY Bronx Community College offers a 30- to 31-credit certificate in paralegal studies for students who have completed 60 college credits or who hold an associate degree. In addition to topics in accounting, business and law, the curriculum includes a specialized course in landlord and tenant advocacy.
Similar coursework can be found in the 60-credit Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies program, which includes an 18- to 19-credit general studies core and the chance to take an elective in constitutional law. In addition to classroom studies, aspiring professionals participate in a 210-hour internship.
Students who pursue the 12-credit Lay Advocate Option take courses in criminal and family law and complete a 3-credit field experience in a community health facility.